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The Artificial Language Movement Paperback – November, 1987

ISBN-13: 978-0631154877 ISBN-10: 0631154876 Edition: New edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Blackwell Pub; New edition edition (November 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631154876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631154877
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 2.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,270,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ashtar Command on May 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
Andrew Large has written an entire book about a rather obscure, yet highly entertaining subject: artificial languages. For centuries, enthusiasts have tried to create a new, universal language in the hope of facilitating international communication. The attempts have ranged from the serious to the frivolous, with most artificial languages being parked somewhere in-between. Most of the artificial languages have been quietly forgotten (who today remembers Novial, Neo, Basic English or Volapük?), but a few have managed to recruit followers, and one have become a world movement: Esperanto.

Some of the language projects mentioned by Large are so eccentric that they will strain your credulity to the breaking point. Shortly after the Napoleonic Wars, a certain Frenchman invented a language called Solresol. The language could be both written, spoken, sung, whistled, played on piano, or expressed with the help of seven signal flags in different colors! Unfortunately, it was extremely difficult to learn, since all words were based on the diatonic scale (Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti). Thus, doredo meant "time", doremi "day" and doresi "century". Incidentally, domisol meant "God" and solmido "the Devil". Naturally, such a crazy language became quite popular, at least in France, and had followers still during World War One, about a century after it was first invented!

Most of Large's book is devoted to Esperanto, created by the Polish Jew Ludwig Zamenhof in 1887. As already mentioned, Esperanto is the only artificial language with a degree of international success. (My maternal grandfather was an Esperantist, BTW). The most interesting chapter of the book deals with the political and religious connections of the early Esperantist movement.
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