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Leo adds: Don believes the problem to be political. But
I was specifically trying to see if there was a linguistic
aspect to Europe's communication needs. Those Auxlangers
in Europe would have a feel for this, it seems to me.

--- On Thu 06/24, Donald J. HARLOW < [log in to unmask] > wrote:

>>From: Donald J. HARLOW [mailto: [log in to unmask]]
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 15:48:53 -0700
Subject: Re: Europe's focus

DON>>Je 10.51 atm 2004.06.23, Leo skribis

>One question for the type of interlanguage that the
>European Union might favor would relate to the focus
>of that Union (in terms of communication needs).
>
>Is the need one of intercommunication among the
>current members of the Union? If so, a narrowly
>Latinate language might well be best, Interlingua or
>Occidental for example. But something like Novial
>(with some Germanic) might also be logical.
>
>Is the need one of intercommunication among
>Europeans in general, including possible future
>members of the Union? In that case a somewhat
>more broadly-based Eurocentric language would
>be best, something like Esperanto and its reforms
>and derivatives. This would include more Slavic
>and less Spanish/Portuguese.

DON>>Actually, you might want to look at the second
>>possibility in terms of the _current_ and not future
>>situation, since a large number of Eastern
>>European states joined the EU -- when? last month?

Leo adds: That is precisely what I have had in mind.
Will the new states and possible future ones, dictate
a somewhat different kind of "Eurocentrism" than that
once evidenced in projects like Occidental and IALA
Interlingua?

>Is Europe's need one of not only communication
>among Europeans but with the world? I.E., is the
>Union's focus to be extroverted, not introverted?
>Outward as well as inward? In that case, the
>considerations of global communication rise in
>importance. Non Eurocentric approaches are then
>called for. Even the mix of European considerations
>will change. English will be much more of a consideration
>than German, Spanish and Portuguese greatly rise
>in significance, French some as well. This indicates
>a very different mix than the other alternatives.

DON>>There's a fundamental distinction between Europe's
>>decision as to what language to use internally and what
>>language to use externally.

Leo adds: But would not an IAL designed for Europe and
which was officially accepted (then widely taught and
used throughout Europe) automatically become a primary
candidate for a global IAL? Wouldn't it become a popular
alternative to English, various former colonial languages
(like Portuguese in parts of Africa), and other IAL
projects in the larger world?

DON>>For internal use, Europe can make that decision
>>without reference to the outside world (unless, as
>>seems more likely, it simply decides to let
>>history take whatever course it wants to take).

Leo adds: But does Europe see it to be in its interest
to make its decisions "without reference to the outside
world?"

DON>>For external use, Europe cannot make that decision
>>unilaterally; it must work in concert with other
>>nations in other parts of the world. Same caveat
>>applies, of course.

Leo adds: Can (or should) external use be thought of
as differing from internal use? We are talking about
communication needs.

DON>>In either case, the problem is _not_ how
>>Eurocentric the language is, but how much
>>favored it is by the decision makers.

Leo adds: If a bunch of political decision-makers
were to sit down in a back room and design an IAL
do you think that the result would be other than
ludicrous?

DON>>At the moment, English occupies the position of
>>most-favored language, throughout the world, among
>>that decision-making class. Its biggest disadvantage
>>is that, without universality (i.e., being the _only_
>>language in use in the world), it will always end
>>up being relegated to sixth-class position among
>>non-native speakers because it's so hard to learn.

Leo adds: A good point, but _sixth_ class may be a bit
too low IMO.

DON>>In a class-stratified world, of course, that's not
>>so important. Still, if Esperanto, Interlingua or Ts.
>>Bold's Ya-Zu

Leo adds: Ya-Zu seems to have replaced Volapuk as the
Esperantist "horror language." Yet I can find little
about it. It seems to occupy a position similar to the
"matahari strawman" (my name for Mario Pei's mishmash
semi-Asiatic language.) Ya-Zu, created by a Mongol from
Far Eastern language material, may be just as unlikely
an IAL. But I have not seen any details or samples. Does
anyone have any real data on Ya-Zu?

>>intends to occupy any significant position
>>in the world, the big job is not to create a more
>>linguistically equitable language but to convince
>>either the decision makers or _all_ the lower class
>>to support and learn it.

Leo adds: Interesting comment, but I don't see class
analysis of the problem as resolving any real strategies.
Didn't Glosa have a sort of socialist agenda? Languages
are not learned by the masses or by classes. They are
learned by individual human beings who see an advantage
in the time spent. Consider how many poor kids in Nigeria
speak several language. It's a way to get ahead.

DON>>In other words, the problem is not primarily a
>>linguistic one but a political one. -- Don HARLOW

Leo adds: Is it possible that Europe would select a
constructed Euro-language only because it needs a
rallying point for a new Euro-patriotism -- either
ignoring the rest of the world, or as a foil against
it? This is the type of question I wanted to raise.
I don't know the answer.




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