Dear Dana, Don, Todd, Paul, and others,


I think we agree on most points here.  In some cases
your comments (from my point of view) had little to
do with the part of the message I quoted - so I
suspect I failed to communicate what I really meant.
In others, you said things which I think, but decided
not to say because they've already been said here
in the related threads.

For example:
> just knowing a few suffixes isn't enough.  A learner
> needs to know what they mean, when and how to use
> them properly.

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.

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.

> 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.

This might be my fault for not explaining what Bob
had said last summer.  The suggestion was that after
20 minutes of learning, a native English speaker (or
other Westerner) could guess all but 300 words of
Occidental - so it wouldn't be "only" 300 words.

> 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 think I understood your point.

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

BTW, does "Euroglot" include a European monoglot?

> 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.

> 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.

Exactly my point.  Bob makes a lot of claims which
no doubt have an element of truth in them, but at the
same time discounts claims that people have done
similar things by grunting and pointing.

> 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.

Don Harlow wrote:
> I think that what Thomas is suggesting is that even
> a best-case scenario can go wildly astray.

Yes.  That's it.

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.

Paul Bartlett:
> Bob is no longer subscribed to AUXLANG (at least as
> of a few minutes ago), so he will not see your
> question.

Yes, I know (thanks, though.) That's why I .cc-ed him
in on the note.

Amike salutas,
Thomas/Tomaso ALEXANDER.
---Anything below this line is not from Thomas ---

Never miss an email again!
Yahoo! Toolbar alerts you the instant new Mail arrives.