Monday, May 24, 2010



Jewish date:  11 Siwan 5770 (Parashath BeHa‘alothekha).

Today’s quasi-holidays:  Brother’s Day, Victoria Day.

Worthy causes of the day:  “  Tell Fox: "Fire John Stossel"”, “Blackwater is just the tip of the iceberg”, “Stop the Comcast-NBC Merger | Free Press”, “Stop The Drill | Oceana North America”, “American Insurance Companies: Stop Canceling Women's Policies - Take Action Today @ The Breast Cancer Site”, “Save Gulf Sea Turtles - Take Action Today @ The Rainforest Site”, “ | Sign the petition to President Obama: End plans for offshore drilling”, “Take Action:  NO BAILOUT FOR BP”, and “ Political Action: No Bailouts for Big Oil”.

Today’s news and commentary:
The flag of the neutral international language...Image of the flag of Esperanto, which is a zillion times better than iConji via Wikipedia
Today’s weird thing is “New iConji language for the symbol-minded” and the actual site of this new language, iConji. Connecting the world.  The idea behind iConji is something in the way of a universal icon-based language for text messages.  The problem with it is—and I say this with all the emphasis it deserves—WE DO NOT NEED YET ANOTHER UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE.  There have been a host of would-be international, artificial languages, and so far the only one with a decent number of speakers is Esperanto—and Esperanto speakers are rare.  iConji has two huge problems:  small vocabulary (1,100 word-symbols) and no grammar.  The creators intend for people to contribute to the vocabulary, but the site does not seem to give even the barest outline of an iConji grammar.  For all its faults, Esperanto is starting to look great by comparison.  Furthermore, the very fact that iConji has so many symbols is going to make typing a big pain.  I think I will stick to English for international communications for the moment; in many respects it is a terrible language, but at least you can type it and find a lot of people who speak it.  Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

1 comment:

Brian Barker said...

I live in London and if anyone says to me “everyone speaks English” my answer is “Listen and look around you”. If people in London do not speak English then the whole question of a global language is completely open.

The promulgation of English as the world’s “lingua franca” is impractical and linguistically undemocratic. I say this as a native English speaker!

Impractical because communication should be for all and not only for an educational or political elite. That is how English is used internationally at the moment.

Undemocratic because minority languages are under attack worldwide due to the encroachment of majority ethnic languages. Even Mandarin Chinese is attempting to dominate as well. The long-term solution must be found and a non-national language, which places all ethnic languages on an equal footing is essential.

As a native English speaker, my vote is for Esperanto :)

Your readers may be interested in

Dr Kvasnak teaches English at Florida Atlantic University.

A glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at