Print

Print


On 3/17/07, Todd Moody <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On 3/16/07, Wayne S. Rossi <[log in to unmask] > wrote:
>
> >   And we can throw in the
> > very obvious grammatical issues, such as the
> > accusative and the adjectival accord, which are pretty
> > well covered by most critics of the language, no
> > matter how many times Esperanto partisans come out to
> > defend them.
>
> There is something peculiar about the logic here.  The mere fact that
> critics tend to pick on these two items (for example) says nothing at all
> about whether the criticisms are warranted.  The way you've stated this, the
> implication is that the critics are objective, but the defenders are
> "partisans," i.e., not objective.  If we state things in less loaded
> language, we simply have the fact that the accusative and adjectival accord
> have critics and defenders.  There is nothing in the critics' status as
> critics that makes them more objective.  If I said, "Critics keep trotting
> out the same tired criticisms, no matter how many times Esperantists refute
> them," you'd no doubt find the language just as loaded.
>

This is an attempt to make everything relative and to assume that
everybody is consciously biased a priori. The fact is that it *is*
possible to make objective criticisms against Esperanto or against any
other proposal. It is a matter of assessing whether a feature or a set
of features is suboptimal in learnability and usability.

If everything were relative, as the argument implies, then I could
design a language which contained a more complex cases than Latin and
discard any criticisms because they are not "objective".

The fact that most critics insist on the same points -- and no good
defense has been created so far -- is at least a symptom that there
may be something which isn't as good as it could be. We cannot simply
discard the opinion of the critics as if they were "bad-intentioned
enemies of the cause".

> The critics, however, believe that whatever benefits there
> might be to these properties are outweighed by other benefits that are
> promoted by their absence.  This is a difference in *priorities*, and that's
> why it is so persistent.  There is no simple way to resolve differences in
> priorities.
>

How do we compare two software programs? There is no simple way to
compare two programs. The area of software quality assessment keeps
evolving, as you can check for yourself in the annals of conferences
about software quality. However, the non-existence of a simple way to
do it does not prevent people and companies from comparing programs in
order to perform multimillion dollar acquisitions. They are inevitably
constrained to define priorities. A similar complexity would be found
in comparing human languages to assess the accomplishment of certain
quality criteria.

The fact that it is hard to perform assessments does not mean we have
to bury the head in the sand. We do have to find a reasonable way to
assess quality of languages. I believe that one of the main objectives
of this list is to discuss ways for doing it. Undoubtely, with each
comment, there has been some progress. Many things are a tedious
repetition of what has been said, but a few times a nice, brand new
idea pops up.

>
> Where accusative markers of some sort are not used, word order must be more
> restricted.

Accusative case is not the only possible solution to achieve flexible
word order.

>
> What most Esperantists believe (I believe) is that, given any Esperanto
> reform proposal you like, the probability that it will result in a loss of
> momentum of Esperanto, resulting from quarrels and factions, is greater than
> the probability that it will result in a gain of momentum.
>

This is a good argument for not making reforms at this moment, because
it is a pragmatical argument based on knowledge on how Politics and
human social interactions work. I agree with you.

But it is not an argument for discarding the criticisms as if they
were invalid. They *are* valid; it is just that, for tactical reasons,
we cannot currently make reforms in the language. But the criticisms
will not disappear because of it. That small stone inside the shoe
cannot be removed at this moment, as it is an inevitable consequence
of the (good) political decision of not making reforms.

> Look at the history.  The Idists believed, and still believe, that
> Esperanto's flaws were holding Esperanto back, and that fixing them would
> allow it to succeed.  A large number of Esperantists agreed with them, but
> most did not.  Ido has had a century to persuade both the Esperanto world
> and the rest of the world that it is a superior IAL.

I agree. Popularity does not depend only on technical factors.
Marketability factors, history and resources to promote the language
also play very important roles.

>
> Personally, even though I'm happy with Esperanto as it is, if things were to
> go the way you expect them to, I'd support the reformed language.  That is,
> if the EU or UN were to decide to endorse and *use* some reformed version of
> Esperanto, be it Ido or some Eo-Ido hybrid or whatever, I'd consider that
> such an important step forward that I'd learn and use that language, and do
> what I could to promote it.
>

This is a pragmatical position. I would act the same way as you would.
Unfortunately, not everybody thinks the same way as us.

Antonielly Garcia Rodrigues