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Gerald Koenig wrote:

> Ray said:
> >
> >I say that the notion that some natlangs are superior to others is jus=
t as
> >flawed, meaningless and IMHO dangerous as holding that certain races a=
re
> >superior to others.  To me _both_ notions suck.
>
> Well that to me is a really strange identity. Do you think some
> educations are superior to others? Is not a language an education?
> Does an education add one whit to the inherent worth of the
> possesor? Is the thing contained equivalent to the container?

Here is where I must beg to differ.  The question is not so much whether
or not a given natlang can be better than another, but how is it that one
comes to that conclusion?  All too often, as we _all_ know, the skin
pigmentation that a person has has been the real basis for people's
claims that another language is "superior" to that language, or "more
civilized".   In fact, many of the languages that were subject to such
claims of inferiority are patently, in many ways, _more_ complex than
their (usually) European counterparts (many of the languages of Papua
New Guinea, for example, where verbs may have upwards of
5000 finite verb forms).  [ Of course, in saying this, we are talking abo=
ut
the microlinguistic issue of one particular aspect of a language, i.e.,
verbal or nominal morphology, which has been used by many as indices
of complexity quite often. ]

There is nothing inherently wrong with saying that language is "better"
than another -- but for what?  I would say that if you are trying to stud=
y
seventeenth and eighteenth century French Enlightenment literature, then
I don't care what you say, Modern (Parisian) French will be better than,
say, my own dialect, of Texan English.   Again, we are drawn to the
microlinguistic / macrolinguistic dichotomy.  In that resides the key to
this argument.

 The comment above is mistaking education _systems_ for all types of
education itself (whatever you might want to put under this umbrella-term=
).
Not only that, language is arguably something that has nothing to do with
teaching (and therefore education) whatsoever -- it is merely the product
of a combination of the biological makeup that every human carries around
with him and the individual sense experience that goes to provide him wit=
h
his milk-tongue. Therefore you will have to look for another analogy. :)

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Tom Wier <[log in to unmask]>
ICQ#: 4315704   AIM: Deuterotom
Website: <http://www.angelfire.com/tx/eclectorium/>
"Cogito ergo sum, sed credo ergo ero."

"Schlie=DFt den heil'gen Zirkel dichter,
  Schw=F6rt bei diesem goldnen Wein,
Dem Gel=FCbde treu zu sein,
  Schw=F6rt es bei dem Sternenrichter!"
   - _Ode an die Freude_, J. F. von Schiller
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