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Algilez

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Algilez Development Background

Contents on this page

1    Introduction The reason for Algilez and its main features.
2    English and other world languages The advantages of using modified English as a world language.
3    Why Algilez is easier than English Comparing the learning difficulties of English and Algilez.
4    The flexibility of Algilez Flexible use of tenses & verbs - or even no tenses at all!
5    Discussion of Algilez design Some of the reasoning behind the various features.
6    Algilez design specification The basis for the design of Algilez
7    The Algilez rules A comparison with the '16 Rules of Esperanto'
8    Language evolution Planning for the future change of Algilez
9    Contact information If you'd like to find out more about Algilez
10  Why the name Algilez? Algilez was formerly known as Gilo 

1     Introduction

1.1       The Reason for Algilez

The aims of Algilez are quite simple – to provide an auxiliary language for world use, that is simple to use and quick to learn, that is unambiguous in use and, by basing the vocabulary and format as much as possible on English, providing a language is most familiar to the maximum number of people.

1.2       Making a new language - what features would you be looking for to make it as easy as possible?

There are several features that most people would agree are desirable in a language in order to make learning it as easy as possible:-

  • Regular tense endings for all verbs - no irregular verbs

  • Consistent spelling - each sound to have a unique alphabet character.

  • Consistent pronunciation - each individual alphabet character to be pronounced the same.

  • Single meanings for each root word.

  • Short words - single syllable root words if possible.

  • Use compound words (made of existing root words) when possible - to avoid unnecessary new words

Some other features may be more debatable but are likely to assist rather than hinder language learning:-

  • A syntax (word order) based on Subject Verb Object - consistent with most major languages of the world

  • Vocabulary based on condensed English language words - for maximum familiarity with most learners.

  • Adjectives & adverbs to follow the words they describe/modify - the key nouns come first

  • Root words to be combined as prefixes/suffixes

1.3       The main features of Algilez:

  • Algilez follows the word order convention of English, Chinese etc (i.e. Subject, Verb, Object) but with a simpler grammar and vocabulary

  • The vocabulary is based on 'condensed' English, providing maximum familiarisation for those people who have some knowledge of English as a first or second language and short simple words to learn for those who don't.

  • The whole vocabulary is logically categorised by the meaning of the words.

  • There is a single meaning for each word.

  • Words are pronounced as they are spelt.

  •  The grammar is 'logical', in that qualifiers (adjectives & adverbs) follow the word they are qualifying, enabling the listener to begin to understand the meaning of each sentence as it is spoken or read, rather than having to wait until the end.

  • International conventions for numbers and Latin based plant & animal genus names are retained (but transcribed into phonetic Algilez words).

  • The optional Algilez alphabet, using a single symbol matched to each sound, overcomes many of the difficulties associated with the well used, but far from uniform, Roman alphabet.  For further details see Algilez Alphabet.   2          

1.4       International Conventions

    No auxiliary language can really be started on a clean sheet of paper.  There are already too many international conventions that are so well established that it would be impossibly disruptive to change them (e.g. a decimal number system written in descending figures from left to right, a Latin based genus naming system for animals and plants etc, both of which are retained in Algilez).

    However, there are other aspects, such as the use of a new alphabet, that would rapidly repay the investment of time needed to learn it by elimination of the confusion resulting from the multiple sounds possible for conventional Roman letters.  An optional alphabet has been produced for Algilez.  See Algilez Alphabet.

2     English and other world languages

Previous artificial languages have used a variety of mainly European based languages as the source of their vocabulary.  Some have used Latin.  Esperanto uses a mixture of English, French and German.  The only true international language used today is English and therefore it makes more sense to use English as the vocabulary basis for a world language than any other.  This does not mean that English words have always been used directly but that English words have been modified, by condensing them as much as possible, into short, single syllable words that are intended to be easier and quicker to learn.

 

The process of condensing the words has been done to simplify the vocabulary, the spelling and the learning.  Why use a two, three or even four syllable word when the meaning can be expressed clearly and uniquely in a single syllable, two or three letter word.  To the native speakers of Chinese, Japanese, Hindi and Arabic etc, a vocabulary based on Latin will have hardly any elements that would be familiar.  Anyone with a smattering of English would be more likely to find something familiar with a Algilez vocabulary.

 

At first sight it might appear that there is very little recognisable English within Algilez.  I can sympathise with that view since, many of the 'core' verbs such as 'to be', 'to have', 'to see', 'to go' etc have been taken back to the simplest possible root base and then had the tense affixes etc added to them.  Many other English words have had to be condensed into rather unfamiliar Algilez root words.  This is a reflection of the large number of English words of totally different meaning that use similar word formation (just look in a dictionary and see how many English words begin with 'con...').  When a suitable English word was not easily available, then a word from another language was chosen.  Nevertheless, it is hoped that the majority of Algilez words, if not immediately obvious, should be easier to remember once the origin is known.

 

No single natural language is perfect.  By definition, a natural language has probably evolved over many hundreds of years and will usually be a reflection of the culture that created it.  All languages have features that, when compared with others, might be considered to be better or worse - e.g. more or less easily learnt, more or less logical, grammatically simple, ambiguous etc.  In developing Algilez, I have looked at many features of existing natural languages and used what I consider to be the best of those e.g.:

  • Adjectives following nouns    from French

  • Generally no stress in pronunciation    from French

  • Compound words derived from the component roots    from German

  • Consonant/vowel/consonant combinations    from Arabic & Semitic languages

  • Short, single syllable root words    from Chinese

  • Elimination of definite and indefinite articles    from Japanese and Russian

  • 'Ke' sound for questions    from Spanish 'que' and 'ka' from Japanese

  • Reduced number of vowels    from Spanish and Japanese

  • Use of regular affixes for grammatical changes    from Esperanto

  • Recommended word order    from English

  • Flexible word order possibilities    from English

Hence the development of Algilez has taken into consideration features from a number of other major world languages, as well as English, which should help to show the truly international origins of Algilez.

3     Why Algilez is easier than English

This link will take you to a PDF file that provides a comparison between 28 different features of Algilez and English, covering the phonemes (sounds), spelling and grammar.  The comparisons are done for 23 different languages or language groups and show where the simplified forms in Algilez will reduce the learning time required compared to English.

4     The flexibility of Algilez

There is a considerable amount of flexibility built into Algilez.  Not all of the following alternatives are recommended but they show what is possible.

4.1    Word Order

Examples of alternative word orders are already given in Algilez Grammar, Section 21, Alternative Word Orders e.g.

            From    two old men     one fat fish      was given    to    three black cats

            o       du peil ajema,     an piskis fata       adgevoz        u        ti filis blaka

 

            to     three black cats       one fat fish        by two old men               was given   

            u       ti filis blaka,           an piskis fata        ad du peil ajema           adgevoz      

 

Since Algilez does not have grammatical inflexions, a totally free word order is not possible (i.e. one in which the same words can be ordered in a sentence in any way).  However Algilez can accommodate any word order provided that the correct prepositions and conjunctions are used.

4.2    Omission of Tense Marking

Tenses are formed with the root word and the suffixes 'oz', 'ez' & 'uz' (past, present and future) with 'iz' for continuous & infinitive and 'az' for conditional.  It is possible to use Algilez with an infinitive verb marker only and apply tense markers only when required e.g.

  • Yesterday I go to shops

ozde me giz u xopi

  • Today I go to school

ezde me giz u skul

  • Tomorrow I go to friend's house

uzde me giz u xo frena

4.3     Omission of Verb Marking

Verbs are automatically identified by their tense marker.  It is possible to construct sentences using the noun (substantive) form of the word instead of the verbal form e.g.

  • Yesterday I go to shops

ozde me go u xopi

  • Today I read a book

ezde me rid buk

  • Tomorrow I drive to London

uzde me kãr u London

4.4     Elimination of Agglutanives

The addition of prefixes and suffixes to words can be eliminated by the use of them as prepositions instead.  The meaning for these sentences is identical.  However in Algilez the same root is generally used both in the prefix/suffix and the preposition.  The choice of which to use then becomes a matter of which sounds best in the sentence.

  • Mary is beautifuler than Ann

Meri bez belmua kom Ann

  • Mary is more beautiful than Ann

Meri bez mu bela kom Ann   

5     Discussion of Algilez design

Some years ago I had an exchange of notes with another designer of artificial languages and I enclose an updated copy of some of the points that we discussed in relation to his ideas for language design.  Although I have not included the original questions or comments made, the answers are fairly self-explanatory and may help further explain the reasoning behind how Algilez has developed.

 

1.            Analytic grammar - strict word order - SVO syntax

1.1.   Algilez obviously has inflections, which makes it synthetic. It also has a fairly strict word order and a number of features that are analytic! In my view it is unnecessary to get hung up over these definitions and look at what works best. English is also a peculiar mixture of different forms and still works well.  I think that a combination of these forms (as in Algilez) will work and that to try and define the ideal form and then mould the language around it is unnecessarily restrictive.

1.2.   I strongly agree that SVO is the best word order. I find it the most logical and since it is fortunately used in English and Chinese, I am happy to stay with it.

1.3.   Similarly, I think that a rigid word order is also best, but with rules for providing alternative forms.

E.g. John gave the ball to Tom = Jon gevoz bøl u Tom

The ball was given to Tom by John = Bøl adgevoz u Tom ad Jon

The second example expresses the exact same meaning as in English. It requires an extra affix and extra word compared with the first example but still works well, with clarity of meaning.

 

2.            No case inflections, i.e. no genitive or plural noun inflections

2.1.   I have used a case ending for adjectives and adverbs but I remain open to persuasion that they are unnecessary!  E.g. Blueness, blue ball = blu, bøl blua

2.2.   I have used a possessive prefix 'av' / suffix 'va' which is equivalent to the English - 's

E.g. Tom's book = buk avTom = buk av Tom = buk Tomva

I have no strong feelings as to whether this should remain a separate word or be a prefix to the noun (the suffix version will definitely remain a suffix). It needs a little more thought and discussion.

2.3.   I also use an optional ending for plural

E.g. Dog, dogs, two dogs = kanis, kanisi, du kanis (i.e. the plural suffix is not required if the noun is already marked as plural by having a number or other qualifying word associated with it).

I am satisfied that this works and prefer to keep it.

 

3.            No verb declension or inflection, including imperative/infinitive

3.1.   Verbs are indicated by a tense suffix. This includes an infinitive (which, if tenses are to be included, seems to be a necessary part of the package - I remain open to argument that this is not so, but in most of the translations I have done so far e.g. where the infinitive is used in English, an infinitive still appears necessary in Algilez).

3.2.   A suggestion to avoid the using any imperative (order/instruction) form.

A direct form of the future tense is used as the imperative, e.g. Heguz! Heguz yu! = Come here! You come here!

The imperative is used widely in most languages and any IAL must provide a form that expresses it.  Algilez is intended to aid with international communication, not to try to modify social behaviour through restricted use of language!

 

4.            All tenses/moods/voices shown by auxiliaries

4.1.   In Algilez, tenses are shown by affixes

4.2.   Moods & voices can be shown by auxiliaries but these can be assimilated to become compound verbs.

 

5.            No word class inflections

5.1.   Algilez uses a root word system, where the root is generally (but not always) the 'abstract noun' form.  Inflections are added as appropriate (e.g. tense ending for verbs, adjective/adverb ending etc).

 

6.            Adjectives and adverbs follow nouns and verbs

6.1.   In Algilez, both adjectives and adverbs are denoted by 'a' suffix and follow the word they are qualifying, i.e. headwords generally precede their qualifiers.  There is no logic in having some qualifiers preceding and some following.  I cannot see any great learning problems here.

 

7.            Form of negation and omission of copula

7.1.   Algilez has 'no' (pronounced as in not) which can be used as the word 'no' in English or as a verb prefix.

7.2.   I have no objection in principle to copula omission but it would only work in very simple Algilez expressions e.g. John is hot.  The book is red = Jon hitoma, buk reda

 

8.            Use of anaphora rather than correlatives for recursion

8.1.   I don't understand this one.  Algilez uses correlatives.

 

9.            No rules re prosody

9.1.   Generally agreed although in some compound words it may be necessary to stress the main root word if it has prefixes and suffixes.

 

10.        Single head-word for interrogative

10.1.     Agreed.  In Algilez, I have used 'K' (pronounced 'ke' as in kettle) which is intended to reflect the word 'que' used in many Latin languages and 'ka' in Japanese.

 

11.        53 Phonemes, Use of Upper & Lower case letters

11.1.     53 is far too many.  Algilez has 27, each expressed by a single alphabet letter.  Upper case letters are the same as lower case, just a little larger and bolder.  The majority of alphabet letters are the same as the normal Latin alphabet, with others taken from the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).

11.2.      However, I agree that scope for additional phonemes may be useful, but not necessarily as part of the IAL.  The Algilez alphabet has scope for being extended to express all of the phonemes in the IPA.  This would enable a simple logical font to be used and for the majority of phonemes in existing natural languages to be covered.  This could be useful for translations and teaching purposes.

11.3.    The Latin alphabet has far too many inconsistencies to be a logical choice for an international language.  This is because different languages use different phonemes (sounds) for the same letters.  The only practical way out of this is to use Latin characters for those phonemes that are generally accepted internationally (i.e. the letters b, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, s, t, z) and to provide new symbols for the other characters.  The Algilez alphabet does this, using International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) characters where possible and creating a few new characters where necessary.

 

12.        Consonant Script, omission of vowels

12.1.    Any written script that requires an element of guesswork is a dead loss.  The purpose of an IAL is to be easily and quickly understood, not to save ink.  If you say it, then you must write it.

 

13.        Shorthand

13.1.      This is possible to a certain extent in Algilez, but only because use is made of single-letter root words, e.g. m=me (I/me); y=ye (yes); k=ke (question), o (from); u (to); e (at).  The consonants m, y & k are pronounced me (as in met), ye (as in yes) and ke (as in kettle), so the alphabet names for the letters are the same as the words used if the letters are on their own.

13.2.       I think that using short roots for the most commonly used words (as I have tried to provide in Algilez) is better than an artificial shorthand.

 

14.        Vocabulary Selection from multiple languages

14.1.     I have based Algilez on English as far as possible and made occasional used of roots from other languages. 

14.2.      The idea of using words that are taken from a variety of different languages is to make sure that no major nation feels that they have been ignored.  I suspect the concern is more of a political and psychological one than one of ease of learning.  If I had to choose what language would suit me best in a new IAL vocabulary, I would naturally choose English (since it is my own language).  My second choice would be French.  Why? Because it is the only other language that I am familiar with and I would rather make use of the little French vocabulary that I know than have to learn a new vocabulary from scratch.  In my view the political aspects of having a multinational vocabulary misses the point – I have no doubt that the majority of people who are prepared to learn a IAL which is not based on their own language, would prefer to use the vocabulary of the second language that they already know best – English.

14.3.     However, I have no objection in principle to making greater use of root words from other languages.  The problem is that Algilez has developed to a stage where almost any change has a domino effect upon other root words.5

6     Algilez design specification

Item

Method Used

Vocabulary

  • All words to be categorised by meaning

Categorisation system based on Roget's Thesaurus.

  • Words to be based on those with maximum international usage.

Vocabulary based on English words as a first choice.

  • Root words (those used to form compound words) to be as short as possible.

Multi syllable English words used as root words are reduced to main syllable.

  • Most frequently used words (Core Words) to be as short as possible.

Core Words are generally one, two or three letter Root Words.

  • A single meaning for each word.

Meanings based on Roget categories.

  • Words are pronounced as they are spelt.

A single sound for each alphabet letter.

Syntax

 

  • Sentence word order to be the same as the most commonly used languages.

Subject, Verb, Object (SVO) word order chosen as in English, Chinese etc.

  • Sentence word order to be 'logical' with regard to revelation of meaning as soon as possible.

Nouns & Verbs to precede modifiers (adjectives & adverbs).

  • Alternative word order options to be permitted.

Two main word order variations recommended for normal use but all word orders permitted subject to appropriate prepositions and conjunctions.

Grammar

 

  • Verbs to be identifiable by inflected tense endings

Verbs end in oz, ez, uz, iz.

  • Adjectives & adverbs to be identifiable by inflected endings.

Adjectives & adverbs end in a

Other

  • Questions to be identified at the beginning of the sentence
  • Maximum flexibility of word use.

 

Leading question word K, acting as leading question mark (?)

Affixes can be added to all root words so they can be used as nouns, verbs or modifiers.  6             

7  The Algilez rules

Dr Zamenhof summarised the grammar of Esperanto in 16 rules.  I have included here a similar summary in order that people can compare the two.

1)    Substantives (nouns) can consist of

  • Proper Nouns (names of people, places etc), Common Nouns (things), Abstract Nouns

  • Prepositions & conjunctions etc can be turned to nouns by adding suffix 'o'.

2)     Verbs.  Any word that can have an action associated with it can be used as a verb.

3)     A sentence (statement/utterance) may consist of

  • a single noun, adjective, verb, adverb or preposition/conjunction

  • any combination of one or more of the above

4)     Word Order

  • Subject, Adjective / Verb, Adverb / Object, Adjective / Preposition / Indirect Object, Adjective/

  • Adjectives follow the noun that they describe

  • Adverbs follow the verbs that they describe

  • Prepositions & conjunctions precede the words they describe

5)     Adjectives & Adverbs end in 'a'.

6)     Plurals are formed by adding suffix 'i'.  This is not required if the word has a preceding number

7)     Numbers

  • The cardinal numbers are za, an, du, tri, før, fav, sis, sev, ok, nin, ax, sen, kil, meg

  •                                         (0; 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 100; 1,000; 1,000,000)

  • Frequencies end in 'fe'.

  • Collectives (substantives) end in 'o'.

  • Ordinal numbers (position) end in 'a'.

  • Fractions end in 'at'.

  • Multiples end in 'om'.

  • Groupings end in 'ag'.

  • Single substantives end in 'bo'.

8)     Personal pronouns are me, mi, wi, yu, yi, il, el, ul, ol, ili, eli, uli, oli, su, sui.

         (I/me, we, we+you, you(s), you(p), he, she, he/she, it, they(m), they(f), they, they(inan.), self, themselves)

9)     Possessives are formed by prefix 'av' or suffix 'va'.

10)   Verbs

  • Past tense verbs end in 'oz'.

  • Present tense verbs end in 'ez'.

  • Future tense verbs end in 'uz'.

  • Infinitive verbs end in 'iz'.

  • Conditional tense verbs use 'az' (either as prefix or verbal suffix).

  • Passive verbs are prefixed by  'ad'.

  • Active verbs may be prefixed by 'da'.

11)   Pronunciation.

  • The alphabet consists of 21 consonants and 7 vowels (i.e. two new vowels added to the Roman alphabet).

  • The differences between the usual English pronunciation of Roman alphabet letters is 'c' as in cheese, 'x' as in shed, 'ã' as in far, 'ø' as in fort. 'q' is not used for Algilez words but retained for the 'th' sound (as in three) for proper names etc in other languages.

  • Every word is pronounced as it is spelt.

  • In compound words the accent should be on the root word syllable.

12)   Names of people, places, currencies etc remain the same as their original languages.

13)   Compound words are formed by joining two or more root words.

14)   Comparatives are formed by suffixes

  • More 'mu', most 'um'.

  • Less 'tu', least 'ut'.

  • Many/Multiple of 'om', fewer of 'ot'.

  • Large in size or intensity 'em', small in size or intensity 'et'. 7

8     Language Evolution

All languages change over time and Algilez will be no exception.

 

Natural growth in the vocabulary is absolutely necessary and inevitable.  However not all other changes may be desirable.  Changes to pronunciation or spelling will cause a degree of irregularity which will add to the burden of learning.  Changes to the grammar and to the meaning of words may cause ambiguity.  In English, having words with multiple meanings is often confusing and one of the things that makes learning English as a foreign language quite difficult.

 

New words

It will not be possible for Algilez to be launched with a vocabulary that includes a translation of every word, from every language of the world (including English).  This means that existing words will continue to be added to Algilez for many years, as well as new words (for new concepts, ideas, plants, animals, technology, specialist professions etc).  This is fine and may lead to opportunities for using the Algilez language in ways that people may not do in their native tongues.

 

Here is an example.  Someone who speaks English (such as me) is unlikely to create  a word that corresponds to the Swedish verb orka (roughly 'have the energy to ...') compared to someone who speaks a language such as Swedish or Finnish (jaksaa) where such words exist.  There is clearly no single English language word that is equivalent and hence we have to use the phrase 'have the energy to ...'.

I don't know exactly what the Algilez word might be (possibly 'vigøk' or 'vigid' from the words 'vig' (meaning 'vigour, energy, keenness') and either 'øk' (meaning 'effect, result, outcome') or, more likely, 'id' (meaning 'action resulting from').  Once created, the new compound word could be used as a noun, verb, adjective or adverb as required, simply by adding the normal affixes:-

'He had the energy to climb the mountain' - Il vigidoz klimiz montem

The creation of such new words would be an asset to the language and all of its users.

 

Changes to word spelling or pronunciation

If you consider the words for 'Yes' in major European languages - Ja, Oui, Si etc. these have not changed for hundreds of years.  Yet in English we have evolved the word 'Yeah'.  Why?  Probably because 'Yeah' requires a fraction less effort to say than forming the additional sound '...ess' at the end of the word.  The saving of time and effort is minimal, yet still it has happened.  This will be true of many other words that can be easily changed or shortened.

 

I have therefore tried to anticipate the natural changes that are likely to occur and to reduce the need for them by making the pronunciation and spelling as simple and regular as possible.  The Algilez word for yes is 'Ye'.  If anyone really wants to shorten that (and succeeds) then good luck to them!

 

Where users of the language find that a word can be changed to become shorter, more easily spoken or less likely to be misunderstood, without causing any other problems then that is absolutely fine and I welcome suggestions for change.  [See Algilez new words]

 

Changes to grammar

One of the key tests in Algilez is for ambiguity - could the sentence be misunderstood or misinterpreted?  For example in British English we would say 'She wrote to him'.  In American English it might be 'She wrote him'.  Here there is the possibility of interpreting the sentence as meaning either 'She wrote to him' or 'She wrote "Him".' But both British and American English would use 'She wrote him a letter'.  In Algilez the three examples would be 'El ritoz u il', 'El ritoz "il", and 'El ritoz let u il'.

 

In another example 'She said that they are here'  and 'She said they are here' (El coz ca uli bez he, El coz uli bez he).  In the second case, which is very common in English, there no ambiguity even though a word is 'missing'.  Since one of the purposes of Algilez is to be as compact as possible and avoid unnecessary words, then it would appear that the removal of 'that' (ca/xa) should not cause any problems.  In most cases like this, I believe that the users of the language should see what works for them and then for the rules to be adjusted accordingly (in order that new learners don't learn out-of-date grammar).

 

Changes to the meaning of words and dual meanings

I have no particular issue with the meanings of words being changed.  However it does need to be done in an agreed, orderly way, in order that the changes are widely communicated and become known to (and agreed by) all users of the language.  Quite how that can be achieved, I await with interest to find out!

 

The use of dual meaning for words however is something that I am strongly opposed to.  It causes ambiguity and adds considerably to the difficulty of learning.  In Algilez, I hope that the way in which the vocabulary is formed will avoid this sort of problem.

 

How long can we go on changing things?

There has to come a time when we can say that the development phase of Algilez is complete and give it a pat on the back and sent to fend for itself in the wide world.    However, as mentioned above, the creation of new Algilez words by speakers of different natural languages will continue for many years.  This might result in some confusion (such as one user creating 'vigøk' and another creating 'vigid', (both meaning 'having the energy to ...').  Whether some sort of central repository of vocabulary and grammar would be worthwhile or even necessary, in order to avoid an anarchy of irregular changes, is something for the future.

9     Contact information

If you'd like further information about Algilez and its development, please contact me at admin@algilez.com

10     Why the name Algilez?

Algilez was formerly know as Gilo.  Although Gilo was a short and simple name, unfortunately many other people thought the same and a search for 'Gilo' on the internet produced too many links to different sources.  Algilez (when it was chosen) was unique.

Algilez (as well as being a play on my own name) also, at one time, meant 'All begin listening'.  Unfortunately, as the language has developed, the word for 'begin' has changed from 'gi' to 'gã'.  So, at the moment, Algilez is just a name and doesn't mean anything.

 


Algilez Information : last revised: 22 October 2016


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