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--- Risto Kupsala <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Dave MacLeod wrote:
>  > I think that would almost all depend on
> promotion. I'm in the Harlow
>  > camp on that one, that once you have a fairly
> good design and your
>  > language is stable and ready to go, that the only
> thing you can do is
>  > start the long slog of translating content every
> day and spreading the
>  > message. If it takes five years longer to create
> an IAL due to
>  > checking a huge multitude of languages for the
> vocabulary, then that's
>  > five years of language promotion that one has
> missed out on.
> 
> Your thinking is based on the assumption that any
> constructed language 
> will do as the world IAL. I disagree with that. It's
> the same in all 
> walks of life: not every book becomes a bestseller,
> not every actor 
> becomes a star, not every song becomes a hit
> regardless of their makers' 
> best intentions. You might think that reviving
> Latino sine flexione is a 
> bright idea, but the fact is that Giuseppe Peano
> promoted the language 
> already in more favorable times and without
> significant or lasting 
> success. Five more years of promotion today won't
> make a difference. The 
> well of Latin has dried a long time ago...

There is some truth to that. What is striking about
worldlangs generally is the attitude, "This has had
very limited success. Let's try something much
harder--it's sure to work!"

However evil it may be to draw vocabulary in
particular from a few privileged (and very widely
spoken) languages, at least it provides leverage. To
diffuse support is to defuse support.

Now, this leads to the question, "Why has a
focused-leverage method not done any better?" But the
answer is not a priori, "Because it doesn't work." If
focused leverage doesn't work, diffuse leverage
certainly won't.

This is where Dave, Don, and many others say, "What if
the obstacle isn't the language as such? What if it's
popular bias and resistance to novelty?" Have you
answered that question? Can you answer it in such a
way that the greater novelty and lesser track record
of your approach does not become a liability?
 
> My opinion is that only a worldlang has any
> realistic chance to become 
> the universal second language of the world. So if it
> takes five years to 
> make the worldlang then so be it. It must be done.

I appreciate your idealism. Idealism has a bad record
in the real world, however. A lot of tyrants,
especially over the last 250 years, have been
frustrated idealists. Sometimes it's necessary to
compromise with reality--and it needn't even be a
long-term compromise.
 
>  > I guess I do think that to a certain extent,
> since I don't believe
>  > that the underlying reasons behind wordlangs is
> valid - that ease of
>  > learning is based on finding vocabulary that you
> already know in your
>  > native tongue,
> 
> I don't emphasize it that much. Ease of learning is
> not based on finding 
> familiar words, but familiar words are helpful to
> some extent, maybe 
> critically. Language learning is sometimes compared
> to climbing a 
> mountain. Euroclones basically provide a stairway
> carved to the rock for 
> a privileged class of people, but there's also a
> sign that says "No dogs 
> and no Chinamen allowed" or something like that. You
> know quite well 
> what I mean. A worldlang doesn't provide a stairway
> to anyone, but it 
> provides everybody a foothold here and a handhold
> there, just enough to 
> help you to climb that mountain. It won't be easy
> but there will be 
> something to hold on to all the way up.

The problem is that early adopters need ease. Without
initial ease, a project is doomed. Yet there is an
obvious alternative: why not try an incremental
approach?

Suppose you get the grammar tweaked just so--an easy,
globally accessible grammar such as worldlangers
usually champion. Now use focused leverage on the
vocabulary! Go ahead and use words that will be easy
for the early adopters. Once the ease helps get the
first wave of users, you can make social justice
arguments and introduce globally based synonyms, such
as "hao" alongside "bon" or "gud" and "yao" alongside
"desir." If you're right about the untapped craving
for global vocabulary, this should help the language
catch on with non-Westerners, and you'll get a second
wave even stronger than the first. Over time, the
global user base will evolve a truly global lexicon.
But you don't start at the end!
 
>  > and that people are really that concerned about
> where a
>  > language's vocab comes from.
> 
> I think that people expect by default that a
> constructed world language 
> reflects the linguistic diversity of the world. Or
> at least they will 
> agree that it makes perfectly sense once they are
> told about it.

Idealism again. If you ask most people, "Do you think
the government should cut back on its expenditures?"
they'll say yes. But when you start asking about
specific programs, they start saying no. Agreement in
principle means nothing. Agreement to the level of
committed, daily action is what matters. The
bobbleheads who nod at your reasoning will not, for
the most part, do anything about it. Euroclones have a
slightly better track record, at least in the west.
 
>  > It's not really true for the following reasons:
>  > 1) The vocab you recognize in your native tongue
> probably has a
>  > slightly different usage than in the worldlang,
> so either the
>  > worldlang is going to have to accept possible
> other usage of these
>  > words when native speakers encounter them, or
> it's going to have to
>  > tell them to only use it in a limited sense, in
> which case it's little
>  > different from learning a new word
> 
> In some cases it is true but not in all cases. A TV
> is a TV and the sun 
> is the sun in most languages.

Is a hand a hand in most languages? Or a foot a foot?
But it's disingenuous to talk about nouns, the easiest
class. What about verbs? What is running? People do
it. What about cars? What about water? Or
adjectives--is green always just green? Buildings can
be high. What about prices? Are hot to touch and hot
to taste the same thing?

Steve

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