Maybe put another way: Is there an ideal spoken language for computers? One example trait would be if it rigorously follows rules.

I am in the early stages of designing code to translate written and spoken languages. One idea I had was to take any input and translate it first into a "base" language from which future translations occur. I am trying to look into a good candidate language, thus this question.

Thank you

  • 1
    There is already lots of code to translate written and spoken languages. One kind of translation program translates to a base "language", which, however, is almost never a natural language, precisely because there are no natural "ideal/simple/logical" languages that would serve.
    – jlawler
    May 13, 2021 at 23:47

1 Answer 1


The standard answer is Lojban or some similar constructed "logical" language. English is a perfectly satisfactory natural, but many people dislike the complex spelling ("lead" has two meanings and two pronunciations; "read" and "reed" have the same pronunciation and different meanings; "read" has two pronunciations and two (related) meanings). Also the rules of morphology are complex ("sing, sang, sung", "think, thought"; "seek, sought"...). So you might go for Vietnamese which forgoes the complexities of English, if you insist on using a natural language. However, even though Finnish has a lot of phonological and morphological complications, computational linguists have figured the system out, so a bit of complexity is not really an impediment to "computing" a language.

The biggest problem will be culture-heavy communication conventions, like saying "There is beer in the fridge if you're thirsty". People talk that way all the time, and it is literally a bizarre thing to say (my mental state determines the existence of beer in the fridge?!?), but talking that way doesn't actually bug speakers of the language. Good translation isn't just mapping words to words, it also involved knowing "how we say things in our language".

As for "efficiency", I have no idea what it means for a language to be "efficient" (compared to engines: horsepower vs. fuel).

  • The scare quotes around “logical” are very apt. Lojban is neither simple, nor efficient, nor logical except in the crude sense of this word. Yes, it has correspondence to predicate logic, but predicate logic is not the logic, and there is no reason to think it is the most efficient base for a “logical” language. May 20, 2021 at 21:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.