OMO: Lesson 1 – A Universal Language

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Civilizations should be measured by the degree of diversity attained
& by the degree of unity retained
WH Auden


Back in August I both enjoyed & decried the creation of A New Divan, in which poets of different races, lands & languages created poetry which was then translated into English. Quite a lot of effort really, & I ended my review with the following statement;

Perhaps the powers & attentions of such a Samgam of international poets would be better suited to creating & perfecting the Universal language of humanity instead. Of course, every one of Babel’s tongues will be cherished & possibly curated forever, but projects such as the New Divan are very much like the UN where an excess of time & money are spent upon translations & their translators.

If you want a job doin’ right, ya gotta do it yerself, innit. So, since August, I’ve been working on the creation of a Universal Language. I have also been transcreating A New Divan into The New Divan, & at some point in the future the two streams are going to cross, that is to stay I will be translating The New Divan into my Universal Language. It makes sense, for A New Divan is a truly international collection, whose widely-wrought vocabulary will give a complex flavour to my lexicon. This will also add a certain literary meritability to the language, which in the main shall be focussed on its simplicity. Nobody wants to speak an uninteresting robotic language, so the vocabulary of The New Divan will infuse my new tongue with the poetical speech of the planet, creating a language both easy to learn & interesting to speak.

A great deal of time has passed in the Human experience since the Judeo-Christian deity purportedly splintered the ancient common language into hundreds & thousands of variants at the Tower of Babel. This so-called curse, this ‘confusion of tongues,’ would lead to Mithridates VI, King of Pontus, having to become skilled in the twenty-two tongues of his dominions. Two millennia later, the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, would quip, ‘I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, & German to my horse.’

This division of tongues has ultimately led to conflict & wars & misunderstandings & a right mess, really. A principle step on the road to acheiving global harmony is to create & disseminate throughout the world a single lingua franca fit for all. Introducing such a sociolinguistic change into international culture is the next step in our evolution, when the hindrances & obstructions created by the ‘confusion of tongues’ are removed, the Human mind will with more freedom soar.

There is definitely room, almost desire, for an auxiliary universal language which, while respecting the intrinsic diversity of Humanity, will serve as the common glue between us all. An auxilliary language will sit alongside our mother tongues, not conquer them. Fluency in our native speech must be always encouraged, to promote deeper discourse, & to discover those sweeter shades of meaning which comport existence with its peculiar breadth of beauty. An evolution in communication will ensure an evolution in Humanity, & just as the World Wide Web has enhanced all our lives & enriched our wisdom, so the World Wide Word will also.

The advantages of lingual standardization are clear. In 2020, the fragmentation of human speech is phenomenal, the linguistic heterogeneity of Human populations fascinating. There are almost 7000 living languages spoken in a world of 271 nations, which equates to 25 languages per country. Nigeria, a nation of 141 million people, speaks 527 languages alone. Thro’ the globalizing internet, each of Nigeria’s 141 million are open to communicating with speakers of the other 6500 languages across the planet. The numbers heady, & the solution simple – a universal language most be designed to please everyone. The English language is taking on the mantle at this current time, but its script is alien to billions, & its ever-increasing complexities preclude its easy mastery from the incredulous masses.

With only twenty percent of the world’s population speaking English – 350 millions worth – is it correct to teach the intransient morass of word variants, idiomatic expression & endless unstandardized dialects to a Peruvian rustic mountain child, or an office worker in an off-track Chinese country town, & we have reached a natural impasse. There are 400 million native Spanish speakers on the planet, & 870 million, natural Mandarin speakers, so why should they be expected to English? This conundrum, this fractive state of international communication, I hope to solve. My attempt is not the first, many have been made before, but none have ever reached the shores of wide acceptance, shackledby various reasons all of which can be linked to an inherent lack of universality – somebody somkewhere is being excluded. Esperanto, for example, is written only in Roman script.

Humans are primevally renown’d for inventing tools, & to find an antidote for a multiplicitous Earth constantly abuzz with the chitter-chatter babbling of confused tongues, a universal language is a correct & fair solution. With its creation, I hope to facilitate mutual commerce; I hope to assist the international interchange of ideas & culture & goods; I hope to assist foreign travel in an increasingly reachable world; I hope to aid the spreading of knowledge which would inevitably lead to the disintegration of ignorance, when the unmasking & elimination of many wild errors can only lead to an indissolvably beautiful world;  & the name of our universal language…. OMO.

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