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James Chandler wrote:

>If a vocabulary steeped in Latin/Italian is what they want, they are
>quite welcome to it.  What did Dyer have to say about that?
>"(3) The "etymological" or purely Latin-root method of selection.
> No word would be admitted (except possibly a few technical words,
> as telephone, boycott) which does not have its origin in the
> classical or medieval Latin.  This method of selection might
> claim to do away with the labor of seeking some medium form of
> root from the divergent forms as they have developed in modern
> languages or the selection of one word from the several totally
> different ones which appear in modern languages to express a
> similar idea - all one would have to do would be to seek the
> Latin etymological form.  A purely Latin vocabulary would be
> easy for peoples of the Romance group, especially the Italians,
> and would offer a certain degree of facility to all peoples
> because of the interpenetration of Latin words.
> Against such a method of selection may be said (1) that any
> disregard of modern, maximum internationality means that the
> resulting IL must be less efficient for the peoples as a
> whole; (2) that it is an obvious concession to scholars
> trained under the classical tradition and perhaps to Italians.
> To make concessions to small groups, however important they may
> regard themselves, is unfair.  Because Latin is easy for
> scholars and Italians, it by no means follows that Latin words
> have easy intelligibility and facile use to the common run of
> people for which an IL is chiefly intended; (3) that the
> purely etymological roots to be selected often differ
> considerably from all the developed forms of the same roots as
> they now appear and that as a consequence they would be more
> difficult to remember and use than medium forms selected from
> modern languages; (4) that if the etymological forms of the
> roots were disregarded and some common spelling be selected from
> the modern form of the words, the vocabulary would not greatly
> differ from that found in Idiom-Neutral and Ido; (5) that it
> ignores that large body of words common to the English and
> German which by reason of predominance of population (to say
> nothing of cultural standing) have as much, if not more right
> to be taken into consideration as words derived from a dead
> language.  If we are to let down on the principle of maximum
> internationality why should we not endeavour to favor especially
> the linguistic peculiarities of these two great and growing
> peoples, as distinguished from the Romance group, they certainly
> are of more importance than the small group of classical
> scholars; (6) that the classical and medieval Latin was the reflex
> of a bygone civilization and is not applicable to modern
> conditions; ..."

I have to say, James, although I've been impressed by your language pages,
your comments on Interlingua in this forum don't reflect the same standard
of research. I don't want to laboriously dissect your long quote from Dyer,
just to note that points 3 and 6 are part of the standard case *for*
Interlingua. With regard to 3, Interlingua's "prototypes" are not
etymological by definition; they're standardisations of the pan-Romance
(and frequently pan-European) forms. With regard to 6, the Interlingua
methodology quite effectively excludes archaic Latin forms.

I wonder if your impression of Interlingua's vocabulary has been
over-influenced by its Latinate and Italianate "grammatical words"
(particles, common adverbs, etc.), the *sed*s and *troppo*s and so on.
Because there are few cross-language forms for these sorts of words, Gode &
Co. lifted them pretty much arbitrarily from Latin and Italian (in practice
the Italianate forms have tended to predominate). But, after all, you have
to take them from somewhere.

>The Italian/modern Latin method of vocabulary selection is flawed
>because it does not take into account the number of people who
>are familiar with a given form through their mother-tongue.  It
>cannot furnish an optimum or near-optimum vocabulary.

It seems strange to me that you're attacking Interlingua on the very point
that it differs *least* from Novial. Apart a bit of non-international
German and English vocabulary in Novial (for which, admittedly there is a
case), the differences in vocabulary seem minor. The two languages are
*mutually comprehensible*, for crying out loud!

>Further, Interlingua makes so little attempt at simplification on
>*any* front that it is made *very much less efficient* than a
>language constructed along the lines of Ido or Novial.

From a theoretical point of view, I can see your case - and to some extent
I would agree with it. A year ago I'd have endorsed it completely. But the
practical point of view - how to put an IAL into use - is another matter.
I'll try to muster some thoughts on this in a day or so.

>It matters not one jot what the history of the European languages
>tells us.  What we are interested in is what is in *actual
>current usage*.

Ditto Interlingua.

>I do not think I have to say any more.  Every argument put by a
>supporter of this language makes their case less tenable.
>
>It is fair to say that IALA Interlingua is nothing but an abberation
>in the history of IL development, a dinosaur from the pre-1907
>days when the Latin projects held sway.  It will now kindly admit
>its unfitness for its purpose and bow out gracefully.

James, your parting shot sounds alarmingly like an exorcism. You're not
conducting any dark rituals up on Exmoor, are you?

Cheers,

Chris Burd