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On Mon, 24 Jul 2000, Paul O Bartlett wrote:

>     Planned auxiliary langugages are much too important to be left to
> professional linguists, and they are much too important to be left to
> sloppy dilettantes.

    When I wrote this I was half in jest and half serious, and I wanted
to see what kinds of reactions I might get.

    As for the latter clause, I mean that one rather seriously.  Now I
myself am not a professional linguist, but I have noticed a sloppiness
in some writing by some advocates of this or that IAL: incorrect use of
decriptive terminology (I had to correct myself recently), assertion of
assumptions which are dubious at best, contamination from one's own
language as if they are somehow supposed to be language universals
("the way the mind naturally thinks" and such claptrap), tying a conIAL
into socio-political positions which may alienate some otherwise
potential users, and similar sloppiness which, in a sort of guilt by
association, may cause some people not only to take a particular conIAL
seriously but also to dismiss conIALs in general as the work of
crackpots.

    As for the professional linguists, certainly they may have input
into the process.  But I think it is a delusion that some allegedly
"more perfect" conIAL conjured up by theoreticians will somehow
magically have more likelihood of acceptance just because it has been
cooked up by professionals.  Although, in my opinion, characterictics
of any one conIAL may tend to work *against* its acceptance and use,
but barring any glaring problems, in the end acceptance and use of a
conIAL will *not* entirely depend on its linguistic characteristics,
no matter how "perfect."  Look at English: the most successful
international auxiliary language in world history to date, and how
"perfect" is it?

--
Paul                             mailto:[log in to unmask]
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Paul O. Bartlett, P.O. Box 857, Vienna, VA 22183-0857, USA
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