Friday, May 10, 2013

The language Isaac Newton invented

Newton is credited with many, many scientific innovations. His linguistic creations, on the other hand, never really took off. 
Sir Isaac Newton lived from 1642 to 1727.  

Isaac Newton laid the foundations of modern science. He discovered gravity and the principles governing motion, light, and cooling. He invented a reflecting telescope, counterfeit-proof coins, and calculus. Most of his work made a huge and lasting contribution to the state of human knowledge, but a few of his projects never made it any further than the paper they were outlined on. All generations that came after him would benefit from his innovations, but none of them would ever speak his universal language.

When Newton was a young student just beginning college, he drew up plans for a language based on the nature of things, rather than on mere convention. The idea was to "let the names of the same sorte of things begin with the same letter: as of Instruments with s; Beasts with t; The soules passions with b, etc." In this way, words wouldn't just be arbitrary labels, haphazardly assigned. You could know from hearing a word what category of thing it belonged to. Additionally, prefixes and suffixes would indicate things like whether a word was a substance or an action, the actor or the acted upon, and so on. You could know, just by hearing a word, exactly what it meant.

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