Language Influences for Diinlang.

Diinlang is both an “a priori” and “a posteriori language. By studying existing languages we can gain an insight into what mechanisms work. Drawing on natural languages (“natlangs”) for vocabulary provides us with words that may be familiar to the user and aid in learning. There are, however, times when the cluttered table must be swept clean and a new mechanism trialled. Today I am going to look at some of the other languages that may or should have an influence on the development of Diinlang.

English is apparently the third most spoken native language in the world. It is the most widely spoken of the Germanic languages. It is the most globally spoken language, with native speakers stretching from Canada to Australia. Significantly it is also the most spoken second language. If you are struggling in Spanish or Mandarin, throwing in the English phrase might help. Using Spanish when speaking Mandarin or vice versa is not so likely to be successful.

As I have remarked before, a conlang does not exist in a vacuum. Nor, for that matter, do most modern natlangs. In many conlangs there seems to be a tendency to try and pretend English does not exist, ignoring that it is one of the most widely spoken of languages.

English can be very compact, a single syllable performing the task that other languages need multi-syllable words for. On the downside some English syllables can prove problematic for non-native speakers. Diinlang needs to establish what syllable structures are permissible if it is going to utilize English words.

Of course, English is not without its faults. It has many irregularities and homophones. The same word can have diverse and event contradictory meanings. I have seen it claimed that thirteen per cent, approximately one in eight, of English words are not spelt as they are pronounced. When this is not the case there are often multiple ways that the word can be spelt.

Conlangs such as Lojban/ Loglan include English in the languages there derive words from but fail to take into account is distribution and popularity as a second or official language, so give it less weighting than Mandarin and Spanish.

Mandarin is the most spoken native language, although the majority of its speakers are in China or Taiwan. Mandarin/ Standard Chinese is a tonal language so even worse than English for homophones. The same word can have four tones and consequent changes of meanings. This makes it difficult to integrate Chinese words into Diinlang. The grammatical structure of Mandarin is apparently relatively consistent and this may be useful in the refinement of Diinlang.

Spanish is the second most spoken native language, although the majority of speakers are in the Americas. On the plus side Spanish is closely related to many of the Romance languages, so words and mechanisms derived from Spanish may prove comprehensible to speakers of other languages. Lingua Franca Nova may also prove to be useful when drawing from the Romance languages for inspiration.

Another language that Diinlang must consider is International Scientific Vocabulary (ISV), which uses many words derived from Greek and Latin in addition to some novel terms or usages.  Many of these terms are comprehensible or familiar to speakers of other languages, even those not scientifically inclined. Glossa and Interlingua may prove useful inspirations here, although phonology will need to be addressed. ISV has obvious applications in creating the names of animals, plants and chemicals in Diinlang.

I am inclined to suggest that Japanese also be considered in the construction of Diinlang. Its number of native speakers is not particularly high, although higher than most European languages. Distribution is also rather restricted. However, Japan has a notable economic and cultural influence so many Japanese words are in global use. This should probably be considered when creating Diinlang.