Teaching Interglossa

Some linguists will protest that I flatter the public by assuming the widespread existence of a large technical vocabulary. In fact, those who are hostile to plans for a constructed language expect to have it both ways. They underestimate the difficulties which natural languages put in the way of collaboration between ordinary men and women who are not gifted linguists, and they overestimate the difficulties of learning an artificial language, because they are not en rapport with the cultural realities of the modern world. Professors of Greek who do not know what a heterodyne set is would be surprised at the number of such words in any hobbies magazine for schoolboys. It is therefore pertinent to add two comments upon objections of this kind:

(a) The intrusion of international technical terms into daily speech is daily gathering momentum, especially in countries where there is public encouragement for scientific research and its application, or good popular scientific journalism. The spectacular infiltration of such terms into the Russian language since the Revolution is sufficiently evident in placenames alone.¹ Because the tempo of infiltration is increasing we can prospect with tolerable confidence what roots are likely to come into daily speech in the near future.

(b) It is not likely that any considerable group of speech-communities will adopt an interlingua unless the forces working for international co-operation are stronger than those which are also working to perpetuate militarism and racialism. To put forward a plan of this sort therefore presupposes confidence in the possibility of a more enlightened world in which the disposition to spread scientific knowledge as a basis of social prosperity and a high standard of communal health prevails. In short, Interglossa, or any other artificial language, is a project for a civilization in which education will deal far more with the realities of health and the productive forces of everyday life, than with the dreary superstitions of the past. Biology is already taking the place of the classics in the school curriculum. A world which can be induced to adopt an auxiliary will be a techno-conscious and a health-conscious

¹ If pushed to define what is an international root in an age of potential plenty, I would say I mean a root which occurs in: (a) any technical term in a League of Nations Report on agriculture, malnutrition, public health or the drug traffic; (b) any proper name printed with a capital letter in a gardener's catalogue; (c) most words printed in italics in the index of The Science of Life, Science for the Citizen, The Outline of the Universe or other book of the same genre.