a1 Department of Psychology, St Francis Xavier University, Canada email@example.com
In the popular mind, constructing a language has always been seen as an odd activity, one that seems to fly in the face of ‘natural’ language dynamics. It is, nonetheless, a very old activity, and attention to its various stages is an important part of the study of linguistic history – and, indeed, of modern scientific development. The first stage involves attempts (highly speculative, of course) to recapture the original lingua humana, as spoken in the Garden of Eden. At a later stage, scholars tried to create entire languages ab ovo, motivated by the desire for a more logical and regular variety that would better reflect and channel scientific classification. Later still – and on into the modern era – ‘artificial’ languages have been assembled from pre-existing rules and components. At all stages, the work has been underpinned by hopes for a more practical medium, but there have also been expectations that a language that was both regular and widely shared would contribute to international harmony and understanding.
1 This paper is only the briefest representation of a much larger monograph project.
Revised version of a plenary address given at the Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics conference, Fredericton, New Brunswick, 3 June 2011