Redundancy Elimination: The Case of Artificial Languages
Published Online: Jan 01, 2017
This paper discusses how artificial languages deal with redundancy at the theoretical level of planning and in their actual textual manifestations. After a brief introduction to the notion of redundancy in linguistics and information theory, we propose a new definition, under the light of which we observe different expressions in artificial languages, mostly Esperanto. Redundancy is strictly connected to predictability, uneven frequencies, functional asymmetries and syntagmatic constraints. In natural languages it represents a constitutive principle of communication, being present in all semiotic systems, including animal communication. What happens in artificial languages? Is redundancy expression a topic of discussion in language planning? How does it manifest in languages like Esperanto? A review of some of the major issues in language design is presented, underlining which features of redundancy can be eliminated and which are constitutive of any language, whether natural or artificial. Redundancy of graphemic systems, distributional redundancy of phonotactics, allomorphy, agreement and government as expressions of functional redundancy, and word order distributional properties will be considered as key manifestations of redundancy, observing how they are portrayed in planned languages.