On Thu, 30 Aug 2001 18:08:07 -0700, Samuel Rivier <[log in to unmask]>


>When I say naturalistic I mean it in the etymological
>sense. An IAL must mimic as closely as possible normal
>linguistic patterns. That is another of my beefs with
>the lojban place-value system.
>To quote Richard K. Harrison (Author of "Proposed
>Guidelines for the Deveolpment of an Optimal IAL"),
>"Europe has never really been the center of
>civilization, and is even less so now."
>I have a serious problem with Euroclones because I
>think there is a serious misconception about the
>population of European language speakers (not
>necessarily native, mind you).
>Mandarin Chinese numbers at about 1 billion, English
>at about 1.3 billion. I think we can agree that a
>Hindi speaker will have about as limited a capability
>of learning a Western European language as any
>non-European, so that adds 800 million. Add Arabic and
>maybe Malay to that and you number about 2.5 to 3
>billion speakers of non IE languages, over HALF THE
>All West European speakers combined can't come near
>this number. This goes to show how "universal"
>Euroclones really can be.

Generally speaking, proponents of Ia completely accept this argument, but
put a different spin on it. One version runs roughly like this: The idea
that we could establish a universal IAL by having everyone study a simple,
neutral IAL for a couple of months has certain logic to it but is clearly
utopian. For the immediate future it has virtually no hope of working,
Esperanto notwithstanding. So, what might work? A language that can be
widely understood at a useful level without previous study might find a
niche for itself. It will not be universal IAL as envisioned by Zamenhof
and others; it will be used by people to whom it is useful, for purposes
for which it is useful. However, this does not mean it's primarily an
auxiliary language for romance speakers to speak among themselves (an idea
that, IMO, is misconceived) or that it's intended to excluded non-
Westerners (on the contrary, it has great potential as an introduction to
Western languages and language communities -- realistically speaking, to
languages/lang. communities *other than English*).

BTW, Alexander Gode argued that Eo failed the test of universality (despite
its universalist ideology) in part because of Rule 15:

"The so-called FOREIGN WORDS, i.e. those taken by the majority of languages
from one source, are used in Esperanto without change, taking on only the
orthography of this language; but for different words from a single root it
is better to use without change only the basic word, and form the rest from
this latter according to the rules of Esperanto."

He pointed out that, in practice, "the majority of languages" always meant
the majority of European languages. I'd be interested in knowing whether
this has changed over the last 50 years, i.e., whether contemporary Eo has
adopted roots from, e.g., Chinese or Japanese, other than esperanticised
versions of "sushi", "fengshui", and the like.