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       Two Fundamental Types of Common Language

History since the Tower of Babel has witnessed two basic types of "common language" above or between distinct languages: firstly the ONELANG - or existing national language with users beyond the home culture, and secondly the AUXLANG - or new constructed language. The ONELANG has always contained a supranational ("above nations") element, whereas the AUXLANG has been more international ("between nations"), which is why the phrase "international auxilary language" (IAL) has usually referred to an AUXLANG. Typically, a ONELANG has had a great number of mother-tongue speakers, and non-nationals have wished to adopt it, not just for new linguistic possibilities, but also for the power, value and influence of the associated culture and its literature; on the other hand, an AUXLANG has usually started as a wholly auxiliary trading / fraternisation tongue between alien peoples - and has been specifically intended for working populations with neither time nor inclination to learn foreign mother-tongues.

Many existing languages have fulfilled the ONELANG role, but mostly to a very limited extent - the notable exceptions being great tongues of empire and learning such as Latin, Arabic, French and English. Similarly, although AUXLANGS have been inaugurated in many times and places (gesture and sign-language being notoriously culture-specific), progress has often been limited to a few words (a "contact language"); however, there are many instances over the course of recorded history where this initial stage of an AUXLANG has become elaborated further along what I have termed the contact language ~ pidgin ~ creole progression.

Today the need for a single universally-accepted common language to facilitate global communication has become critical. How long will peoples united in all fundamentals, including race, scientific outlook and the essential aspects of religion, remain divided by hundreds of languages and thousands of dialects? The growing expense of ever-increasing political and economic ties, along with the demands of collective security, will probably ensure that a common voice is soon discovered. And the oft-presented means to this end is, of course, a universal auxiliary language designed to be used by all delegates at international conventions and learned by every school-child in addition to the respective mother-tongue.

The choice will necessarily be between a language of the ONELANG or AUXLANG variety. It's an old and well-understood solution - so why hasn't it yet been followed? Why have we seen neither the formal adoption of an existing ONELANG - as partially realised in the past by Latin, Arabic, French and English, or the worldwide implementation of an AUXLANG such as Solresol or Esperanto? The retarding force is public and private vested interest, allied with the usual mix of myth and prejudice, as highlighted in this dialogue between notional advocates of extreme positions.

A conscious choice would tend to favour the AUXLANG alternative - which has numerous potential theoretical advantages in terms of regular grammar, rationalised orthography, "cultural neutrality" and the like. But many solutions are arrived at de facto rather than de jure, so a ONELANG might just as well be endorsed - post hoc, ergo propter. Indeed, the centuries of impasse - with idealistic argument from one side and realpolitik from the other - have formed a dilemma, the "horns" of which will eventually rend asunder the darkening veil of mutual misunderstanding, even as the "bull-market" in "common language futures" is goaded into action by political and economic necessity.

But whichever option is chosen, or endorsed, both types of common language will continue, at least into the distant future, for the same reasons that they have been found necessary in the past. However there is scientific evidence (in addition to religious history and prophecy, and the dictates of reason) that the natural and optimal state of humankind is to speak just one language, and LangX provides an illustrative systematic approach towards this end.

 

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