Print

Print


> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jens Wilkinson

> I finally got around to asking this to the "Ask a Linguist" 
> site, and got a number of answers. It turns out, as I 
> expected, that it's not something that's possible to give an 
> easy answer to. One person wrote that many linguists 
> "intuitively" feel the same way I feel. But there doesn't 
> seem to be very good data. Another issue is that despite 
> Cheng-Zhong Su's views, it is not so easy to define exactly 
> what it means to "transmit information." But in any case, I 
> think the answers are interesting. They are:
> 
> http://linguistlist.org/ask-ling/message-details2.cfm?AsklingI
> D=200425342

That's somewhat true.  Different languages package information in
very different ways, and some grammatically require certain
information to be present whether it's really necessary to the
message being sent or not.  What Cheng-Zhong Su has been advocating
is a way of adding another dimension to increase the load the
carrier can transmit.  The problem is humans do have limitations.
Increasing the "efficiency" can also increase the possibility of
error.  There is obviously a limit to how quickly we can process
information regardless of how fast, or in which manner we receive
it.  

Where the tonal idea falls apart, has nothing to do with whether or
not it increases efficiency, but whether or not it's practical for
someone to learn tones.  Language habits are deeply ingrained into
our minds. Learning new habits can be very tough, and in some cases
just not realistically possible.  When designing an IAL, especially
for the entire world, we need to find a balance that can work for
everyone with a minimal amount of learning.