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By Jaap Maat

This ebook discusses 3 linguistic initiatives performed within the 17th century: the unreal languages created by means of Dalgamo and Wilkins, and Leibniz's uncompleted scheme. It treats all the tasks as self­ contained undertakings, which need to be studied and judged of their personal correct. for that reason, the 2 synthetic languages, in addition to Leib­ niz's paintings during this sector, are defined in substantial aspect. while, the features of those schemes are associated with their highbrow context, and their a number of interrelations are tested at a few size. during this manner, the ebook seeks to mix a systematical with a historic ap­ proach to the topic, within the desire that either ways take advantage of the mix. whilst I first begun the study on which this e-book is predicated, I meant to seem simply in short into the seventeenth-century schemes, which i thought represented a customary universalist method of the learn of lan­ guage, rather than a relativistic one. The authors of those schemes inspiration, or so the idea used to be, that just about the one factor required for a really common language used to be the systematic labelling of the goods of an it seems that available, common catalogue of every little thing that exists.

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Going through the list of 44 classes, which together comprise 1,205 words, one can imagine Schott was dissatisfied with the arrangement. It clearly reflects the personal taste and professional preoccupations of the Spanish author. Four distinct classes are concerned with clothing, whereas nautical terms are categorised together with names of spices. A separate class is formed by terms linked with 'sacramental confession'. The words 'road' and 'oats' are in the same class, as they both refer to 'things having to do with travel' (viatoria).

As Dalgarno points out, the written form of his language in fact constitutes a 'universal character': "if anyone does not wish to communicate by means of this art using words, let him hold his tongue, block up his ears, and it will be possible thus to communicate purely in mute figures" (AS 15). This clearly suggests that both 'universal character' and 'philosophical language' are names of the one symbol system described in Ars Signorum. 2 A CHARACTER AND A LANGUAGE 39 This obscurity in the text of Ars Signorum may seem to concern a trivial point, but within the context of seventeenth-century language planning the distinction between spoken and written language was of primary importance.

Although it is generally acknowledged that Ars Signorum is an important work for the history of seventeenth-century linguistic thought, it has been given relatively scant attention in the literature. A pattern common to various monographs on the universal language of the other published books and broadsheets, have been printed in Cram and Maat 2001 (=CM). 3 Most of the relevant papers are preserved in British Library Add. MS 4377. ) has briefly explored these papers. The broadsheet advertisements have been printed in Cram and Maat 2001: 83-135, as well as Dalgarno's correspondence, pp.

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