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AUXLANG  November 2001, Week 1

AUXLANG November 2001, Week 1

Subject:

Re: Checking the Sources (all sorts of topics on Ido/Esperanto)

From:

James Chandler <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

International Auxiliary Languages <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 5 Nov 2001 17:22:23 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Thomas rote:

>         I do not know who Lord Lucan is, but I
>can guess he must be Ido's "Kabe".

This is a reference that would not need to be explained to british
nationals, but evidently he is not such a household name in other countries.
  Lord Lucan is an aristo famous for disappearing in 1974 after his nanny
was found murdered and his wife beaten in his London home.  He was only 40
at the time but has never been found, tho there have been reported sightings
of him in southern Africa.  There is a site about it if you are interested:

http://www.lordlucan.com

(note that i am not suggesting that BRG is involved in anything similar,
only that he disappeared suddenly and without explantion!)

> > Whats in it for the espists?  Well, in my post
> > i didnt exactly concentrate on what was in it
> > for them.  What i am most concerned about is
> > what is in it for me,
>         I wondered if that would have been a fair
>summary.  BTW, there is certainly something "in
>it" for the Esperantists if "it" means your step
>closer to Esperanto, but less so if "it" means
>the Esperanto movement as a whole changing in such
>ways necessary as to attract Idists and other
>reformemuloj back to the movement.

It is not a question of changing ways to attract anyone back to the
movement.  It is a question of the espists realizing that they have to make
changes for their own sake, for the sake of their language, and for the sake
of (what one presumes must be) their wider goal of getting a planned
language into general use.  No-one can force them to do this and they wont
succumb to pressure.  They must be left to realize these things for
themselves.

> > a planned language within my lifetime.
>         My entire attitude toward the fina venko
>is based on the assumption that it will not happen
>in my lifelime.  Ranked among the top 10 most
>anoying things that someone can say to an Esperantist
>would have to be "It was a nice idea, too bad it
>didn't catch on."  It did catch on - just not the
>way Zamenhof imagined, at least not (dare I add?)
>... yet.

I suppose it depends on your level of ambition.  Perhaps some espists are
satisfied with having built a movement of the size they currently have, and
do not have any higher goals.  If that were enough for me, i would become an
espist today, but its not.  Unless we are serious about proposing a planned
language for real international use and working seriously towards that goal,
then i have no real interest in the idea.  I have nothing against
conlangers, but i am not one myself.

> > an IAL movement that is paralyzed
> > by a disastrous early history,
>         This is interesting too.  I suppose it
>would be enough to say that I don't see it this
>way - and then assume that you've heard my
>thoughts from others all before.

To me, given the severity of the schism that occured between the idists and
espists back in 1907, and the subsequent development of the movement, i dont
think there is any other reasonable way to describe the situation.  Even
without apportioning any blame for the 'Ido schism', it cannot be denied
that it has paralyzed the movement ever since, making the espists highly
suspicious of any proposed changes to their language, and marginalizing to a
great extent all rival languages and movements.

> > in which a planned language is stood in
> > the way of English, protecting other
> > languages against its spread.
>         I also can't agree with this.  This kind
>of "us against English" thinking is one of the
>most limiting factors to the spread of Esperanto
>(or any language which is promoted this way.)  In
>any direct contest between English and Esperanto,
>Esperanto will lose.  The future IAL of the world
>would have to be shown to be compatible with
>English's current position; shown to compliment
>it even as English is phased out.
>         Diru al mi, cxu vi volas dauxrigi tiun
>konversacion en alia lingvo ol la angla.

It is not a question of being against English.  I have nothing against
English: it is a great language, and i share Jespersens high estimation of
its qualities.  What i am against is a future world language situation in
which there is only one language, English, which has displaced all other
national tongues.  Languages are disappearing at an alarming rate, and even
such great national languages as Mandarin must be under some threat when
young Chinese are so keen to learn English (according to a newspaper article
i read some time ago).

> > [Espists] are saddled with some pretty unfortunate
> > elements in their language that badly need putting
> > right if it is to serve as a really effective
> > interlanguage.  I am sure that over the years
> > many espists have come to realize this themselves,
> > but have preferred to stay within the movement for
> > what it offers.
>         One thing that strikes me when I read various
>anti-esperanto tracts is that they could be so much
>more effective if they actually knew Esperanto.  :-)

I do know Esp well enough to be able to criticize its main failings.

>         A major point which is so easy to miss when
>looking at Esperanto from the outside is that Esperanto
>is a regular living language.

This sounds to me like you are comparing Esp to an ethnic language, which is
a claim that cannot be supported.  It has no body of native speakers and no
native territory.

>I'm sure you've heard
>this all before, but it's key.  Yes, we've noticed
>these problems, but for the most part we've found
>natural solutions for them.

Presumably by natural you mean solutions that do not involve any real change
to the language.  I fail to see how the fundamental problems of Esp can be
addressed in this way.

>         Again, at the risk of saying something that
>you've already heard - by and large, the differences
>between Ido and Esperanto (including the alphabet)
>are not the sort of thing which is noticed by people
>who are evaluating the idea of an IAL.  Nobody has
>ever said to me "nice idea, but this will never work
>because there are hats on some of the letters."  Nor
>has anybody said "great language, but I don't want
>to learn it because 'mi' and 'vi' sound the same in
>a noisy room."

I cannot believe that the general appearance of Esp has not influenced some
people who have encountered it.

>         People do say things like: if everbody spoke
>Esperanto, the Esperanto culture would be taking over
>the world like English is now: This is not an easy
>language (assuming that "easy" means you can understand
>it without a single lesson): Haven't you ever heard of
>the international language called English?:  What, it
>doesn't have a country?: and so on.
>
> > If you dont mind me saying,
>         Not at all.  I appreciate your openness.
>
> > it seems to me that it may be your esperantism that
> > tends to make you question the authors credibility.
>         Is it not reasonable that a document of history
>should be accurate with regard to historical detail --
>especially when it comes to the easy stuff, like when
>Esperanto was published?  If the author gets that wrong,
>it is reasonable to be suspicious about the other details.

All Beauchemin is saying is that the discovery was made some time around
1887, which is when Esp was published.  I do not see any historical
inaccuracy in this.

> > If you read the article carefully, you will find
> > that Beauchemin is not saying that Esp was discovered,
> > but that Zamenhof discovered that there was an
> > international language latent in the languages
> > of europe.
>         I read the article carefully the first
>time and found exactly what you said I would.
>Sorry for not being more clear.  What I meant
>to say was that Zamenhof "discovered that there
>was an international language latent in the
>languages of europe" not "around 1887" as
>Beauchemin stated, but more like 1878, or
>probably before.

See above.

>         You called this article "an excellent
>exposition of the history of Ido and the
>differences between the two languages" yet it
>is flawed in the basic facts of Esperanto history
>and makes claims about Hachette which you are
>not able to verify.
>
> > Regarding Hachette, it is my impression that
> > the fact that Hachette had built up a stock
> > of books in original Esp may have played a
> > part in Z's later refusal to consider any
> > changes to the language.
>         It's nice to hear that your thoughts
>are more mild than Beauchemin's, since he
>wrote in his "excellent exposition" that
>when Zamenhof talked about unity, it was only
>a "deceitful pretext" influenced by greed.
>Considering that Zamenhof did not sign any
>contract with Hachette, and that Beaufront's
>profit margin from the agreement with
>Hachette was much better than Z's,
>Beauchmin's claims are
>hard to believe.
>         Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe the information
>I have is just misinformation or wishful thinking
>made up by some Esperantists, but at least I
>have some bibliographical information which
>I could follow up on (unlike Beauchemin), but
>even if I haven't followed up on the sources,
>I'm left with the question "if there is doubt,
>why publish this stuff?", even considering that you
>put it out on the web at the peak of your anti-
>Eperanto days. I'm amazed at some of the stuff
>which passes for scholarly discourse on various
>IAL web pages.  Why would James publish an
>article making claims about Zamenhof and
>Hachette without verifying these claims
>first?  Why would Jay publish a tract which
>claims that Esperanto has no "-ismo" suffix?
>Why would UMI publish an article containing
>falsehoods, some of which can be checked
>using information from their own website?
>Sloppy sloppy sloppy!

To be honest, i am rusty on the whole Hachette question.  I will have to
review my sources before posting on this again.

>michael farris wrote:
> > > Zamenhof a "Jewish Pole born in Russia",
> > Well, what you call him?
>
>This was one of the points that I said one
>could pass by.  :-)
>
>But since you asked, he was a Jew (not an
>ethnic Pole) born in what is now Poland,
>which was then under the Czar.
>
>Thomas

Kordiale, James Chandler
[log in to unmask]
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/5037 - IALs index

"...Reinecke observes that transformational generative grammar ... has been
'immensely influential in the field of Creole studies as in all linguistic
theory'.  What he does not say is that it has been for many Creolists an
almost constant love-hate relationship, resulting in eventual divorce." -
Peter Muhlhausler, Pidgin and Creole Linguistics

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