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Now for Gode's letter:
This is a truism: spoken language is _never_ affected by the orthography.
Orthography doesn't even enter into the speaking aspect of a language.
Orthography is a means of matching up the _written_ language with the
_spoken_ language. When it fails to do so (as is often the case in English)
it is the orthography that is at fault, not the spoken language, by definiti=
on.
 
>During the Interlingua conferences that I have been taking part in over
>here in Europe, I have never experienced that you misunderstand a word
>because it is spelt with a _ph_ instead with an _f_. It is easier to
>understand a Pole, Swede, Dane, Dutchman, Slovak, Frenchman speaking
>interlingua than if said people were speaking English. That is an
>observation I have made.
>
Again, I would not argue with this. The small number of vowel sounds in
Interlingua (as in Esperanto, Spanish, Welsh, Italian, Ido, etc.) make this
true of _many_ languages. (Stan has been using English as a touchstone to
which to compare Interlingua, too. English is probably one of the worst
languages in the world -- or at least in Europe -- against which to compare
a planned language's pronunciation and say, "Therefore, it is good."
Compared to the sound system of English, just about _anything_ would be good=
=2E)
 
>[Much stuff on the problems various people have in pronouncing
Esperanto... I should mention the case of a Swedish Esperantist who
immigrated to the U.S. years ago. He always said, for "necesejo"
(bathroom), "ne=E6esejo" (place for not ceasing). I never knew whether this
was deliberate or not...]
 
Back in '63 or '64, I think it was, UEA made a recording of the greetings
at one of the World Esperanto Congresses and put it on one of those flimsy
little plastic records that  people used to use when they made their own
recordings. At some point I bought a copy (UEA may still have copies in
their book service for anybody who's interested) and enjoyed the --
perfectly understandable! -- accents of the European representatives -- it
was not difficult to tell where _everybody_ came from. Well, almost
everybody; there were three representatives whose accents were so "pure"
(if that is the right word) that you could never have told where they came
from. They were from (if memory serves) China, Indonesia and Mali. Prof.
Duncan Charters had a lot of fun (back before he was a professor) with a
gig in which an individual goes around the world, pronouncing Esperanto in
each country according to the (stereotypical) pronunciation of the local
Esperantist ("Koj jen mi ejstas en Angle=FDjo ... kaj nun mi estAS en francJ=
O
=2E.. jen mi en Gergrgrgmanujo ... mij traijras la bjelan Rusujon ... mi =BC=
us
arvenis en Japanujo ..." I won't try to imitate his send-up of American
Esperantists).
 
It is possible -- easy! -- to learn to mispronounce Esperanto. Ditto for
Interlingua. Or any other language. Kjell devoted much space to Esperanto's
sound system and its various difficulties (which, as with his own
experience with 'kz', can be overcome, despite what some "authorities" such
as Waringhien might claim -- this is the same complaint that one Russian
Esperantist, quoted here before, had with the word "absoluta", which,
according to him, _must_ be pronounced "apsoluta"). But it is not clear, at
least to me, how this relates to the sound -> orthography mapping in
Esperanto, by which a person who _sees_ a word in Esperanto will
immediately know how to pronounce it correctly at once, and a person who
_hears_ a word in correctly-spoken Esperanto will know at once how to spell
it -- a point evidenced by the number of people who go right from written
Esperanto to spoken Esperanto within minutes or hours of being thrown into
a situation where the language is needed.
 
By the way, I -- a native English speaker -- prefer "te=B6niko" to "tekniko"=
,
and continue to use it.
 
>As for the Orthography in Interlingua I see an educational value in
>retaining the traditional "scientific" spelling. As soon as you simplify it
>in order to make it simpler you will also make the language a bit less
>communicative. Basically I think this is objectively true. But, personally,
>I would prefer a more frequent using of the collateral spelling or at least
>a tendency towards it.
>
Again, of value in a language used passively, in written form, but not so
much so in a language used actively. And not of _any use at all_ outside a
certain linguistic area, and not of much use anywhere outside of certain
classes of people (but perhaps those are all you want to talk to, anyway).
 
>Oh, by the way: I don't hold any diploma as to whether I know esperanto or
>not, so it may well be that I don't know the language, despite the fact
>that I used to translate a leaflet for tourists about Uppsala and that I
>have talked to Don on this list!
>
I don't think a diploma is very important. I've met people who spoke fairly
good Esperanto without having studied the language long enough to know that
such a thing exists. Heck, I've met people who spoke fairly good Esperanto
without have studied the language long enough to know that _other speakers_
exist.
 
Quoted according to Don's posting: (_I_ belowe =3D Don H.)
>
(*) I've quoted this letter before, but might as well put it down here in
full -- or at least the parts I have available. This letter was sent by Dr.
Alexander Gode to William Auld -- in English -- on Jan. 11, 1963, during
the negotiations for a proposed public debate between UEA's Ivo Lapenna and
Dr. Gode. The partial quote comes from pp. 20-21 of Auld's _Enkonduko en la
Originalan Literaturon de Esperanto_ (Saarbrucken: Artur E. Iltis, 1979).
Last time I quoted it, the suggestion was made by someone -- I've
conveniently forgotten who -- that the Esperantists had made it up. The
English original can be found in one of the 1963 issues of Floyd & Evelyn
Hardin's "International Language Review", for anybody who wants to look it
up. For the record, the debate never occurred; Gode wanted, as a
precondition, for both parties to stipulate that Interlingua was more
suited for certain fields and Esperanto for others. Lapenna was (rightly)
unwilling to so stipulate.
 
Direkt quote from Gode's Letter if I have understood Don correctly. Numbers
surrounded by these signs: (5) are mine.
 
 
Don quotes Gode: (1)
"Your impatience with the interlinguistic hobbyists cannot be greater than
mine, and I too believe, like you, that the majority of attackes against
Esperanto are quite nonsensical...
 
(2)
> What I want to explain is not at all
that Interlingua is superior to Esperanto, but preferably that Interlingua
has nothing at all in common with the ideological motivation of Zamenhof
and his disciples... For you Esperanto is a living language with all the
characteristics implied by that term. I assume your agreement about the
statement that there stands a long road ahead of Esperanto before it may be
claimed that it presents a more or less adequate realization of Zamenhof's
early vision. Your goal has to be that millions, not thousands, think of
Esperanto and use it as you do. In some way that makes you a missionary,
because you realize that much work remains to be done before your language
can fulfill the functions for which it was created.
 
(3)
I personally can, of course, respect your faith in the future of Esperanto,
but I cannot share
it. For me, as for millions and millions of others, such an auxiliary
language as you conceive of it is more nightmare than ideal. This is a
viewpoint which I may not and will not force on others, although
paradoxically it really makes me intolerant of the attitude of the typical
Esperantist, for whom proselytizing ('varbado')* is a necessary and natural
activity, with the implication that he is forced ever anew to try to
convert me and my contemporaries and/or our descendants to his faith in the
final glory and greatness of a common second language for all mankind...
 
(4)
I know, of course, that there are no few supporters of Interlingua who view
it as a competitor of Esperanto's in its seeming or projected role of
universal language for international communication. I call such supporters
of Interlingua "Esperantists",
 
(5)
because the real quintessence of the
Esperantist attitude is no** that the accusative should end in -n or that th=
e
plural must have a -j, but preferably the belief that planning and
propaganda and education can bring the golden age when no two people will
lack a common means of communication.
 
(6)
In my opinion, the spreading of
Interlingua from this viewpoint represents an important hindrance to our
cause,
 
(7)
which is really nothing else than the striving to give a concrete
form to the common linguistic tradition of the Western world, because that
tradition*** has by chance become the reservoir from which all language
throughout the world draw, directly or indirectly, their technical (**) and
scientific terminologies. (***) If medieval Latin were alive today,
Interlingua would not be needed. I have never argued against Esperanto from
purely linguistic criteria, and I do not intend to do so in the future."
 
(**) What joy! Auld, too, renders this as "te=B6nikaj".
 
(***) Which is far from 100% true, even in Europe.
 
Comments by Kjell R:
(1)
The first paragraph is thought to make Lapenna favourable to Gode, as I
understand it. The leaders can sit in their tent and express their consent
over how stupid there men are.
 
(2)
Esperanto according to Gode is a language with a mission. Let's see if that
implies that Interlingua has no mission!?
 
(3)
The only way of understanding that paragraph is to agree to those
Interlinguans I have spoken to that Gode saw the Esperantists as highly
sectarian and therefore he shunned al like clubs and _movement_. I don't
know if this picture is true, but it fits the content of the letter, if it
is correctly quoted.
 
(4)
=46rom that piece I understand that Gode would not have liked me. I shall tr=
y
to live with it!
 
=46or I try to use Interlingua as much as I can in order to show that there
is an alternative to English and Esperanto. My reason for that is to have
an international language where I can decide on an equal standing with
everybody else. It is a matter of _democracy_ for me.
 
(5)
That's what Gode thinks. One would prefer to hear what he has envisaged for
Interlingua.
 
(6)
Mmmm. It's getting hotter.
 
(7)
Oh, here we are. It is thought to replace Mediaeval Latin. So Gode is
striving to develop interlingua in that direction. How? I don't understand
Gode. What I do understand is this:
 
Interlingua as a summary of western language tradition can be advertized in
another way than Esperanto. Whether it or Esperanto can or will be the
second language for all, remains to be seen. What we do know is that
Interlingua already in our days can be used to a certain degree, so I say:
Use it, if you like.
 
If schools begin to instruct interlingua, this will help all the students
who will be exposed to instruction in the language (provided that it is
well done and the students are motivated).
It will take no time from the teaching of other languages. It can be used.
 
On another occation Gode said that Interlingua could not be used for
translating poetry, but he himself has said so many things that it is hard
to know what he really thought. The very same day when I read that Gode did
not approve of translating litteratur into Interlingua, I found poems
translated into that language by a well -known Swedish litterary translater!
 
Interlingua is there to be used by everybody who likes to do so, no matter
what Alex Gode might have meant or thought.
 
 
 
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Kjell Rehnstroem
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S-752 64  UPPSALA
Svedia - Sweden