Natural and Universal Languages: Introduction

About the problem of communication between speakers of different languages, introduction to the move towards a natural or universal language.

Toward a Universal Language

When the world was still young, according to the Bible, the Tower of Babel rose above the Plain of Shinar, and in it lived the descendants of Noah, all that were left of the world's people after the Flood. The people in the Tower spoke the same language until the Lord came to them, caused a confusion of tongues, and spread them over the earth. They could then no longer understand each other.

The world is no longer young, but its people, still plagued by a confusion of tongues, seem to have just as much difficulty understanding each other. Besides that, the world has grown smaller. A person can now circle the planet earth in 36 hours. Telstar and other communication satellites beam television programs simultaneously to earth's not-so-far corners. But how universal is reception of those programs when earth's people speak some 3,000 different languages?

Many linguists, anthropologists, and other experts feel that the answer to such lack of communication is some kind of international language. It might be an artificial language, a natural language, or a simplified version of a natural language. But the time is now.

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