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I agree that "most of the people who need an interlanguage are at least acquainted with an IE language. . ."

The exceptions are largely regional. Standard Chinese in China. Hindi in India. Standard Arabic in the Near East. Swahili in East Africa. Indonesian. Etc.

Some are substantially "constructed" -- often re-designed from older forms that are no longer spoken or based on compromises between dialects.



  -  Leo J. Moser -- [log in to unmask]  -
-----Original Message-----
From: International Auxiliary Languages [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Stephen Rice
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2015 1:12 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Novial

On 3/12/15, Kjell Rehnström <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> It is very common when you advocate
> a language built on Western
> languages that they exlude speakers
> of non-Western languages like
> Chinese, Japanese, Arabic or Hindi.

I don't think they exclude such people; they simply don't cater to them. No auxlang will please everyone. But we can and should minimize common hindrances, especially if, like tense-shifting, they are unnecessary even from a Western standpoint.

> English doesn't seem to have such
> doubts. And people learn English
> because there is money in English.

The primary argument for "westlangs" is that most of the people who need an interlanguage are at least acquainted with an IE language, typically English or Spanish, but sometimes another, similar, language. It's merely a matter of leveraging what is already known.
This doesn't mean that people without such knowledge aren't important or that we can ignore future generations; it just means that, as a practical matter, a real solution for the real problems of most real people will currently (not centuries hence) be a westlang of some sort. Other problems and circumstances and times will lead to other solutions. But if we want a solution in the real world, we must design for current, real-world conditions rather than pursuing hypotheticals.
And we must avoid zero-sum thinking, which should be inimical to auxlanging in any case.

> I am not in the position to support
> or create such a language because
> of lack of competence in the
> field. If people speaking
> non-Western language want to
> promote a language non-biased to
> western language, they are by all
> means free to do so, but it would
> be immoral if I went out and told
> them, here I have invented a
> language wich will be fine for you.
> It is somewhat of "the White Mans
> burden" but the other way around!

This bothers me as well: the self-proclaimed saviors of the Third World generally inhabit First-World countries. If the pressure for a solution is so great, a solution should arise spontaneously from the Third World, which does not lack people of erudition and genius. Yet the auxlangs from that quarter--or more broadly, from outside The West--tend to be westlangs or (rarely) a priori. These and the occasional counterexamples such as Afrihili seldom have any more success than regular westlangs; I'm not aware of any with noticeable support.

> "Western Languages" are already
> spoken in huge parts of the world.
>
> I agree that Jespersen should have
> written a Novial Textbook, some
> sort of Easy Novial for Beginners,
> or propagated "Keys to Novial".
> Incidently the Keys to Esperanto,
> the "Ŝlosiloj al Esperanto" were a
> tremendous apetizer to Esperanto.
> Nobody really learnt Esperanto by
> them, but they seem to have boosted
> curiosity in a lot of people. I
> have seen a grammar of Novial being
> an extraction of Jespersen's book,
> I am at present trying to make the
> same thing for Swedish readers. If
> the language fulfills what it seams
> to promise, I will go on making
> other versions of the Novial
> textbook in the languages I can
> manage, of course with the help of
> some native speakers. Perhaps even
> a Novial version of such a book
> might be useful.

I've considered that too, and I'm not hostile to it. But certain features of Novial do strike me as fatal flaws under current circumstances. So the problem is that versions of Novial (or any given
auxlang) will compete, and that will be zero-sum, because if your version succeeds, mine fails, and vice versa. I don't like the general feel of that, but I don't see an alternative.

Steve