On Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 6:10 PM, Stephen Rice <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
On 3/18/11, James Chandler <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>> simply because they're in common use.
>> Properly speaking, <ĥ> hasn't
>> been eliminated or "silenced" (are you actually serious about likening
>> it to a silent letter?); rather, alternative roots have been suggested
>> (a permissible move)
> Hmm.. looks a lot like a REFORM to me.  And I seem to remember that those
> are banned in Esp.

Nothing is being removed or invalidated; no pre-existing form or rule
is being changed. New roots are being added to the lexicon; that's
always been allowed. And had you read the Fundamento, you would know
that Dr. Z himself expressly permitted such a move.

> I read the section at the website and I must say I've rarely seen such a
> mess.  There is no single rule for eliminating h^ and worse still, for some
> words it doesn't even seem POSSIBLE to eliminate it.
Real languages are messy. Tidy ones only exist in the minds of
textbook writers and grammarians.

Bear in mind that <ĥ> is *rare*: in the context of a living language
whose users don't all agree it should be avoided, a rule isn't that
big an issue. Who needs a rule for a handful of relatively uncommon
roots? The common ones are already covered. And as to impossibility,
that's nonsense. There's always a way to obviate a lexical problem if
you're determined to do so; learn some natlangs. They do it.
Especially Chinese, from what I've heard.

Consider this: if Eists wanted to eliminate the hats, it would
technically be possible to do so by proposing alternative forms
without those letters. But there are so many roots with hats that it
would mean adding a few thousand roots. Now, that's a practical
impossibility! But it would technically be laŭfundamenta. Doing it
only for <ĥ>, on the other hand is quite possible. The question in
both cases is, do I want to bother? And for most Eists, the answer is
generally no.


Yes, it's completely in accordance with the Fundamento for words to enter and exit the language by the evolutionary process of "neologismo kaj arĥaiko"--or even "arkaiko"! There is no "rule" for eliminating ĥ, because no such rule is needed. As Steve said, if the speech community as a whole decides to drop the ĥ, it will do so by pressing other words into service, one by one.

The word "reform" can mean a lot of things. When it means the creation or borrowing of new words, or new patterns of expression, then it's by no means banned in Esperanto. It's required, for the language to stay alive. The role of the Akademio in all this is simply to keep track of things and "officialize" those changes that become universal, or close to it. The word "komputilo" is the best recent illustration. Esperantists bickered for a decade or so about whether this should be the word for "computer". Eventually, pretty much everybody was using it, and the Akademio officialized it. In order to do so, they had to change the meaning of the original verb "komputi". If this is reform, then it was part of the plan from the beginning. The sort of reform that isn't allowed is anything that contradicts the original sixteen rules and other basic principles laid out by Z. Deciding to stop marking plurals would be an example of that kind of reform, and that's banned.

A borderline case is whether a row can be added to the table of correlatives. A fair number of people think that the "ali-" series should be added, and they even use them. My sense is that they are a minority, and this won't catch on, but you never know. Strictly speaking, Z. didn't say that the correlatives couldn't be added to, but some argue that adding is against the "spirit" of the thing, whatever that means. Time will tell.