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AUXLANG  January 2010, Week 1

AUXLANG January 2010, Week 1


Re: Lingua sistemfrater


Olivier Simon <[log in to unmask]>


International Auxiliary Languages <[log in to unmask]>


Tue, 5 Jan 2010 17:05:08 -0500





text/plain (205 lines)

Re-dobryj vecher Dmitry !

It seems that the main source has gone down but, through a very swift 
Internet manipulation, I could copy-paste what follows (this explains why 
some parts may be missing). But I had already read such a document before 
and hadn't found it very interesting since its vocabulary remains mainly greco-


Frater: an IAL from Vietnam
Date: Sat, 30 Mar 1996 18:44:36 -0500 (EST) 

From: Paul O Bartlett <[log in to unmask]>

To: Conlang List <[log in to unmask]>

Subject: CONLANG: Frater: an IAL from Vietnam

Most international auxiliary language projects seems to originate in western 
Europe and the Americas. Today I had the opportunity to examine one from 
what was to me an unexpected venue: Vietnam. And the author being 
Vietnamese in the 1950s, I would have expected the discussion of it to be in 
French. On the contrary, it was in good English. 

Pham Xuan Thai 
FRATER (LINGUA SISTEMFRATER): The Simplest International 
Language Ever Constructed 
Saigon: TU-HAI Publishing House 
no ISBN 
275 pp. 
decent printing job, some corrections made by hand 
paper bound (originally) 
Although the vocabulary is largely, though not totally, Greco-Latin in origin 
(with some roots modified to fit the phonology), Frater is not just another 
Euroclone, for its word building and syntax are rather un-European.

There are 18 pages of forward, largely given over to a brief survey of the IAL 
movement. Towards the end of the foreward, the author writes,

With the hope of contributing a modest part in the construction of a 
satisfactory international language advocated by peace-loving people, I have 
much pleasure in publishing my world auxiliary project, named Lingua 
Sistemfrater (Brotherhood Language) or merely Frater.

Frater based on Latin and Greek roots of international currency is designed 
with due regard to needs of the Chinese, Japanese and other non-Aryan 
speech-communities. [Note: this probably accounts for a lot of the root 
Following the forward are the 12 Rules of Frater (Lingua Sistemfrater):
Rule 1.-In Frater, there is neither article nor flexion, nor elision, nor affix, nor 
concord of tense, of mood, of gender, of number.

Rule 2.-The noun, the adjective, the verb and the adverb have the same root.

Rule 3.-The adjective is always placed after the noun with the exception of 
cardinal numbers.

The comparative of equality is translated with JE: as... as.

The comparative of superiority with PLUS: more... than.

The comparative of inferiority with PLUSNE: less... than.

The superlative of superiority is translated with PLASUNI: the most.

The superlative of inferiority with PLASUNINE: the least.

The absolute superlative is translated with TELE: very.

Rule 4.-The cardinal numbers are:

Uni: 1; bi: 2; tri: 3; kuadri: 4; kuinti: 5; ses: 6; sep: 7; okta:

8; nona: 9; deka: 10; senti: 100; mil: 1000; milion: 1.000.000; miliar:

The cardinal numbers once placed after the nouns become ordinal numbers.

The multiplicative numbers are formed by adding the word TEM (time) to the 
cardinal numbers.

The fractional numbers are formed by adding the word UNISUR (one above) to 
the cardinal numbers.

The collective numbers are formed by adding PER (by) to the cardinal numbers.

[Note: other cardinal numbers are formed from the simple ones much

as in, say, Esperanto-pb]

Rule 5.-The personal pronouns are:

Mi: I; me Mis: we; us

Ni: you (singular) Nis: you (plural)

Ili: he; him; she; her; it Ilis: they; them

Antrop: one, they;

The possessive pronouns are formed by adding the word OT (of) to the 
personal pronouns.

Rule 6.-The verb is absolutely invariant in person and in number.

Pas (past) denotes the past tense;

Futur (future) denotes the future tense;

Intem (In time) denotes the gerund;

Probable (probably) denotes the conditional tense;

The passive voice is formed by adding the auxiliary verb Es (to be) to the 

Rule 7.-There is no inverting in the following word-order of Frater, except in 


[Note: later discussion indicates that some interrogatives are

formed by inverting subject and verb-pb]

Rule 8.-Each word is pronounced absolutely as it is written: each letter has 
always the same sound.

Rule 9.-The stress is placed on the last syllable of the word.

Rule 10.-Compounds are obtained by the mere combination of the elements 
that form them, the fundamental one being always placed at the beginning.

Rule 11.-If there is in the sentence another word having a negative meaning, 
the adverb NE (not) is omitted.

Rule 12.-Foreign words, namely international words, if they are formed by the 
roots existing in Frater, change according to Rule 10. In case their roots do 
not exist in Frater, they do not change. They only take the spelling of the 

Following these rules are thirteen pages which largely elaborate on them and 
also deal with interrogatives, which the Rules do not discuss. There are also 
lists of primary adverbs, conjunctions, and prepositions. Here can can see 
some non-Greco-Latin elements, such as BSERA (yesterday) and SAFTRA 
(tomorrow): but compare POSTESAFTRA (day after tomorrow).

Frater's phonology is fairly simple: there are five vowels and thirteen 
consonants, written with eighteen letters of the Roman alphabet, CHQVWXYZ 
not being used. There is little actual description of the sounds, but the vowels 
AEIOU seem to have more or less the so-called continental pronunciation. 
Consonants are about as one would expect, except that J is pronounced /z/.

This simple phonology means that some words, especially proper names, 
undergo some modification, such as V -> B, as Venezuela -> Benesuela. Also, 
there seems to be some adaptation to the phonetic habits of non-Europeans: 
ABRIKO (apricot); ABSOB (absorb).

Nevertheless, more consonant clusters persisted than I might have expected 
in a language designed by an Asian. (I am not especially familiar with 
Vietnamese, and maybe they don't have as much problem with consonant 
clusters as some other east Asians.) However, if a largely Greco-Latin 
vocabulary is to be at least marginally recognizable, the roots cannot undergo 
too much mangling.

There are several distinctive features of the language which I noted. Roots 
can serve indifferently as nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs with no 
modification. (There are no part of speech markers, not even something like 
Glosa's u/plu.) Except for cardinal numbers, _all_ modifiers come after the 
word they modify. (A following number is an ordinal.) MENSA MI is "my table." 
Unlike most west European languages, Frater does not have separate gender 
forms for the third person pronoun, even in the singular.

In compounds, the lexically most significant element comes first, with 
qualificative roots coming after-this is just the exact opposite of English 
usage. Frater has no particular system of lexical affixes, in the manner of 
Esperanto, Ido, Novial, or even Interlingua, but it makes very heavy use of 
compounding, even in what I call "grammatical stickum" words: TEMKIA (when: 
TEM = time + KIA = what). Also, sometimes a compound is used in place of an 
existing Greco-Latin form: ASURAU (alphabet: A + SURA = till + U).

Following the didactic matter, there are 112 pages of parallel texts in Frater 
and English, including the entire 1945 Charter of the United Nations. Then 
come 51 pages of the English-Frater lexicon and 71 pages of the Frater-
English lexicon.

I might note here that I could not make a good estimate at first glance how 
many primary roots there are because of the extensive number of compound 
entries in the vocabularies.

I put the book on reserve at the Library of Congress in case I can get back to 
it in the next three days, but my preliminary impression is that Frater is a 
workable language which might be more acceptable to east Asians than many 
of the Euroclones. With its non-west-European compounding and syntax, the 
learning difficulty is spread out a little more. However, I am not aware that it 
ever "went anywhere," like so many IA