Mary is more beautiful than Ann
Meri bez mu bela kom Ann
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.
Analytic grammar - strict word order - SVO syntax
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.
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.
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
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.
No case inflections, i.e. no genitive or plural noun
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 =
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.
No verb declension or inflection, including
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).
A suggestion to avoid the using any imperative
A direct form of the future tense is used as the imperative, e.g.
Heguz! Heguz yu! = Come here! You come
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!
All tenses/moods/voices shown by auxiliaries
In Algilez, tenses are shown by affixes
Moods & voices can be shown by auxiliaries but these can be
assimilated to become compound verbs.
No word class inflections
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).
Adjectives and adverbs follow nouns and verbs
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.
Form of negation and omission of copula
Algilez has 'no' (pronounced as in
not) which can be used as the word 'no' in English or as
a verb prefix.
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
Use of anaphora rather than correlatives for recursion
I don't understand this one.
Algilez uses correlatives.
No rules re prosody
Generally agreed although in some compound words it may be
necessary to stress the main root word if it has prefixes and
Single head-word for interrogative
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.
53 Phonemes, Use of Upper & Lower case letters
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).
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.
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.
Consonant Script, omission of vowels
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.
is possible to a certain extent in Algilez, but only because use
is made of single-letter root words, e.g.
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
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
Vocabulary Selection from multiple languages
have based Algilez on English as far as possible and made occasional used of roots
from other languages.
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.
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
Algilez design specification
- All words to be
categorised by meaning
Categorisation system based on Roget's
- Words to be based on those
with maximum international usage.
Vocabulary based on English words as a
- 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
Meanings based on Roget categories.
Words are pronounced as they are spelt.
A single sound for each alphabet letter.
- 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
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.
- 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
- Questions to be identified
at the beginning of the sentence
- Maximum flexibility of
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
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
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
any combination of one or more of the
4) Word Order
Subject, Adjective / Verb, Adverb /
Object, Adjective / Preposition / Indirect Object, Adjective/
Adjectives follow the noun that they
Adverbs follow the verbs that they
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
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
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'.
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
Every word is pronounced as it is
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
14) Comparatives are formed by suffixes
More 'mu', most 'um'.
Less 'tu', least 'ut'.
Many/Multiple of 'om', fewer of
Large in size or intensity 'em', small
in size or intensity 'et'.
All languages change over time and Algilez will be no exception.
Natural growth in the vocabulary is absolutely necessary and
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
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,
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,
(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
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
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
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.
If you'd like further information about Algilez and its development,
please contact me at
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'
So, at the moment, Algilez is just a name and doesn't mean
Information : last
revised: 22 October 2016