Origin of words
Like Esperanto, Mundeze uses a regular and highly productive system whereby, by means of lexical composition and judicious use of affixes, the basic vocabulary essential for communication is drastically reduced. On the basis of a root, we can deduce the equivalent of ten words in a national language.
Here is how we create new words in Mundeze:
The first step is to ask whether an onomatopoeia could serve as a basis for its creation.
Why an onomatopoeia? Because they are much more universal and easy to remember than any other invented radical. On a global scale, therefore, there will be far more commonalities between onomatopoeia than between the other words.
Some words such as nyami (eat), atci (sneeze) or myawe (cat) come from unquestionably universal onomatopoeias, since they are recognisable almost all over the world, making them extremely easy to learn and understand without even having learned them.
Other onomatopoeias, on the other hand, are much less similar depending on the language of origin, but the same articulation mode is always used to transcribe these sounds. For example, bursting (pohe in Mundeze) always uses a plosive consonant (usually a bilabial like P) and the wind noise (fufe) is always transcribed by a fricative (ffiuu, wush…).
When no onomatopoeia exists or is not suitable for translating a word, we look for already existing morphemes whose assembly would allow us to express the desired meaning. A bed (gofile), for example, is composed of the onomatopoeic verb gofi for “sleeping” (ingressive ggoo + egressive fffi) with the suffixal root –ile, which means “tool, implement, ustensil for”.
Some words have been created a priori to facilitate lexical composition.
This is the case of obe (tree), pe (parent), eye (concrete thing), ire (appliance, machine, device)… or very common verbs as ci (hold), wi (see)… and any other words derived from it.
The other words are drawn from the vocabulary of existing languages, giving priority to the words most easily recognisable internationally, or from the languages familiar to the thing/concept being named, or failing that, from Indo-European languages. Nevertheless, we avoid borrowings with too many syllables, or those with consonant clusters that are difficult to pronounce.
Why put Indo-European languages forward?
While some auxiliary languages choose, to their credit, to borrow their vocabulary fairly from different languages of the world for the sake of neutrality, Mundeze pursues the pragmatic objective of being as easily recognisable as possible throughout the world.
By way of comparison, the auxiliary languages with the most neutral vocabulary are the a priori languages, but a totally neutral vocabulary just makes it fairly difficult for everyone to learn. If we consider that a language whose vocabulary is based solely on English would disadvantage all those who do not speak English, this means that a language whose vocabulary doesn’t come from anywhere would disadvantage everyone.
If a language contains 10% words of Turkish origin, it means that Turks (who represent 1/100th of the world population) will be able to understand 10% of the vocabulary. Unfortunately, they won’t get very far with this….
Moreover, even if it’s true that the mother tongue with the most speakers is Mandarin, the syllables that constitute the words of Chinese languages are inseparable from the tones, and a Chinese person will have great difficulty recognising a word of Chinese origin in the middle of a sentence.
On the other hand, since Indo-European languages are spoken by half the world, the possibility for any individual to recognise a root from this family is already much greater.
We therefore believe that an international language should borrow its vocabulary from everywhere, but not randomly. We should choose the sources in order to create words as recognisable as possible to as many people as possible. Indeed, according to this logic, most of the vocabulary will be Indo-European, and mainly of Greek-Latin origin.