So recently I became aware of Kah, an apriori, new language. An unfairly brief review of the language makes me think this is designed based on a creole, with serial verbs and the like and seems to have some optimizations with being easy in mind. And the grammar & lexicon seem fairly complete, so don’t be thinking I’m beating up on this language just because I’m going to say it shouldn’t be “marketed” as an auxlang.
I’ve said many times that the most common taxonomy for conlangs: auxlang, artlang, engilang seem to just categorize Esperanto, Elvish and Lojban respectively with their imitators. And you can tell fart jokes in all of these, so the inventors original intention is important as, well, fart. Its only the nationalists that can get away with saying language X is more suited for purpose Y for natural languages. So I tend to be skeptical/ignore purpose claims that appear to have just been slapped on, although some claims may be valid– e.g. is it easier to speak it underwater as compared with say French or Elvish?
Esperanto’s key technical feature is that the hyper-loan word lexicon strategy, everything is borrowed. Esperanto’s imitators vary on from whom they borrow and what criteria they used.
Now some languages are a priori– and the language inventor calls it an auxlang. The goals of the inventor don’t make the language what it is, especially if the inventor has abandoned the project, is dead, or if the community is small enough that a culture of Esperanto style promotion hasn’t taken hold. I think these shouldn’t be grouped anymore in the auxlang category anymore than Elvish or Lojban or Icelandic should be lumped in with auxlangs just because one person somewhere said that it would be cool if governments world wide adopted it as a lingua franca.
I’m going to make a stab at the common features list for these apriori so-called auxlangs and see if there is something about them outside of their inventor’s goal.
- They have simplified grammar.
- Are analytic or have regular morphology, but not too many forms
- Are phonetically simple
- The basic lexicon is small
Since the language isn’t small (content words appear to be an open set), I think a better portmanteau is “easylang”
They aren’t small languages because there is no bound on the lexicon size, and there isn’t any bounds on how many kinds of sentences you have. [Regarding what it means to have a "small" grammar, this is sort of hard to express. Toki pona has a grammar that about 20 rules in BNF can describe and that is it-- its all variations on one big sentence. This compares with English which can't be described in BNF and defies formal description that can cover all the possibilities. Having a formal grammar helps fans put an upper bound on the amount of complexity the language can hold. An informal grammar, of the 15 rules sort in Esperanto clearly puts no bounds on the syntactic complexity, which is good if you want to use it talk to your girlfriend, bad if you want computers to parse it too]