precise and more ambiguous in the sense that one word may have either of two or more meanings. The common languages are not understood internationally but require translation. Two attempts to provide an international language may be mentioned. Esperanto is an artificial amalgam based on words common to the chief European languages. Basic English is a careful selection of 850 English words, which through paraphrase are designed to do duty for a wider vocabulary. 5 A common language may be native or foreign according to place, or living or dead according to usage. Every dead language, such as Latin, was at one time a living common language. It may be serviceable for special uses, such as liturgy or doctrine, 6 from the very fact that it is a dead language and, therefore, not subject to changes or to a variet y of interpretations as a living language is. A dead language is more likely to be understood in exactly the same way in all t imes and places. According to the mode of expression, a common language may be a system of either spoken symbols or of other signs. The spoken language is the original and fundament al system of symbols for which all other signs are merely substituted. The written language is the most important substitute and the only one ordinarily understood. Among other substitute signs are Braille, sign language, the semaphore code. Each of these substitutes merely renders into its own system of signs words of a common language. THE NAT URE OF LANGUAGE It is the nature of language to communicate through symbols
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