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An excellent post, Leo.

On 2017-03-18, Leo Moser wrote:

> Two statements on simplicity and IALs:
>
> 1. "The best international language is that which is easiest for the
> greatest number of people." /Otto Jespersen/.
>
> 2. “English is far too difficult to be an appropriate IAL.”
>
> I strongly disagree with Jespersen’s dictum, but fully agree with the
> second statement.

I also have disagreed with the "Jespersen criterion," although for 
slightly different reasons. As for English, even as an educated native 
speaker I agree that English is not an optimal choice for an 
international auxiliary language. It is difficult for adult learners, 
and even some young people outside of immersion environments may not 
master it well. Of course, there are those who advocate a sort of 
restricted / constricted English, such as Globish (interesting, but I am 
not aware that it has really gone anywhere), although there would be a 
tendency for native speakers to step outside the bounds, and many who 
would say, just learn "real" English.

> [...]

> The global language should be the most useful for all persons and purposes.
> This means world literature, commerce, science, law and diplomacy, the
> internet, etc.

Agreed. So far as I am aware of now -- I will cheerfully accept other 
opinions -- the only realistic candidates at this time are Esperanto 
and, barely possibly, Interlingua.

> Right now, English seems to be fulfilling that purpose . . . to a degree.
> But it remains needlessly difficult, takes almost a lifetime to learn well.
> English is also tending to split into regional variants.
> (Consider its complex and varied vowel patterns!)

Yes, there is no longer one "English" in speech. Although written 
English is still fairly uniform (only minor differences), the idea of 
"reformed spelling" founders on the issue of, Whose English?

> English is IMO inappropriate as the long-term IAL.

I agree.

[...]

-- 
Paul Bartlett