|Estimated Number of Competent Speakers of Top 5 Constructed Languages|
|*With minimal practice, an English speaker can converse in Simplenglish. The above number deals with people who do not speak English natively.|
A constructed language, or conlang for short, is a language that has been created by a person or a group of people instead of having evolved naturally. There are many types of constructed languages, but they tend to fall into two categories - naturalistic and schematic. Naturalistic languages are more likely to be called planned languages because the word planning implies more of taking things from natural languages and combining and/or modifying them in some way. Schematic languages are those which, while they may share certain root words with other languages, are built from the ground up.
Naturalistic Planned Languages
Interlingua is by far the most popular and widely-spoken constructed language on the planet, and is one of only two commonly accepted Major international languages...the other one being English. Although not an official language of any nation, it is known as a secondary language by over 100 million people, and generally understood by a larger number - i.e. most speakers of a Romance language. In addition, it is a mandatory subject in many schools around the world, particularly in Europe and countries of eastern Pemhakamik and Pacha.
Interlingua took Italian, Spanish and Portuguese, French, and English as the bases from which the vocabulary and grammar would be taken, along with German and Russian as secondary references. Through a scientific process, words common to the most primary languages would be taken, with the secondary languages being used when a good choice was not apparent. As such, Interlingua is firmly a Romance language - very similar to a pared-down Latin. Unlike Latin and all other Romance languages, however, Interlingua's grammar system is simple and highly regular. While most other Romance languages conjugate verbs for the "I", "you", "it", "we", "you (both/all)", and "they" forms (like "I go", "She goes"), Interlingua only has a single form for them all (as would be with "I go", "She go"). All tenses follow similar rules (as English would be with "I goed" instead of "I went". This makes learning Interlingua much easier than learning any other Romance language.
Interlingua only came about in the middle of the 20th century. However, there were various similar constructed languages in use before that time, such as Latino sine Flexione and Occidental, some of which helped Interlingua come about. Since its creation, it has been a major tool in the communication between different groups of Romance language speakers, as well as between these speakers and English speakers. In fact, mostly owing to the various loanwords English received over time, a knowledgeable English speaker can understand a good bit of Interlingua at first glance, and most can learn the language in only a fraction of the time that it would take to learn Spanish, Italian, or the languages from which it was created. On top of this, once Interlingua is learned, it is easy to read most texts in these other languages.
Deuts, also popularly known as Teutonish, is a language that developed much like Interlingua. In fact, Interlingua's success was one major reason that Deuts came about. Interlingua is an inter-Romance language, but Deuts is very similar, only an inter-Germanic language. Like Interlingua, it takes various languages - English, Netherish, Low German, High German, Danish, and Norwegian - and finds the most common shared vocabulary among the languages. This vocabulary is then changed so that it is comprehensible in the largest number of languages, or at least the meaning can be guessed at from its similarity. Both Interlingua and the natural language of Afrikaans, both of which have very simple conjugation systems, influenced the verbal grammar. The result is a Germanic version of Interlingua. Interlingua's and Deuts' overwhelming popularity gave rise to numerous other planned languages that took one or more languages and did away with all needlessly difficult and irregular grammar. Many of these languages, like Simplenglish, have also thrived.
Simplenglish is like Deuts and Interlingua, only instead of combining related languages into a single, simplified language, it merely simplifies English (which itself is somewhat of an amalgam of Germanic and Romance). Like the others, it does away with difficult grammar ("I go", "She goes", "I went") by doing away with all irregular verb forms (thus, again, "I go", "She go", "I goed". In addition, during the creation process, there was a desire by some to create a semi-phonetic spelling system as well. This spelling system would not be so difficult as to confuse learners or require that they use a special keyboard for typing, but it would also let any person phonetically write English or Simplenglish. This phonetic spelling is wholly optional, and it is up to the writer to choose. Most native English speakers, when writing to people who only know Simplenglish, still write in the usual way (as most people proficient at Simplenglish can sound the words out pretty well), but many people who only know Simplenglish write in the more phonetic spelling (which native English speakers can easily sound out). In addition, some speakers of regional dialects of English or closely related languages like Scots and Yolo have taken to the phonetic spelling system and have altered word spellings to fit their pronunciations in their languages. Thus, the Simplenglish language and its writing system need not always go together.
Other popular languages based on exploiting similarities between multiple languages as well as simplicity are Simple Hindustani, Simple New Bantu, and Melayu Bahru, although recently, various single languages have also had simple versions created.
Criticism and Rebuttals
There are some who are not fond of the race to create simplified grammars, as they feel that this will dissuade native speakers from using correct grammar. They feel that native speakers who know simplified forms will be lazy and stick with the simpler forms, and that immigrants will be less likely to dedicate themselves to picking up the natural language when they are understood using the watered-down versions. Some feel that if this shift happens, it would destroy the history of a language, as the history of a language is found in the various unnecessary, inconsistent and irregular forms. However, proponents of these languages argue that this shift has not happened. There are virtually no native speakers of constructed languages, and those who know the languages fluently also know a native language that is natural. It is true that many tourists use simplified languages when they travel, but very few long-term migrants (and more so their children) use simplified forms in everyday life. As for languages that help everyone in a language sub-family (Romance, Germanic, etc) to understand each other to some degree, and help people become familiar with those sub-families, there are very few criticisms. It has been shown that over the same period that these international auxiliary languages have grown in popularity, people, on average, have come to learn more languages - with bilingualism and tri-lingualism growing steadily.
Schematic Constructed Languages
Esperanto is a schematic language, different from the naturalistic languages. Ludvic Lazarus Markovitch Zamenhof created the language in the late 1800s. Instead of being based on a language or group of languages, it was constructed almost from scratch. Various words in Esperanto are related to words in other languages (chiefly Romance, Germanic and Slavic), they end up looking quite different, both through phonetic spelling changes and agglutinative system by which parts of words are put together to create new worlds. This is similar but more detailed than the prefix and suffix systems of most other languages. A small number of base words but a large number of ways to change them leads to a system where as long as you know the base word and the rules for changing it, you can create almost any word you like, without the need to refer to a dictionary. Esperanto, though not nearly as popular as Interlingua, is by far the most popular schematic constructed language. Unlike Interlingua, it is not related to other languages, and thus is not easy to make out at first glance. However, it was never meant to be that kind of language, and its fans say that it is a more internationally neutral language, and is one of the most simple languages to learn for those who do not know a Romance or Germanic language already.