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AUI (constructed language)

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AUI (constructed language)

Created by W. John Weilgart, PhD
Date 1962
Setting and usage Designed to dissolve the discrepancy between homonymous and synonymous words
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Glottolog None

aUI /auiː/ is a constructed language created by W. John Weilgart (1913–1981), a philologist and psychoanalyst originally from Vienna, Austria. He described it as "the language of space" and published a general work in 1975[1] and later textbook. [2]

Weilgart's motivation for inventing the language was to create a form of communication based on what he proposed to be universal, basic elements of human thought and expression, and incorporated it into his psychotherapy work.[3]


  • Characteristics 1
  • Background and history 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


aUI is built upon a proposed set of universal semantic primes or elements of meaning that are claimed to combine intuitively to create miniature definitions of essential meaning. Weilgart's goal was to build an intrinsic relationship between linguistic subsystems -– phonetic, morphologic, and semantic -- so that words with similar sounds would have similar meanings. As such it is an "a priori" and "philosophical"[4] language. It can be considered an experiment in applied cognitive lexical semantics, and Weilgart claimed it had potential as an auxiliary language.

aUI has 31 morpheme-phonemes each with an associated meaning, i.e. each morpheme = a phoneme = a sememe.

Pronunciation guide:

Meaning IPA
Space a /a/
Movement e /ɛ/
Light i /ɪ/
Life o /ɔ/
Human u /ʊ/
Time A /ä/
Matter E /e/
Sound I /i/
Feeling O /o/
Spirit/Mind U /u/
Condition Q /œ/
Negation Y /y/
Existence c /ʃ/
Relation x /x/
Equal j /ʒ/
(all other phonemes as in English, with exception of a rolled r, as a purring cat, if possible).

Additionally, short nasal vowels (marked with an asterisk) are used for numerals:

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
y* a* e* i* u* o* A* E* I* U* O*

The phoneme b, for instance, meaning "Together", is a bilabial stop, pronounced with the lips pressed together. "Light" is pronounced with a short i, as the brightest, highest-frequency sound, while "Sound," is pronounced with a longer I, because sound travels more slowly than light.

Each phoneme also has an ideographic glyph or symbol that represents its meaning. The symbol for a, meaning "Space", for instance, is a circle showing an open space. The symbol for e, meaning "Movement", follows the movement of a spiral nebula. "Human", u, is depicted by the two legs or arms of the human being, also suggesting his dichotomous nature. The Human is fulfilled by the whole triangular trinity of the Spirit, a deep, mysterious U, (there are many possible trinities found in philosophy and religion). "Life", o, is represented by the shape of a leaf, photosynthesis forming the basis of much of life on Earth. "Action", a vibrant v, is represented by a lightning bolt, the most active thing in nature. The glyph for g, meaning "Inside", is a dot inside a circle. The glyph for t, meaning "Toward", is a one-sided arrow shape pointing towards the right.

aUI attempts oligosynthesis. The expressing of its semantic primitives each as a morpheme that is only one phoneme long is not without precedent: cf. Solresol, where each primitive is a morpheme that is one or two syllables long; and Wilkins' Real Characters, where morphemes are (usually) only one phoneme long, but operate in semantic classification instead of semantic primitives.

Background and history

As a young man, Weilgart observed the effectiveness of Nazi Propaganda, particularly how the parachesis and assonance in phrases such as Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer! ("one people, one nation, one leader!")[2] gave great emotional power.

Based on research from the Pavlov Institute[5][6] he theorized that the subconscious mind associates assonance (whereas the conscious mind links synonyms). That is, while we think about and distinguish similar sounding words by their meaning, we nonetheless feel at some level that there is (or ought to be) a semantic relationship between them. Alliterative slogans may suggest a link in words unrelated by meaning but related by common sounds. Weilgart posited that such slogans, while only one of multifarious factors, could ignite war under incendiary conditions. Further, he believed that the general discrepancy between homophonous and synonymous words in conventional language could exacerbate a disconnect with the subconscious mind.

Weilgart followed Gottfried Leibniz' proposal for an alphabet of human thought that would provide a universal way to analyze ideas by breaking down their component pieces - to be represented by a unique "real" character. In the early 18th century, Leibniz outlined his characteristica universalis, the basic elements of which would be pictographic characters representing a limited number of elementary concepts. René Descartes suggested that a lexicon of a universal language should consist of primitive elements. The history of this language philosophy is delineated in Umberto Eco's The Search for the Perfect Language.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Weilgart, W. John (1975). Cosmic Elements of meaning: Symbols of the Spirit's Life. Decorah, Iowa: Cosmic Communication Co. 
  2. ^ a b Weilgart, W. John (1979). aUI, The Language of Space. Decorah, Iowa: Cosmic Communication Co.  
  3. ^ reykr (10 March 2006). "Another Birthday Yesterday: Dr. John W. Weilgart". LIVE JOURNAL. LiveJournal, Inc. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "aUI, The Language of Space". Andrea Weilgart Patten. 2005. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Razran, G. (1961). "The Observable Unconscious". Psychology Review 68 
  6. ^ Razran, G. (1939). "A quantitative study of meaning by semantic conditioning". Science 90: p. 89ff.  
  7. ^ Eco, Umberto (1995). The Search for the Perfect Language. Blackwell.  

External links

  • Libert, Alan (2000), A Priori Artificial Languages, Lincom Europa, Munich. ISBN 3-89586-667-9
  • Official aUI website
  • The "Language of Space" — critical commentary
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