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Universal language / Universal writing: Proposals

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A Bibliography of Literary Theory, Criticism and Philology


by José Ángel García Landa

(University of Zaragoza, Spain)

Universal language / Universal writing



Universal language / Universal writing: Proposals
Anderson, James. "On a Universal Character." 1796.

Beck, Cave. The Universal Character, by Which All the Nations in the World May Understand One Anothr's Conceptions, Reading out of One Common Writing Their Own Mother Tongues. 1657.

Becher, Johann Joachim. Character pro notitia linguarum universali inventum steganographicum hactenus inauditum. 1661.

Bermudo, Pedro. (Anon). Arithmeticus nomenclator mundi omnes nationes ad linguarum et sermonis imitatem invitans. Rome, 1654.

Brown, William. "Hints on the Establishment of an Universal Written Character." 1798.

Chamberlain, Nathaniel. Tractatus de Literis et Lingua Philosophica. Dublin, 1679.

Dalgarno, George. "Lexicon Latino-Philosophicum." In Dalgarno, Ars Signorum. 1661.

_____. Ars signorum, vulgo character universalis et lingua philosophica. 1662.

_____. (Tables of universal writing). 1657.

Douet, Jean. Proposition présentée au roy, d'une écriture universelle, admirable pour ses effets très utile et necessaire à tous les hommes de la terre. Paris, 1627.

Hervás y Panduro, Lorenzo. "Tiempo en que el infante empieza á hablar; si hay idioma natural al Hombre; y sobre la diversidad de idiomas." From Historia de la vida del Hombre. Tomo I, Libro II, Cap. VII. 1789.

Johnson, John. (d. Irish rebellion, 1641; author of the universal notation Wit-spell).

Jones, Rowland. The Philosophy of Words, in Two Dialogues between the Author and Crito . . . and a Plan for a Universal Philosophical Language. London, 1769.

Keogh, John. A Large Discourse Concerning the Formation of Letters and an Universal Character. Dublin, 1685.

Kircher, Athanasius. Polygraphia nova et universalis ex combinatoria arte delecta. Rome, 1633. (Universal language).

Labbé, Philippe. Grammatica linguae universalis missionum et commerciorum, simplicissimae, brevissimae, facillimae. 1663.

Lodowick, Francis. A Common Writing. 1647. (Universal langugage).

_____. The Groundwork or Foundation Laid (or so Intended) for the Framing of a New Perfect Language and an Universall or Common Writing. 1652.

Mersenne, Marin. Harmonie Universelle. 1636. (Universal language)

Northmore, Thomas. A Triplet of Inventions. Consisting of a Nocturnal or Diurnal Telegraph for an Universal Character, and a Scheme for Facilitating the Progress of Science. 1796.

Plancy, de Vienne. "L'Ouverture de l'écriture universelle." Extraordinaire du Mercure (1681). Related articles in nos. 19 (1682), 30 (1685), 31 (1685).

Shott, Gaspar. Technica curiosa. Nuremberg, 1664. (Universal writing).

Sturm, Johann. Collegium, experimentale sive curiosum. Nuremberg, 1676. (Universal writing).

Urquhart, Thomas (Sir). Ekskubalourum, or The Discovery of a Most Exquisite Jewel. 1652. (Universal language).

_____. Logopandecteision, or, An introdvction to the vniversal langvage digested into these six several books, Neaudethaumata, Chrestasbeia, Cleronomaporia, Chryseomystes, Nelcadicastes, & Philoponauxesis / by Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromartie ..., London: Printed and are to be sold by Giles Calvert ... and by Richard Tomlins ..., 1653. Online facsimile at EEBO: Early English Book Online. Chaydwyck-Healey.



Wilkins, John. Essay towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language. London: Gellibrand, 1668.

_____. Essay towards a Real Character, and a Philosophical Language. Facsimile ed. Menston: Scolar Press, 1968.

_____. "An Alphabetical Dictionary." Appendix to An Essay towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language. 1668.

Williams, J. Thoughts on the Origin and on the Most Rational and Natural Method of Teaching the Languages; with Some Observations on the Necessity of One Universal Language for the Works of Science. 1783.

Universal language: Criticism
Borges, Jorge Luis. "John Wilkins, previsor." 1939. In Borges, Textos cautivos: Ensayos y reseñas en El Hogar. Ed. Enrique Sacerio Garí and Emir Rodríguez Monegal. Barcelona: Tusquets, 1986.*

_____. "El idioma analítico de John Wilkins." In Borges, Otras inquisiciones. 1960. Madrid: Alianza, 1985. 102-6.*

Crystal, David. "A Global Language." In English in the World: History, Diversity, Change. Ed. Philip Seargeant and Joan Swann. London: Routledge, 2011.

DeMott. "Comenius and the Real Character in England." PMLA 70 (1955): 1068-81.

_____. "The Sources and Development of John Wilkins' 'Philosophical Language'." Journal of English and Germanic Philology 57 (1958): 1-13.

Eco, Umberto. La ricerca della lingua perfetta nella cultura europea. Bari: Laterza, 1993.

_____. The Search for the Perfect Language. Trans. James Fentress. Oxford: Blackwell, 1995.*

_____. La búsqueda de la lengua perfecta en la cultura europea. Trans. María Pons. Barcelona: Crítica, 1994.

Elliott, R. W. "Isaac Newton's 'Of an Universall Language'." Modern Language Review 52 (1957): 1-18.

Emery, Clark. "John Wilkins' Universal Language." Isis 38.3/4 (Feb. 1948): 174-185.



Harris, Roy, and Talbot J. Taylor. "Wilkins on a Real Character." In Harris and Taylor, Landmarks in Linguistic Thought I: The Western Tradition from Socrates to Saussure. 2nd ed. London: Routledge, 1997. 110-25.*

Marcus, Gary. Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind. (On memory, evolution, bricolage, serendipity and randomness, perfect language, evolutionary heritage, and historical contingency).

Salmon, Vivian. "Language-Planning in Seventeenth-Century England." In In Memory of J. R. Firth. Ed. C. E. Bazell. London: Longman, 1966. 370-97.

_____. "The Evolution of Dalgarno's Ars Signorum." In Studies in Language and Literature in Honour of Margaret Schlauch. Ed. I. Dobrzycka et al. Warsaw: Polish Scientific Publishers, 1966. 353-71.

_____. "William Bedell and the Universal Language Movement in Seventeenth-Century England." Essays and Studies (1983): 27-39.

Internet resources

"World Language." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.*



See also World English; Wilkins; Leibniz.

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