Questions and answers
- What is Mundeze?
- Where does the word “Mundeze” come from?
- One language for the world?
- Why not English?
- Mundeze is an artificial language, right?
- Why not Esperanto?
- Are there still other IAL?
- What are the benefits of Mundeze over the other IAL?
- Would a language too simple lose linguistic wealth?
- How could one teach Mundeze all around the world?
What is Mundeze?
Mundeze is an international auxiliary language project (IAL or auxlang or interlanguage), i.e. a language constructed with the aim to be used like lingua franca all over the world. There are thousands of dialects in the world, and this great richness unfortunately has some drawbacks: a brake on trade and knowledge sharing, high translation costs, misunderstandings, manipulations, etc. There are many different dialects in the world. An IAL would alleviate many of the problems of international communication, and it’s for this purpose that Mundeze was created, in order to make a language as easiest and instinctive as possible. Its main characteristic is to allow speakers knowing as many words as possible without ever having learned them, and to be able to guess the meaning of those they have never heard, based on the consistency of word formation and an etymology often onomatopoeic.
Where does the word “Mundeze” come from?
Mundeze is a word made up of roots mund– (world) and eze (language, dialect). This term can be translated as “world language”. This name has been temporarily assigned to the language waiting to find one collectively 😉
One language for the world?
Mundeze does not pretend to replace other languages, quite the contrary. A neutral auxlang would also make it possible to level the other languages by eliminating domination of one language over another.
The idea is to encourage the teaching of Mundeze as a second language throughout the world, so that it serves as an easy communication tool between people who cannot communicate efficiently with natural languages.
Why not English?
It is true that English already serves as effective international auxiliary language in almost every country, mainly as a business language. However, despite its qualities, English is far from being an easy language, both from the point of view of pronunciation, spelling, phrases, idioms and the many exceptions. Moreover, it is a culturally very marked language, i.e. it lacks neutrality.
Mundeze is an artificial language, right?
Yes, like every other language in the world. All languages were created by men, but they evolved in a natural way, regardless of the exceptions and other difficulties added to them.
On the other hand, auxiliary languages built like Mundeze are created scientifically, not only for the purpose of communicating, but also to be easy and coherent for everyone.
Why not Esperanto?
Esperanto is the most successful auxiliary language, and today has hundreds of thousands of speakers worldwide. It has great characteristics, but still has aspects that discourage many learners (accusative, diacritical, gender treatment, agreements and other unnecessary or inconsistent difficulties), which is why there are so many reform proposals.
Are there still other IAL?
In addition to Esperanto, there are many other auxlangs, such as Volapük, Ido, Nov-esperanto, Occidental, Interlingua, Novial, Glosa, Kotava, Angos, Ayola, Uropi, Sambahsa, Kah, Tceqli,Lingwa de Planeta, Atlas language… A lot of others projects are on creation or archived, like Ardano, Womese, Arlipo, Atlango, Intero, Sarata, Eselano. Others are presented via the magazine Posta Mundi, the brochure Daughters of Esperanto, or the blog Nuntios.
But the auxlangs that stand out most from the others, by their simplicity, are for us: Pandunia, Fasile21, Lingua Franca Nova, Esperanto sen fleksio and Mondlango.
What are the benefits of Mundeze over the other IAL?
Mundeze is above all a systematic language, in which each characteristic, each rule, each morpheme is generalized to all aspects of the language. Anything that could be a difficulty for foreign speakers has been eliminated or made optional (case, gender and number agreement, conjugation, articles, plural, etc.).
The grammar is extremely concise and quickly assimilable, and everything is designed to make it a language that is simple, logical, consistent and instinctive.
Would a language too simple lose linguistic wealth?
No doubt, but as an auxiliary language, Mundeze has no other ambition than to serve as a tool for understanding each other effectively.
How could one teach Mundeze all around the world?
There is no chance for an auxlang such as Mundeze to be taught in schools in the current context. Even Esperanto, which has a relatively rich literature and many speakers, has almost no chance of ever serving its purpose. The adoption of an auxlang depends on political will, but just as a long-term vision would have made us adopt renewable energy instead of hydrocarbons, the leaders of our society will have no interest in launching programs to establish a new auxiliary language for the future.
The success of Mundeze, or any other constructed language, therefore depends both on its popularization in the world to give it a legitimate character, and on a change of socio-economic system.
A revolution would bring all international auxiliary language projects to the same level, and the choice could then be made on an efficiency criterion that Mundeze has a good chance of winning.
I think Fasile21 is dead.
It should have been open-source.
“What are the benefits of Mundeze over the other IAL?”
does not really answer the question.
What are the advantages over:
Pandunia, Lingua Franca Nova, Esperanto sen fleksio, Mondlango,
(and now Lidepla, Globasa…) ?
All of those also claim that:
The grammar is extremely concise and quickly assimilable, and everything is designed to make it a language that is simple, logical, consistent and instinctive.
That is a very good question, but it’s impossible to give “absolute” arguments as long as preferences are “relative”.
All the languages you mentioned are great, but their strengths are not seen as such by everyone.
For example, I find the system of grammatical endings to be extremely effective, but Globasa prefers to be as isolating as possible, and that’s a definite advantage, but… not for me.
In my opinion, this is done at the price of many sacrifices, but this is only my opinion and I don’t pretend that mine is the best.
According to MY OWN criteria, Mundeze is obviously much better on all the stated points: coherence, systematization, instinctiveness, objective ease…
I find that Mundeze manages to express a lot of things without resorting to new tricks, just by making good use of existing mechanisms, and I find that it does so much better than the other auxlangs.
My preferred auxlang is Pandunia. I think it’s great, so I’ll limit the comparison to this one so I don’t write a book hahaha.
– In Pandunia, pronouns all use the same vowel, which can cause confusion in a noisy environment.
– The endings are not systematic, which can be confusing… If I know the adjective “suyi” (watery) (hard to pronounce), I would infer that “water” would be “suye”, whereas it’s better to say “suy”. How could I know? And if I can say “suy”, what rule would prevent me from saying “kek” instead of “keke”, when so many other nouns end with another letter, especially since there are such suffixes as -er or -ia. I think they are excellent suffixes, which sound very natural, but I personally give priority to systematism rather than naturalism.
– Moreover, I think it’s a pity that suffixes only make sense when they are attached to a radical.
– Speaking of suffixes, I regret that there are two reversive affixes, depending on whether it’s a verb or an adjective…
– There is no way to differentiate whether a derived adjective is static or dynamic (fobi hewane = scary animal & scared animal). You must use other formulations (with the particles “da” and “du”: “foba du hewane” & “fobu du hewane”)
– The -a and -u endings are ingenious, but very confusing.
– Besides, the ending -u expresses both the passive and the stative. Example: me fuku = I am dressed / I’m getting dressed
– The reflexive pronoun is interesting, but it doesn’t hold up in complex sentences. Once I asked Risto for more details, and he told me that the reflexive particle “ze” always relates to the subject. However… if I say “Me pliza mame waxa ze” = “I ask mummy to wash me”? No… it relates to mummy, the object of “pliza”.
– Many words are borrowed from tonal languages while maintaining Latin spelling, making them incomprehensible to a speaker of the source language.
I find that drawing vocabulary from many languages has the merit of making the language more neutral, but less recognizable internationally. I also find that Pandunia creates too many new roots when it’s possible to create many new roots from the existing ones.
Ok, Mundeze also has flaws. Derivatives aren’t always reversible like in Ido, but it’s a choice I made to gain instinctivity. For example, blood is “sange”, but bleeding is “sangi” instead of “sangsenisi” (losing blood).
I think it’s more instinctive.
Everything is a matter of choice, and these choices are made according to subjective criteri and, according to my criteria, Mundeze deserves to have its place among the others, because for me it’s much better.
I repeat, I love Pandunia. I would have much more to say about other auxlangs, even though I love them in some aspects as well.
I miss a section about the birth of Mundeze.
Why, by whom?
Esperanto’s birth is famous.
Lidepla was made by a group of linguistsin Russia, having studied all other previous IAL and finding problems x y z in them.
Globasa by a linguist and language teacher having spent years on the development of the language.
What about Mundeze?
(Mandatory reference: https://xkcd.com/927/ )
yeah I knew this comic, it’s so true hahahaha. But imo, the multiplicity of projects is not a weakness, but a strength. Many people think that there is a fixed number of people who are interested in auxlangs, as if everyone would turn to Esperanto if there was only Esperanto. That’s not true. Some people are interested in auxlangs precisely because there are different projects.
I speak 7 languages, and initially I became interested in vehicular languages when I realized that language conflicts don’t exist in Congo (where I grew up) whereas they are very present in Belgium (where I currently live). Yet there are 100 times as many languages in Congo, but the difference is that there is a “neutral” official administrative language (French). I thought about what language could be used as a lingua franca in Belgium, and that’s where I became interested in Esperanto.
I (Djuna de Lannoy) made Mundeze in 2012 after learning Esperanto, and after becoming interested in other auxlangs (Ido, Novial, Uropi, Mondlango…) but there were still too many aspects I didn’t like. If I had known Pandunia or Elefen at that time, I probably wouldn’t have created Mundeze… but now I don’t regret it.
Very nice story about Congo and Belgium! You should definitely use it more on this site!
People might discover and get interested in auxlang because of how varied they are, that’s true.
But I can’t help thinking that for a language to be used, people have to first learn it, and learning a language is hard (well, not for you apparently, 7!).
So hard that, I would want to learn one language to communicate with everyone. And I think having many similar auxlangs makes it much harder to pick one, so people pick the one with actual speakers, Esperanto. It’s “good enough”. I did.
Also, if there were 4 neutral languages in Congo, would French work as a vehicular language, do you think, or would there be languages conflicts?
When you talk about neutral language, are you talking about non-native language? If so, I don’t think it’s possible.
Different regions could have different lingua franca, but the same region cannot have several lingua franca. One of them would very quickly end up imposing itself on the others. However, if you were to hypothesize that different regions of the same country have different neutral languages, I think that could indeed generate conflicts, but I think they would be less passionate as long as they are not mother tongues, since it doesn’t directly affect your community. A few rare countries are experiencing this situation, such as Cameroon, which, in addition to the local languages, has French and English as administrative languages.
Regarding the motivation to learn a language, you must have realized (in the last question of the FAQ) that I have a strong opinion on the subject, which differs greatly from that of most auxlang creators.
I don’t think it’s enough for a lot of people to learn an auxlang for it to become the new IAL. Its learning must be included in the school curriculum, as is the case with English currently, so it must come from political will.
Interesting! I would be interested to hear your thoughts on Elefen, since you said that if you had known Pandunia or Elefen at that time, you probably wouldn’t have created Mundeze. So would you be interested in typing out some thoughts?
Also, Mundeze looks great, and I really like the system you have for verbs
It’s difficult to give an objective opinion on Elefen because I’m too used to Romance languages and their mechanisms.
In any case, I don’t think Elefen is as successful as it deserves to be and I don’t understand why other Romance auxlangs like Occidental or Interlingua are more successful when they take so many exceptions from natural languages, especially when you know that Elefen has managed to integrate natural mechanisms by giving them an almost systematic character (yes, I love systematism).
I think that giving a Creole grammar to a Romance language was a stroke of genius.
Elefen has made some choices that I’ve not made, but which have advantages. For example, I chose not to include articles because most speakers of non-European languages really struggle to understand how it works, but thanks to them, Elefen can dispense with grammatical endings to distinguish verbs and nouns (me gusta dansa ≠ me gusta la dansa), whereas Chinese doesn’t allow us to know whether we like to dance or just like to watch dancing (我喜欢舞蹈). Not having a grammatical ending is an advantage for Asians. It’s a matter of choice, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.
I can praise Elefen for a long time, but I suppose the main reason you asked was to find out what I regret about it.
Some critics of Elefen complain that it’s difficult to remember the last vowel of words (precisely because of the lack of a grammatical ending), but I disagree: the final vowel is just part of the root, so it must be retained in the same way as the last consonant is easily retained. However, this is not quite true.
The final vowel is instable, particularly when a suffix is added. Yet sometimes suffixes are just added to the word, without changing it (dona > donada; dansa > dansante; telefon > telefoni; capel > capelosa…), but in most cases, the suffix is just superimposed on the last vowel, which casts doubt on its importance in the root (carne > carnor; avia > avion; jaca > jaceta
The instability of the last vowel would not bother me so much if it were not so important. Yet it gives a completely different meaning to pasi (pacify), pasa (pass), paso (step)
Then why would paseta mean “tiny step” and not “little peace”? When I read amosa, I could understand it as “full of friendliness / friendly” but this meaning is translated by amin (which cannot mean “love-like”, but “friend-like”). Of course, I’m quibbling. I understand very instinctively what these words mean, but I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of someone who is not at all familiar with Romance languages.
I really like the conjugation system, but it could be a bit more precise. For example, it’s possible to express anteriority in the past and future with ja, but it’s necessary to use slightly more complex turns of phrase to express posteriority.
I had eaten = me ia come ja
I will have eaten = me va come ja
I was going to eat = me ia intende come / me ia es a punto de come / me ia vade a come
I will be about to eat = me va es a punto de come / me va vade a come / me va intende come
Again, I’m quibbling, but it’s just hard to find fault with Elefen xD
I’m not a fan of rules that make one letter disappear in front of another (des- becomes de- in front of s, z, x, j; two identical letters merge in a word compound: contrataca = contra + ataca; supranalise = supra + analise; nonativa = non + nativa (non-native), or non + ativa (inactive)… but there are few rules to remember, so it’s fine.
I also regret that some adjectives or adverbs are preferably placed before the word they modify, as opposed to the others. If this is instinctive for me, it is less so for non-Indo-Europeans.
I don’t like the translation of the verb “there is” into on ave (one has). I would have preferred es or ala es like in English. Moreover, in Italian we say “c’è” (it is) and in French it’s also possible to say “il est” (it is), even if it’s more sustained and much less common. I know that the Western Romance languages have a verb “there is” derived from “to have”, but they have been lexicalised as a locution in their own, not decomposable. Ultimately, even if we had to use the verb ave, it would have been more accurate to translate it as “ala ave” rather than “on ave”, since the Y in “hay” (Spanish) or “il y a” (French) means “there”.
Finally, I don’t like the distinction between animate (el, ci) and inanimate (lo, cual) because I don’t find it instinctive. Some animals are “el”, some others are “lo”, some objects are “el”, others “lo”… depending on the degree of anthropomorphization: Nemo… EL es un pex CI parti a aventura / La salmon… LO es un pex CUAL nada contra la corente
Anyway, I think you’ve realised that these remarks are not really criticisms, and that I really have to split hairs to find something to complain about. These are choices that have been made and are entirely justifiable, and the language works very well that way. I’m sure you could find as much to say about mundeze, it’s all relative. In conclusion, Elefen is undeniably one of the best auxiliary languages around, and I would be happy if it were adopted as an IAL.
Hey, sorry for my late response, and thank you for the response!
Very interesting to read! There were some things I hadn’t thought of yet, for example the “paseta” issue.
I’ve also seen Simon Davies say, in a conversation with Chabi, that he thinks Elefen might be too simple to function as an IAL. It might be easier to get into than something like Esperanto, but he thinks that “most people are not sufficiently capable of constricting themselves to the logic.” He says that, even though, on the surface, Esperanto might be more difficult than Elefen, people master Esperanto faster due to the fact that the understanding of the sentence doesn’t depend almost entirely on the word order (I’m paraphrasing here). (https://elefen.org/vici/usor/chabi/filosofia)
Maybe, with your word endings being consistent and your IMO clearer grammar, you’ve struck a nice space between?
I think something like Mini (https://minilanguage.com/), with its Toki Pona-inspired system to indicate verbs, noun complements, and adjective complements, does something interesting too in order to be more clear, while still keeping the natural feeling of Elefen. You could, I think, quite easily (with some small changes) make a “Mini Elefen”, by switching out the Mini words with Elefen ones, and using the grammar system of Mini.
Anyway, thanks for the response. It’s very interesting to see someone who’s made their own IAL talk about other IAL’s!