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AUXLANG  December 2010, Week 2

AUXLANG December 2010, Week 2

Subject:

Re: Esperanto/Mondlango continuance, change, and acceptance

From:

Lang Newb <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

International Auxiliary Languages <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 13 Dec 2010 05:11:58 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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Hi everyone, thanks very much for your greetings and replies to my first
post. I'm sorry for the late reply, but I've been reading a lot of posts and
trying to review different auxlangs and get a feel for the community and its
ways. Being one who has no understanding of grammar (though now I have a
little), reviewing even a simple auxlang for its worth feels a bit daunting,
particularly since there are so many. Thankfully I've been able to read a
lot of commentary (though only a fraction of what's available) so I have
some vague idea of the various concerns that might generate differences of
opinion and might lead one person or another toward or away from any given
auxlang.

I'll combine the responses in one post with your name at the top of each
section for clarity.
I just don't want to spam the board with many separate replies.

====================================
====================================
> [Jerry]

> Since you are still in the process of discovering
> auxlangs, and are weighing their comparative benefits, you might take a
> look at Ido. See 
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ido and

I found the Ido course. Nice! I've read various pros and cons about Ido, and
it looks like the pros outweigh the cons at this point, but I'm not familiar
with the variety of tense options as they compare to English, and I haven't
compared it note for note with Mondlango. At least there are no diacritics
and Ido has a gender-neutral pronoun, something I've wanted English to have
pretty much all my life. After a week of intense reading, I'm still only
scratching the surface of a fraction of what's out here in Auxlandia...It's
heartening that Ido has been developing its community of speakers. I hope
the Ido crowd in general is aware of the importance of good branding and
making Ido visible. As a way to promote Ido, which I bet would get some
great publicity, a neat idea would be for a proprieter of a pizza or coffee
shop or something to make a combo or discount available to those who could
order in Ido (presuming the proprieter was an Ido supporter). I recently
read about some Ido supporters setting up a public info kiosk somewhere and
getting a positive response from those with whom they spoke.

> http://io.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frontispico and
> http://idomondo.org

I'm glad they have a central website written in English.
*cough*Interlingua*cough*

> The most encouraging thing about auxlangs in general is that they open a 
> door to a world populated by smart, clever, creative, world-community 
> oriented people. It's a really interesting place to explore.

I've got sore feet exploring during this week. I know more than I did
before, that's for sure. I'm pretty blown away by the level of knowledge on
this board. Most of what's said goes way over my head. I'll note though that
my interest isn't so much in the language as in what the language is meant
to accomplish. I've been a bit surprised that every language that I've seen
so far has focused on being just one thing, easy or complex or finding that
still sortof inadequate middle position. I'm not sure why auxlangs weren't
developed with various language levels in mind, given we encounter such
levels every day on the street with simple queries, at work with more
complex thoughts, and in art where a language must be nuanced to capture the
intended expression. The key to a 3-tier design is to separate the tiers
where a lower tier is a subset of a higher tier. Further, each tier must be
given its own verbal reference so that policy documents can use that
reference to identify which subset is appropriate to the given environment.
I'll expand on that sort of idea in a separate post, I'm interested to know
what people think of that concept but I need to explain it better.

Thanks for the response Jerry!

> ---- Jerry Muelver

====================================
====================================
> [Oliver]
> Date:	Sat, 4 Dec 2010 06:19:09 -0500
>
> You'll soon realise that Esperanto is not the only viable project.

For sure, part of the disappointment I felt early after discovering
Esperanto was discovering so, so many other projects. I felt the
embarrassment of riches in choice would make it difficult for the good
projects to get a crowd and get support inside and outside the community. At
least a busker can make noise and light something on fire or remove clothing
to get attention. Even then, passers by have to be interested enough to
stop. I guess I should be grateful that the learned members of the community
don't need to remove clothing to draw a response.

> For example, Occidental-Interlingue, created in 1920's by one of the first 
> speakers of Esperanto, works as well, if not better. 

I've been reading about Occidental and it seems pretty good. It feels a lot
like I'm reading French (I get a bit of the same sense with Ido). I'm
wondering if it was very important in the early part of the 20th century for
an auxlang to serve the French and Italian communities with paricular care,
or if the words I hear that I associate with French are part of other
languages and I've only heard French. Or perhaps the vowel-heavy words were
meant to serve clarity and ease in the face of varied linguistic
backgrounds. It seemed to me that the grammar rules of Occidental were
extended a bit beyond the bare necessesity to make things look a little more
natural. I found it a mild challenge to track down and understand the
grammar, and because I still have trouble remembering the difference between
a participle and a preposition the lack of example text made for a slight
hill climb. I've since found a link to more Occidental-centric info, so I'll
peruse that.

Robert Winter seemed entirely smitten with the language, so that's saying
something good.

> It seems to me that Mondlango is some kind of relexified Esperanto, which 
> keeps many quirks of the latter. 

From what I've seen I think Mondlango kept the alphabet and SVO restriction
of Ido with some Chinese phonetic influences, the correlatives and
prefix/suffix agglutination from Esperanto, and a lot of roots from English.
Their reasoning is that English is dominant in the global second-language
category (regardless of how many people actually speak English I suppose)
and is dominant on the internet, so borrowing words from English will make
it more efficient and more relevant for ESL learners later. It feels like
they're creating a tighter English out of Esperanto, Ido and English.

> I recommend you to look at the projects mentionned in this Wikipedia article, 
> by our friend Steve: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worldlang

I had a look at those, and at your Sambahsa also. From reading the forward
on Sambahsa it looks to be the Formula One of natural-looking constructed
languages (and it sounds good in the YouTube videos). That's beyond my
present ability but I hope it gains an active user base. When reading some
of the phrasebook it felt very much like those sounds would emerge
naturally, which I'm sure was an aspect that you took great care to design.
It's neat what you did with pronouns/articles, I haven't seen that before
and it reminds me a bit of hearing Jamaicans speak. As for the full grammar,
my poor ability to comprehend left me standing like a deer in headlights, so
I'll have to put this one aside for now.

On the worldlang page I reviewed:
-Glosa: Not too scary except for the wonky word derivation. Verb tenses are
plentiful but very English-like in variety, reads like Latin/Italian to me.
Love them correllatives! I like the pronouns, they're different enough that
a bad phone connection won't make them sound alike.
-Ardano: I really like this one, and I especially like the lessons that come
with it. It's very inviting. I think it has a balanced sound. The designer
even provided shortened equivalents like "I'm" and "you're". The rules are
broken into lessons, so I didn't see the whole of it.
-Neo: I can dig it. I only got to see the first two pages of grammar. Not
sure how words are formed but it reads nicely enough. Considering this was a
powerhouse language until the guy died, that's just frustrating. So many
good languages standing against the wall, waiting for Fonzie.
-Neo Patwa: Very nice and compact structure, and the words roll off the
tongue nicely, at least for me. I like the heavy use of examples in the
short lessons, and I like that the ultra simplicity lends to flexible word
order.
-LDP: Very good descriptions. I couldn't tell if there was a lot of grammar
or just a lot of good examples. It sounds good enough (though Ardano had a
little more frequent hard sounds which was more comfy for me). Looks
logical, and had a sort of correllative table mixed in without explicitly
organizing it as such. I like the case indicators. I'd prefer single-word
language names. I'm sure someday there will be an OICUP project.
-SASXSEK: I like this, though some aspects are unusual (as I should expect,
since I know only one language). It has detailed descriptions. There's even
braille and Morse alphabet equivalent. Some of the content is very unusual
for me, like using a colon as an acronym separator "U:N:" for example.
*shakes fist at the comma separator* I knew I'd have to face that comma some
day. This one relies on context to indicate tense/aspect, which I'm on the
fence about. I prefer explicite indicators that are easy to remember and
don't create a monotonous sound, and most especially can allow meaning to be
accurately created by two people who only know half of what they need to know.
-Lojban/Loglan were dead to me after Arika Okrent's description of "600
pages of grammar". I can't imagine practical use for something so
exhaustively exact, so I resolve to ignore it henceforth.
-Pandunia: Very compact like Neo Patwa. I'm quite puzzled by the choice of
alphabet, but I like the free structure.
-Sambahsa: Majestic, and currently a fair bit beyond my reach.
-Interlingua: I want to bring Gode back from the dead so I can kick him in
the nuts so hard he sees them upside down and backwards. Interlingua just
makes me furious when I think about it. I ranted at myself for 15 minutes
the other day incredulous at the thought of 14 years of work resulting in a
language that wasn't meant to be spoken, presided over by a man who didn't
even believe in the concept of an auxlang as I know it. In my ignorance, I
believe a great opportunity had been squandered by the creation of
Interlingua. If I were to look on the bright side, it kept Jespersen's name
in circulation a little longer and it contained the concept of grammar being
a lowest-common-denominator of the grammars of the control languages, which
I believe would belong in the 2nd tier of a 3-tier language design wherein
the 2nd tier is for science, business, and administration.

Thanks for the pointer to those languages, they're definitely worth
reviewing. Except for Interlingua. I'll move on before I start yelling to
myself again.

> Olivier
> http://sambahsa.pbworks.com/ 
> 
====================================
====================================
> [Steve]
> Date:	Sat, 4 Dec 2010 12:24:25 -0700
>
> Different reasons are given for auxlangs' lack of success. Some think
> the problem is linguistic: the right auxlang hasn't been proposed yet,
> and when it is, everyone will rush to accept it. I tend toward the
> typical Esperantist view that the problem is societal: general
> opposition to change and specific prejudice against auxlangs as being
> "fake languages." So I support any move that could contribute to the
> "Auxlang Epiphany"--the realization that auxlangs are valid languages
> and viable interlanguages.

I'm with you on that; I'll support any language that isn't Interlingua (but
if the auxlang community ever successfuly reached a consensus and it was
Interlingua, I'd support it, regardless of my personal view), I just want
the public to become aware of the existence and value of an auxlang.

The societal view certainly carries weight. After discovering Esperanto I
mentioned it excitedly to my siblings (having complained to them about
English for so long) and they responded with "Isn't that a made-up language,
like Klingon? People gathering in little groups like a chess club?" Everyone
knows about Klingon, nobody knows about an active 120 year old constructed
language. Maybe society need another TV show to present a serious auxlang to
pique public interest in what they're actually supposed to accomplish.

This next part is something I wrote more than a week ago. I'll leave it
here, intact, for your amusement:
--------------------------------------
From just looking at a few auxlangs from a user's perspective, I bet that
any of several projects would be suitable for the task of an IAL, and to me
that's part of the problem. Esperantists back that one language, they're a
strong and devoted collective. Esperanto non-supporters, so far as I can
see, are scattered among the remaining many languages with new languages
being developed on an ongoing basis. To an outsider, there comes a point
where everyone in the community needs to vote on the one they are willing to
learn and support and promote. I haven't been here long so I'll leverage my
ignorance and guess that the group of learned users on this board represent
a good authority on what languages are worth serious consideration. From
that, rounds of voting until everyone gets to a top choice...(Why is
everyone laughing at me? :P Seems like either that or Nut 'n' Honey.) Top
20, top 10, top 5, top 2, bingo. Even if that means voting for something one
has issues with, Esperanto supporters have issues with that language, but
they're not deal breakers. No doubt people drift away from the community,
but the attraction of numbers and the fact that they're more likely to hear
about Esperanto before any other auxlang would keep the Esperanto flame lit.
I believe there are many ESL learners who wish they had another choice, and
they won't ever have another choice if Esperanto remains the only competing
language and with no promotion at that.
--------------------------------------
So yeah, here's another suggestion to vote for best-of. I read the thread
from 1997 this week. It's a merry-go-round without the merry or painted
horses. I wonder if Bob actually has scars for show-and-tell. At least there
is more than one good language, and people have good reasons for supporting
what they support. Seems to me that Esperanto and Ido are becoming a Mac/PC
duo, without either one being particularly easy or particularly hard, just
'different'.

> Technically, Mondlango is a modification of Ido more than Esperanto,
> though I doubt proponents would admit that.

I've got nothing against Ido except for a lack of combinations like the
correllatives and Mondlango brings those correllatives back. I like them for
the pattern they create but I don't have practical use to back up my view.
I'm puzzled why Ci has a double use in Esperanto. Like he ran out of sounds?
He certainly didn't run out of letters.

The idea of camps is a problem for me. I don't like that proponents of a
language are called ists and painted with a brush that implies they're
expected to be irrationally defensive, offensive and protecting of their
ideology. Whether a language is a derrivative of Thisish or Thatish is only
meaningful to the barking dogs. Its pedigree is useful info only if it
informs the unfamiliar of the language's general character.

> > Esperanto on the other hand could gain something if proposed changes were
> > few and strictly small.

Last week I read the first few chapters of Don Harlow's online book and
within he says Esperanto is a whole unit, cohesive with parts tied together.
If you change one thing, you end up changing a lot of other things, and then
it's no longer just a small edit. So I get that now.

> What specific changes? The usual suggestions (with brief counterarguments) are
> 
> 1. Eliminate the accented letters. This would reduce mnemonicity in many
cases.

I'm ok with reduced mnemonicity. It'd feel more irritating to work around a
diacritic system when typing, or reading statements from others such as
"It's easy to find the font you need." I don't want to have to modify my
computer to type a constructed language, basic ascii characters should be
good enough. The "h" convention is the least troublesome method and I could
live with that if I learned Esperanto. The added h distinguishes words a
bit, and probably adds to mnemonicity to some degree.

> 2. Eliminate the accusative or make it optional. Accusative-marking
> allows free word order, which is stylistically useful. It also
> provides a safety measure for people lapsing into their native word
> order.

I agree with you, I think the safety measure is especially good when
speakers can't trust each other to have precise expression or understanding.

> 3. Eliminate adjectival agreement. Like the accusative, agreement aids
> clarity and frees up word order.

Yep. But the horrible 'n'... Still, in principle it's a good thing and
agreement is something one gets used to I'm sure. If a language dropped it,
it'd need some other way of adding clarity. I don't like the context-only
languages so much because of the extra care needed. But since English relies
a lot on context, at least I understand the added workload.

> 4. Form plurals with -s instead of -j. This would require other
> changes in endings for verbs and the accusative. Technically possible,
> but rather jarring.

That's the problem with his choice of letters, it seems all related to
avoiding confusion in European speakers. Change one thing, you end up
getting weirdness. Like using u^ instead of w because of German.

> The problem is that the creature has already left the lab.

That's true. I'm sure you're right, it's got too much momentum and history
to make a rapid change in alphabet.

> Esperanto is a living language now, so even if the Akademio
> tried mandating a change, it wouldn't work.

I agree, but I wasn't thinking about the Akademio, I was thinking about the
many young speakers who want more people involved and have probably been
speaking for a short time. Phonetically there'd be no change, just in
writing. You've read this all before 100 times, I'm sure. Hence Ido and all
the others.

> Think about the difficulty of reforming
> English spelling. People have tried it for years with little result.
> Even a minor tweak, such as making the accusative optional, would
> provoke strong opposition.

Yep, I think such changes are only possible in languages with a very low
user base, such as Idiom Neutral.

> There are a lot of auxlangs out there; find one you're comfortable
> with and promote it. In the case of at-sight auxlangs such as
> Occidental, you can even slightly tweak an existing one without losing
> intelligibility.

There really are a lot. I've been following Dave's revival of Idiom Neutral
and trying to wrap my head around the practical differences between
Occidental, Novial, and Idiom Neutral. Certainly Idiom Neutral has a very
different sound, but one that seems ok when one attempts pronunciation as
though one were an Italian speaking Latin. And I like the grammar book from
1903. I particularly want Dave to pick 3 grammar points he wants to fix and
fix them. I've seen some people put forth an argument that once you begin to
change a language it dies "the death of 1000 fixes" but why such an extreme?
Why can't the auxlang community recommend a revived language undergo no more
than 3 or 5 changes, a number set from the beginning before even identifying
change number 1? And why not a timeframe? "A change happens in 2 months or
not at all." People have no difficulty setting limits on their activities or
their children's activities ("Ok, you can read for 15 more minutes and then
go to sleep.") and yet the auxlang community cries doom when one suggestion
is made. I'm sure it's because they've seen good languages get buried with
perfectionism and the endless debate. I believe that a set number of fixes
in a set timeframe would help a language be more attractive to later
newcomers, and might gain a larger audience more quickly.

As for perfectionism and the endless debate, cars, airplanes, airports,
public transport, traffic signals, hospitals and police forces would not
exist if perfection was the all-or-nothing proposition. I think Paul says it
well in his essay that a language needs to be good enough and
enthusiastically supported without endless tweaking, but I feel some initial
changes can occur (such as furnishing a pronoun for he, she, neuter,
unspecified, and he-or-unspecified) to make the language flexible and
attractive.

Right now I'm on the fence about supporting Mondlango, Ido, Novial, Idiom
Neutral and Esperanto. Initially my first choice was Novial, because Otto
designed it and took extreme care in doing so. The turn-off for me was it
sounded a little goofy, but I'm now starting to appreciate the ease of
pronunciation. His desire for a 'sonorous' sound resulted in an excessive
payload of vowels. But that's not a good reason to avoid a language, it
seems a fine effort. I only moved on so I could review other languages this
week.

Robert Winter extolled the virtues of Occidental in his blog, and while I
barely managed to get halfway through the pronunciation rules on vowels,
he's writing a book using the language.

Friday I deciced to support Dave's efforts and go with Idiom Neutral, but
I'm waffling at the present moment. However, learning IN would not be a
waste of time since one more easily leads to another anyway. Whether I stay
with it or not it will be very valuable to get used to using a second
language for the first time in my life.

Thanks for answering the post. I was so green a week ago! My, how I've
grown. I've found your discussions and points quite educational.

> Steve

====================================
====================================
> [Paul] 
> Date:	Sat, 4 Dec 2010 16:45:29 -0500
> 
> Welcome to AUXLANG!  Please continue to contribute.

Thanks! Careful what you wish for :)

> You will find that
> volume varies, from one or two messages a day to several dozen a day.

Or one long message that could have been a dozen, hehe.
I don't know how long this is going to be...I've been writing this response
for more than a week now.

> Also, the discussions can vary from bland to heated. :) New blood :) is
> always welcome.

I am prepared for the bleeding :)
 
> As for auxiliary languages, there are (roughly) two types, natIALs
> (natural international auxiliary languages) and conIALs (constructed
> international auxiliary languages).
*snip*
> The latter are consciously constructed languages,
> of which Esperanto is only one of many.

My eyes are seriously bloodshot from how much I've been reading these last
several days. I thought it was pink-eye. So many languages! I just want
one... I don't have a linguistics background, I'm just a guy who wants the
world to speak one auxlang that is *not* English.

> Yes, (con)IALs have often not been taken seriously as "real" languages,
> even though some of them have become real, living languages.  For
> example, there are professional linguists who do not consider them
> "real" languages, considering them "fake" languages.  (There are a few
> exceptions.)

It angers me to know there are only a few exceptions. I ranted to myself at
length recently about this. The three groups of people who should be in
lockstep with the view on auxlangs are translators, linguists, and those who
create the languages. How can a professional linguist, the one who knows all
about language, write off a constructed language as not having the depth to
express what must be expressed? They somehow think it's meant to replace a
mother tongue. Well by the time it got to that stage it'd have morphed like
a natural language to be capable of doing just that. But it's not *supposed*
to replace a mother tongue. How can they not get this simple point? It took
me 10 seconds to 'get it'.

> E-o probably has more active users than those of all
> other conIALs combined, and there are even some native speakers
> (individuals in multilingual households who learned E-o from
> childhood.)

I read your essay 'Thoughts on IAL Success'. I agree with your assessment
that multiple factors contribute to the success of an IAL. The attitude of
the initial supporters is key, the number of speakers gained is key, and the
marketing and translation dispersal is key. History also tells us that it's
important for the initial supporters to not die before the language develops
a crowd. Also, people need to understand why a conIAL is practical and not
pointless work or merely a hobby.

My thoughts are with aid workers, immigrants, emergency responders,
travellers and friends and everybody else. Particularly with third-world
areas where language is a barrier, and emergency response teams may have to
work in 5 different countries with 10 different languages. More practical if
they had even a common pidgin to use, if not a proper auxlang. ESL learners
and the UN and EU could adopt a perfectly servicable auxlang to do
everything they require.

> > Today I found Mondlango, and while it sure looks like a great language, I'm
> > not seeing much activity buzzing about that new offering, though it is
> > young.

Oh, how young and naive I was a week ago.

> When you are around the (con)IAL movement for long, you will learn that
> there are *many* conIALs, most of which are projects that have few
> actual users apart from the author(s).

I've learned that. I saw one guy who made 7 languages, all theoretical
auxlangs for various parts of the world. I'm sure that's not so unusual. But
really, it makes the review process for a language newb really hard, and
dilutes support. If one is fishing for a trout and the lake is stocked with
2000 catfish and 2 trout, one will be discouraged. Anyway, selection process
aside, even if a new language was the very best of all, there'd be no point
in supporting it if it was doomed to be ignored (a built-in catch 22). I
just want one great public language to back up so I don't have to explain to
the uninitiated that the auxlang community is not a mensa club for
argumentative Klingons. I want the internet to make a good auxlang difficult
to not know about; I only discovered auxlangs on my own because I searched
for them. Good marketing behind a "good enough" product can result in
Windows (TM) and like it or not, it works and it's in far more places than
English.

> For over a hundred years there have been proposals to "improve"
> Esperanto.  Nevertheless it has moved far beyond the "project" stage
> and is a living language.  I do not consider myself an E-ist, but I
> acknowledge this fact.

I will acknowledge it too. It's just a tough pill to swallow.

>  As another poster replied, trying to change E-o
> is about like trying to reform English spelling: there have been many
> attempts, but all of them have failed.  At one time I subscribed to
> the usual three objections to Esperanto, but I no longer do.  Given the
> diversity of the world's languages and their orthographic systems
> (particularly in this computer age), I no longer consider these
> objections to be "show stoppers." 

Agreed, not show stoppers, but repellent enough for newcomers to say "wut"
and leave. Like a new social network interface that's hard to use and
confusing and "hardly anyone uses it anyway".

> Yes, I think that there are other
> considerations (which have been addressed in Ido), but I think that E-o
> is a "package deal," take it or leave it.

I completely agree with this point, after what you guys have said, there is
no turning back the page on Esperanto. It shall remain what it is until
natural forces have their way.

> > From my casual review of Esperanto and
> > Mondlango it seems Mondlango is a better idea but too much of a change to
> > thrive without some official backing.
> 
> My personal estimate is that projects such as Mondlango have
> approximately a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding, particularly
> in the light of English, which is the most successful international
> auxiliary language (just not a constructed one) in the entire history
> of the planet.

I see what you're saying. I think for an auxlang to have any chance, it
needs massive support. One choice with good promotion and a clear advantage
for the learner. I think it also needs to be constructed as an
English-biased 3-tier language where each tier targets a particular use. 1st
tier is basic usage, limited grammar and eliminates complexity, 2nd tier is
for science, administration and business and contains the
lowest-common-denominator of grammar constructions required by this group,
3rd tier is for literature and translation, both live and written, and
contains a more complex set of allowable constructs with a superset of
grammar from various languages, to aid accurate translation providing the
most options for the translator. I'm in favor of an English-biased
vocabulary to give people an incentive for learning it, so that they'll have
something very useful to carry forward into ESL studies if they choose to do
that.

Are you of the mind that there is no point in even thinking that an auxlang
can compete with English? Your essay implies not, but some of your posts
push me back to the question.

I recently read that last year Esperanto was starting to get pushed onto the
adgendas of the UN and EU by non-government types. So Esperanto might yet
have a chance to make its mark officially, if not globally. Then again,
politics being what it is, and Esperanto being what it is, one might ask
oneself how likely its adoption really is.

> Sorry, but that is my honest opinion after having been
> around the IAL field for many years.  (Of course, there are many
> constructed languages which are not designed or intended to be
> auxiliary languages as such.  They tend to be discussed on the sister
> CONLANG mailing list.  Just don't bring up auxlangs there.)

I've heard about CONLANG. They eat babies and speak Evilish, right? Or is it
Elvish...

> Yes, many newcomers tend to propose "small changes" to Esperanto, but
> people have been proposing "small changes" for well over a century.

I didn't think I was very original ;>

> Apart from Ido, none of these "small changes" have gone *anywhere*, and
> in the meantime E-o continues on its merry way.  Again, don't get me
> wrong.  I am not an active Esperantist, but I am willing to face facts. 
> If it is a matter of Esperanto, or *no* conIAL, I will support E-o.

Yes, exactly my view. I'm no more an Esperantist than I am an Employmentist.
I just want something that will get used that isn't English.

> For all its faults (and I consider that is has them), E-o is
> considerably more regular and easier to learn and use than many/most
> natural languages, including English for non-native learners/speakers.

I've been practicing the basic words. It's sinking in, slowly. But I'm
probably switching to a different auxlang to learn first instead. I can't
decided which one, but Idiom Neutral has caught my attention with Dave's
determination to focus on that one language. Novial keeps calling my name,
Ido stands quietly, staring a hole in me, and Mondlango looks up at me like
a bright-eyed child, begging for handouts in the street.

> > very surprised by the exclusion of any noticeable content covering the true
> > usefulness of an auxiliary language.  [...]
> 
> However, please understand that her book was not supposed to be about
> auxiliary languages as such, as least as I understand it, so that the
> scope was not exclusively about conIALs as such.

Oh. Well that puts a different spin on it.

>  Therefore, within the
> scope of a short book, she was not trying to cover everything about
> constructed languages, including auxiliary languages.  There might have
> been things left out with regard to supporters of a conIAL ideal.

Yeah I really didn't see anything included about why people propose them and
what they're good for. On her wanderings through the language section of her
university library she found conlangs way beyond the obscure tribal
languages: "...a few lonely shelves of faded plastic flowers, the artificial
languages. The Klingon Dictionary was here, among other books on languages I
had never heard of...These were not lighthearted language games,...They were
invented on purpose,...They were testaments not to the wonder of nature but
to the human impulse to master nature. They were deliberate, painstakingly
crafted attempts to tame language by making it more orderly, more rational,
less burdened with inconsistencies and irregularities. There were hundreds
of them. And they were all failures, dead in the water, spoken by no one."

Well, with press like that, how can auxlangs fail? Trying to tame nature?
More like trying to tell a taxi driver in Uganda where you're going. Or
asking a child in Pakistan what hurts. Or having a conversation with a
Francophone in a neutral language because neither of you wishes to learn the
other's language.

Most people don't need the wondrous and colorful tapestry of human language
to ask for directions to the loo. But when you want to ask about the loo,
you want to be understood. This point requires little effort to make and
would have amounted to a paragraph.

> > In addition to first-world use, I also see value for areas where education
> > is limited but the need for communication and cooperation is large.
> 
> Still, it is likely, so far as I know, that not everyone who uses an
> auxiliary language is someone literate who has gone to school.  To the
> best of my knowledge (subject to correction), there may be many
> completely illiterate people in east Africa who effectively use Swahili
> as an auxiliary language.

True, I didn't consider a situation where they'd adopt a natural common
language for a 2nd language. From reading posts and other internety things,
it's not uncommon.

An article I read in National Geographic has stuck in my mind. A small tribe
of about 1000 people who speak a language not found anywhere else on earth
had no expression for durations of time. I don't think they even have
numbers. And linguists say auxlangs aren't adequate to express human
thought...I'm sure all of the ones I reviewed so far can express "tomorrow"
and "at 9:44 am" and 3.1415.

Thanks for the points of thought, this week has been a real education for me
in the auxlang world.

> Paul Bartlett

====================================
====================================
> [Jens]
> Date:	Sun, 5 Dec 2010 16:12:33 +0900
> 
> Others have mentioned the opposition that people have toward auxlangs
> as "fake." There is certainly an element of that, but I think there is
> also a lot of what you call "casual dismissal." And it's
> understandable. For example, if you were thinking of considering
> learning a new language, you'd probably consider Chinese or Arabic
> before you considered, say, Azerbaijani or Maltese, simply because
> learning those big languages open many doors for speaking to people.

Definitely.

> So the real issue is, is the simplicity of an auxlang enough to make
> it preferable to English, which is spoken by so many people?

I understand. I feel that any language that wants to stand up to English
must possess 2 characteristics:
1) It must make English vocabulary (and perhaps grammar) easier to recognize
for those who may want to later learn English as a second language, that is,
it must bill itself as both a useful tool and a stepping stone. If it's
nominally SVO that brings basic English grammar one step closer.
2) It must be designed with 3 generalized target groups in mind, each with a
suitable level of difficulty wherein each lower level is a subset of the
next higher level. 1=basic, 2=science/business, 3=art/literature

> So in a
> sense, that is a simple problem that we have to confront. We have to
> convince people that it's worthwhile to learn a language that will not
> allow you (at present) to communicate with as many people as you can
> with English or some other major language.

This is very true. I mentioned earlier in this post that in marketing the
language, it might be helpful on a local level to provide people with some
real tangible benefit as an excuse to learn even a sentence or two. The idea
of a business owner giving a deal to people who order in the language,
however simply, or a public festival having a show you can attend only by
speaking the correct passphrase at the door are both ideas where the public
gains an actual benefit, and it opens an opportunity for people to get
involved (and receive a nice pamphlet). Naturally neither one of those two
scenarios would be designed to be exclusionary, it'd be intended to invite
people to pretty much read the phrase they're given to win the 'prize'.

I'll expand on my ideas in a separate post.

I had a look at Neo Patwa and I like the way you put that together. The
pidgin concept is very valuable. In a three-tier language, the most basic
level would include a pidgin grammar so people could communicate basic
ideas, carrying only a wallet-sized card for guidance. Heck, I bet a pidgin
could even be subject to a smartphone application since the grammar is
probably easy to parse. It would rely on a basic understanding of the
grammar, and a reasonably capable voice recognition system to speak the
translated pidgin.

Anyway, I'm blathering. I've had fun learning from you and the other guys on
here. Reading posts was a very good introduction to the community dynamic.

> -- 
> Jens Wilkinson
> Neo Patwa (patwa.pbwiki.com)

====================================
====================================
> [Risto]
> Date:	Tue, 7 Dec 2010 11:16:40 +0200

> > Jens Wilkinson wrote:
> > Others have mentioned the opposition that people have toward auxlangs
> > as "fake." There is certainly an element of that, but I think there is
> > also a lot of what you call "casual dismissal." And it's
> > understandable. For example, if you were thinking of considering
> > learning a new language, you'd probably consider Chinese or Arabic
> > before you considered, say, Azerbaijani or Maltese, simply because
> > learning those big languages open many doors for speaking to people.

> Also usually people learn new languages on demand. If you are going to
> live in Azerbaijan or Malta then learning their languages makes sense.
> Learning a language because it might be useful is not very convincing or
> compelling reason. Everybody knows that learning a foreign language would
> open new doors for them, yet very few people begin to learn new ones in
> adulthood, be it natural or constructed.

Well that makes sense. And the world has examples of people who live their
lives next to others of a different language without ever learning the
other. I never really expect the global IAL idea to include 100% of the
population, but just the maximum percentage of people who definitely need to
learn another language, plus the number of people who might learn it as
mandatory in school or as an introduction to learning a foreign language.
There are lots of native English speakers who can't be bothered learning to
speak English properly, let alone learn a different language.

> Then think about the supply side: Natlang courses are offered in almost
> every school and other educational institute in the world. Only a handful
> of them offer also auxlang courses.

Yes but I'd like to see that change from the inside out *and* from the
outside in...the adult population creating the demand for auxlang courses
while the powers that be introduce the same auxlang to children in school.
If the auxlang was a good stepping stone toward English, then that would
create a demand for learning, if the language was also useful in its own right.

> Auxlangs would be very popular if they were given an equal chance with
> natlangs. But that chance won't be given. It has to be earned.

Well that's true. But part of that is earned simply by being somewhat worthy
of the attention. That is, the usefulness creates some worthiness which is
'pre-earned' so to speak.

Thanks for commenting Risto!

> Best regards,
> Risto Kupsala
> auxlang designer

====================================
====================================
> [Anvarzhon]
> Date:	Tue, 7 Dec 2010 15:33:16 +0100

> it seems that this is one of the posts where AUXLANG subscribers leave
> their opions by and large, so I decided to throw my 2 cents onto
> discussion board.

Thanks! I was hoping that's what my post would encourage. All of these
responses were important for sending my thoughts in the right direction to
guide my further investigation into Auxlandia.

> I agree with most of the answers about "whole
> package" nature of Esperanto, and that its flaws are obviously things
> to admit rather than to change, and I think that no auxlang will ever
> succeed any better than E-o, regardless the quality.

Perhaps but I'd love to hope for better.

> It makes me sad as anyone else on this list.

I'm right there with you in the sad department. But I'm still foolishly hopeful.

> Any significant shift in wide public's
> opinion on auxlangs is possible when enough people will simply learn
> that these languages exist, without any idealogical bias. Just like
> you just did. When 500 million people are AWARE of existence of nice
> artificial languages and at least 10 million can appreciate their
> beauty as_a_language, then it will create additional opportunities for
> auxlangs to thrive at least as art projects.

Yes, I agree. That seed must be nurtured, but only the tree bears fruit. I
think a large organization could provide something of a tipping point, and
would lend a lot of legitimacy and publicity where misconceptions and
dismissal currently abound. Hey, just imagine if JUSTIN BIEBER promoted an
auxlang that he could use to communicate with fans. You want 10 million
followers of Ido? Get Justin Bieber speaking Ido. Then you will have 10
million teenage girls speaking Ido, and loving it because their parents have
no idea what they're saying. Then their parents will HAVE to learn it to
understand what their kids are writing to each other, and talking about on
the phone. Because parents need to know.

> The reality is that even AUXLANGer does not invent his own language or
> two, he will study tens on already existing projects just out of his
> curiousity. When this will be as interesting to even tiny fraction of
> people who spend their time on videogames, the idea would spread.

Yep.

> Nowadays, I can see that next to courses of some particular language,
> the generic "courses for learnign any languages" will emerge, and this
> is a huge opportunity for auxlangers to share their wisdom with
> people. However, in most cases it will be a clash between proponents
> of different auxlangs to become the most used/best language to show
> didactic methods. Unfortunately, our world of constructed languages is
> very fragile and we need some unifying ideology for adepts of all
> languages.

To an outsider like me, the unifying ideaology should be "Pick the best one
in the lot that serves science and literature, add room for a pidgin, make
no more than 3 additional changes, publish in exactly 1 year from project
start, lock that sucker down allowing only vocabulary additions for 10 years
minimum. Promote, market, sell, and generally expose the language using any
tasteful means possible. And finally, GET JUSTIN BIEBER ON THE PHONE." :)

Thanks for offering your thoughts, I really appreciate it!

====================================
====================================

-- Lang Newb

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December 2004, Week 5
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December 2004, Week 3
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December 2003, Week 5
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December 2003, Week 3
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October 2003, Week 5
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October 2003, Week 1
September 2003, Week 5
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January 2003, Week 1
December 2002, Week 5
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December 2002, Week 1
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November 2002, Week 1
October 2002, Week 5
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October 2002, Week 1
September 2002, Week 5
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November 2001, Week 3
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November 2001, Week 1
October 2001, Week 5
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October 2001, Week 3
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October 2001, Week 1
September 2001, Week 5
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September 2001, Week 1
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August 2001, Week 1
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June 2001, Week 5
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April 2001, Week 5
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April 2001, Week 3
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April 2001, Week 1
March 2001, Week 5
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March 2001, Week 3
March 2001, Week 2
March 2001, Week 1
February 2001, Week 4
February 2001, Week 3
February 2001, Week 2
February 2001, Week 1
January 2001, Week 5
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January 2001, Week 3
January 2001, Week 2
January 2001, Week 1
December 2000, Week 5
December 2000, Week 4
December 2000, Week 3
December 2000, Week 2
December 2000, Week 1
November 2000, Week 5
November 2000, Week 4
November 2000, Week 3
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November 2000, Week 1
October 2000, Week 5
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December 1999, Week 5
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December 1998, Week 5
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December 1997, Week 5
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