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FAQ

Page history last edited by Mundialecter 11 years, 2 months ago

 

 

 

What is Sambahsa?

  • Sambahsa is a unique international language mixing the qualities of national languages used for international communication with the regularity of auxlangs.

  • It uses the Roman alphabet, with no diacritics, which are often difficult to write with keyboards made for different languages. Its regular orthography works with combination of letters which can produce a rich phonetic system. Furthermore, it debases very little words from Western European languages, so that they can be easily recognized.

  • Its grammar is based on Indo-European, a family of languages now spoken by half the world population. It has almost no irregularities and once it is assimilated, you can deduce immediately the whole conjugation.

  • Many auxlangs limit their source-languages to Western Europe, while others are made out of a patchwork from nearly every language on Earth. On the contrary, the vocabulary of Sambahsa consists of Indo-European roots, Greco-Latin technical vocabulary, and selected roots shared by many languages from different linguistic families from Iceland to Japan. It offers the best balance between neutrality and real internationality.

  • Its grammar is as precise as those of the natural languages, and can render without any difficulty any text written in such a natlang.

  •  Unlike some auxlangs which add cumbersome and unnatural endings to substantives and adjectives, the syntax of Sambahsa rests on a compact set of pronouns, and loanwords undergo few alterations.

  • Problems often disregarded by auxlangers are natural appearence, tersity and brevity. The result is that many interested people give up the study of auxlangs and finally get back to English, finding it more “efficient”. On the contrary, Sambahsa displays these three advantages and can compete qualitatively with English or any other language used for international communication.

 

 

 

 

Why should I learn Sambahsa?

 

  • Its grammar is finished, while its vocabulary already contains several thousands of words. (Who believes that a vocabulary can be finished?)

  • You’d like to learn a foreign language, but you don’t know which one? Then learn Sambahsa!

  • Its grammar has preserved the basic patterns of Indo-European (you can see the work of Carlos Quiles’ team at http://dnghu.org ) but has got rid of irregularities and useless complicated forms. For example, if you have learnt that the conjugational present ending of the 3rd person of plural is –ent in Sambahsa, you won’t be surprised later to discover that it is –and in Parsi. Sambahsa should be used as an auxiliary administrative language in countries with no previous Indo-European official language such as China, Korea or Japan.

  • Its vocabulary extends beyond Indo-European and includes many loanwords shared by languages spoken in the Muslim world, as well as some common to Far East languages. By learning Sambahsa, you learn roots shared by hundreds of millions, even billions of people, and all this within a coherent system.

  • Thus, Sambahsa is able not only to be an efficient instrument of international communication; it is also an incentive to discover other cultures!

 

 

Some examples.

  

  • Is Sambahsa a kind of Lithuanian ? Don’t worry, Sambahsa has neither the complicated declensions of this beautiful language, nor its irregular conjugations. Of course, when the matter is of basic things, some similarities can be found in the wordstock. This applies for Slavic languages too, which are close to the Baltic linguistic family.

Consider this sentence: “I look at these white birches, at the tall pines, at the green firs”.

In Lithuanian it is: “Aš žiûriu i, tuos baltus beržus, i, aukštas pušis, i, žalias eglês.

This is relatively similar to Russian: “Ja smotrju na èti belye berjozi, na boljshie sosni, na zeljonie eli”.

  

In Sambahsa, it is: “Spehco ta albh birgs, ia buland puiks, ia glend eghels”.

Listen to it said by a robot!

Except for the word “buland”, which is from modern Parsi, all words in this sentence come from Old Indo-European and can therefore be found in its offsprings. Here, “spehco” and “albh” can be found in Latin. Notice that Sambahsa says “to look the trees”. The addition of “at” is often misleading for foreign speakers. The Sambahsa sentence is shorter than its translations, though it is by no means less precise.

 

 

  • So, Sambahsa is really “Indo-European”? Compare the following samples:

In English: I have two sons and two daughters

In Lithuanian: Aš tiriu du sûnus ir dvi dukras

In Russian : U menja dva syna i dve docheri

In Old Greek: Ekhô duo huei kai duo thygatre

In Sanskrit: Mama dvau sûnû ca dve duhitarau

In Icelandic : E’g hef tvo syna og tvae daetur

In Parsi: (Man) do pesâr o do dokhtar dâram

And in reconstructed Indo-European: * Mene dwo sûnu@ dwâkwe dhugtêre@

 

 

In Sambahsa, it is: Ho dwo sons ed dwo dugters.

Listen to it said by a robot!

 

In Italian, it is: Ho due figli e due figlie.

Sambahsa shares its vocabulary with the majority of the list above. Most auxlangs are not well inspired to rely nearly exclusively on Romance languages!

Some languages use the old Indo-European system and say literally “Of me (are) two sons and two daughters”. Most of them use complicated declensional endings, for the accusative, the dual number, etc.... You can see it that the word for “two” change before “sons” and before “daughters”. Sambahsa has chosen a system using the verb “to have” because it is the one used by billions of speakers of Western European languages. Furthermore, Sambahsa accepts a few irregularities when they concern very common terms. Here, ho is a conjugated form of the verb habe. Thus, the Sambahsa sentence is even shorter than the English one.

Is this to say that English remains nevertheless simpler than Sambahsa? Don’t forget that even this simple short sentence displays irregularities of the English spelling. Most foreigners don’t understand why “o” should be pronounced differently in “two” and in “sons”. And above all, the first time they read “daughter”, they pronounce it like “doctor”!

 

 

  • Does Sambahsa ignore non-European languages? Not at all! When there is no convenient (Indo-)European word, Sambahsa often include loanwords from the other major linguistic units of the world, which are the languages spoken in Muslim countries and languages influenced by the Chinese civilization. Languages influenced by the Indic civilization are already included within the Indo-European wordstock. For instance, the name “Sambahsa” is transparent for speakers of Malay/Indonesia where sama means “same” and bahasa “language”.

For example:

  

In English: Did your friends travel?

In Bulgarian: Vashite prijateli sa p’tuvali?

In Arabic : Hal safara aSdiKâ’ûkum ?

In Swahili : Wenzenu mawesafiri ?

In Parsi : Dustânetân be safar raftand?

  

In Sambahsa it is: Hant safert vies prients?

Listen to it said by a robot!

 

The sambahsa word “prients” is cognate with “friends” in English and “prijateli” in Bulgarian. The Parsi word “dust” exists in Sambahsa, but it means “comrade”. Sambahsa “vies” and Bulgarian “vashite” are cognates too.

The sambahsa word “safer” comes from the Arabic stem “safara”, which is encountered in Parsi and Swahili too. The Swahili “safari” is worldwide known, but with a restricted meaning. 

  

Another example:

 

In English: The tomb was built under the shrine.

In Latin: Sepulcrum sub sacrario constructum erat.

In Russian: Mogila byla postroenna pod khramom.

  

In Sambahsa: Id maghil eet struct sub id schangdien.

Listen to it said by a robot!

 

“Sub” is common to Sambahsa and Latin, and the verbal stem “strug” can be found as well in Latin “constructum” as in Russian “postroenna”. “Schangdien” can be found in Chinese Mandarin “sheng dian”, in Japanese “shaden” and in Korean “shinjeon”. Sambahsa “struct” is a regular derivation of “strug” + “t” while English “built” is irregular.

  

  • But is Sambahsa not intelligible to the billions of speakers of Romance languages and of English?

Don’t worry, Sambahsa includes the greco-latin vocabulary when it is really international, mostly in the fields of techniques and sciences.

  

Consider this sentence in English: Though this analysis globally confirms McLuhan’s hypothesis on the division of History in three periods, it nevertheless qualifies the idea according to which modernity sees the image supplant the word.

  

In Spanish: Aunque esa análisis confirma globalmente la hipótesis de McLuhan sobre la división de Historia en tres épocas, matiza sin embargo la idea según la cual la modernidad ve la imagen suplantar la palabra.

  

In (modernized) Latin : Quanquam haec analysis globaliter hypothesin McLuhanis de divisione Historiae in tres aetates confirmat, tamen ideam variat secundum quam modernitas imaginem vincere verbum videt.

  

And in Sambahsa : Quayque tod analyse global-ye confirmet McLuhans hypothese de Historias division in tri zamans, id lakin nuancet id idee sekwent quod modernitat vidt id image supplante id werd.

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