Thursday, April 17, 2008

euroclones. a case for them. interlingua.

"The language Occidental, later Interlingue, is a planned language created by the Baltogerman naval officer and teacher Edgar de Wahl and published in 1922.

Occidental is devised with great care to ensure that many of its derived word forms reflect the similar forms common to a number of Western European languages. This was done through application of de Wahl's rule which is actually a small set of rules for converting verb infinitives into derived nouns and adjectives. The result is a language relatively easy to understand at first sight for individuals acquainted with several Western European languages. Coupled with a simplified grammar, this made Occidental exceptionally popular in Europe during the 15 years before World War II, and it is believed that it was at its height the fourth most popular planned language, after Volapük, Esperanto and perhaps Ido in order of appearance."

D: a language minimaxed for Europeans will fail outside that region.
There is a lesson here. One cannot design a language based on prioritizing certain principles, then somehow expect it to surpass those limitations.
For example, Loglan/Lojban was designed to test the Sapir-Whorf (not Worf, trekkie!) hypothesis. It has far too many phonemes, particularly diphthongs to be global.
Enthusiastic followers have pointed out the robust first-predicate logic possible with it. Somehow they fail to see the illogic of their position that this makes it a suitable world language.

However, a euroclone language, loosely derived from Greek and Latin but simplified, does have a possible application. It could serve as a regional Euro interlang. Inter(national?) language.
You see, EU has 23 going on 25 official languages. Each speech or document must then be copied in the 22 other languages. The math for this is the same of for the Birthday Paradox.
D: 23 has 253 possible pairs.

The European Commission is seeking to make us all speak in Brusselsese by donating millions of its documents to translation software developers.

The commission described the donation of its "collection of about one million sentences and their high quality translations in 22 of the 23 official EU languages" as a step further in its "efforts to foster multilingualism as a key part of European unity in diversity".

D: I think the number of pairs is more like 400 around 30 language pairs, and so on.
I am of the opinion that a language should be optimized for computer translation also.
I will cover various con-lang attempts tomorrow.

D: however, the machine translation ignores the need for real-time live communication.
There are some nifty gadgets to help US troops with Arabic in the Middle East.
D: however, I would not want to rely much on a machine for face-to-face conversation.
After all, machines need batteries and won't be present or working at all times.

A language designed with human and computer translation in mind could occupy both niches.

Oddly enough (not), Decimese has dual modes:
1) Use of CV syllables embedded in the word with LRWY to start, or
2) Use of free-standing work particles of same motif, but obviously the alternative vowel form.
The main problem with this approach is that 5 short and 5 long vowels far exceed the phonemes of much of the world. English is very vowel rich - just ask somebody that speaks Spanish.
I recruit H to allow variant pronunciation.

English quirk of the day: multiple ways to make the same sound.

E/ e (me), ee (feet), ea (leap), y (baby)

QOTD: Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.

Benjamin Lee Whorf quotes (American Linguist noted for his hypotheses regarding the relation of language to thinking and cognition and for his studies of Hebrew and Hebrew ideas, 1897-1941)

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