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Don Harlow wrote:
 
> Claiming that Idists have "shown" Esperanto incapable of doing something
> it does quite well and Ido does not do at all is not very good logic.
 
I would make a number of points here.
1. Although I haven't made a thorough study of Couturat's critique of Esp's
derivation scheme, I am reliably informed that he successfully showed that
it was not sufficiently precise to satisfy the requirements of the
scientific world.  In fact, two reasons for this spring immediately to
mind.  The first is the variable meaning of the suffix -ad, which, because
of the inadequacy of Zamenhof's scheme, may denote either the simple act or
state, or the repeated or continuous act depending on the root to which it
is added.  The second is the cavalier manner in which Esp allows the
speaker to jump between word classes by changing the final vowel attached
to the root, without specifying clearly the meaning of the resulting word.
 
In fact, as Meillet said, it is really very easy to proceed more logically
than Esp in the system of derivation.  What is clear, I think, is that
given any root and any deriving affix/ending, the meaning of the word
resulting from the combination of the two should be clearly defined within
the limits of practical logic.  This is something quite different from
what happens in Esp, and it is hard to see how any essentially different
approach will furnish a derivation system sufficiently precise for the
needs of exact endeavours such as science.
 
2. The evidence you give that Esp fulfils the needs of science "quite well"
is anecdotal.  There is a way for the Esperantists to provide evidence
for this claim (or preferably with "quite" replaced by "very"), and that is
to submit Esp to the test to which Ido was submitted by Couturat: double
translation of a scientific text with preservation of essential meaning.
 
3. I am afraid that the Argument from Numbers or any variant thereof will
be of no use in this particular argument.  What we are discussing is not
the number of tests to which the two languages have actually been put, but
rather 1. how well they have stood up to those tests, 2. how well they
would _in theory_ stand up to such tests, regardless of whether or not
they ever have or will be submitted to them.  What we are discussing here
is fitness _in principle_, not _in practice_ for use in the fields of the
exact sciences.
 
James Chandler
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