> Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 15:41:27 -0800 > From: "Donald J. HARLOW" <[log in to unmask]> > Subject: Re: The most important auxlang task > > Andrew Nowicki skribis je 2006.02.20 2.29 ptm... > > > > PS. Borrowing words from natural languages has > > negligible impact on the effort of learning the > > auxlang vocabulary because: > > 1. No natural language is spoken by more than > > 20% of the global population. > > 2. It is not clear which language the particular > > word was borrowed from. For example, in Polish > > language the word "pies" means dog, the word > > "but" means shoe, "kit" means putty and > > "lot" means flight. > > I'd love to agree with you on this, but for some languages of the > "naturalistic" school this isn't much of a problem. It would > be a really > unusual student of Interlingua, for instance, who would not be aware > that the language contained words taken primarily from a set > of four or > five relatively compatible Romance languages, not from Polish > or Chinese > or Zulu. Consequently, on encountering a new word the student > would be > well aware that it was considerably more likely to come from Iberian > (Spanish or Portuguese) than from Polish. The words of Interlingua are therefore highly recognizable to a large group although it is true that the scales are tipped heavily almost entirely in favor of those with Latin-Romance backgrounds. In a language with a greater mix of influences, I would expect many students to recognize less vocabulary, but a greater number of students will find some vocabulary which they already know so that the scales are more balanced. > > 3. To make sure that you do not offend anyone, > > you have to borrow the same number of words > > from each natural language. This means that > > the probability that an auxlang word is > > familiar to a person learning the auxlang > > is a small fraction of one percent. > > > Once again I will emphasize that the vast majority of people in the > world don't really care about such things. If you somehow manipulate > your vocabulary to avoid offending the tiny minority of > people who _do_ > worry about them ... well, never mind, you're probably going > to offend > at least as many people in some other way. (For instance, if > you include > the familiar/singular of "you" you're going to offend one group of > people; and if you omit it, you're going to offend some other > group of > people; and odds on, each of these two groups is going to be > larger than > the group of people who will be offended by a "non-neutral" > vocabulary.) This is true. There are many tradeoffs to consider when designing an auxlang. However some features can be added or omitted with little or no undesireable side effects.