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On Sun, 16 Nov 2008, Mark Allen wrote:

> I'd like help in deciding if interlingua is the right language for me to 
> study based on my interests.  Other possibilities I'm considering are ido, 
> novial, and occidental.  I have very limited linguistic ability, and don't 
> feel I can reasonably hope to study multiple artificial languages so I'd like 
> to start in the right place.
> [remainder trimmed for brevity]

Several people have already responded to your post, and I will not try
to say that Language X or Language Y is somehow "better" for you or for
anyone else.  I have been around the constructed international
auxiliary language (conIAL) movement for years now (and was
commissioned to write an article on artificial languages for an
encyclopedia), and I have concluded that there is no one "best"
language for everyone for all conceivable purposes.  There may be one
language or another more suitable for one individual for one purpose or
another and another language for another person for another purpose or
other.  Different people have different reasons for studying and using
this or that artificial language.

For some people, they are a hobby, just as some people collect stamps. 
Other people are very idealistic and would like to see some conIAL come
into widespread use as a bridge language for people of dissimilar
native languages who have no other language in common.  I personally
fall into the latter camp, but as for myself I see no clear "winners"
in the conIAL sweepstakes.  Each conIAL of my acquaintance (and I have
at least nodding familiarity with several) has this or that point in
its favor and this or that point in its disfavor.

Also, you should be aware that conIAL activity, to the best of my
information, is largely (but not entirely) the activity of native
speakers of this or that western Indo-European language.  With partial
exceptions, conIALs are western productions.  Hence the activity --
again among some westerners! -- for so-called worldlangs attempting
(with varying degrees of success) to draw features and (especially)
vocabulary from non-Indo-European substrates.  (There are also
languages sometimes called a priori -- although the term has more than
one meaning -- whose vocabularies are made up and draw from no existing
languages.)

What is best for you?  I honestly have no answer to your question.  My
suggestion is that you make yourself familiar with several, although
that does not mean that you have to become proficient in any of them to
make your own choice.  Also, there are some individuals who have at
least some competence in more than one.  (For instance, there are some
people who are more or less competent in both Ido and Esperanto, and
some in both IALA Interlingua and Occidental/Interlingue.)

Best regards, even if my response might seem disappointing.

-- 
Paul Bartlett