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Je 01.28 atm 2007.05.27, Antonielly Garcia RODRIGUES skribis

>On 5/26/07, Donald J. HARLOW <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>Hence, despite the fact that IALA as an
>>organization was well aware of certain advantages of other,
>>particularly schematic, planned languages (e.g. the advantage of
>>having a standard adjective ending that could be applied to all nouns
>>rather than having a couple of dozen different adjective endings
>>whose use was etymologically determined, thus requiring, at least for
>>_active_ use, memorization of adjectives derived from nouns along
>>with the nouns themselves; (**)
>>(**) This is, IMHO, the moral equivalent of reintroducing grammatical
>>gender into a planned language, since it puts a similar burden on the
>>student who wants to learn to _use_ the language rather than simply
>>_recognizing_ it.
>
>Unless, of course, the intention is to adopt this language as a
>regional IAL for the Angloromance world. (This was not the agenda of
>IALA, I believe,

No, of IALA as IALA it definitely was not.

>  but I think it would be a good potential application
>for Interlingua, given its overall design.)  Then the existence of
>many adjective endings is more sensible than just one ending, as it is
>very similar to the endings that exist in the native languages of the
>target group of users. (At least if we consider comfort as a desirable
>quality attribute. This attribute was not considered in the design of
>Interlingua, but I believe the resulting language fits it well for the
>target group I mentioned.)

Again, your definition of "comfort" is applicable, I believe, only to 
a relatively small group (an educated elite, if you will) of Romance 
speakers using the language _passively_. Even this group, when 
studying the language for active use, is going to have problems just 
because of the one feature quoted above; see my posting to Jens 
Wilkinson, especially the part in re memorization units.

>>or the advantage, especially for
>>_active_ use, of having a regular set of correlatives rather than a
>>defective or even irregular set), none of these results, shown both
>>by practice and by experiment (for instance, Thorndyke's famous
>>experiment with the correlatives, sponsored by IALA) was taken into
>>account in devising Interlingua.
>
>Not only this was not taken into account, but also it was explicitly
>ignored in the philosophy of Interlingua. Alexander Gode and Ezra
>Clarke Stillman adopted a philosophy that considered only translingual
>features whose presence could be objectively verified in certain
>European languages, and explicitly acknowledged that they would ignore
>anything else.
>
>I believe that their fear of introducing any kind of
>learnability/usability facilitator that couldn't be objectively
>justified in terms of precedents in the source natlangs is a direct
>consequence of the discussions promoted by IALA in the previous years.
>In the first stage of the IALA history, it was observed that consensus
>could not be achieved about which engineered features would be the
>best for the language. Even if some features were proven to be real
>learnability/usability facilitators (e.g. a regular correlative
>table), they were resisted by some people because they lacked other
>quality attributes perceived as desirable by some (such as apparent
>familiarity and precedent in at least one natlang). So, (I believe)
>Clarke thought and Gode agreed: "If subjective and arbitrary features,
>even if good for a conauxlang in our subjective opinion, are strongly
>resisted by some factions, then we will have to create a language
>based on objective linguistical facts, this way we will make
>subjective criticisms invalid. People will be able to perform valid
>criticisms only when they find features in the new language that do
>not comply to the linguistical facts observed in the source natlangs.
>But here we will make the proviso that the language can be fixed at
>any time, if a valid criticism appears." This thought guided most of
>the work during the second stage of IALA's history. Of course, that
>didn't stop the flux of "subjective" criticisms, but a person that
>adopts the last IALA mindset will consider them as invalid, and thus
>ignore them. Whether that mindset is the most adequate one is open to
>debate.
>
>In summary, the objectivity in the design of Interlingua was a
>reaction to the lack of consensus in defining the priority of the
>desirable quality attributes for a conauxlang. Without a well-defined
>benchmark of priorities, it is not possible to design a language to
>satisfy that benchmark, and it is not possible for an independent
>external group (e.g. an official UNO committee) to assess whether the
>language satisfies that benchmark. So, the language creators thought,
>let's be extreme and consider only translingual features that can be
>objectively verified, no matter if they improve or hurt learnability,
>usability, regularity, cuteness, etc.

If your hypothesis about the IALA mindset of Stillman and Gode were 
correct, it would pretty much put paid to the idea that these men and 
their cohorts were working "scientifically"; science pays little 
attention to the fear of criticism from people with axes to grind (as 
witness the progress of evolutionary biology despite raging attacks 
from supporters of "creationism" and "intelligent design). 
Furthermore, both Stillman and Gode presumably knew that _whatever 
they did_ they would be subject to such criticisms; the very process 
of producing a new language to add to an already overcrowded field, 
something that the name of IALA itself predicted would happen, would 
guarantee that.

As far as their leaving in the mechanisms for repairing the objects 
of valid criticism ... that may well have been true for individual 
details in the vocabulary, which seems to have been what they were 
most involved with. But it doesn't, for instance, resolve the problem 
of, again, multiple adjective endings and the need to associate them 
with individual nouns. There is no way of repairing that short of 
major reforms in the language (which, for Interlingua as for 
Esperanto and others, would be, strategically speaking, something to 
be avoided).

Of course, one might resolve all of this by accepting Gode's 
assurance that "Interlingua is not in competition with Esperanto", 
even though Gode often acted as though it was and as though the 
competition was stiff. If this were the case, then we could write off 
Interlingua's failings in learnability, usability, regularity, and 
even cuteness. But I suspect that this is not how the current 
generation of Interlingua enthusiasts see matters.


-- 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