This looks at artificial international languages, their rationale, their implementation, and their inevitable failure. After a brief note on Esperanto (Derrick Plant), Janet Bowker examines the Basic English project, dating back to the 1920s, and experimented with until the mid-forties. In the other complementary half of the book, Michèle Séror describes a parallel initiative for Le Francais Fondamentale. Far from being a work of purely academic interest, the cases raise discussions about the natural, as opposed to the engineered, dynamics of the spread of international lingue francae, and the role of simplification-elaboration in language contact, growth and variation. The pedagogic counterpart is also analysed, considering the grading of learning experiences as part of the natural development of fully-functional communicative repertoires through a series of learner interlingue.
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