English has a large number of words with multiple syllables. We could save so much time if all these words were replaced with unique single–syllable equivalents!
For example, in the section above, we would change the following words:
- English -> Eng
- number -> noim
- multiple -> mult
- syllable(s) –> syllb(s)
- replace(d) -> roup(ed)
- unique -> neek
- single -> soing
- equivalents(s) -> eevt(s)
The final result would be:
- Eng has a large noim of words with mut syllbs. We could save so much time if all these words were rouped with neek soing-syllb eevts!
See Figure 1 for an illustration of how this would save time. This new language could be referred to as “Eng” or perhaps “one-glish” (or “1NGLISH”), as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 1: The phrase “English words with multiple syllables” in normal English in blue (top) and 1NGLISH (or just “Eng”) in yellow (bottom). Note that the 1NGLISH version is approximately 25% faster to say in this totally fabricated figure.
Figure 2: Above: a couple of possible logos that resemble ones from a bankrupt Internet company. Effective advertisement and branding is important!
Obstacle #1: Is it feasible for large quantities of people to learn a new language?
Attempts at language reform / constructed languages have failed in the past.
For example, Esperanto (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanto) never really took off.
But, there are a couple of successes worth pointing out here:
- Modern Hebrew (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_Hebrew) (millions of speakers)
- Written Simplified Chinese (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simplified_Chinese_characters). One caveat: a second round of simplification was not successful (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_round_of_simplified_Chinese_characters).
Obstacle #2: Are there even enough syllables for this to work?
How many possible syllables are there in the English Language?
Answer: a lot.
Depending on who you believe, there are around ~30 distinct vowel sounds and ~60 distinct possible consonants. A list with pronunciations is, as you might expect, available on Wikipedia:
- Vowels: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPA_vowel_chart_with_audio
- Consonants: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPA_pulmonic_consonant_chart_with_audio
However, a lot of these are almost indistinguishable to an English speaker. I have pared a list down to:
- 23 vowels
- 23 consonants
- (This doesn’t include things like “clicks” and other possible sounds that aren’t used normally in English.)
English apparently supports the following configurations of syllables: (V = Vowel, c = consonant)
Commonly supported configurations of vowels and consonants:
- V (just a vowel sound and nothing else, like “Aye” or “Oh”)
- Vc (e.g. “am, it, on“)
- cV (e.g. “ma, he“)
- Vccc (“oinks“)
- cVcc (“lamp“)
- ccVc (“plan“)
- ccV (“spray“)
- ccVcc (“plank“)
There are also some more-suspect configurations that occasionally work, such as:
- cVccc (“balks,”)
- ccVcccc (“glimpsed“)
And things that theoretically could make words, but don’t seem to actually have examples:
- cccVcccc (“spranksts” <– not a word, but it has a valid pronunciation)
For the sake of argument, we’ll restrict ourselves to the “commonly supported” list above.
If we make the conservative assumption that there are only 15 “valid” vowels / consonants at each position (instead of the full list of 23), we end up with the following number of possibilities for each vowel/consonant configuration:
- V, 15
- Vc, 225
- cV, 225
- Vcc, 3,375
- cVc, 3,375
- ccV, 3,375
- Vccc, 50,625
- cVcc, 50,625
- ccVc, 50,625
- cccV, 50,625
- ccVcc, 759,375
Adding these up, we get a total of 972,465 single-syllable utterances that would be recognized as a potentially valid English word.
Since the Oxford English Dictionary only contains < 200,000 words that are in current use (plus another ~50,000 obsolete words), there is more than enough space for every even remotely plausibly useful English word to be replaced by a totally unique single-syllable equivalent.
This will save a TON of time in communication!
Testing: Real-world speed of English vs 1NGLISH:
The testing process is as follows:
- A phrase is chosen
- The phrase is said TWICE, with a 0.4 second pause between repetitions
- The total time of both phrases AND the pause is measured
- Example: if a phrase takes exactly 1.0 seconds to say once, then it would have a score of 2.4 seconds here (2.4 = 1.0 + 1.0 + 0.4)
Below are four totally normal sentences, before and after the 1NGLISH-ification process, along with their waveforms.
Example of how 1NGLISH shortens a sentence #1:
ENGLISH: “Observing this brutalist architecture gives me heart palpitations. Please survey the lobby for defibrillators!”
- 10.35 seconds to say twice
1NGLISH: “Ob this brulj arzsk gives me heart paln. Please saiv the lorb for drenb.”
- 9.03 seconds to say twice (87% as long)
Example of how 1NGLISH shortens a sentence #2:
ENGLISH: “Reprehensible scoundrels have absconded with my assortment of petit fours!”
- 7.09 seconds to say twice
1NGLISH: “Raibl scraid have abdr with my sote of payt fours.”
- 5.31 seconds to say twice (75% as long)
Example of how 1NGLISH shortens a sentence #3:
ENGLISH: “Librarian, I request the seventh treatise on philology from the bookshelf.”
- 7.93 seconds to say twice
1NGLISH: “Laib, I rerqt the sev tront on phrend from the bornf.”
- 6.47 seconds (82% as long)
Example of how 1NGLISH shortens a sentence #4:
ENGLISH: “In Parliament, the foreign plenipotentiary negotiates with the defense minister.”
- 8.01 seconds to say twice
1NGLISH: “In Parlt, the frnai plort nairt with the deif marne.”
- 5.53 seconds to say twice (69% as long)
For the four sentences tested above, we see a (roughly) 20–30% improvement in speed.
That’s called SCIENCE.
Figure 3: 1NGLISH will need to demonstrate its superiority in order to convince people to learn it!
PROS: Speeds up your verbal communications—and perhaps also typing speed—by approximately 25%.
CONS: None! It’s the ultimate language. Learn it now!