chinese: the next international language?

Oliver   Sunday, May 30, 2004, 16:56 GMT
Since Chinese is out of the picture, should we maybe close this post.
Could start.
New post on the Next international language, if English falls by the wayside of history.
Harry Luubovv   Monday, May 31, 2004, 04:11 GMT
Hi, 30 May 04

Chinese is undoubtedly too complicated to learn ! It has no alphabets to pronounce out a sound or a syllable by ! !

If you want to lean Chinese, I can teach you Chinese, but it is darned hard if not by birth relation or tongue relation.

Currently, I am developing a new language, it will be the dominating language in the world withing 3 years' time after released, because it can be the real easiest language to lean, unlike English, too many exceptions too many set rules that you have to break in order to learn that language ! !

Have a nice day friends,
Harry Luubovv.
Paul   Monday, May 31, 2004, 14:44 GMT
Hi Harry

You should take a look at LOGLAN if you are trying to create a useful language that would dominate the world.
It stands for Logical Language and is the best thing created since Esperanto.
Paul   Wednesday, June 02, 2004, 05:00 GMT
Chinese Writing has potential to be the ultimate or ideal method of written communication. Unfortunately, it is so difficult to learn without knowing Putonghua well. And even if you could simplify it, you probably would lose some of its expressiveness, that makes it such a strong language.

Maybe it could be used as the world Auxillary written language.
Forget it for spoken world Auxillary written language .
nao   Saturday, June 05, 2004, 07:07 GMT
Please know that english is extreamly difficult language for japanese people to learn. Chinses is much easier I guess.
patsd   Saturday, June 05, 2004, 07:45 GMT
<<<Do you think chinese may replace english as THE international language in the future? it's crazy but China is the country with the biggest economic growth in the world, in 2020 they'll have the same gross domestic product as Japan and they'll be 1 500 000 000. It could be the "chinese tsunami".(instead of a japanese one). >>>

Chinese will not replace English.
Emmanuel   Saturday, June 05, 2004, 17:50 GMT
Do you guys think English will simplify in the future? I meant if English will become easier in spelling, grammar, pronunciation, etc... It is the most spoken around the world. The businesses are managed in English to communicate each country with other country. It's good!
Paul   Monday, June 07, 2004, 05:18 GMT
I believe that English grammar is better described than any other language and the simpler grammatical constructs are becoming more prevailiant.
Also Phonetic Alphabets for English are now available.
Oliver   Tuesday, June 08, 2004, 18:24 GMT
Has any one else looked at the Shaw Phonetic Alphabet.
It is als called Shavian Alphabet for English.

Regards, Paul V.
Emmanuel   Tuesday, June 08, 2004, 23:13 GMT
Can you post that phonetic alphabet?

Maybe you and I can agree with him.
Dulcinea del Toboso   Tuesday, June 08, 2004, 23:54 GMT
English spelling reform and artificial international languages are flawed concepts. Below are my opinions on both of these issues.

* * *

This is what is wrong with English spelling reforms:

1) Whose pronunciation will be adopted for the spelling? British RP? Western American? Australian? Cockney? Kiwi? Alabaman? Whose?

2) Languages change. The English you hear spoken today will be different than that spoken 100 years from now. Even if you could achieve a satisfactory version of spelling reform today, it would be obsolete in 100 years and you would have the same problem all over again.

3) There is an enormous amount of written English that exists in books, newspapers, magazines, on the web, and in offices worldwide. This will not go away; people will not discard it for a revised scheme. Nor will the existing literate English population adopt what they perceive as a dumbed-down system (and that *will* be the perception).

4) The spelling of English today provides many clues to the etymology of the word. Sometimes the root of the word spelled stays the same even though pronunciation of the word changes; visually, this helps identify the word. The visual perception of the word is important. As I've mentioned before, when I see the written word "knight", I think of someone in armor on horseback with a lance. When I see "night", I think of the dark sky. When I see "nite", I think of a cheap advertisement in the paper. The spelling "nait" or "neit" or whatever, conjures up nothing to no one immediately -- you have to stop and think about it.

5) History, heritage, and pride. Do you really want to read "tu bi or n@t tu bi" or some such silliness? People who have mastered English spelling are usually people who read a lot and are proud of the language; they do not want to see English turned into some pidgin-looking script. If you read a lot, English spelling is not difficult.

* * *
Now, as for artificial languages for international use. First, it is fun to create artificial languages; I've created a few of them myself. However, Volapuk, Esperanto, Ido, Loglan, and the like all overlook one thing: the reason people learn a language. Abram De Swaan in Words of World illustrates how different languages have different values. People learn English or French or Spanish or whatever because the benefits of communicating with the <whatever>-speaking population and culture are worth the effort.

With an artificial language, even one as popular as Esperanto, the community and culture it provides is generally not worth the effort other than as an intellectual pursuit.
Paul   Wednesday, June 09, 2004, 18:50 GMT
Hi Emmanuel

The Shaw Phonetic Alphabet is really very easy to use. It is very similar to the ASCII Alphabet and has all the same sounds. Because English has a lot more sounds the Roman Alphabet has letters, the Shaw Alphabet needed some extra letters. So it used some of the Roman Capital letters to represent some of the Alternate English sounds.
For example, ng => N, ch => C, sh = S, th = T or D, el => L, er => R and
wh = W, ei = E, ai = A, oi = O.
There are 47 sounds altogether.

1. Adu, "x" (ado) ado, along, awake, alert
2. Alef, "a" (ash) ash, amber, ant, identify
3. Ail, "A" (ice) ice aisle, iron
4. Bet, "b" (bib) bib, baby
5. Gimel, "g" (gag) gag, gun, gold
6. Delta, "d" (dead) dead
7. Hey, "h" (ha-ha) ha-ha hey, hang, hello, hip, heart
8. Vav, "v" (vow) vow, vagabond
9. Zayeen, "z" (zoo) zoo, zeal, zebra
10. Yood, "y" (yea) yea, yes, yellow, yard, young
11. Yuter "Y" (yew) yew. user, euphoria, few, newt, cute, you, fuel
12. Kawf "k" (kick) kick, calf, kipper, cough, kook
13. Elmo "L" (elle) girl, table, mile,devil
14. Lamed "l" (loll) lamp, light, loco
15. Mem, "m" (mime) mime, measure, moor, mirror
16. Nash, "n" (none) none, nun, noon
17. Ingga, "N" (hung) hung, sing, English
18. Sam, "s" (so) so, suppose, spring, face
19. Ester, "e" (*egg) extra, empty, heaven, devil, ember, brand X,
20. Eisawv, "E" (age) age, egg, apron
21. Eiran, "G" (air) air, fare, spare, err
22. Pey, "p" (peep) peep, post, poor, plant
23. Resh, "r" (roar) roar, rail, rook, raven
24. Earl, "R" (array) *array, *err, urge, urban
25. Shawn, "S" (share) share, sure, sheep, shilling
26. Tawf, "t" (tot) tot, tailor, tree
27. Fey "f" (fee) fee, flower, freedom
28. Wazu "w" (woe) woe, warm, wait, wing
29. Wheil "W" (whew) whale, whirl, whew, whoosh
30. Jawn "Z" (measure) measure, Jean, voyage, garage, treasure, triage
31. Cheetch "C" (church) church, check, cheat
32. Judjer "j" (judge) judge, jack, join
33. Thorn "T" (thigh) thin, with,
34. Thawn "D" (They) they
35. Izrah "i" (if) if, impossible, insane,imp, it
36. Eesy "I" (eat) eat, Ian, East, keep, eel, even
37. Irgun "J" (*ear) here, beer, Cyril, mirror
38. Ahmz "c" (ah) ah, alms, drama, trauma spa, lager, espionage,
on, stop, salon
39. Oliver "q" (awe) awe, awful, long, hawk, cough, often
40. Arno "M" (are) are, ark, art, heart, cart, tart, tar
41. Oun "Q" (Out) out, owl, clown, drown, pounce, ounce
42. Oprah "o" (oak) oak, hope, goal, bowl, ode, old, open
43. Oivy "O" (oil) oil, foyer, lawyer
44. Orly "P" (or) or, more, adore, door
45. whoops "u" (wool) rook, put, pull, wood, good, books
46. Uzer "U" (ooze) ooze, loser, kook, booze
47. Upety "V" (up) up, other, umbrella, uncle, udder, ugly, uneventful

So by changing the sounds of just 3 Roman letters, (c, q, x) and adding in 21 Capital Letters, (A,C,D,E,F,G,I,J,K,L,M,N,O,P,Q,R,S,T,U,V,W,Y,Z) each letter with a sound similar to the Roman Alphabet construction, you have a nice simple Phonetic Alphabet. If you use a Shavian Font, then the letters look even better. Different but better. Check it out at or

Regards, Paul V.
Paul   Wednesday, June 09, 2004, 19:18 GMT
Dulcinea del Toboso

I believe in Spelling Reform, but not in the old one word at a time method.
It would take too long to reply to all your points. Let me just repudiate your points 2. and 3. for the moment. Perhaps you have not noticed the significant technological changes of the last 10 years.

2) Languages change because speech evolves and if population groups are spread out and do not speak to each other; they grow apart.
The English you hear spoken today will be a little different than that spoken 100 years from now, but as phone communication becomes ever cheaper and more prevalent and people use a common sattelite broadcasting system for TV, the differences in standard English will tend to diminish.
The English Speaking world is gettting smaller in terms of the ease of its communication.
So if we could achieve a satisfactory version of spelling reform today, it would probably only have to be adjusted every 1000 years or so.
I consider that acceptable.

3) While there is an enormous amount of written English, it is being kept more and more as soft-copies. The software already exists to toggle back and forth between different fonts and Characters. With assistance within the Word Processing Programs, there is nothing preventing people from using 2 or even more spelling systems simultaneously. This is how people write Chinese on the computer by the way. They use a phonetic transcription that the Computer converts to Chinese characters on the screen.
And the existing ordinary English population is generally so far from being fully literate, that they will probably adopt whatever tools that they can get to make themselves understandable. They didn't turn up their nose at spell-checking?

Regards, Paul V.
Man of La Mancha
Dulcinea del Toboso   Wednesday, June 09, 2004, 23:34 GMT
I might know just a little bit about technology in the last 10 years, as my profession is that of an embedded software (firmware) engineer. I write code for USB, 802.11, and Bluetooth technologies.

Anyway, language and speech still change despite movies, television, the web, and the phone. We'll probably never have a situation where people in different towns 30 miles apart have their own accent (as supposedly is the case in parts of the UK), but speech will change nonetheless. It is already undergoing change in the U.S. Also, whose pronunciation will you adopt?

The existing body of written English, even considering text that just exists in electronic form, is overwhelming. In the two largest English speaking regions, North America and the UK, there will never be an adoption of such simplified spelling. That being the case, those in other countries who adopt a reformed spelling are doing themselves a disservice by not learning the system as used by the majority of the English speaking world.

For whatever it's worth; one of the first things I do when I'm given a new PC or a new version of MS Word is turn off the spell checker.
Paul   Thursday, June 10, 2004, 16:04 GMT
For Dulcinea del Toboso

First. I am not talking about the replacement of the existing English spelling system (two flavors/flavours). I am talking about an auxillary phonetic alphabet that can be used in conjunction with the Roman Alphabet.
The Roman Alphabet is good for Romance Languages, but extensive vocabulary notwithstanding, English is not a Romance Language.

As to your first response, may I humbly suggest that you may not be seeing the forest for the trees.

As for your second response, I didn't say English would stop changing. I said it would change in such a way that our current differences in standard pronunciation of English will tend to diminish.

I expect the situation to be far better than the Netherlands, where less than 1/2 the people speak Standard Dutch at Home, but there is still a 100% levels of comprehension of Standard Dutch, in the outside world for people who were educated after World War II.

I would expect that something close to American Mid-West Pronunciation, would eventually be adopted as a Standard, as RP (BBC English) in England is losing its status as the British English Standard. But why give it a name, if it is a result of a process of rappachmonte.

As for your 3d response. I notice that I can have french articles dynamically translated for me on the Internet. I would think a Dynamic transliteration to a phonetic Alphabet, would be a piece of cake by comparison.

Sorry about your aversion to Spell-Checkers. Must make it difficult for you to borrow a P.C.

Regards, Paul V.