On Sat, 17 Mar 2007 12:49 am, [log in to unmask] wrote:
> These are under constant criticism because they are a constant problem
> for students.  I often wonder why anyone bothers to defend them.

I grant that the use of the accusative is a problem for many, for 
reasons that I indicated in another post.  I'm not aware that adjectival 
accord is a problem for many though.  The reasons for defending them are 
also stated in that other post.

> The problems *do* far outweigh the benefits in these cases so there is
> clearly a valid complaint. Leaving features in place which gain little
> and give up much is obviously a bad choice of priorities then.

How has it been shown that by retaining these features we gain little 
and give up much?

> First
> and foremost, IAL's like this claim to be easy to learn and easy to 
> use,
> yet these are features that are obstacles for many.

Where are the data that show that adjectival accord is an obstacle for 
many?  And in the case of the accusative, where are the data that show 
that it is more of an obstacle than alternative systems?  How do we know 
these things?

>>  Where accusative markers of some sort are not used, word order must be
> more
>>  restricted.
> Not a problem.  Every language has some type of word order anyway.

Indeed, but the point is that the word order they have varies, and it is 
an obstacle to have to get used to unfamiliar word order.  What makes 
this obstacle preferable to the accusative obstacle?  I am not arguing 
that the accusative is better, only that it has not been shown to be 

>>  If accusative markers are to be used only some of the time, then the
>>  rule for their usage is somewhat more complicated.
> Not really, just use them when the standard order is broken, or 
> whenever
> needed for extra clarity.

That entails that one must keep track of whether the standard word 
order, which may itself be an obstacle for some, is broken, and that 
necessity will be a further obstacle for some.  This solution trades 
obstacles, it seems to me, but your view is that it reduces them.  How 
can this be shown?

>>   Ido's rule is an example.  It
>>  has never been proven that one way of doing things is objectively
> "better", and
>>  it's doubtful that there is any such fact of the matter to be proven.
> It's not necessarily better, but it is certainly doesn't present the
> learning obstacle that the forced "-n" causes.

How do you know this?

> I, for one, am one of
> those that does have trouble getting used to the accusative marker
> because we don't mark it in English except for some pronouns.

I'm a native English speaker too.  I've never had much trouble with the 
accusative.  I've had more trouble with remembering transitivity and 

> This is a
>>  "useful purpose."  Is it a sufficient justification of adjectival
> accord?  That,
>>  again, is a question of priorities.
> It is useful, but again it's only a small benefit.  Many languages, 
> like
> the one I'm using here, get along just fine without it.

What is the justification for assuming that an auxlang is better off 
without any property that a natlang lacks?  Do auxlangs and natlangs 
function in precisely the same way?

They don't.

An auxlang, unlike a natlang, must function among people whose L1 habits 
diverge significantly.  This divergence is a problem that natlangs don't 
routinely face, and should be considered in auxlang design.  This is a 
good reason to favor a higher level of redundancy than what natlangs can 
get away with.

> The bad side of it is having
> to sit and repeat adjective-nouns combinations over and over again 
> until
> the idea becomes ingrained into ones mind which means many more hours 
> of
> learning drills.

I am skeptical that agreement of adjectives is as difficult for many as 
you suggest.

> Had E-istoj accepted reforms early on, there may not have been Ido or
> any of the Euroclones that followed and it may have even more momentum
> than it has today with additional (and possibly more enthusiastic)
> supporters.

A large number of esperantists *did* accept the Ido reforms, including a 
good chunk of the Esperanto "leaders."  Ido had a really good start.  
Despite that, Ido failed to flourish.

> I think the point here is that the E-o subculture has become like the
> culture behind a natural language that somehow identifies the language
> as part of the culture.  Because of that they seem to cling to the
> status quo and resist change.

It seems to me that this is an inevitable consequence of the transition 
from auxlang project to auxlang with a speech community.  Speakers have 
an investment in the language they have learned, as it is, and it is 
perfectly rational for them to protect that investment.  Change *does* 
arise from within the Esperanto speech community, but it tends to go its 
own way, and the authority of the Akademio has little influence.

Case in point: the x-system.  This was not proposed by the Esperanto 
"leadership"; it arose within the user community.  It has somewhat 
grudgingly received "official" acceptance recently.

Once a language acquires a speech community, it can't be reformed by 
fiat; it can only be forked into divergent speech communities.  That's 
what happened in 1907.

In the case of the x-system it has forked again, although in a more 
superficial way.

Todd Moody