Word-building in Mondlango
by Oscar Mifsud
Mondlango, (originally named Ulango), for the purpose of making it easy, popular and useful, uses both English and Esperanto as sources of word roots. English, because this is the language everybody is trying to learn; and Esperanto because for more than a century of constant use it has proved to be the easiest language to learn quickly so far. Mondlango aims at simplifying and combining both to construct a new easy language for all.
This, as can be expected, is no easy job. One of the main difficulties is the building of the vocabulary for beginners. The policy here is to take the English root, simplify it and phoneticise it. Thus, from photo (foto) we get foti, to photograph. Where the English root is not suitable enough, the Esperanto root is borrowed and once more, simplified if possible. Roots from other languages are also used when needed.
Another problem is pronunciation. Esperanto has proved that the best policy here is to be 100% phonetic, both in speech as well as in writing. Here, the computer has shown Esperanto to be somewhat imperfect, because it uses accents above some letters and eliminates q, w, x and y from the alphabet. So, it was decided to remove all accents from above letters, and re-introduce the missing letters to good effect.
Even here, they presented another problem. The British as well as many others, find it impossible to pronounce q phonetically by a single sound. International phonetics render this letter as kw. So it is logical and even practical to replace q by kw in Mondlango to keep to the principle of 100% phonetics. Writing q and saying kw is not phonetic at all. Other problems are c, g, j, and x. Taken singly:
C: Where c has the sound of s it is simply written as such s. Otherwise the c is pronounced like ch in church. Thus, we have komerso =commerce, and carma = charming. When the c sounds like k it is simply written as such k, as in komerso.
G: In English, g has two different sounds : garden; general. In Mondlango this is
not allowed ,they must have a different sound. So, it was decided to keep only the go sound for the g; and to render the general sound as j. Thus, we have gardeno = garden, but jeneralo = general.
J: This presents no problem. It is pronounced as the j in jam in English, even if it is derived from the Esperanto root where it has the sound of y in English.
X: In Mondlango the x has the sound of sh in she. Where in English it has the sound of ks as in oxide, it is simply rendered as such oksido, otherwise it would have to be read as oshido!
Every effort is being made to make Mondlango as user-friendly as possible. However, although English and Esperanto roots as well as the latter grammar is extensively used, it is not advisable to do so slavishly and completely. For instance: to translate dynamite we have a choice: either write daynamayto (slavish, awkward and unfriendly) or dinamito (not exactly pure English) which is infinitely more friendly and quite recognizable to the British.
At this point it must be stressed that the first thing a new learner (especially if British) must get used to, is how to pronounce the vowels a,e,i,o,u phonetically, using just one pure sound only: a = Ah (not ey); e =e(lm), not (k)ey; i = ee(l), not (m)y; o = au(tumn), not Oh!; u = (l)oo,not ou. Unless this is done correctly, it is impossible, repeat, impossible to speak Mondlango properly; or any other phonetic language for that matter!
As explained elsewhere, all nouns (not proper) in ML end in -o; all adjectives end in -a; all adverbs end in -e; all plurals end in -os and all verbs in the infinitive end in -i. This is one way (among others) of cutting down drastically on the volume of words in the dictionary. For this reason, the vocabulary usually gives you only one of these and you are expected to build the rest yourself. Thus, if you find: defect = difekto, you are to deduce that:
1) it is a noun because it ends in -o (even if not indicated by (n.);
2) defects = difektos;
3) the verb to defect is difekti ;
4) defective = difekta;
5) defectively = difekte.
Another way of reducing the volume of new words to be learnt is the way a neutral noun is turned into masculine by inserting the suffix -ul- before the ending; and a neutral noun is turned into feminine by inserting the suffix -in- before the ending -o. Thus filo =child, filulo=son and filino = daughter. Look up the section suffixes for many more welcome ways of cutting down on the number of words one has to learn.
The conjugation of verbs is almost a joke. Learn one and you know them all.