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Je 11.29 atm 2007.04.01, Dana NUTTER skribis
>li [Thomas Alexander] mi tulis la
>
> > What troubles me so much about Bob's claims about
> > Occidental is not so much that I don't believe them,
> > is that he is so sure that the same claim cannot be
> > made about any other language.  I do not doubt that
> > he has been able to communicate in many situations
> > through Occidental.  Occidental works.  Who can doubt
> > that?  What troubles me is that I have done the same
> > thing and seen the same thing done through other
> > means, yet Bob does not seem willing to accept that.
>
>The cheat sheet idea is not bad, but still doesn't address an
>entire language.  There are always finer details than can be the
>source of great misunderstands if not known.  I think the "16
>Rules" are a great tool for someone wanting to learn Esperanto,
>but it's just a guideline and not a complete language reference.

I don't think anybody who has actually *inspected* the sixteen rules 
will argue otherwise. For instance, there are four basic subsystems 
in Esperanto's grammar: the roots, the pronouns, the numerals and the 
correlatives. The 16 rules cover the first three pretty well, but 
nowhere in them is there a mention of the correlative subsystem. And 
if you want to include word-formation under grammar, as Zamenhof 
chose to do, the "rule" for word-formation is basically less than 
useless for actually learning how to build words from roots and 
affixes (in essence, it just says that it's better to do so than to 
borrow new words).

> > ....
>
> > > What may not be understood in the majority of cases
> > > is simply the vocabulary. In that case, one only
> > > needs to look at context or a dictionary or ask
> > > someone.
> >
> > I am still in amazement at how this major task is so
> > easily trivialized.  In our discussion last summer,
> > Bob said that Occidental could be learned in 20
> > minutes ... plus whatever time it takes to learn 300
> > words, as if learning 300 words is a trivial task.
> > (My own experience is that would require 4 months
> > of fairly serious study for me to really learn them.)
>
>300 words really isn't very many, and I'm sure I could learn
>that many in a week or two if I seriously applied myself.  The
>problem is that it's *only* 300 words.  Most estimates are that
>a good working vocabulary is somewhere around 10,000 words, and
>usually around 2000-3000 just for the most basic communication.

Depends again on the system. In Esperanto, the general assumption is 
that a good working vocab is on the order of 500 morphemes, since you 
can leverage these with the word-formation system to a 
fare-thee-well. (*) As far as I can tell, Occidental's word-formation 
system, which while ingenious is constrained by the system's 
philosophy to produce words that match European cognates (though 
technically it can also produce meaningful words that _don't_ match 
those cognates) would require a larger base vocabulary, and 
Interlingua, whose word-formation system is in practice non-existent 
as far as I can tell, requires a larger one yet.

>Now here's the point I was making.  A Euroglot will probably
>pick up Occ. vocabulary fairly easily and quickly because of the
>large number of already familiar words.  A non-Euroglot isn't
>going to have that experience.  Almost every word is going to be
>new to him.

I sometimes think, however, that there are major pitfalls in this 
approach. For instance, a German speaker is likely to understand the 
Esperanto words "aktuala", "akurata" and "eventuala" at once, but an 
English speaker is going to be led wildly astray (the words mean 
"current", "punctual" and "possible", as their cognates do in German 
and French but not in English).


> > Dana Nutter wrote[2]:
> > > I challange you to hand that postcard grammar to a
> > > Mandarin monoglot, and to an Arab monoglot, then
> > > put the two of them in a room together and see how
> > > well they communicate after a bit of practice.
> >
> > I'd be interested in a slightly different challenge
> > based on some of Bob's claims.  Take two people from
> > Occidental's main domain, say a 35 year old gas
> > station attendant from Ohio and a 14 year old
> > aprentice cheese-maker from the alps.  Hand *one* of
> > them a postcard (or pull him aside for 20 minutes to
> > explain how to do Occidental) and see how they do.
>
>But that test plays right into the Euroglot bias of occidental.
>There is a pretty good possibility of them being able to
>communicate on a very elementary level, but then again I've
>found pointing can do the same thing.
>
>Occ. is being sold as a *world* language and therefore a real
>world example needs to be tried.  Your idea provides for a "best
>case" example, but what's really needed is a "worst case"
>example (a "crash test") to show how strongly the idea holds up.
>Languages like Arabic and Chinese are so very different that if
>they can communicate in an auxlang with minimal learning, then
>the point is made and it can be expected that other cases will
>be easier.

I think that what Thomas is suggesting is that even a best-case 
scenario can go wildly astray. Without certain types of education, 
people don't tend to notice the relationships between words, even 
within their own languages (most people don't relate "salon" and 
"saloon", for instance; or "paternal" and "patron"). I think he 
suspects that your 35-year-old gas pumper and your 14-year-old 
cheesemaker's apprentice would, after that 20 minute introduction, 
_not_ be able to communicate on any meaningful level. (On the other 
hand, I suspect that your Arabic and Chinese  students, _if_ they 
were properly educated, and given a little extra time to learn those 
300 words, would be able to communicate better than you might expect. 
It's always better and safer to hope that a best-case scenario will 
collapse than to anticipate that a worst-case one will.)

---

(*) Sten Johansson's limited-vocabulary "Katrina" novellas generally 
use around 400-600 morphemes, including a restricted set of 
word-building affixes. Claude Piron's "Gerda malaperis!", which has 
recently been made into a DVD movie, uses around 700.


-- Don HARLOW
http://www.webcom.com/~donh/don/don.html
Opinions (in English): http://www.harlows.org/don/opinions/
Esperanto (in English): http://www.harlows.org/don/esperanto/
Literaturo (Esperante): http://donh.best.vwh.net/Esperanto/Literaturo