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Je 09:34 atm 5/1/98 -0700, Bruce R. GILSON skribis:
 
>Esperantists make much of their word-building capability, indicating that=
 you
>don't need to learn as many words if you can use building blocks to=
 construct
>one out of E-o morphemes. In Interlingua, frequently the same sort of word
>will be a single borrowed word.
>
>There are, in my mind, advantages to _both_ approaches. For a common word,=
 I
>believe it is better to have a short, simple word that will be early-on
>learned anyway. Thus "mikra" of Ido (and its equivalents in Novial, Occ,=
 and
>Interlingua) is really better than "malgranda" in E-o because "small" is a
>concept that occurs just as frequently as "large" and both are very common.
>(It might help to still be allowed to USE the antonym-making facility to
allow
>for forgotten words, as in Don H's "mallakso" story. Certainly in Novial,
des-
>can be used in this way, though normally would not in such a case.)
>
The point is that for the beginner and not-all-that-experienced
second-language speaker, the MAL- words, for instance, represent a
leveraging of a relatively small vocabulary into a relatively large one.
Replacing these words with shorter, unrelated terms increases the necessary
vocabulary that has to be learned before one can actually start using the
language.
 
It is always possible to add _parallel_ terms for the use of the more
experienced speaker. To quote an example from Waringhien, _denta=BClevilo_
very early on (after automobiles became more common) was replaced by the
shorter _kriko_. Just as well. The first time I ever saw the Esperanto word
(out of context), I imagined a dentist trying to raise my teeth from my
gums. In context, of course, the meaning became evident ("Helpu min! Mia
pne=FDo senaeri=F8is, kaj mi bezonas denta=BClevilon por levi mian a=FDton!"=
) If I
had a flat in China today, and were to telephone a local Esperantist to
come help me, I would certainly ask him to bring a "denta=BClevilo", not a
"kriko".
 
With respect to the very common words to which Bruce aludes, the theory is
a good one, but practice doesn't bear it out. In Esperanto, almost all the
standard MAL-words have had shorter alternatives for the better part of a
century -- not official, but who pays a lot of attention to that?
"Malgranda", for instance, has had both "mikra" and "pita" proposed as
alternatives (the latter presumably being the French "petit"). Neither has
ever been extensively used in literature, and never in ordinary speech.
Similarly, we have "mava" for "malbona", "poka" for "malmulta", "dista" and
"lontana" for "malproksima", "streta" for "mallar=F8a", "hati" for "malami",
and a host of others, some of which are even found in the dictionaries.
None of these has ever been adopted by ordinary speakers. Even purely
Esperanto shortenings ("eta" for "malgranda", "fora" for "malproksima")
seldom get used in preference to the MAL-words, except in special
circumstances ("eta" when you want to hold out your hand with the tips of
your thumb and forefinger about a millimeter apart).
 
>But on the other hand, the E-o approach helps in building up rarely used=
 con-
>cepts when one simply needs a word. Forms like the -ilo derivatives in E-o
>(and in Novial too) are clearly useful, since we don't need to invent a lot
>of words that would be unrecognizable to nosspecialists anyway.
>
>I think that extremism in either dogma is not helpful.
>
Hard to avoid, it turns out (see the century-long dialectic between
conservatives and neologists within the Esperanto movement), but ultimately
the dogmatists will form only a small percentage of both sides...
 
-- Don HARLOW
http://www.webcom.com/~donh/
(English version: http://www.webcom.com/~donh/dona.html)