On Wed, 26 Mar 2008 18:37:46 -0700, Jens Wilkinson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>--- Antony Alexander <[log in to unmask]>
>> Taking all such things into account, it isn’t
>> necessarily true that  Russian speakers would be
>> further up the hierarchy than Japanese speakers.
>> Individually, though, anyone who has
>> mastered a major language at the highest level -
>> particularly one as difficult as Classical
>> Arabic - should be able to speak the acrolect when
>> it is formulated.
>I'm far from an expert in Russian, but are there
>really native speakers of Russian who are not able to
>pronounce the different sounds of the language? There
>may be some variation. For example, there are some
>accents in English where people aren't able to
>pronounce the "r" at the end of words. And others
>aren't able to or don't pronounce the "th" sounds.
>At least in Japanese, speakers of any dialect are
>unable to make a distinction between L and R. As Larry
>wrote in his response, of course, nobody is claiming
>that all people have equal linguistic abilities. There
>are people who are musically inclined and do well with
>new sounds, and others who don't. I've met Japanese
>people (often young, but not necessarily so) who have
>been quite good with the English sounds, and others,
>often extremely talented in other areas, who were
>incapable of pronouncing many English sounds.
>I suppose the question I really am interested in
>hearing your answer to is, exactly who are the people
>who would use your acrolect with more phonemes? I
>suggested that perhaps it would be people from a
>language with more phonemes. And you noted it's not
>what you meant. But who then would be the speakers?

I don’t know any Russian but assume that, as with any 
other major language, there will be different dialects 
and sociolects within it - some of which will have a 
reduced grammar and/or phonology.

My answer to your second question is predicated upon 
the notion that language is an aspect or manifestation 
of culture - so an international language is an aspect 
of international culture.

So long as the IAL were strictly auxiliary - which I believe 
should be the case during the first phase (according 
to the JPVP precedent) this shouldn’t be a factor, since 
the primary focus of culture would still be national.

However, as soon as the IAL started to vernacularise it 
would actually be the expression of a culture that was 
more international than national. Thus from this point 
the question of who would be using the language could 
not really be answered in national terms.

The illustrative mnemonic scheme I came up with in 
2001 shows only an increase in phonemes relative to 
an arbitrary increase in mother tongue speakers but 
makes no reference to prosody, syntax, inflection 
and other aspects of grammar. In fact the latter 
should develop commensurate with the phonology.

Assuming there is any validity in this scheme, it wouldn't 
necessarily benefit those whose idiolect and native tongue 
contained an extensive phonology, but whose grammar 
had markedly diverged from that of the developing world 
language. However, those concerned with international 
culture might see the way in which it and the IAL were 
developing, and position themselves accordingly. It would
remain true, therefore, that general linguistic capability 
would predispose one to mastering the future acrolect.

Personally I have no idea as to where the acrolect might 
end up. It might be similar to - or even identical with - 
Classical Arabic, for instance, or it might be a very 
different language. 

I would say it is a fairly safe bet, though, that there will 
be a gradual increase from simplicity to complexity 
coevel with the development of international culture.

I know that there will be those who argue that national 
co-existence is the most that can be hoped for, and that 
international culture is nothing but a national culture 
which has grown too big for its boots. They would 
therefore argue that the IAL should remain a basic 
auxiliary equipped only to perform such international 
functions as are necessary. 

Needless to say, I don’t share this view, and would 
point to the JPVP as indicative of successful international 
cultural and linguistic development.

Antony Alexander