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James Chandler wrote:

> Following on from my recent posts on Edward Sapirs contribution to the IAL
> movement, here is the section on IALs from his article Language in the 1933
> Encyclopedia of Social Sciences (New York, Macmillan):
>
> "The logical necessity of an international language in modern times is in
> strange contrast to the indifference and even opposition with which most
> people consider its possibility.  The attempts so far made to solve this
> problem, of which Esperanto has probably had the greatest measure of
> practical success, have not affected more than a very small proportion of
> the people whose international interest and needs might have led to a desire
> for a simple and uniform means of international expression, at least for
> certain purposes.  It is in the less important countries of Europe, such as
> Czechoslovakia, that Esperanto has been moderately successful, and for
> obvious reasons.

Aside from presenting a lot of canned food I am a bit surprised that he
mentioned Czechoslovakia of all possible countries. In the thirties Esperanto
was relatively successful in all those countries that had developed industry
and a group of relatively well educated people who had learnt how to study in
their schools. So a lot of people were taking part in study groups etc. That's
what it was like in Sweden and I think in Germany and Hungary as well.

Foreign languages studies have always been very prominent in Czechoslovakia.
There is even a Prague school of philology.

The smaller countries are of course where you will find an interest in an
international language. The Population there knows what it takes to learn
languages and that you cannot be without them. You are a zero if you don't
know, that is the harsh truth.

> The opposition to an international language has little logic or psychology
> in its favor.  The supposed artificiality of such a language as Esperanto or
> any of the equivalent languages that have been proposed is absurdly
> exaggerated, for in sober truth there is practically nothing in these
> languages that is not taken from the common stock of words and forms which
> have gradually developed in Europe.

Did he know what he was speaking about? For a person like me who learnt
Esperanto as a first foreign language this was no problem. That's what you will
see with persons who know one or more western languages. They will often object
to what they see in Esperanto. "This can't be", the refrain goes, and they
often block themselves. I have taught Esperanto in a circle once so I know of
this from first hand.

> Any consciously constructed international language has to deal with the
> great difficulty of not being felt to represent a distinctive people or
> culture.  Hence the learning of it is of very little symbolic significance
> for the average person, who remains blind to the fact that such a language,
> easy and regular as it inevitably must be, would solve many of his
> educational and practical difficulties at a single blow.

The problem as I see it is that with a language like Esperanto you will need a
very strong backing in eloquence and persuasive capacity. Esperanto needs a
strong lobby organization.

More self spreading languages like Interlingua or Occidental or even Latine
sinf Flexione should be preferred.

Interlingua will well be a hi-jacked Occidental, but it's being used. That's
the difference.

Cellus