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Chinese-based IAL?

From:Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Saturday, February 17, 2001, 19:43
Well if you've been following my rather paltry posting lately, I've decided
to revive P.

The old version was based on the Lojban database, which produced over 1200
words based on the top six languages in the world, but with the phonology
reformed to conform to Lojban rules.  I found an occasional error in the
list (like *monbre for Spanish "name").  Also, the phonetic representation
of semivowels was not j/y and v/w, but i and u, so that the syllable "yi" in
Mandarin is rendered (yecch) "ii".

Anyway, in the past I had approached this project from an anglocentric
perspective, where I just come up with an international vocabulary and apply
English grammatical and syntactical rules.  But English is listed somewhere
between second and fourth on the list of the world's most spoken languages
(L1 only is towards the latter; L1+L2 the former).

But Mandarin alone among the languages ranks first in all methods of
comparison, with nearly a billion speakers.  Cantonese, Taiwanese, Hakka and
other Chinese languages add hundreds of millions more.  Also, take into
account languages like Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Yi, Hmong and other
languages with heavy Chinese influence and you add hundreds of millions
more.  So in a global IAL, wouldn't it make sense to start with Chinese and
work through the paramount IE languages like English-German,
Spanish-Portuguese-French, Hindi-Urdu-Bengali, Russian...

And Arabic, being the spiritual language of over a billion Muslims
worldwide, has to be included in the mix, not to mention the diverse
languages in Africa and southern Asia with heavy Arabic influence...

Eventually I'd like to extend the corpus of data to the top twelve
languages, a list that includes Bahasa Melayu/Indonesia.  You have a little
Sanskrit and Chinese and Arabic mixed in with that, so it'll be interesting
if I get to that point in, say, version 2.0 or 3.0 of the language...

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