Paul O. Bartlett <[log in to unmask]> said:

> I am withdrawing from the Auxlang and Conlang lists.

Mark Vines responds:

Too bad.  I've always been interested in what you had to say to us.

> The IAL world, quite honestly, is a bizarre zoo of wrangling,
> impossible hair splitting, and misleading expectations.  Frankly
> I am tired of the wrangling.

Here, of course, I am among the guilty.

I wonder, can you describe any norms of civility that, if adopted
on AUXLANG, would encourage you to remain in our forum?

> No interlanguage, constructed or natural, will ever be perfect
> in practice, if for no other reason than that there is no
> agreement what such a perfect language would be like.

However, improvements are possible even tho perfection is not.

> No realistic conIAL will ever be "fair" in practice.  Unless we
> construct some horrendous monstrosity equally bizarre and
> difficult to everybody, somebody, somewhere, is going to be
> unhappy about design decisions or language contents.  Fairness in
> a conIAL, like perfection, is a will o' the wisp, no better than
> swamp gas.

But relative improvements in cultural neutrality are possible
even tho absolute cultural neutrality is not.  Bahasan is a case
in point.  Dunia is another.

> Chances are good that there will be no new earth-shattering
> ... breakthroughs in conIAL design.

That's your prediction.  Mine is different:  I predict that, within
a century, a majority of extant human languages will be conlangs, &
many of those conlangs _will_ incorporate significant innovations
in language design.

Advances in the collection & correlation of natlang data, the
increasing availability & power of computer hardware & software,
advances in linguistic science, the increasing globalization of
human endeavor ... many such factors will contribute to progress
& proliferation in the conlang field.

> Some of the endless disputation that goes on in the auxlang
> world may be due in part to new people entering the field who are
> unaware of what has gone before and who think that their insights
> and objections are something new, when in fact they are as old as
> mouldy bread.

Yes, but their passion is refreshing, & I am unwilling to blame
newcomers for their lack of access to obscure reference works that
are largely out of print.

> Some of it may simply be contentiousness.

Well, mea culpa here too.  Perhaps we could adopt some explicit
norms of civility which would mitigate this.

> I really do not expect any new major design to some sauntering
> down the pike: mostly it is a matter of "been there, done that"
> already.

IMO the pike will soon be jammed with major new designs, & with
helpful revisions of major old designs like Novial.

> Also, and I think this is critically important, many conIAL
> designers cannot seem to quit tinkering.  Some time, at some
> point, the tinkering simply must end and the using begin.


> As Rick Harrison said in his farewell, there is a more than
> ample supply of languages already, and I doubt that any real
> improvements are to be had.

If someone said this about computer software, would you believe it?

I believe that the field of human language engineering is just as
legitimate, & just as ripe for innovation, as the field of computer
software.  "Real improvements" are already to be found in the
notebooks & computer files of today's designers.  Even more of them
will be introduced in the future.

> I suggest you pick one and go with it, and possibly even disband
> Auxlang.

Why?  More importantly, why now?  Why not wait a year?

> (My only slight exception would be in the matter of a conIAL
> only intended to be regional, possibly in a non-geographic sense,
> although even in this matter I remain slightly dubious of further
> enterprise.)

I think we can expect more & more of activity in this area.  IMO we
can expect numerous "neo-protolangs" (modern conIALs based on the
reconstructed ancestors of today's language families) as well as
efforts to base a spoken & alphabetically written auxlang on the
visual forms of the Chinese wenzi / hanzi / kanji characters.  We
can also expect multinational corporations to commission their own
auxlang designs for corporate operations.  Kaj tiel plu.

Mr. Bartlett, I will regret your departure & would welcome your
return.  I appreciate your contributions to this forum.  But I
don't share your view that useful conIAL innovation is a thing
of the past.

All the best,
- Mark Vines