MediaGlyphs is the name of a new writing system for communication between different spoken languages. Every linguistic group can keep its own mother tongue and yet write and read texts in a common writing system, understandable and usable by everyone.
Being based on very clear icons (called "glyphs") it is very easy to learn/use and often a piece of text written in MG can be understood without ever having encountered this system before. You can try this out with the sample sentences provided.
Is a world language needed?
The world shrinks day by day, with more and more people from different parts of it getting to know each other, meeting either in person or via telecommunications. Still, one of the biggest barriers for cross-cultural communication remains the diversity of human languages. Misunderstanding and lack of communication have always helped the creation of differences, the maintaining of ignorance, the birth of prejudice and the fuelling of frictions.
When two nations, two parties, two groups or two persons are able to talk and understand each other, the chance of dispute and war between them diminishes.
A world language is then a goal all humanity should embrace, a necessary step - we believe - for a united world.
Why not be happy with English (or any other existing language) as a world language? Why invent a new one?
Many could argue that we already have an auxiliary world language, and that one is English.
Of course we acknowledge that English is now used as a world language (hence this page was first written in English), but we believe it is not the perfect solution.
There are many reasons for this position:
Any existing language will always be an "imposed" language for all the nations that didn't grow up with it as a mother language. It will always be felt as foreign - necessary and useful, but not perceived as belonging to them.
A novel language could be accepted in its neutrality and a sense of bonding and belonging could ensue.
If the new language is not owned by or does not originate from any nation, then it is truly a language of humanity, not the historical consequence of a military or economical success.
Any existing language adopted as a world language incurs the risk of substituting the existing languages of the world cultures. Even if we strive for a united world we would not subscribe to a single dominant culture erasing the others. As we well know, language and culture are intrinsically bound.
Learning a language means absorbing a culture.
We believe in a language shaped by a human culture, not from a single nation's culture.
Maintaining the diversity of each culture and language is of highest priority, hence the desire for an auxiliary language that preserves the local ones.
MediaGlyphs (from here on "MG") aims to extend what has been the history of the Chinese language to the entire world: in China there are many different languages but they share a single writing system. The Shanghainese language could be perceived as local and belonging to the Shanghai people. But all parts of China perceive the Chinese ideograms as belonging to them. Putonghua (Mandarin Chinese, the spoken language from the capital Beijing) could be perceived as imposed, but the written form is not; in the different regions of China it is felt as being "Chinese".
MG could be the common written form for the whole world, while keeping the different spoken languages alive.
English is a very difficult language to pronounce for many people around the world, having many phonemes and very lax phonological constraints. As an example, all its consonant clusters pose a not inconsiderable problem for most Asian peoples whose languages' phonology has a simple CV (consonant-vowel) syllabic structure.
The English spelling is - to say the least - problematic, failing to achieve a good correspondence between the spoken and written forms, adding to the difficulty of learning the language.
All natural languages are full of ambiguities and exceptions, complicating enormously the task of machine parsing and automatic translation.
(More information is available about computer parsing).
Why create a world language based on computer technologies? Isn't this limiting to all those who do not have or do not want to use a computer?
This is true, but it is easy to predict that the computer will increasingly become a nearly universal tool. Looking at the past, we can see how in the beginning radio, telephone, TV and mobile telephones were all very rare and a privilege of a few but then became widespread at an astonishing pace. In a few years almost everyone in the world will be either possessing a computer or having easy access to a computer point (the actual spread of internet cafes around the world can be taken as a significant example of such a trend).
What about spoken language? MG may be fine over the internet, but what if two people meet in person and want to communicate?
A possible solution is that the two people could use a computer (either a desktop terminal or a portable palmtop/laptop) and write messages to each other (each typing in his/her own language the sentences displayed with the shared MG). In a similar fashion, a Japanese now can write the kanji (Japanese ideograms, nearly always equal to the Chinese ones) for the cityname "Kyouto" (Kyoto) and a Chinese person is able to recognise the city name, although in Chinese it is called "Jingdu" (jīngdū): 京都.
Mon May 6 18:00:39 BST 2002
- | - Last modified:
Mon Dec 7 11:03:33 CET 2009