One has got to realize that you may have knowledge in a language even if you cannot speak it. You can meet people who will tell you, perhaps through an interpreter that they don't know English, but they might understand words as linterlnational lingve por toti Europe. Another point is that if you launch a language like e.g. Interlingua, all those, speaking a lot of different languages, who already understand Interlingua, can make teaching material for Interlingua. Take as an example Ingvar Stenström, a highschool teacher of English and German, he could write a good textbook in Interlingua. As a matter of fact it's just some years ago that this book was translated into English by a native English speaker )who incidently knows Swedish as well and very well at that).
It's interesting that most auxiliary languages that I know of don't have anything lik Hi!, Hej! Hola! If you travel to Latvia and learn "Sveiks!" you have already gined communication, even though the continuation will be a little bit more difficult! But many people already understand an English "Hi!" "Hello".
2013/3/16 Stephen Rice <[log in to unmask]>
On 3/15/13, Ben <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On Fri, 15 Mar 2013 12:48:09 -0600, Stephen Rice <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>There are various reasons you should reconsider; I'll limit myself to two.
>>First, one of the major problems most people (not language geeks but
>>ordinary folks) have in learning languages is confidence. A European
>>or American (in the broadest sense) will feel considerable confidence
>>at his ability to learn Komunikando (or however Kjell spells it at the
>>moment): you yourself have evidently experienced such confidence.
>>That's vital, because instead of looking at a meaningless jumble of
>>letters, people see elements they recognize, and they think, "I could
>>learn that!" They may go too far, of course, as you yourself do, and
>>think they don't need to learn it, because they already understand it,
>>but if they can be persuaded to keep looking at it, they should soon
>>realize their mistake.
>>For example, based on Spanish, I understand Portuguese quite well.
>>Does that mean I wouldn't need to learn it if I moved to Brazil or
>>Portugal? No. For one thing, my knowledge is purely passive--I can't
>>actually speak Portuguese. For another thing, even passive
>>understanding might prove too slow for understanding normal speech.
>>And then there are the idioms.
> A Korean and a Spaniard will have tremendous difficulty using this language.
They would have trouble using any shared language: Korean and Spanish
are so different that the L1 interference would cause problems in any
case. But (if the people are randomly selected) the Korean is more
likely to know a Western language (probably English) than the Spaniard
is to know Korean. So a "westlang" is a more practical compromise.
> A German and a Spaniard will have little difficulty using this language. But
> the German and the Spaniard won't 'need' to use this language, because the
> chances of them already knowing each other's native language is higher than
> a Korean already knowing Spanish or vice versa.
"Higher," yes. Still not good odds.
> That's not to say Europeans have nothing to gain from learning it, it's just
> that it would be statistically uneconomical.
Not at all: it would give them a shared language that they could
swiftly learn to fluency, which is better than they could do with any
European language--or with Angos, for that matter, which would
probably take longer to learn to fluency.
>>Second, grammar is usually a trivial issue for auxlangs. Any
>>reasonably well-designed auxlang grammar can be learned (ignoring fine
>>points) in about a day--or even much less. Some jeer the sixteen rules
>>of Esperanto, but they do summarize the main points of grammar well
>>enough, and most people should be able to learn them in a day or so.
>>People with a language background should be able to learn them in an
>>hour at most. Any auxlang that takes longer than that is probably
>>wasting your time.
> From experience, I can tell you otherwise: You can not take any grammatical
> concept for granted when building an IAL. The "fine points" of Komunikando
> or Esperanto are still parts of the grammar, and, for someone who doesn't
> speak an IE language, can take many weeks or months to understand the
> nuances of. (I tutor ESL students, whose languages are mostly Chinese,
> Korean, and Arabic). And you need to be able to understand these fine points
> to communicate effectively.
It depends on the fine point. Esperanto's Slavic-based habit of using
adverbs with impersonal verbs (Estas varme al mi = I am/feel hot) is a
fine point, so if you use "varma" instead, or simply "varmas," you
will be understood. This will usually also apply even if you forget
the accusative, which isn't a fine point.
Yet there are problematic features: mandatory tense and plural
marking, for example, can trip up those unused to such things.
Personally I prefer isolating auxlangs, because you can pause slightly
between morphemes to figure out what comes next, which is harder to do
if there are several morphemes to a word.
>>On the other hand, vocabulary takes a while. Even with derivational
>>gimmicks, you still have to learn hundreds of words to survive a
>>conversation, and that takes time. Unless, of course, you can simply
>>recognize them or guess what they would be. So familiarity gives you a
>>chance to operate at an adult level instead of fumbling for words or
>>constantly checking a dictionary--both of which can tempt a learner to
>>just give up.
> This is true of any IAL, that despite its claim of easiness, it requires
> actual effort to learn. That's why I've geared Angos more towards hobbyists
> and laymen as a small community rather than THE IAL OF THE CENTURY.
I admit I don't quite follow your reasoning here. Hobbyists and laymen
are at opposite poles: hobbyists typically have specialized knowledge
of their hobby that laymen lack, as well as a degree of enthusiasm
that ordinary people don't have. So an auxlang hobbyist will be more
likely to learn an auxlang than an ordinary person would, meaning
you're more likely to attract hobbyists than laymen.
Further, your reply ignores the point that familiar is easier than
unfamiliar, and if you seek refuge in the fairness argument (to be
fair to those outside of the Indo-European community, we must import a
lot of non-IE forms), you still run into trouble, because your
inevitable initial demographic will be people who know a Western
language--again usually English--and you are disproportionately
disadvantaging them for no good reason. That will tend to drive them
off--except for the hardcore hobbyists, anyway.
This is why your initial demographic is necessarily at odds with your
approach. Consider your book idea. Presumably the non-Angos bits are
in English, which is fine. But it means your hypothetical audience is
made up of English-speakers who are literate and have the resources to
obtain the book--not a huge group to begin with, relative to the
global population. And if you factor in willingness to learn Angos (or
indeed any auxlang), the number plummets. So you're dealing with an
elite of sorts, and your Web presence does too. In fact, any early
adopters you may have will be a small, unrepresentative group, and
that will continue to be true through the first several generations of
users. You probably won't have any monolingual Koreans supporting you.
So why design for them? Why not design for the most probable early and
intermediate users, without doing anything to run off latecomers?