Print

Print


Donald J. HARLOW wrote:
>
> Je 06:04 atm 12/4/99 +0100, Kjell REHNSTRO"M skribis
>
> >Michael Talbot-Wilson wrote:
> > >
> > > [log in to unmask] skribis:
> > > ...
> > > > "Occidental es li max facil e simplic forme de Lingue International.
> > > > It es  immediatmen comprensibil a omni hom occidental, pro to usabil
> > > ...
> > >
> > > Don, could you please give me a translation of "pro to usabil"?   In Ido
> > > "to" would mean "that thing", but I am unsure whether that carries over
> > > to Occidental.  Of course, in English "to" has a different meaning.
> > >
> >Is that so incomprehensible?
> >...for this usable = and therefore possible to use
>
> This is a problem of native-language interference with comprehension at the
> syntactic level. To me (because of Esperanto) the construct is perfectly
> obvious, but to somebody who's had little experience outside of English, in
> which an adverbial prepositional phrase modifying an adjective _invariably_
> follows the modified adjective, "pro to usabil" might seem incomprehensible.
>
That is one of the problems with languages like Occidental. If _old_ means
what it is supposed to mean, why shouldn't then _to_ mean _to_ as well.
 
It can very well be that we who have looked at some international languages
are getting acquainted with the way of making such langauges and that we have
greater skill in understanding other artificial languages, as long as we in
some way can decipher the vocabulary.
 
> In any situation, people tend to let their ingrained first-language
> linguistic habits ("language sense") get in the way of accepting a language
> on its own merits. A phrase in Esperanto such as "la en la mondon veninta
> nova sento", which is perfectly legitimate Esperanto (and is a form
> commonly used by writers who've grown up in the S.A.T. school [skolo]), is
> often derided by various Esperanto critics as being a slavish imitation of
> Germanic (or Slavic, depending on who's criticizing) forms. And there was a
> whole school (skolo) in Germany that insisted that verbalized adjectives
> such as "bonas" were non-logical and therefore impermissible (despite the
> fact that speakers of many Asian languages find them perfectly
> comprehensible and logical).
>
This is a Slavic construction, but who knows if it is not borrowed from Latin.
I suspect this but have never checked it.
 
> My earlier and immediate response about Occidental syntax was inappropriate
> (in this case), and I apologize for it; but Michael's reaction _does_ show
> one of the major problems of the whole concept of immediate
> comprehensibility, which concentrates (also fallaciously, IMHO) on
> vocabulary, without paying sufficient attentions to variations in structure
> between the languages under consideration.
>
Whether the language is comprehensible at first sight or not it is very
important that writers think about what they are writing. It is so easy to
fall back on modes of expression in one's own language, as if I said: "I am
not at all foreign to the idea of writing letters in Interlingua and send a
glossary to go with them." (I percieve _not to be foreign to_ as a suecicism_
and _a glossary to go with them_ as an English idiom, but I should check this,
as I am not sure this is the very correct expression. And that is just about
the problem in a nutshell when writing in a national language that isn't your
own. Even if you check 18 times you can make a real fool of yourself. The
advantage is that there are millions who do know what is right and you don't
have to deliberate about every expression.
 
An auxiliary language just puts us all on the same level. Just see to it that
you know your grammar and your vocabulary and try to be _clear_!