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"Raymond A. Brown" wrote:

> At 3:23 pm -0500 12/6/99, Tom Wier wrote:
> >"Raymond A. Brown" wrote:
> .....
> >> Yes - but no declensions are easier to learn than 1!
> >
> >True, but then you compensate for that by having to learn the syntactic
> >wordorder of the language.
>
> subject-verb-object doesn't seem exactly difficult to me.  This word order
> is favored by both English & Chinese which probably accounts for more than
> half the inhabitants of the planet.

This doesn't really address the point, though. Of course SVO word order
doesn't seem difficult to you, but then, learning 17 cases doesn't seem difficult
for Finnish people either.  The point is that there is no objective way to be able
to determine whether one is more difficult than the other.

> >Why would it matter if you didn't have to learn
> >several declensions only to have to learn an equal number of rules for
> >manipulating wordorder?
>
> All the languages I've come across - quite a few - that have no declensions
> seem generally to present _far less_ number of rules for manipulating word
> order than the rules I've had to cope with for manipulating case endings.
> Even Esperanto's 2-case system has its traps for the unwary.

Whoa, wait a minute here!  Most people who learn a language aren't
even aware of almost any of the rules that make up the grammar on
any kind of conscious level.  For example, in English, you can say three
of the following sentences, but not the fourth:

(1) "Jack and Jill ran up the hill"
(2) "Jack and Jill ran up the bill"
(3) *"Jack and Jill ran the hill up"
(4) "Jack and Jill ran the bill up"

Now why is that?  That's a pretty mysterious rule, if you ask me.  And
having obscure grammatical rules like that is rife, not just in English, but
every language.  There's no way you can explain why a metaphorical
treatment of a verb should be syntacticly encoded differently than a concrete
one.  Of course, you could say that these are, in fact, two different verbs,
yet there's still no obvious reason *why* they should be treated differently
(assuming they are different verbs, I would acknowledge they *are* treated
differently).

> >Personally, I see no expressive gain in e.g.
> >German's distinction in wordorder between subordinate and main clauses.
>
> Er - I don't recall anyone suggesting such a system for any conIAL.

The point is not whether they suggest something for a conIAL (or for
a natlang, for that matter).  It is that there are plenty of rules in syntax which
make syntactic distinctions just as strange and difficult as morphological
distinctions, so why make a fuss over it?  They're equally weird, so why
should we deny this?

> >> ...and so it is if by 'auxlanging' is meant the _construction_ of potential
> >> IALs.
> >
> >Right -- that's what I meant.  If I had meant natlang auxiliary languages, I
> >would have written out "auxilliary languages".
>
> But Esperanto, Ido, Interlingua are also "auxilliary languages".

Right. I was making a distinction between "auxlang" (for our purposes here,
a conlang that is used as an auxilliary language) and an "auxilliary language"
(any language whatsoever, constructed or not, that's used to aid communication
for different people and communities).

> The point is that auxlangs, IALs or whatever one likes to call them can be
> either contructed or 'natural' languages.  Having once been told, in no
> uncertain terms, on AUXLANG that it was "overwhelmingly obvious" that an
> IAL must be a constructed language, I tend to be rather sensitive on this
> point.

And I agree with you that an IAL doesn't have to be an auxilliary language,
but I was trying to create some sort of terminological distinction that would
allow you to refer to the following:

(a) natlang:  a language that developed naturally, without any kind of
direct artificial creation.
(b) auxilliary language, IAL:  any language, constructed or not, that
serves to aid intercommunity communication (as I said above)
(c) conlang:  just the opposite of (a), any language that was developed
consciously and actively by a person or a group.
(d) auxlang:  a language created expressly to serve as an IAL
(under the above definition)
(e) artlang: any language created for artistic or aesthetic purposes.
(f) loglang: any language created to be make communication more logical.

So, (d), (e), and (f) under this system are subsets of (c); any of these
may be (b), except that (d) must be (by definition). Some of these might
be a little misleading, or overgeneralizations, since I would assume most
people would place Classical Latin in (a) and (b) (for the time it was actually
used, anyway), though it's quite probable that the language was also somewhat
artificial itself.

> My apologies if you thought I was criticizing you personally - that was
> _not_ intended.

Oh, no, certainly not.  I thought you were trying to bring up some
good discussion;  I think we just happen to disagree on the terminology.
I personally think the above scheme is more useful, although it would
be even better if we could come up with a better (more obvious) term
for what I have termed "auxlangs".

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

"Things just ain't the way they used to was."
     - a man on the subway
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