I got curious recently and started researching what would make for an Efficient Language.
Here’s what I found!
Creating an efficient language would require balancing many factors.
Here are some key points:
- Simplicity: The grammar rules should be simple, regular, and consistent, making the language easy to learn and understand. There should be no exceptions, like the irregular verbs in English.
- Phonetic writing: The language should be written as it is spoken, so every sound has its own symbol and every symbol corresponds to only one sound. This would greatly reduce confusion and improve reading speed and learning time.
- Compounding words: Instead of creating new words, the language could make use of compounding existing words to express new concepts, similar to German or Dutch. This would make the language more flexible and easier to expand as new concepts arise.
- Tone and context independence: The meaning of words should not change based on tone or context, reducing ambiguity.
- Efficient word order: The basic word order (subject, verb, object) could be designed to typically match the order in which we think about actions.
- Eliminate unnecessary words: Articles, prepositions, and other function words could be eliminated if they can be inferred from context, making sentences more concise.
- Verb tenses and aspects: Instead of conjugating verbs to indicate tense, aspect, mood, and voice, it would be more efficient to use separate words or particles that can be attached to any verb.
- Consistent plurals and genders: Instead of having multiple ways to create plurals or assign genders to nouns (like in many Indo-European languages), have a single, regular way to do this.
- Non-phonemic stress: Word stress shouldn’t change the meaning of words, making pronunciation easier and more predictable.
- Morpheme-to-meaning correspondence: Each morpheme (the smallest meaningful unit of language) should consistently correspond to a specific meaning.
Keep in mind, however, that the definition of “efficiency” may vary widely depending on one’s goals and perspectives. A perfectly efficient language for one purpose may be highly inefficient for another. Additionally, a language is more than just a tool for efficient communication—it’s also an expression of a culture and a way of thinking, which is why natural languages often have irregularities and inefficiencies.
Creating an efficient language would involve a balance between simplicity, expressiveness, and adaptability. One approach to this is to have each word represent a basic concept, and combine words to express complex ideas. Let’s imagine a language called “Optima.”
Here are a few example sentences in Optima:
- “Sunal Komo.” – The sun shines.
- “Sunal” = sun, “Komo” = to shine. In Optima, verbs are always in the infinitive form to avoid conjugation complexity.
- “Menok Relpa.” – I eat an apple.
- “Menok” = I eat, “Relpa” = apple. Personal pronouns are fused with verbs for simplicity.
- “Lenos Miku Tranar.” – The cat sits on the tree.
- “Lenos” = cat, “Miku” = tree, “Tranar” = on. Prepositions are postpositions instead, coming after the noun, as it is easier to process the information once the objects are known.
The choices in Optima are designed for simplicity and ease of learning:
- Words are short and easily pronounceable.
- Sentence structure follows a Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) order, which is common in many languages and is often considered intuitive.
- There’s no gender or number agreement between subjects and verbs, reducing complexity.
- Word stress is consistent, falling always on the first syllable, eliminating the need to memorize different stress patterns.
However, it’s important to note that linguistic efficiency isn’t just about speed or brevity. It’s also about being able to express a wide range of ideas and nuances effectively, and about being able to be understood by others. Therefore, an efficient language should also take into account factors like cultural nuances, pragmatics, and the need for creative expression.