to the

Universal Language

Persons, books or events, which have played a curious role in the history of the idea of the Universal Language, will be listed. Useful references, Cajori, Knowlson, Rossi, Yaguello. Especially, I quoted many phrases fromCajori, as the idea of the Universal Language often goes with a special interest in mathematical notations ; in the 17th century Europe, arithmetical and algebraic symbols are taken for a model of universality, simplicity and certainty (they were not so universal, simple nor certain as expected, however. Through the interrelation with the idea of the Universal language, these notations acquired their advantages).

The title means

The Second Book of Rabelais, published before The First Book (1534). Thomas Urquhart (see below) translated those two books into English.

Full of word-playing and greatly word-conscious ; For example, see the multilingual conversation (Italian, Scotch, Basque, Greek, Hebrew, Dutch, Danish, Latin, and Rabelaisian) in Chap. 9. Or the non-verbal public debate (by obscene gesture) in Chap. 18 and 19.

A note in Japanese.

That was the first English translation of

Known as

(to monad)

"In Vieta's 'general analytic' this symbolic concept of 'number' appears for the first time, namely in the form of thespecies. It lies at the origin of that direct route which leads,viathe 'characteristica universalis' of Leibniz, straight to modern theories of 'logistic' (i.e., that branch of symbolic logic dealing with the foundations of mathematics)." (, 1968.)Klein

A simplified system of the universal knowledge, strongly influenced by Ramism.

"William Oughtred placed unusual emphasis upon the use of mathematical symbols. his symbol for multiplication, his notation for proportion, and his sign for difference met with wide adoption in Continental Europe as well as Great Britain. He used as many as one hundred and fifty symbols, many of which were, of course, introduced by earlier writers." (, 1993, paragraph 180.)Cajori

"A full recognition of the importance of notation and an almost reckless eagerness to introduce an exhaustive set of symbols is exhibited in theof Pierre Hérigone, in six volumes, in Latin and French,..." (Cursus mathematicus, 1993, paragraph 189.)Cajori

(cf.

The first collected works published 49 years after his death.

"In his, the first volume of which appeared at Turin in 1895, Peano announces confidently a realization of the project set by Leibniz in 1666, namely, the creation of a universal script in which all composite ideas expressed by means of conventional signs of simple ideas, according to fixed rules." (Formulaire de mathématiques, 1993, paragraph 688.)Cajori

Couturat, famous for his book on Leibniz's logic, also wrote a big book on the history of the universal language.

Copyright © 1996 KIWADA Kats-Hiro

Last Modified: Sep 25, 1999