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Peoplese Overview

Why Peoplese?

            The problem with the more than  6,000 existing languages is that they evolved bit by bit, so lack consistency; hence most are littered with irregularities.  That is no problem for native children, but a big problem for adult foreigners trying to learn the languages.

            English is evolving as the international language despite native speakers of only about 5.5% of humanity, so most English language students today are not native English speakers.  English grammar is simpler than Hindi, Arabic, and continental European languages, while Chinese, with tonal pronunciation requirements and no alphabet, requires much too much time for non-native speakers to learn.  So today billions of students are being taught that “telled”, as the past tense of “tell”, is wrong; instead, students must learn, and remember to use, “told” – along with thousands of other irregularities.  A second problem with English is that there are no rules or even guidelines governing its growth.  In the modern era words are added willy nilly almost daily.  Shall we write “database”, “data-base”, or “data base”? – a technical magazine editor with no philology background will make the decision, which others will emulate.  A USA or British university student needs to know about 20,000 words, including approximately 3,700 irregular derivatives, Oxford English Dictionary contains more than 600,000 words, and altogether more than one million English words have been recorded.  The situation, worsening year by year, is not only torturous to students, but economically inefficient.
            The problem with creating new languages from scratch, history has proved, is that only a tiny percent of people will learn them.

            Peoplese is based on English the way English is based on Anglo Saxon.  Peoplese is English simplified, regularized, clarified, updated – plus the addition of numerous learner-friendly devices from Chinese, Spanish, and several other languages, along with clear guidelines for forming new words that will ultimately simplify and beautify the language.  It goes a long way to solving these problems.


Summary of Main Features of Peoplese

            No irregular plurals.  The plural of English “leaf” is Peoplese “leafs”, of English “mouse”, “mouses”, of “fly”, “flys”.  In Peoplese we say “ten thousands”, not, as in English, “ten thousand”.

            Only four irregular verbs:  Unlike English, “s” is not added to third-person singular present-tense verbs, so we say “i come, you come, he come, we come, they come”.  (For details, click on “Features” button, and scroll down to “Verbs”.)

            Prefixes with unique fixed meanings.  Any prefix before a hyphen has one and only one meaning.  The hyphen following a prefix is short (“hyphen ۔ette”), about half the length of a regular hyphen (which retains its regular grammatical function).  For example, “dis-” means “reverse the action of the following root verb”, so “dis-button” means to un-do what had been previously buttoned.  By contrast, “disease” is a complete word, with no prefix.  “Re -” means “again”.  So “replace” retains its meaning of “substitute”, while “re-place” means “again-place” -- place again -- to another location. Not only are the meanings of prefixed words instantly clear, those prefixes can be attached to any root word.  (For details and list, “Features” “Prefixes”.)

            Suffixes with unique fixed meanings.  Like hyphenated prefixes, each hyphenated suffix has a unique meaning.  For example, “-ward” means “in the direction of” the preceding noun”.  E.g. out-ward, down-ward, school-ward, Paris-ward, Mars-ward, God-ward.  “Toward” isn’t hyphenized because it doesn’t mean “in the direction of `to’”.  Likewise “-ness” converts any adjective into a noun, as in “messy-ness”.  (For details and list, “Features” “Suffixes”.)

            A big advantage of hyphenated prefixes and suffixes assigned to unique fixed meanings is that they can be applied to any words, not just words already in a dictionary.  When forming new words we try to utilize prefixes and suffixes as much as possible, because the new hyphenated word is instantly recognizable and requires no memorization.

            Derivative freedom.  Unlimited derivative possibilities are available in Peoplese.  Words such as "daredevil۔ish", "glutton۔ing", "fivesome", "milktoast۔y", "orangie۔sh", "perfume۔y", "smell۔able", "un۔wear۔able" MS Word spell-check red-lines as errors, and a grammar teacher would mark them wrong, but any intuitively understandable derivative is permitted in Peoplese.

            No Right or Wrong.  Above we wrote, “any intuitively understandable derivative”, but what is intuitively understandable?  The question highlights another feature of Peoplese:  there is no right or wrong grammar.  Peoplese is a creative language, in that anybody is free to try anything.  If an innovation is appealing, it will be repeated; if it is difficult to remember, it will, even if temporarily popular, eventually fade into oblivion.  (This is currently taking place in mobile phone text messages and blogs, out of reach of grammar rules.)  For adults, a huge impediment to learning foreign languages (as every language teacher knows) is students’ fear of being wrong – not a possibility in Peoplese.  As an international language, Peoplese will be used at various levels:  (1) Market Peoplese principally used by vendors dealing with foreigners:  numbers, product and service vocabulary, and other basics such as “wrap”, “bag”, “discount”, without bothering about grammar; the Thais are experts at Market English.  (2) Friendship Peoplese:  enough vocabulary and fluency to develop foreign friendships, but may not be conversant in politics, religion, history, etc.; a great way to develop language ability and absorb foreign cultures.  (3) Fluent Peoplese – can read newspapers, comprehend television programming, discuss issues, with good accent, extensive vocabulary, good grammar.  (4) Specialist Peoplese, used by computer buffs, scientists, doctors, engineers, any specialty.  (5) Literary Peoplese:  the highest level, with polished grammar, capable of nuance; writers of literary Peoplese are the leaders of the language, whose world choices will often become generally accepted as fundamental to the language.

            Familiar & Formal Pronouns.  An endearing feeling results when a Spanish-speaking acquaintance, referring to you, switches from usted to :  the relationship just took a subtle shift to warmer.  She∙he for the first time used the familiar form of “you”, the pronoun used within all families and between close friends.  Now it’s up to you to respond, if you accept her∙his subtle offer of friendship, you may respond at the next available opportunity by referring to her∙him as .  That language nicety – available in varying degrees also in Hindi, Russian, Portuguese, French, German, i.e. many of the main languages and more than 40 others – is not available in English, but it is available in Peoplese.  (For details, “Features” “Pronouns”.)

            Elimination of Language Idiosyncrasies That Prolong Gender Bias.  Because English, in common with other Indo-european languages, has no genderless pronouns, when discussing a career, communicators must either continually repeat the noun (tiresome to listeners and readers) or choose between a masculine and feminine pronoun.  When discussing pilots, for example, the communicator will naturally choose “he”, because the vast majority of pilots are men; referring to pilots as men in all communications mediums decade after decade cements this idea in people’s subconscious.  Peoplese provides genderless pronouns “he∙she”, “she∙he”, “her∙him”, and “him∙her”.  It also enables gender word endings to so called function nouns.

            Function Nouns.  Are Jian-guo and Neville personal names of males or females?  Unless you speak Chinese or French, you probably don’t know.  Is a farmer necessarily a man?  In the emerging one-world society where many women are finally allowed to choose any career, when writing or speaking about somebody, the reader or hearer doesn’t necessarily know the gender.  Functional things in Peoplese end in “or”, as examples “amplify۔or” (a thing which amplifies) and “blend۔or” (a thing that blends).  Similarly, a "farm۔or" is someone of either gender who farms, while a "farm۔ort" is a male farmer, and a "farm۔orm" is a female farmer.  Similarly, golf۔or, hike۔orm, inform۔ort, kidnap۔orts, perform۔orms.  And “murder۔eer” (somebody who has been murdered), “insult۔eer” (somebody who has been insulted).  “Foreignor” isn’t “somebody who foreigns”, but Peoplese assigns the neutral functional ending “or” anyway, because it identifies a person; so “foreignorms” are female foreignors. (For details, “Features” “Function Nouns”.)

            Mid-dot Words.  She∙he?  Her∙him?  What’s with the raised period?  In Peoplese it’s called a “mid-dot”, which separates two words whose combined meaning is immediately understandable.  Peoplese replaces the English noun “watch” with the mid-dot word “wrist∙clock”.  In similar fashion it eliminates many hundreds of other words that students of English are forced to memorize.  Mid-dot words are at the heart of language simplification – discussed in the Creating New Words section. But why she∙he rather than he∙she?  Both are correct – the most important, or the most alikely, is first.  These days war∙airplane pilots may be encountered in both genders, but if referring arbitrarily to one, we’d use he∙she, as the males are more common – unless, as example, a female writor is trying to make a point.  Alikewise, we can refer to an historical event in place∙time or time∙place, depending on which is more important. (For details, “Features” => “Mid-dot Words”.)

            Accuracy Versus Sloppiness.  Just because there is no “wrong”, doesn’t mean conscientious language speakers and writers won’t try their best to communicate accurately and create lasting words and phrases.  (The rest of us can say and write whatever we want.)  Modern lap۔top and desk۔top electronic∙processors are dubbed “computers”, despite the fact that computing is a tiny part of their functionality; that’s alike dubbing a truck a “radio”, although it has one installed.  To declare that Shanghai is a city of 23 million people is almost certainly a falsehood; in Peoplese we say “ap 23 millions”, “ap”, which can stand in as an article alike “a”, “an”, and “the”, meaning “approximately”.  Can we seriously advocate "universal health care", when we haven’t the faintest idea of how many needy there are in the universe?  It’s figuratively and traditionally nice to say that the sun went “down” at sunset, but that’s not what happened.  Ap half a millennium ago Europeans proved that our world isn’t wide; it’s spherical, although pronouncing three w’s in a row – as in “world wide web” – may be irresistibly appealing.  And what we dub “up” is actually “out”.  That’s because the sky is no longer the limit.
            Non-English Words.  There we go again, inventing words like “ap” and using “alike” instead of English “like” to mean “similar to”.  Peoplese have less than 200 non-English words.  They can be grouped into several categories.  (1) New pronouns:  familiar pronouns (mentioned above) which English lacks, and “yous” as the plural of “you”.  (2) Combining English two-word combinations which make no sense; English “in vain” becomes Peoplese “invain”; “so-called” becomes “socald”, also "ofcourse", “kickstart”, “peanutbutter”, “enmasse”, “gogetter”, and others.  (3) New words which eliminate illogicalities of English words, such as “irrationalize” to replace English “rationalize” meaning to offer an irrational explanation to justify an unacceptable behavior.  (4) Non-English words for concepts for which English have no word, e.g. Chinese Mandarin “mianze” (面子), which is much more powerful than English “face”, and French “dejavu” (one word, no accent marks).  (5) Pleasing words like “heartberry”, to describe the tasty red berry shaped like a heart, which resembles not in the least a “straw”.
            Has-been “has”.  Aha!  You caught us writing “have” instead of “has” for the 3rd person present-tense verb.  Everybody knows that we can say “I have”, “you have”, “we have”, “they have”, but you better not say “he have” or if you’re a student you’ll be marked “wrong”, and if you’re an adult we’ll know you’re uneducated.  Using “has” is a no brainer for peoples who learned it as tots, but it’s the bane of foreigners trying to learn English.  There is no such word as “has” in Peoplese, foreign learners will be glad to know. 

           Syntax.  Did we write “All the… moons… have been named except one”?  Any Peoplese is acceptable, so it isn’t wrong, but the reader is going to read that “all the moons have been named”, then, as he or she reads onward, learn that, actually, no, all the moons have not been named:  one hasn’t yet been named.  This does not make for smooth reading, or for reader trust.  In Literary Peoplese, we would normally first mention the exception, before issuing the blanket statement:  Except for one, all known moons in our solar system have been named.  Shall we have a contest to name it?

Peoplese Statistics

 root words and derivatives that Peoplese excludes from English   approximately 11,900
 irregularly spelled common English derivatives eliminated   approximately 3,700 
 mid-dot words  793 root words, not including derivatives
 function nouns / standard    840 root words, not including derivatives
 function nouns / non-standard     105 root words, not including derivatives
 Peoplese words not in English but based on English words  82 root words, not including derivatives
 Peoplese words not in English, not based on English words  27 root words, not including derivatives
 prefixes with unique meanings (followed by hyphens)    46
 suffixes with unique meanings (following hyphens)   73
 regularized irregular English verbs   209, not including elimination of “s” ending on
     third- person present-tense verbs
 regularized irregular English plurals   67


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