International auxiliary language

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An international auxiliary language, or IAL or auxlang for short, is a language meant for communication between people with different first languages.

Toki Pona[edit | edit source]

Although Toki Pona has direct influences from Esperanto, which is well-known for being created with a goal of global propagation, Toki Pona was not intended to be an international auxiliary language itself and does not involve active recruitment.[1]

Despite this intention, some speakers believe that Toki Pona would be a relatively accessible IAL. Commonly cited factors include the small vocabulary, simple grammar, widely compatible phonology and phonotactics, and the way these constraints obscure words' etymologies (so no language community would have a head-start in learning them). Proponents believe that these features would level the playing field for speakers of various languages, and compare Toki Pona favorably to established IALs, particularly "Euroclones". jan Misali notably expressed such views in his Conlang Critic episode on Toki Pona, even ranking the language "as an interlang, not as an artlang".[2]

Others believe that Toki Pona would be poor as an IAL. Reasons include its vagueness, relative lack of lexicalization, and the effects of its philosophy on its design. Tokiponists who do not reject IALs in general have created several tokiponidos that are intended to fix Toki Pona's perceived deficiencies as an IAL.

Criticism[edit | edit source]

Alongside the optimism of uniting the world with a common tongue, IALs also face significant criticism. It is long conjectured that a successful international language would drive minority languages extinct, amounting to large-scale cultural erosion and aiding colonialism. Specific IALs are also criticized for biases in their design, often for familiarity to speakers of specific languages.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. jan Sonja, jan Lakuse, et al. (8 April 2024). "Toki Pona: From Personal Art Project to Small World Language". University of Colorado Boulder. (transcript). p. 21.
  2. Halley, Mitch (jan Misali) (23 February 2017). Conlang Critic Episode Twelve: Toki Pona. Archived from the original on 9 September 2023. YouTube. Retrieved 2 October 2023.