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----- Original Message ----- 
From: "R A Brown" <[log in to unmask]> 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Friday, January 21, 2011 2:30:23 PM 
Subject: Re: Fixing English 

On 21/01/2011 15:50, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets wrote: 
> On 21 January 2011 16:04, Chris Peters<[log in to unmask]> wrote: 

>> And do I remember right that the plural "-j" in Esperanto is a direct 
>> borrowing from Greek? 

> Could be Ancient Greek yes, which had -οι /oi/ endings in the plural for 
> some -ος endings in the singular. Modern Greek has simplified that diphthong 
> into /i/, but kept the spelling. 

Well, yes, -ai and -oi are the nominative plural endings of 
masculine & feminines in the 1st & 2nd declension. But the 
same genders in the 3rd declension end in -(e)s in the 
nominative plural. All masculine & feminines end in -s in 
the accusative plural. (Neuters of whatever declension end, 
as in Latin, -a in both nom. & acc., though it gets 
disguised occasionally when -ea contracts to -ē) 

So sort of borrowing from ancient Greek, I suppose. But a 
more thoughtful adoption of a an ancient Greek 'default' 
plural would surely have been -s (just as Peano has -s as 
the optional plural marker in 'Latino sine flexione'). 
-------- 
I have no axes to grind with Esperanto, and if I did, I know there are other places to go. And Zammenhof is dead. But as Ray alludes to about all the "j's", if you just replaced them with with "i's" for the plural (and that would not be utterly illogical), then who would care? Is Italian not one of the "languages of love" (opting for the 1st and 2nd declension nominative plurals), and not hideous? If Esperanto went for 'a more thoughtful "-s" plural', that would be jarring against a (I'm free-forming) Greek singular accusative "-n"? Esperanto is con flexione and a done deal. Embrace it, shun it. or shrug and walk away (personally, I kinda like the global, international-esey optimism, whatever the design flaws may be, but I'm hardly a rabid Esperantist). 
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> Eye of the beholder! To me, the Esperanto -oj, and the accusative plural 
> -ojn, aren't hideous at all! I actually find them nice-sounding endings. 

The _sound_ may be OK, but you referred to the _eye_ of the 
_beholder_. It all those Js! Personally I find -oi and -ai 
more aesthetically pleasing than -oj and -aj. 
------ 
As said above, so do I. 
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The Géarthnuns nominative plural ends in "-p", which would probably not have been my first choice, in retrospect. I very much like the accusative plural, "-ch". Dative plural, "-l". Dual and septimal cases are, for me, equally aesthetically appealing. But the "-p" is here, it's plural, get used to it :) 
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> As for the Greek, I don't find Ancient Greek particularly nice-sounding in 
> general (at least for as far as we understand its pronunciation). I love 
> Modern Greek though, which I find particularly mellifluous :) . 

Yes, it's very much in the ear of the listener, methinks. 

Personally I find ancient Greek with phonemically 
distinctive long and short vowels and all those diphthongs 
more pleasing than the modern language and, to my ears, the 
rhythms produced by moraic structure of the ancient language 
strike me as more mellifluous than the stressed timed modern 
language. As for the ancient word pitch - well, we can only 
guess at it but it must surely have made the language more 
interesting. 
---------- 
Gee, you invoke the word "mellifluous", and suddenly everyone's hopping on board to use it. :) 

I don't know Modern Greek, though the tempo of the Mediterranean patter strikes me as a little frenetic. Ancient Greek? An alphabet that has separate letters for long and short "e's" and "o's"? That has distinguishing letters for "b, p, p'" (and other accompanying stops)? And *then* goes on to add letters for "ps", "ks" (a feature that Géarthnuns also has), and "dz" (Ray and I have discussed this one once, many moons ago)?! How awesome is that?! (Though, truth be told, I'm not a big fan of diphthongs.) 

Pitch accent over stress accent must have been very cute and very interesting. Someone, name forgotten, developed a whole diacritic system to enshrine it for us non-natives. Look at what it's done for us now :) 

Speaking non Attically, I am 

Kou