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Language changes over time. Philosopher John Wilkins developed a language that was intended to be “universal”. But why? In 1668, a time in which the Lingua Franca was gradually transitioning from Latin to French, Wilkins wrote An Essay Towards a Real Character, and a Philosophical Language. In this essay, Wilkins proposes a language that he intended would be used by scholars all across Europe as a result of the fear that Latin would no longer suffice as the language of scholars. However, his language did not become prominent whatsoever. This research will analyze Wilkins’ language to discover why his language failed and the complications with it that resulted in its failure. Examining his language and other languages, this project can find what causes languages to grow, change, as well as fall and fail. However, not all is lost in Wilkins’ language as his standard unit became the basis of the Metric System.



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An Essay Towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language: The Rise and Fall of Languages