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Je 03:17 ptm 12/31/97 -0500, Paul O. BARTLETT skribis:

>On Wed, 31 Dec 1997, Donald J. HARLOW wrote (excerpt):
>
>> The prewar evolution of the IL movement does not indicate that this would
>> have been the case. Very likely, one proposed IL after another would have
>> continued to come along, displacing its predecessors in feasting off the
>> crumbs from the Esperantists' table.
>
>    I think that there is at least a nugget of truth in this, although
>I do consider it at least believable that some other conlang with more
>of the "factors of IAL success" (to refer to my own essay) could
>conceivably displace Esperanto among conIALs, considering the miniscule
>fraction E-o speakers are of the human population.
>
Actually, before deciding what could or would have happened to the planned
IAL movement in the absence of WWII, we have to figure out what sort of
environment it would have existed in. Esperanto appears to have suffered
far more, even proportionally speaking, from the authoritarian and
totalitarian governments of Eurasia before the war than did other, smaller
(and less efficient in promoting international communication) IAL
movements; if those governments had persisted, would "The Great Silence" of
the fifties have spread west and south rather than being restricted to the
area behind the Iron Curtain? Also, would the prewar colonial empires, and
the mindsets that grew out of them, have endured? If that were the case,
languages such as Occidental and Interlingua could be seen as somewhat more
attractive. Also, the "triumph" of English, which strikes me as being (a)
nowhere near as complete as is often touted, and (b) considerably more
ephemeral than most people in my generation like to imagine, would have
been more contested by other natlangs than it has been, giving more room
for maneuvering by various planned languages.

I suspect that the situation would have turned out much as I described,
though. After all, the period from the turn of the century to 1939
presented a not dissimilar situation, and evolved in precisely this way.

All of which refers to social, or non-linguistic, factors, and so may be of
little interest to some here.

-- Don HARLOW
http://www.webcom.com/~donh/
(English version: http://www.webcom.com/~donh/dona.html)