li [Thomas Alexander] mi tulis la > .... > I was surprised to see you say: > > 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. > > I agree that it isn't "very many", but it's still a > huge task compared to the "20 minutes" it takes to > learn Occidental (see Bob's notes from last summer.) > Actually, I think you're trivializing the task like > Bob does. I won't rule out that you do have a > superhuman ability to learn 300 words in a week, but > I know that I do not, and I think of myself as a > fairly clever language student. I won't say "superhuman ability" but I've attempted to learn several languages in my life and see no reason I couldn't leard 300 words of Occ. or any other language with a Western vocabulary that I'm alreasy somewhat familiar with. Now if I had to learn 300 words of Chinese, I'm sure it would take a lot longer. I've also found that my mind is much clearer when I first start learning a language and it absorbs the words and grammar pretty quickly, but then it starts clogging up after a certain point. That's usually about the point where I'm starting to focus on all those quirks and irregularities. > Have you really ever successfully learned 300 words > in just a week - to the point where you really know > them? That is, you can recall them in less than a > quarter of a second, even after not thinking about > them for several months? I doubt this, but I'll > believe you if you say so, and I'll be very impressed. Learning them, yes. The with learning a language is that if you don't keep practicing it can and will be lost. I have attempted to learn quite a few languages and even got to where I could fairly easily read and write them, but speaking them was still an issue because I picked them up mostly from books and had no speakers to really practice with. I've forgotten more Russian, German and French than I can remember now. I hammered a bunch of Spanish into my head before I went to Costa Rica a few years back and within a week or so of traveling around the country I could hear people speak and get the gist of the conversation, but as soon as I came home I stopped studying and forgot most of it, even though it wouldn't have been hard to find Spanish speakers in SoCal. > ... > I was saying that I don't think that point is nearly > as interesting as a slightly different point which > confronts Bob's claims more directly, even if your > point is also valid. > > I also understood that you were NOT saying the > following (please correct me if I am wrong)... > > You do not think that "fairly easily" means "after > 20 minutes of explanation" or "after reading a > postcard." > > BTW, does "Euroglot" include a European monoglot? By "Euroglot" I mean someone that speaks a (IE) European language. It could just as well be someone an English-speaking Canadian or someone speaking an Argentinian dialect of Spanish. > > But that test plays right into the Euroglot bias of > > occidental. > > Yes, and that's the point. I've asked Bob to teach > me in 20 minutes how to guess the word for things like > "jack (for lifting cars)" and "I have a broken bone > in my leg." He hasn't taken me up on it. Even with > the "Euroglot bias", Bob's points are incredible. Those certainly are useful expression and are often found in those little pocket phrasebooks. > ... > > 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. > > Bob needs to test his ideas systematically in any > case. I'd like to see a "best case" test work. I > doubt that it can. If it does, he'd have to show > that they couldn't have done it by watching the Rick > Steves's episode on communication, or with Europanto. I wouldn't be too quick to attack the best-case scenario. If I can communicate to a guy in Serbia using Russian, or a Portuguese with Spanish then I can see where just a little bit of a constructed auxlang can get the job done when the two people allready have similar backgrounds. The only problem I see with Europanto is there is no standard way of saying *anything*. The idea seems to be that you mix together words from as many languages as possible and hope the other person understands enough of it to figure out what you are saying. If the speaker only knows one language, then he/she can't even mix and match words, though the intent of Europanto was for E.U. officials who are likely to be polyglots. > Todd Moody: > > "No, just four. Calling a dog's tail a leg doesn't > > make it one." > > I have to say that if you're talking with someone who > uses the word "leg" to mean "tail or leg", you better > clear that part up before arguing about how many legs > a dog has. If you don't then you're just wasting > everybody's time. If enough people start saying "five", it doesn't give the dog an extra leg but could very well redefine the meaning of "leg". Again, I refer everyone to the "cooked vs. uncooked rice" thread on sci.lang a couple years back.