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AUXLANG  September 2014, Week 4

AUXLANG September 2014, Week 4

Subject:

Re: Word recognition was RE: Good reasons to use diacritics

From:

Stephen Rice <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

International Auxiliary Languages <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 23 Sep 2014 06:16:31 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (108 lines)

On 9/22/14, Leo Moser <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Three questions come to me (Leo).
> I think IAL designer(s) must first decide:
>
> 1. What do we mean by a-posteriori, i.e., what IS the
> "posteriori" (or basis) that we have in mind? Is it Latin?
> Greco-Latin? Modern Romance? Enlightenment French?
> Wensa? Enansa? English? All languages ever spoken?
> All languages that are currently spoken, considering
> population? Some key set of (say) five languages?
> Anything else?

Limits are needed; otherwise we are effectively dealing with an
a-priori project that lacks the peculiar advantages of such an
approach.

> 2. How important is "word recognition" RIGHT OFF,
> (i.e., prior to any study, even a look at the alphabet)?
> Is the very first sight of the language what will sell it?

No--but it may easily disqualify it. Let's leave the ivory towers and
consider the real world for a moment.

I once traded story critiques with another writer. In one of my
stories, a character uses a phrase in Indonesian. This produced no
comment. In another story, phrases in Esperanto show up. This did
provoke a comment, namely that the Esperanto was "gibberish." Now, the
question is, was the Indonesian more intelligible--less like
gibberish--than the Esperanto? I doubt it. So why was Esperanto
condemned for something that Indonesian--technically just as
guilty--was not?

The annoying answer is that Esperanto is an "international" or
"universal" language, which to the ordinary person means it is
immediately intelligible. I have encountered this same idea elsewhere;
it is as common as it is ridiculous. And there is no point in trying
to explain the error.

Now, if you cannot directly overcome an obstacle, you might as well
use it to your advantage, and in this case that means giving people
what they expect: an immediately intelligible language. It can't be
immediately intelligible to everyone, of course, but most of the
people whose prejudices must be overcome know at least some English,
so you leverage English. This answers question 1, above: design
initially for people who know some English but may not feel
comfortable using it actively.

Wouldn't this mean that, if successful, (for example) Inlis would
become the de facto global language? Of course not: history gives us
many instances of initial successes and monopolies that did not remain
such. The immediate goal is to get some auxlang accepted as a real
language, a viable solution to language problems. After that, we
extend the new perception from "Okay, immediately intelligible
auxlangs are real" to "Esperanto isn't immediately intelligible, but
it's still real." Once Esperanto is accepted as real, LdP, Pandunia,
etc. have a chance--but not before, which is why worldlangers need to
promote Esperanto.

> 3. Isn't the very idea of "word recognition" closely
> tied to who you want as your first-wave users??

You're tempting me to say "Duh" here. Of course it is. And it's
important to have first-wave users, or you will lack second-wave
users. But many auxlangers concentrate on hundredth-wave users
instead.

> So if you have long-term 'worldlangish' ideas, something
> like xampu or xampuna might be just fine.

And "long term" here means the hundredth wave, which spontaneously
generates without the first 99. Or at least it assumes that
immediately intelligible auxlangs and Esperanto have already gained
general acceptance.

> If you are aiming at second-language English (or Wensa)
> users, maybe "shampoo." If Francophones are key: then
> champu or the like (think of Novial).
>
> The above questions are IMO key design considerations.
>
> Focus on this:
> Is the very first sight of the language what will sell it?

Wrong question. It should be, "Is the firs