Lingua-U Letter No. 2: The Vowel i


vowel2-iThe second vowel in Lingua-U is i, the close front unrounded vowel. In the Subtle Energy Character Set (SECS), it is Yin (╎). Its sound is /i/, a common sound in English which is most commonly spelled “ee” as in “cheese” or “ea” as in “heal,” “e” as in “semen,” “ei” as in “either,” or “i” as in “Hawaii.” In the chart of vowels by the International Phonetic Association (IPA), /i/ appears at the extreme top left, in the close row and frontal column. It appears on the right side of a pair of vowels, which indicates its unrounded quality (a quality we won’t be looking at today).

Openness (Y-axis)

As an close vowel, the tongue is placed in an extreme position: as close to the top of the mouth as possible without forming a consonant. Many linguists prefer the term “high” vowels for “open” vowels, indicating the tongue’s upward position.

Cosmologically, if /a/ is like things that are low, then /i/ is like things that are high. If /a/ is like the water beneath the Earth’s surface, then /i/ is something which reaches towards the heavens and stars above.

Frontness (X-axis)

Like /a/, the /i/ with its frontal property means that the sound of the tongue is as far forward as possible. As we noted previously with /a/, frontal vowels have been observed to have a “bright” quality of sound as opposed to the “dark” back vowels.

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Lingua-U Letter No. 1: The Vowel Aɪ

vowel1-aiToday we begin to look at language through the eyes of babes, starting with one of 12 important vowels. These are not just any vowels, but the only vowels in Lingua-U. We will be looking at the first letter of the language and its sound symbolism in English.

The Letter AI

The first letter of Lingua-U is  │(Subtle Energy Character Set), or AI (upper case) or aɪ (lower case).

It is pronounced as the dipthong /aɪ/ in the chart of vowels described by the International Phonetic Association (IPA), It begins with /a/, the open front unrounded vowel. This sound is /a/, a highly uncommon sound among American English speakers. In the chart of vowels by the IPA, /a/ appears at the extreme lower left, in the open row and frontal column.

Let’s start our investigation of sound symbolism by reflecting on two of the attributes of /aɪ/: frontness, and openness/closedness.

Frontness (X-axis)

The frontal nature of /aɪ/ means that to make the sound the tongue must be positioned far forward in the mouth, but not so far as to make a consonant sound.

Scholars looking at open vowels have observed a poetic contrast between frontal and back vowels, observing that the former make “bright” sounds whereas the latter make “dark” sounds. AI is a very bright sound.

Another way to look at the symbolism of frontal sounds — a view with which I agree — is that they connote events which occur chronologically before the back vowels. The analogy here is that when the IPA chart is seen as a graph, the X-axis represents time and the Y-axis represents space. Thus, frontal vowels are “early” whereas back vowels are “late.”

To illustrate an example of this, you can look at the order of the English alphabet and note that “a” is the first letter and it so happens that the shape of the letter “a” and the sound /a/ are the same. The vowel U is the last vowel in the order of the alphabet and it is the back-most vowel. Thus, at first blush ascribing the quality of “earliness” seems plausible.

Openness (Y-axis)

As an open vowel, the tongue is placed in an extreme position: as distant as possible from the mouth’s roof. The tongue rests firmly against the mouth’s floor.

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Is A Universal Language Impossible?

Writing an article title with much confidence, Marc Ettlinger gives us a brief article: “Here’s Why The World Can Never Have One Universal Language”

His answer is two parts, and both of them are basically wrong. The first,

So, the first part of the answer is that the general tendency is for languages to propagate and diverge.

This is his most critical error. Ettlinger has mis-characterized the nature of linguistic processes. He pays lip service to but ultimately ignores the processes of globalization and the tendency for technology to homogenize the world into a global culture. Languages are converging, but he wants us to look the other way. Instead, he says that languages “change”.

Bull. We know that languages don’t merely “change”. They EVOLVE. They are part of this world, and this is an evolving world in which changes do not happen merely randomly and without purpose, but as part of emerging processes of a vast and often poorly-understood nature. The term “cultural evolution” is anathema in those parts of academia ruled by postmodern ideology, however.

Ettlinger picks the word “change” precisely, I’m sure, to avoid the connotation that there is some Hegelian Geist at work behind the scenes, secretly stacking the deck in favor of English and simplified Mandarin or whatever the case may be. But he does not argue his case for haphazard, happenstance “change”. He only assumes it, presumably because of his commitment to the ideology of irreducible pluralism. This is a common trope of contemporary linguists.

I am convinced that “evolution” is the better word for characterizing language transformations, but it might take some time for me to convince you if you are not already inclined to agree. As this blog unfolds, I’ll continue to share evidence showing how “evolve” is the more accurate term than “change”. But the question of “change” versus “evolution” is not an empirical one so much as an ideological one. If you are an academic disciple of irreducible relativism and pluralism, then you will never use a term that threatens the very premises of your work and may even threaten your good academic standing.

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Who Is Lingua-U Intended For?

It’s not an easy question to answer, but I have a starting point.

Basically, Lingua-U is intended primarily for learning by individuals at a post-conventional, post-integrative, construct-aware level of ego maturity who are seeking a way to better inhabit their worldspace and ultimately transcend it; and for individuals who have not yet made subtle states of consciousness their permanent dwelling place but who want to experience the more enchanted, magical, and divine world which is enacted through the language’s use and readily accessible by all persons through temporary subtle state experiences.

I might instead have honestly said: It’s too soon to tell.

As we said in our previous post, when Lingua-U is located on the Integral Map, it is probably best situated as a Violet, meta-mind technology. There are three key differences between it and earlier Magenta-level forms of magical language:

  1. Lingua-U does not hold that the magic of language is “pre-given” in a single monolithic worldspace which all people inhabit; language-magic is enacted differently in each worldspace.
  2. Lingua-U is not based on a single ethnocentric language, but is a novel construct aiming to incorporate the best language-magic insights from all 6,000 languages (at least in principle).
  3. Lingua-U is the only Sacred Word construct/tradition which attempts to enfold and transcend the insights from Teal, Turquoise, and Indigo altitudes of consciousness. As you will see, part of its magic is to “induce” the holarchical structures of consciousness visible from an Integral worldspace as native to the structures of language itself.

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Lingua-U As Violet Technology For Deity Mysticism

Having introduced the idea of Lingua-U, a sacred or divine language, one which is held up as a candidate for a possible Universal Language of the future, there is yet so much to say. I have claimed that you are always, already speaking a form of Lingua-U, even if you don’t realize it. I have said that it is based on the cross-cultural, cross-cultural analysis of essential sound phonemes and the properties ascribed to them in traditional Sacred Word streams of wisdom; that it is based on the “overlapping agreements” from a variety of sources concerning human nature and God or divine realities. And I have made the remarkable claim that the language is expressed with a Subtle Energy Character Set (SECS) consisting in only three characters: Yang, Yin, and You.

Furthermore, I have pointed to two important sources of the intellectual framework necessary for putting Lingua-U into context: Integral Theory, specifically Ken Wilber’s writings on Integral Semiotics; plus cross-cultural phonosemantics, specifically Margaret Magnus’s Magical Letters Page containing her doctoral dissertation “proving” the Socratic Hypothesis. As you will see by reading along, this author has few substantial critiques of either Wilber or Magnus, but proceeds from the understanding that they have each succeeded in making separate major contributions to the literature of linguistics and philosophy, even if their work is not (yet) totally accepted by mainstream linguists. I have a different perspective than Wilber and Magnus, which I will speak to shortly, but I do not believe it necessary to criticize the thrust of their arguments.

I might also have pointed to a third stream of thought: discussion of the ancient Chinese classic, T’ai Hsüan Ching (THC), owing to its many influences on this project; however, there are some practical difficulties in doing so. The quality of the online literature on the classic text is inconsistent, and what little there is is dominated by the academician’s bias to interpreting and analyzing the original text. Our approach to THC is different. We are not so much commenting on the Chinese text as creating a new work of World Sacred Literature, a new canon of mystery which exists outside the body of THC commentary. For example, whereas THC follows the traditional Chinese five-element system, the new work, called Kalen O’Tolán (KOT), uses a nine-element system never previously invented by other esoteric traditions.

Also there is the fact that the online text is not particularly useful in comparison to Michael Nylan’s translation, and there is no useful THC translation to English which is not under copyright. This would be a serious problem if I needed to offer detailed commentary on the THC’s poetry in order to establish or explicate Lingua-U. However, my project is a constructive and literary one, not a scholar’s dissection. Thus I will be able to go far along my path by re-imagining and re-writing the poetry in accordance with my own, not-quite-so-Confucian vision. Over 2,000 years ago, THC created a poetic vision of remarkable and perhaps unprecedented unity of Space, Time, and Thought in the Chinese imagination. I will leave to THC scholars the task of saying what THC meant in its day; I will create the KOT which creates a new vision of a Unified Reality for the 21st century.

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