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    I will not quote all of Stan's historical material, which I have no
particular quarrel with and in any case am not in a good position to
assess for accuracy.
 
On Sun, 3 Jan 1999, STAN MULAIK wrote:
 
> I don't get your basis for calling "Interlingua" elitist if it represents
> our common linguistic heritage.  If English shares common features and
> word origins with other European languages, how does that make the
> establishment of the common forms "elitist"?
 
    My point about possibly making Interlingua elitist was trying to
make it occupy a position in society comparable to medieval Latin,
which I hold was an elitist language in that it was the language of an
educated elite, not of the common people.  By the time of the Serments
de Strasbourg (843 if I recall my history correctly), the Romance
languages spoken by the common people (at least in what is now part of
France) could hardly be called Latin any more, and Latin as such was
preserved only by the educated elite.
 
> > Various educated anglophones, at least (including
> >myself), have remarked almost ad nauseam that Interlingua is not as
> >easily usable without prior training as sometimes claimed.  So then
> >what becomes of this much-vaunted vocabulary?
>
> That is probably truer of you than others, so I wouldn't judge everything
> by your own case.  [...]
 
    But I am not the only one to say this.  If many educated modern
anglophones have difficulty with Interlingua (or Occidental, for that
matter), then it would seem not to be as "international" as claimed,
even for WENSAns.  If anglophones have to be better educated to use
Interlingua apart from studying the language itself, then for them
it is something of an elitist language.
 
>                             But I have absolutely no problem in conversing
> or writing to speakers of Romance languages in Interlingua, even if they've
> never seen it before.  They understand it.  Try it yourself.  You write
> good Interlingua.  Go to some of the newsgroups like soc.culture.catalan,
> or soc.culture.spain, or soc.culture.france and see if you can strike
> up a conversation in Interlingua and they in their own language.
 
    I have not tried it, I admit, but I -have- tried to read
non-specialist texts in Spanish and even Catalan and could not read
them well enough to claim that I understood them.  (I studied French
in school, so that would not be a legitimate test.)  I will admit,
however, that others may have less difficulty than I in general in
learning and using languages.  I have never been very good in picking
them up and using them.  (For whatever it's worth, I remarked once not
so long ago that I seriously find Ido almost as easy to read as
Interlingua, and I have studied it even less.)
 
> >> [cut]
 
> >    I don't deny that there is some sort of more-or-less "international
> >vocabulary" derived from Latin (and Latinized Greek).  [...]
>
> But the existence of an object is distinct from any uses that may be
> made of it. We often find objects and then figure out ways of making
> a use of them for our purposes.
 
    True, but irrelevant to my purpose of being here on AUXLANG.
 
> [...]   There are lots of uses for the international vocabulary,
> but its existence is different from a use you might give to it.
 
    Yes, but my interest here is auxliliary languages, not just some
sort of amorphous general concern about an international vocabulary.
 
> > [cut]
 
> Well, certainly IALA had as its reason to be, to create an auxiliary
> language. But with that in mind it became apparent to the Committee
> on Aggreement that working on the basis of mere impressions of what
> was international form was not sufficient. [...]       (They all agreed
> that a big advantage lay in getting the international forms because
> that meant you could draw on the transfer of training from the
> mother tongue to the auxiliary language).
 
    But this is back to the Jespersen Criterion, as I see it, which
needs to be justified in itself.
 
> [Stan's long discourse on prototypical forms, which he has given
> [numerous times before, and with which I have quarrel as such]
 
> >    The more I see of Interlingua and Esperanto, the more I tend
> >to like Ido. ;-)
>
> Well, if you are more satisfied with that, and you can learn it better,
> then indeed go use it. But who are you going to use it with?  I tell you
> I can't read Ido at sight, and I don't think many Romance speakers can
> either.
 
    I think this goes to show that people differ enough that at times
blanket generalizations can be risky.  You say you cannot read Ido at
sight.  I say that I can read it about as well as Interlingua for a
similar amount of effort.  Whom am I going to use it with?  Well, whom
can Esperantists use Esperanto with?  I myself doubt that I could get a
lot of use out of Interlingua in a conversation with (non-francophone)
Romance speakers if I were using I-gua they were using their native
tongues.  Probably you and Kjell R. can.  Fine.  I strongly suspect
that my expereince would be otherwise.  And if I wanted to use some
(non-English) auxlang with, say, a Thai or a Japanese, I doubt that
Interlingua (or Occidental) would do us much good.  But I do think it
likely that both of us could learn Esperanto or Ido to a useful level
quicker than the other could learn I-gua.
 
>          So you can only communicate with other Ido users who have
> spent some time learning it. That may be satisfying enough for you.
> If it is, then do it.
 
    I may. :-)
 
--
Paul                                  <[log in to unmask]>
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