Dnghu's Foundation project Europaio:
A Language for the European Union
Note: This paper was translated from Spanish, and may contain some common mistakes
- EU Problems
- Europaio: a national language for the European Union
- The Dnghu Foundation
- The Work Done
The idea arose in Easter 2004. I was studying in the Public Library of Badajoz with Mayte and some friends,
and I kept reading some books about the Pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula. The Lusitanians
draw my attention, not only because they lived in our lands some millennia before us, but also because
their old language inscriptions were easily understood, and still classified as Celtic-like.
That language was too similar to Latin, and - reading that it was another Indo-European language -
decided to know more about its origin. I took some books about Indo-European history, culture and language,
and made my first notes about how could it be to inflect nouns and conjugate verbs in such an old language…
and it didn’t sound that strange.
Three years later, after months of study and work, the enterprise I decided to undertake is finished,
the basis for a complete grammatical system is done, and the websites are prepared. It doesn’t matter
whether Indo-European revival succeeds or not, my personal objective is achieved; at least the farthest
I’ve been able to carry it.
However, I can’t stop thinking about how to make good use of this work, how to benefit those who worked
and will work in the project, and our poor region, turning this personal project into a not-for-profit
business (a job-maker foundation) in Extremadura, mainly for specialized workers, philologists, translators
and interpreters, computer engineers,... I can only imagine two possible situations of success for the
European language: either the public and private institutions of Extremadura support the project, and it
is implemented and institutionalized in this land; or, as it was originally planned, this turns to be
an Open Source social movement (and consequently everyone tries to make a better project), and somebody else
- an institution or an individual with more resources - takes advantage of our work and implements it
I think that, if it eventually succeeds, and if Extremadura takes advantage of these first confusing
moments to keep all possible niches of this future market, the output could be a radical change in the
situation of Extremadura and Extremadurans within the European Union, and specially a change in the
perception that Europeans have of our Community and its peoples.
If we had to compare this project with traditional investments, we should say that, while the investing
of public institutions in agrarian and industrial projects - or the investing of an individual in public
competitions to become a civil servant - is like a guaranteed fixed deposit, to bet on this project
- as an individual or an institution - is like investing in tiny, risky securities in Madrid Stock Exchange.
In the first case, the benefit is certain and well-known, whilst the second seems like a lottery, in which the
amount invested can be completely lost or doubled with - apparently - the same probability.
The only reason why people would invest in such a lottery is because it is not only a matter of chance.
We at Dnghu have believed, investing a lot (of time and money), and still believe. I hope you believe
in it too.
Introduction signed by Carlos Quiles, Co-founder of Dnghu
Some of the problems derived from the lack of one national language for the EU
can be seen in this cause-effect diagram. This inefficient situation, already pointed
out long ago, hadn’t until recently any stable solution.
The revival of the modern European language makes it possible, with adequate
linguistic policy and planning, to put an end to many of these problems and to
open a new horizon for integration and collaboration among EU citizens and regions.
Since the very beginnings of the EEC, the three main languages
(working languages), English, French and German, were used for every
communication, while English was unofficially the lingua franca used by all
in direct conversations and other immediate communication needs. This model, the most
logical and simple in the initial small European Community, has become obsolete,
with the increase in the number of official languages and, at the same time,
the growth of political demands for more presence in EU institutions among
defenders of regional or co-official languages.
It seems today that every hope of achieving a USA-like system - where English is
the only official language for the Federation - is discarded: while in US
history English has won in every Federal State –although there is also
co-officiality in some, like Spanish in New Mexico or French in Louissiana-,
in Europe the Union does not lay its foundations on some English-speaking colonies
of immigrants; on the contrary, the only reason why English is spoken as
the European lingua franca is the predominant position of the US
within the international community since the foundation of the ECSC until today.
The choice of English as the only official language for a future EU based on
federalism is discarded; countries like Germany or France - and possibly Spain,
Italy or Poland -, among others, would not accept it, as it would mean to abandon
legitimate lingusitic rights in favour of other States, without a sufficient
justification in terms of population, political or economical relevance. The
existence of a Nation with at least 25 official languages where none is over
the others is a beautiful idea, and also an obvious utopia. At present, 21
languages - and four at least to come - are official, some semi-official (like
basque or catalan), 3 of them working languages - i.e., officiously
more important than the rest-, and one, English, serves (unofficially)
for general communication. This does not seem the best of the solutions: it lacks
the European spirit necessary for correct integration between the different
nations in a common country, and is an inefficient solution, as the
cause-effect diagram shows.
To date, only some isolated proposals had claimed to be intermediate solutions,
as the adoption of Esperanto or Latin, languages whose main advantage consisted
in not being any of the present EU languages and, because of that, not having
theoretical cultural barriers for its acceptance. Latin has been Europe’s
lingua franca for centuries - before being substituted by French in the
18th century -, while Esperanto was created with an international vocation,
aimed at - above all - being easy to learn. However, as both of them are not
living linguae francae (invented Esperanto, death Latin) and they are
unable to become EU’s national language (artificial Esperanto,
mother of only Romance languages Latin), the Europeans’ answer has been
at best of indifference to such proposals, thus accepting the defficient
linguistic statu quo.
The language of Israel is modern Hebrew: it is not their only language,
as many old Israelis still speak better their old languages - like Judeo-Spanish
or Yiddish (Judeo-German) - than modern Hebrew, and it is certainly not a
very practical language from an international point of view; however, the
Land of Israel needed a language, and even though they also had the possibility
of choosing other linguae francae, international
- like French, English or Turkish -, old - like Latin or its equivalent
to Hebrews, Aramaic - or even artificial - like Volapük or recent Esperanto -,
they chose the historical language of Israel, Hebrew, a language dead 2.500 years
before - after the conquest of Jerusalem by the Babilonians of Nebuchadnezzar II -,
and whose texts, orally transmitted, are deemed 500 years older. Hebrew could
only be reconstructed with limited exactitude, and at first opposition to the
language was generalized, mainly because of religious concerns. In practice, though,
it was a language that united tradition and ease of use and learning, as many
jews learned (and still learn today) the sacred texts in old Hebrew, just as
many European countries still study Latin or Classic Greek.
Europe faces today a similar decision. We don’t have to defend more
European integration; this is maybe all we can achieve in our Union of countries,
just a supranational entity. But if we want, as it seems, to achieve a
Confederation-like State (like Switzerland) or even a Federation (as the US or
Germany), then the only linguistic non-utopic solution, which unites
tradition and ease of use and learning, is modern European (or Indo-European) language,
because it is the grandmother of almost all of our languages.
The European language or Europaio is free of regional meaning –that could hurt the national
proud of the others-, and, at the same time, full of European
- also northern Indo-European - common significance.
The game theory is a branch of applied mathematics that
studies strategic situations where players choose different actions in an
attempt to maximize their returns. It studies optimal strategies of foreseen
and observed behaviour of individuals in such games; it studies, then, the
choice of the optimal behaviour when costs and benefits of each option are not
fixed, but depend on the choice of the other players.
The EU’s Linguistic Policy game is depicted here in extensive form,
with a decision tree, where each vertex (or node) represents a point of
choice for a player. The player is specified by a number listed by the vertex.
The lines out of the vertex represent a possible action for that player.
The payoffs are specified at the bottom of the tree.
In this simplified game there are 2 players. Player 1, who represents any
linguistic community within the EU, moves first and choose between two options;
one, (E) Egoistical, consists in favouring the own language,
and the other (R) , consists in Renouncing the own language in favor
of any other option. Player 2, who represents other linguistic community within
the EU, sees the move of player 1 and choose in turn E or R. For example, if
player 1 chooses E and then player 2 chooses R, player 2 obtains 2 points and
player 1 obtains 5 points; if he chooses E, both obtain 3 points each. The
payoff of being able to speak the own language with better status than the other
is then 5 -due to, say, national proud-, and the contrary -for the same reason-
has a value of 2, while speaking both languages at the same level has a payoff
This -simplistically depicted- game is constantly played within the EU by the
different linguistic communities: UK and Ireland for English, Germany and Austria
mainly for German, France and Belgium for French,etc.
The equilibrium obtained in this game is always the same, as every pair of players
has in the Egoistic the best of their possible decisions. Player 1, which
is the first to decide (let’s say he decides first because he represents an
important linguistic community, like the English, or a majority, like the German)
obtains 5 or 3 points if he behaves Egoistically, but 3 or 2 points if
he Renounces his linguistic rights. The first option (underlined) is the
best in any of the possible events. For the second player, the payoff of
behaving Egoistically is 3 or 5, while Renouncing his rights
would give him 2 or 3 points. Again, the Egoistical behaviour is the best.
It is obvious, however, that this output (3,3) is inefficient for the EU, which would
benefit from the sacrifice of some linguistic communities to obtain a better
situation, although none is prepared to give up. Hence the unstable equilibrium,
where everybody has an interest in changing the final output, in negotiations
where the EU looks for the optimal punctuation of the scheme (7 points), with
less languages (in the real world the EU chooses unofficially English as
lingua franca and French and German for some other
working issues), while every community has an incentive to behave
Egoistically to be, in a hypothetical situation, the one to enjoy
the maximum output of 5 points.
After the introduction of modern Europaio (a systematized modern dialectal Indo-European), the payoff
of the option in which both players renounce their linguistic rights change,
but the solution of the game (at least in theory), paradoxically, not.
The payoff of behaving Egoistically for both players is 3 or 5 points,
while that of Renouncing is 2 or 5. Then, even after the introduction of
Europaio as the alternative, the output of the game will still be the
The global situation is completely different, though, as the equilibrium
sought by the EU is that which will give the maximum global payoff, 10;
once obtained this equilibrium, no player will have incentives to change his
decision, because his situation will not be better off. The game has, then,
only one Nash Equilibrium, Pareto optimal, and the players (which are, in general,
rational) will choose the strategies that agree with it.
refers to deliberate efforts to influence the behaviour of others with respect
to the acquisition, structure, or functional allocation of language. Typically it will involve
the development of goals, objectives and strategies to change the way language is used. At a governmental
level, language planning takes the form of language policy. Many nations have language regulatory
bodies which are specifically charged with formulating and implementing language planning policies.
Language planning can be divided into three sub-dimensions:
- Corpus planning refers to intervention in the forms of a language. This may be achieved by creating
new words or expressions, modifying old ones, or selecting among alternative forms. Corpus planning aims
to develop the resources of a language so that it becomes an appropriate medium of communication for
modern topics and forms of discourse, equipped with the terminology needed for use in administration,
education, etc. Corpus planning is often related to the standardization of a language, involving the
preparation of a normative orthography, grammar, and dictionary for the guidance of writers and speakers
in a speech community. Efforts at linguistic purism and the exclusion of foreign words also belong to
corpus planning, and for a previously unwritten language, the first step in corpus planning is the
development of a writing system.
- Status planning refers to deliberate efforts to allocate the functions of languages and literacies within
a speech community. It involves status choices, making a particular language or variety an 'official language',
'national language', etc. Often it will involve elevating a language or dialect into a prestige variety,
which may be at the expense of competing dialects. Status planning is part and parcel of creating a new
writing system since a writing system can only be developed after a suitable dialect is chosen as the standard.
- Acquisition planning concerns the teaching and learning of languages, whether national languages or second
and foreign languages. It involves efforts to influence the number of users and the distribution of languages
and literacies, achieved by creating opportunities or incentives to learn them. Such efforts may be based on
policies of assimilation or pluralism. Acquisition planning is directly related to language spread. While
acquisition planning is normally the province of national, regional, or local governments, bodies such
as the British Council, Alliance française, Instituto Cervantes and Goethe-Institut are also very active
internationally promoting education in their respective languages.
The main objective of the Dnghu Group is exactly to make use of its pioneering role in reviving the
Indo-European language to become the reference institution for the development of Europaio or the European
language, a set of grammatical rules for Proto-Indo-European necessary for proper communication in
present-day Europe. This role includes:
- Administering a group of experts in Indo-European linguistics, who should develop thoroughly the
Corpus linguistics of modern European, through a Consortium (Europaiom) of universities and other
renowned linguistic institutions, establishing guidelines and recommendations to be accepted by all.
The Consortium should be located in some clearly Europeanist city, like Brussels, Strasbourg, Bologna,
or otherwise where the first important university of Central Europe joins.
- Also, functioning as a pressure group (like a Think Tank) in the EU, promoting the language prestige
at the institutions in Brussels and elsewhere, influencing directly those who have the power to decide
in Europe. Many resources should be used to promote the birth of a social movement for revival: we called
those projects Europaio - which is the name of the language system in other Indo-European languages -,
comprising Open Source software and other works and Wiki websites’ content under Copyleft licenses, to
attract everyone to participate; and also - being consistent with real Copyleft premises - allowing
everyone to develop their own projects in case they don’t like ours. This way, Indo-European revival
is the only secured beneficiary of the community efforts (whether united or dispersed), and European
has a bigger chance to become the future official language of the EU.
- Lastly, incorporating a legal framework, the Dnghu Foundation, to manage and administer the aforementioned
projects of language planning, dividing its activities into different zones - e.g. Badajoz for Spain and Portugal,
Munich for Germany and Austria, etc. These tasks aren’t feasible for other organization schemes:
a group not legally incorporated (like that we have now) hasn’t any credibility in front of institutions
and companies, and cannot therefore apply for public subsidies and grants besides personal scholarships;
an association means democracy, as all participate and decide under the general rule ‘one person one vote’,
a system unsustainable for the specialized (mainly linguistic) tasks Dnghu pretends to lead;
and a company looks for profit, so its reliability as a social benefactor is undermined,
even if profit is clearly nonexistent. In each of these possible organizations we would sacrifice some
opportunities that only a foundation can offer. Such a legal entity would, for example:
- Publish grammars, referente guides, dictionaries, specialized reviews in Indo-European linguistics,
collaborating with experts in Europaiom, and also arranging conferences and workgroups. Dnghu would be,
then, a reference for works in or about the Indo-European language.
- Publish learning methods, whether official or not, either free or proprietary, like manuals for school,
high school or university students; CD-ROMs and other multimedia learning tools; distance courses
through e-learning; translation software for individuals and professionals, etc.
- Translate literary Works, promote literary or general artistic creations, work in subtitles and dubbing
of films, and all kinds of promotional activities addressed to the public, with a market of more than
400 million Europeans.
- Organize language courses for individuals and companies, taught in every Dnghu center,
with some special locations for intensive and summer courses under a only-Europaio-spoken-here rule.
- Broadcast news, television and radio programs in European language, making use of the Internet
and new multimedia technologies, trying to become a reference source for independent news,
the way the BBC and the Deutsche-Welle are in their languages.
- Receive public subsidies from the EU and the regions that host the Indo-European revival projects.
Promote donations of individuals as a logical means to fund new technologies and free licences.
- Function as Think Tank in Brussels, influencing the policies of the European Union with legal and
legitimate means, pushing for a more pro-Europeanist approach and the Indo-European language
adoption as the national language.
- Issue certificates and diplomas that certify the proficiency in Indo-European of people and
(translation) companies, as well as officially validate the teaching of Europaio in educative
institutions (like schools or universities) or the general knowledge of the language that the
members of a public institution show.
- Create or validate international centers (institutes and universities) for European studies,
to teach subjects completely in Indo-European language.
- Build up some minor businesses for self-financing, like merchandising.