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--- On Tue, 6/30/09, <deinx nxtxr> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> steve rice wrote:
> 
> > 59% would learn another language for travel--a global
> auxlang
> > would reduce the need somewhat, so only those who
> actually wanted
> > to experience the native culture in the native
> language would
> > persist. Call me pessimistic, but given the effort
> required to
> > learn another language plus the likelihood that the
> tourism
> > industry would solidly back the auxlang, I predict
> that
> > shallowness would win out and few would learn more
> than a few
> > phrases and the local orthography (if simple and
> different
> > enough).
> 
> Tourism would be a practical application for an auxlang,
> but not a practical reason for learning one.  It's just
> doesn't make much sense to put years into learning a
> language for that two week trip to some beach resort.
> 
> The reality is that English is already an auxlang used by
> travelers.  One can get by traveling only with
> English.  I've been there. Done that. Got the
> t-shirts.

But the point of Dave's post, which I was answering, was that IF an auxlang gained wide acceptance--and the US and Canada together should count--it would lead to an increase in language learning. If some auxlang (that is, a conauxlang) had such success, it would be adopted elsewhere, and the tourist traps of the world would quickly adopt it. Presumably they could learn it better than English, so it would probably be an improvement.

Now, would the newly bilingual enthusiasts learn a natlang for travel? Probably not, because few travelers will learn more than phrasebook material for a brief stay. I housesat a couple times for a couple who always went to Mexico for a couple weeks in the winter. (They lived a mile or so out of North Pole, Alaska, where the temperature was about -50F at the time.) Anyway, the missus at least knew a little Spanish and had a CD with one of those Instant Spanish! programs. (I checked it; not bad, perhaps, but not amazingly useful. If I knew no more Spanish than that, I'd never wander out of Gringoland.)

I take this as normal: get some quickie manual/program, buzz through it, and hope desperately you never really need it. This is especially likely once people run into natlang difficulties.

> > However, there is a way in which I find this claim
> congenial. I
> > have argued for multiple auxlangs rather than just
> one, and I see
> > some justification here. The usual response is that
> learning 3-5
> > auxlangs, even one well and the others for passive
> use, would be
> > unworkable. But auxlangs would be largely immune to
> the
> > counter-arguments above. They would be easier to
> learn, so the
> > effort would be reduced, and they might also have
> great lexical
> > similarites, helping even more. Multiple auxlangs also
> wouldn't
> > stifle the usefulness of learning other languages,
> especially the
> > other auxlangs.
> 
> Yes, conauxlangs are easier to learn but they aren't very
> useful without a community of speakers where someone can use
> them.  I can't walk up to a hotel desk clerk and
> resonably expect him to know Esperanto.  I have
> discovered that most hotels will have at least one
> anglophone handy.

Again, Dave's thesis assumed that at least one auxlang had gained prominence. I would claim that in that case, other auxlangs would follow suit, and given their ease, the language-learning bug might find an outlet in other auxlangs, because they are quicker and easier to learn than natlangs.

Steve