> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of steve rice

> > Still, there's no such thing as "at-sight" for
> > everyone.  At best,
> > even a WENSA-based language will only work for about
> > 1/3 of the
> > population leaving the rest out in the dark.
> Something that's "at sight" for people with some
> knowledge of English or a Romance language will reach
> most people who have shown an interest in matters
> global. As I've said many times, the vast majority of
> people in the world (including native anglophones)
> don't care enough to learn anything anyway; we might
> as well try for the motivated few.

So we'll take some guy in China who has beens stuggling with
English, and give him yet another language loaded with the same
Western features that he is already having trouble with, while a guy
in Spain gets to benefit from a language so familiar to his own that
he can practically learn it overnight.

An interest in "matters global" may be a good way to attract people
to an auxlang in general, but only if there are other users to
communicate with and a steady stream of published material.   How
many news stations are broadcasting in any planned language?  How
many broadcast in English?  

> > Middle out for Euroglots.  Completely foreign to
> > everyone else.
> > Here's where the neutrality is lost.  Without
> > neutrality, there's
> > not much point to promoting an auxlang.  
> But there are different definitions of neutrality.
> Something neutral by your definition will be harder to
> bootstrap and promote, as it has no obvious
> demographic. "Equally easy for everyone" really means
> "harder for everyone than most people will tolerate."

Go back to my example of China and the Spain.  That's definitely not
a situation that where the language is neutral.

As far as bootstrapping the language, I don't think *any* design is
going to have any significant benefit.  The "at-sight" languages
like Interlingua may have the appeal to us Westerners because of its
familiar features and vocabulary, while a worldlang is likely to
draw from a more diverse group.  

I'd also like to bring up something about language appeal.  How many
conlangs are in active use?  How many people use them?  Of the most
recent creations, Toki Pona seems to have caught on fairly quickly,
yet it's about as non-Western as it gets.  I think in some cases the
"exotic" appearance may be what attracts users while others seem to
like a more familiar design. 

> ....

> > But if Tokyo Joe Sixpack already knows enough
> > English, then a new
> > auxlang is just a waste of his time regardless of
> > design because he
> > already has something that is working for him.
> Note a crucial sentence:
> He's probably more competent
> > > than he feels, but he knows he'll never be as good
> > at
> > > English as he is at Japanese.

So he's not likely to be good at any other language that has the
same Western features.

> This is neutrality as I see it: not that the sources
> are neutral, but that he can become a "native speaker"
> in a manageable timeframe. So instead of feeling
> handicapped in a language that others use with native
> ease, he can feel as adept as anyone else. Not
> "neutrality of derivation" or even altogether
> "neutrality of learnability" but "neutrality of
> usability" (ease of use).

Neutrality has to do with making the language accessible to
everyone, without favoring any particular group.  

> There are a lot of people out there who know a fair
> amount of English but feel excluded by their
> linguistic limitations. That is inequality. True
> neutrality would level the playing field (ease of
> use), even if it makes "non-neutral" use of knowledge
> such people probably already have, such as basic
> vocabulary.

There's no doubt a lot of people are trying to learn English these
days, but just how well they can use it is often another story.
First-hand experience is that Asians are the worst when it comes to
learning or using English.  Obviously this is a problem of English
being phonologically and grammatically very different from the L1's
these people know.  

>   I
> > tend to want to go
> > for those that would like to use another language,
> > but maybe didn't
> > have several years to invest in learning a natural
> > language.  Let's
> > give them an easily learned planned language where
> > they could maybe
> > become functional in a few months.  The only problem
> > here, is the
> > old one of usefulness.  Conlangs just don't have
> > enough speakers to
> > be of any significant benefit to anyone.
> > 
> Actually, the real problem is that the kind of people
> you describe aren't going to have a few months to
> invest either.
> That's why I prefer to target those who have a partial
> knowledge but don't feel comfortable with English (or
> whatever else). They can learn the vocabulary easily
> (and feel that the time they invested learning Western
> vocabulary wasn't a waste), and they will be able to
> tell the difference when they use the easier language
> and feel more at home, almost as if they were speaking
> their own language. It's easier to learn, the
> improvement is more obvious, and while they're waiting
> for it to go global, it can help them practise basic
> vocabulary for the current auxlang. That's motivation.

But the "easier" language really isn't that much easier if it's
still carrying that Western bias.  About the only thing easier would
be the elimination of irregularities.  The phonological and
grammatical issues will still be there, along with all the other
things that people may struggle with in English.