li [Thomas Alexander] mi tulis la

> > All one needs to use Occidental is that "postcard"
> > grammar.  Everything else, frankly, is easily
> > learned by an example, or by learning vocabulary.
> I can accept this, but the problem is that it invites
> the obvious question of what we mean by "learn."  We
> all know that there is never a point which one crosses
> after which one can claim to "know" the language and
> before which one cannot claim to know it.  In a
> certain sense, one never really finishes learning any
> language, not even ones native language.  I dare say
> that this is true of Occidental.

And with living languages, there is a constant flux so usage
changes over time.  A speaker will need to keep up with the most
current ways to use the language.

> 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.

> Another point where I see other listmembers talking
> at cross-purposes with Bob is that he seems to use
> the word "grammar" differently from the way many
> others here mean it.  Until you agree about what that
> word means, you'll never agree about how many
> postcards are necessary to describe it.  Bob seems to
> use the term to mean mostly "grammatical endings."
> Who can argue with the claim that all the gramatical
> endings of Occidental can be written on a postcard?

They are very good for explaining the endings, but just knowing
a few suffixes isn't enough.  A learner needs to know what they
mean, when and how to use them properly. 

> ....

> > 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.

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.

> 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.