Monday, February 16, 2009

review of nice history-of-IALs website by Espo-ist

http://donh.best.vwh.net/Esperanto/EBook/chap03.html

D: I really like this fellow, though of course I disagree on some details.

"They all [reformists], after determining
that the public did not favor Esperanto, nor
adopt it with the same enthusiasm that they
did, blamed this lack of success on the failures
or imperfections they found in the language.

D: I see why they get nostalgic. From Ido on, it was reform-mania all the time.

I was reminded of Weber on bureaucracies, and charismatic versus rational leadership.
Very few language movements had the critical mass to survive the demise of their founder, or funder, or faceman, or public interest.

Public interest/ media coverage does not necessarily result in folks learning the language.
Loglan, for example. Yet Toki Pona, for example, did manage to leverage media interest into adherents.
Like fiction-based con-langs, it is the ideals a language represents that moves folks to learn it.

Being (almost) first, and fairly well known relatively speaking, somebody who wishes to learn A aux-lang will typically learn Esp-o. Then stop. Rarely will they wish to do so again with another language.

The lack of grammatical theory and precise underpinnings may make it more ambiguous and possibly limited, but yes it does make DIY word formation much easier.
I'm chewing on this one for Decimese.

Re: Rick Harrison's comment about taxonomic languages. I'm not sure they are harder to memorize. I do agree they are harder to hear clearly if (if) they have one minimal pair difference.
My odd experiment in Decimese will be to use a CV syllable as the smallest pair difference.

I am willing to accept that Esp-o may outlast the popularity of Klingon. Particularly if the new Star Trek movie fails to reboot the franchise.

The French fought a losing battle to preserve the pre-eminent status of their language. Lingua franca you could say.
English rose ascendant. But all things change, in cycles.
Empires rise and fall. He who is strong today is weak tomorrow.
English will not always be ascendant. For that matter, neither will China.
If France looked forward to when they were no longer pre-eminent, they might have salvaged more of their linguistic elements.

Since North America has such a hard time teaching functional literacy in written English within the school system, it seems unlikely that they will also be able to teach the tonemic Mandarin tongue also.

English speakers can learn from history and the demise of French in international circles.
English will eventually be toppled from its throne. The forces are already in motion.
Accepting this gracefully means catering to the Chinese.
Everybody *can* win.

I did disagree with one comment in the above Esp-o e-book.
Using elements of English that are simple to learn and widely found is not cultural bias. Word order and few affixes are simply easier to learn.
And yes, diacritics allow Esp-o to be phonemic with their graphemes, but are only needed since there are so many phonemes in the first place!
Trying to map a Euro-clone language onto the Roman Alphabet is doomed to failure.
The solution is not diacritics. It's LESS phonemes.
26 should be considered a hard cap.

OK I also now realize Ceqli did not invent the past/future pa and fu word particles. Still, a darn handy method!

A language movement needs to turn public interest and media attention into a body of speakers.
It then needs funding, organization and a rational administration to keep it moving.
The founder needs to eventually hand over the reins so his(her) loss doesn't sink the movement.
Reformists and schism need to be harnessed and used or vented harmlessly.
Don't introduce the language publicly until beta-testing is done!
Nobody wants to have their language constantly tinkered with.
Use small groups of testers for the fine tuning and revisions prior to public release.
Capture an IDEAL. In Espo's case, internationalist peace movement types.
Ideally, get the backing of a large NGO or government organization, even a nation.
Or more than one.
The League of Nations. Or.... the United Nations.
!

1 comment:

Bill Chapman said...

Your comments which follow are a perfect description of what happened with Esperanto: "A language movement needs to turn public interest and media attention into a body of speakers.
It then needs funding, organization and a rational administration to keep it moving.
The founder needs to eventually hand over the reins so his(her) loss doesn't sink the movement.
Reformists and schism need to be harnessed and used or vented harmlessly.
Don't introduce the language publicly until beta-testing is done!
Nobody wants to have their language constantly tinkered with."

Esperanto may not be linguistically perfect but it works and continues to attract learners.