More on FAQ #203

203. What is meant by “a universal language”?

A truly “universal language” would enable anyone anywhere in the world to create, send, receive, and understand messages to and from anyone else, without the benefit of translation or literacy.

Those requirements quickly knock down a number of popular candidates for a “universal language,” including:

Anything that depends on a particular character-based “language” like English, Chinese, Hindi, or Spanish (because no one language is spoken by more than 20% of the world's population).

• Anything that is solely “electronic” and thus requires electricity/battery power or a device to display messages (because a significant percentage of the world's population does not have constant, or any, access to powered devices).

• Anything that is solely “physical” (because the messages cannot be quickly transmitted around the world to any of billions of people).

• Anything that requires skill to create messages (because billions of people will not have that skill).