(b) Word-material

With a few exceptions the vocables of Interglossa are based on unmutilated roots of words which now belong to the vocabulary of all countries where modern technology and hygiene have penetrated. The meaning ascribed to any one of them does not necessarily tally with the one given in a Latin or a Greek lexicon. It is the meaning suggested by the internationally current words in which it occurs. Less than a dozen are abbreviations. The origin of abbreviated ones comes in the text to assist the beginner to memorize them.

Partly for the reason stated in the last paragraph, and partly because of the principle of word-economy inherent in its design, Interglossa has a peculiarity which distinguishes it from other constructed languages and from many natural ones. Because they are explicit in the sense defined above, particles are relatively long words, while nouns and verbs, relieved of their former flexional accretions, are relatively short ones.¹ Strictly speaking, the terms noun, adjective and verb are not

¹ In natural languages, which are not highly inflected, prepositional and conjunctive particles, denoting relations for which clear reasoning prescribes clear-cut fields of reference, are peculiarly liable to semantic erosion; and the same is true, perhaps even more true, of the flexional appendages to which grammatical paradigms ascribe their functions. This is an inescapable limitation of Basic, or of any other form of simplified, English consonant with accepted standards. As an analytical language Basic English has to exploit the use of such particles to the utmost. Hence the words on which it relies so much for sharpness of logical definition are the words most prone to idiomatic use. Peano's Interlingua suffers from a further defect. Though an isolating language, it derives its battery of directives from Latin, a language somewhat poor in its native outfit of such vocables. A constructed language of the isolating type should be especially richly equipped with directives; and its design should discourage degradation of meaning through overwork of words belonging to this class. Possibly one of several reasons for the degradation of meaning mentioned above as a universal feature of natural languages is that conjunctive and prepositional particles are usually short words. Because they are short, like flexions, we easily slur them in speech. Hence we are apt to rely on context to do their work; and by doing so, become careless about their use. If there is a grain of truth in this supposition, the moral is clear. Such words should stand out boldly in the sentence-matrix. Each should be a challenge to the choice of the speaker and to the attention of the audience. Thus the feature mentioned above is beneficial. A long word with rich associations in a domain of exact discourse, as has (119) postulo for the if of the rejected condition, fulfils the desideratum stated. A short word, like the equivalent se of Esperanto, does not do so. It has no associations of this sort.