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(All of the following questions can hardly be answered in this forum. For
the question of recognizability of Interlingua I tried to frame the
questions so that one could begin to project an investigation from them.
But as for who would ever undertake the investigation, I have no clue.
(Interlinguistics is not a recognized subject at most universities.) The
second part contains the normative kind of stuff you would expect from an
Esperantist. :-)
 
Kjell Rehnstr=F6m wrote:
>Some years ago I was working together with a guy from Colombia. The
>languages we used were Swedish and Spanish/Interlingua. I thought it was to
>hard to keep Spanish and Interlingua appart. Therefore I began talking
>Interlingua to him instead of my broken Spanish. My collegue did not feel
>that strange at all. It was as if I were speaking a strange romance dialect
>that he understood very well. I'd guess that a very uneducated person from
>any  Spanish-speaking country might have problems with understanding
>Interlingua, but it might well be that such a person would have
>difficulties understanding any form of school Spanish that one might have
>learnt.
 
I would really much want to see research results on the comprehensibility
of Interlingua to speakers of Romance languages, correlated with social and
educational status. As for the spontaneous attitudes to an Interlingua text
one could, hypothetically, see two kinds of extreme reactions to
Interlingua by e.g. a native speaker of Spanish, like endpoints on a scale:
a) "Great, I can understand it without difficulty. What a nice IAL!"
b) "Yuck, that looks almost like my mother tongue, but it's somewhat
deformed, yes terribly mutilated."
[No offense intended by my wording.]
 
There is no guarantee that the prejudices by some people towards
constructed languages will not pop up in connection with Interlingua as
well. (If the subject knows that Interlingua is not an ethnic language,
point b) above could well be seconded by: "And it's not even Latin, which
after all is a real language!") The perceived differences between
individual Romance languages and Interlingua could be a negative factor,
just as the often-criticized "artificiality" for more autonomous planned
languages.
 
(Of course one could also measure informed attitudes, i.e. the attitudes
the subject has after having been informed to a certain extent (how much?)
about Interlingua and other planned languages. But isn't one of the main
points of a language intended for prima vista reading that the language
should be transparent enough not to need any additional clarification?)
 
Exactly how much a _typical_ native speaker of Spanish (if such a person
exists) would understand of an Interlingua text, and what attitude he would
have towards Interlingua, is yet unknown. What we have so far is anecdotal
evidence from some Interlinguaists, and a few statements from individual
Romance speakers saying they find it hard to read.
 
The details of how to develop a planned language for _maximum_
recognizability is a moot question (and rather pointless, IMO, until we
have more research results). One _can_ speak about it in gross terms:
Esperanto is less recognizable at first sight than Novial, but is
Interlingua more recognizable than Novial to Romance speakers, and if so,
how much?
 
Then there is the question what a native Spanish-speaker not speaking
Interlingua (and not being exposed to it before) understands the best, and
what his attitudes are, to: ungrammatical but fluent Spanish, or fluent
Interlingua. Both varieties are "incorrect" compared to Castellano. (Are
they equally strange to the native speaker of Spanish?) For the speaker of
Interlingua, on the other hand, it might feel better knowing that he
adheres to the rules of Interlingua, rather than breaking (or bending :-)
the rules of Spanish. (Would a simplified Spanish give the same kind of
confidence?)
 
In this situation Interlingua is a language that is not expected, and whose
use may therefore have to be justified. That wouldn't be too unlike the
attitude that Esperantists encounter now and then: "Why are you using that
strange language?"
 
>What seems to work against languages of the Esperanto/Ido type is that they
>are nearly wholly dependent of a convention: I will start learning this
>language. Then we will communicate.
 
Interlingua is almost as much dependent on such a convention. Of course
Interlingua can be understood by many speakers of Romance languages, and
that is a nice niche for a naturalistic planned language. But in order to
get Interlingua used in a wider context one needs producers of texts in
Interlingua, and people who speak it. There must be an incentive to use
Interlingua instead of another language. An individual who can read and
understand Interlingua at first sight can understand the same text in
=46rench, Italian, Spanish, maybe even English, with the same good or bad
comprehensibility. Why would a prospective author of an article take the
trouble of defending his writing it in Interlingua, a little-known planned
language, when a text in an "established" Romance language or English would
do the job just/almost as effectively? (Depending, of course, on the
subject matter of the text and the intended audience.) There is no need to
defend writing in English or French. The motivation for writing in
Interlingua is most often idealism.
 
IMHO naturalistic planned languages are not much more advantageous than
schematic ones. You still need idealists to produce a body of information
in the language before any snow-balling dissemination can take place. The
Interlingua movement has still to prove that at sight-readability is in any
way decisive for spreading a planned language.
 
So you can use Interlingua in certain situations, but a general use can
only be attained by "Esperantist" means (i.e. promote Interlingua in almost
the same way as the Esperantists promote Esperanto). The situations where
_only_ Interlingua could be used, and not French/Spanish/Italian, exist, as
far as I know, only within the Interlingua movement itself.
 
Christer L"ornemark
 
[Estus bone se mi tradukintus c'i tiun tekston en iun planlingvon, sed g'i
estas jam sufic'e longa. Il esserea bon si io haberea traducite iste texto
in alicun lingua planificate, sed le texto es jam assatis longe.]