Friday, April 17, 2009

trends in spoken English, thoughts on texting as useful short-hand, more Ranto

Older people often criticize the use of "like," which peaks at about the age of 30. But it doesn't reflect stupidity or poor grammar - it is merely a recent linguistic trend. In fact, Prof. Tagliamonte says, it's not really so new any more, and has reached a saturation point in common conversation. In formal linguistic parlance, the use of "like" is called a "quotative" - a storytelling device used to indicate who said what.

D: It's true - I crawl out of my skin. "Like" is also used in lieu of filler sounds such as um, ah, and so on. Listening to teen girls prattle on while on the bus is my main reason to avoid the bus. I have measured some using "like" at a stacatto rate in excess of once per second.
If I become a U prof, I'm gonna keep a tally on the chalk board of its use.

...the under-40 set also tends to use the word "stuff...
"right" as a sentence ender, for example, "It's a girl, right."
... use of "so" as an intensifier ("it's so cold outside"), and the use of have as a "deontic modal," as in "I have to go."

D: I prefer must instead of have to. I suspect it is more clear to ESL foreigners.
Who knows where English will go in the future?
It's going to be soooo like interesting, right.
The number and letter names are useful short-hand for some syllables.
Some are fill-ins for more common syllables than others.
2 - two, to, too. 4- for.
The other numbers are more rare. Seven sounds like NO other words I can think of.
I suppose 1 could stand in for won. 8 for ate.
Of the letters, B for be, C for see, maybe G for gee, K for 'kay, P for pee, R for are, Y for why.

With proper planning, one could ensure many common prepositions and verbs and interrogatives could be matched to a letter or single digit number.

In Decimese, these could include number naming conventions.
From Deafese, 1-9 was ba, cha, da...
From my alternative Roman alphabet naming convention, bab, skach, dad, fef...
If Decimese uses PB SZ TD FV KG CHSH and possibly THTH and MNNG, these could be the only 'open' vowels. I.e. they are not followed by M, N, or NG.
In written form, if nouns and verbs are all written as proper words, while various "function words" use, say, numbers, then that could be quite clear.

E.g. The dog did bite a boy.
The and a could use numbers.
Did - past tense - could sound like a letter. And so on.

My first idea for letter naming in Decimese was (for PB), Pahan and Haban.
These would not be confused with compound nouns since the -ha- syllable mid-word would always then be followed by another complete syllable with first-consonant form.
E.g. pa-ha-pan. This of course would mean that pa-ha-Ban must be a single concept.

However, my proposal for short-hand favours single-syllable spoken forms to match common function words.
This could, I suppose, recruit special H-derived words.
Ha he hi ho hu.
With 3 endings, we do have 3 sets of 5 more.
Han ham hang, hen...

English: I want to see you. I want 2 c u.
Having different sound for the capital form would be handy, indicating with brevity that the visual form is different.
Thus I want 2 C U would mean something different, and be spoken distinctly from c u.

I once pondered a syllabary for English. I think I ended up with over 1000 symbols.
It's the consonant clusters.
I suppose that HIOXian consonant diacritics could be recruited for this.
The word strengths, CCCVCCC, would be CVC.
1 the
2 be
3 to
4 of
5 and
6 a
7 in
8 that
9 have
10 I

D: definite article, supercommon verb, preposition, preposition, conjunction, indefinite article, preposition, .... supercommon verb, pronoun.

Put another way, pronouns, articles, conjunctions, prepositions, auxiliary verbs/ very common verbs.
Note they are all single syllable words.
Esperanto - I seem to have stalled again. I bogged down in more vocabulary memorizing than needed, spoofed by false cognates, and some strung-together unrelated words for yours, near (feels like French).
Notably, the most common verbs cannot be reduced to one syllable since Espo does not use rigid word order.
Estas - be. Havas- have. That - ke, tio, tiu.

Mr. Barry Crown replied, "Esperanto undoubtedly is easy to learn if you are of above-average linguistic ability and already know a West European language.
So far as China is concerned, in an article which appeared in Esperanto magazine this April, Professor Liu Xiaojun wrote that only those Chinese who have already learnt English or French are able to learn Esperanto easily...

Barry Crown replied, "I think you have changed tack here. Previously you argued that Esperanto is an easy language. Now you are saying that it is easier than language X or language Y. These are two completely different propositions. I think the first proposition is fallacious. So far as the second is concerned, it all depends what other language you are comparing it with and who is the person learning the language."
Barry Crown responded, "If Esperanto is a difficult language to learn (as I think it is), then we can't expect people to take seriously our pretensions to become a world language. Simply saying that Esperanto is easier than English or French is not enough.
Barry Crown answered, "I don't agree with this. It's true, however, that the grammar of Esperanto is an absolute nightmare for most Asians. Many Asian languages have a much simpler grammatical structure than Esperanto."
Barry Crown responded, "No, there is much more that needs to be done... Language reform projects are by no means uncommon in relation to living languages. However, most of these occur in the third world, which is perhaps why most Esperantists are unaware of them and assume that a living language can only change by evolution."
(D: Spanish spelling!)
Barry Crown wrote, "I agree that the grammar and syntax of Esperanto are an absolute nightmare for most non-Europeans. However, there is nothing to be done about it now for the simple reason that Esperantists will never accept changes which go against the Fundamento. Although Esperanto will never be an easy language for non-Europeans, it could become significantly easier for them than it is at the moment.
An all-Esperanto dictionary is utterly essential, of course, but PIV does as much harm as good. Actually, Lawrence Mee and others are currently compiling such a dictionary, which limits itself to (I think) about 6000 roots in actual usage. This, if successful, should do much to improve matters."
Ted Schuerzinger wrote: "There is another language that has solved the problem of neologisms, from what I've read - Icelandic. Apparently scholars of Icelandic come up with ways of expressing all new concepts using originally Icelandic terms. This allows the language to grow, yet still allows Icelanders to read the Eddas that were written 1000 years ago in the form they were written."

D: this general trend in conversation should sound familiar.
It pretty much captures the essence of comments by Espo-ists on this blog!
Amusingly, the position of Espo-ists is that of pro-English factions that are totally oblivious of artificial languages.
"It just works!"
"It's pretty easy."
"It has a community speaking it."
All my university-educated, non-learning-disability white collar friends consider English quite easy. (And not one of them can figure out punctuation!)

I'll give Espo that - there are no apostrophes in sight.

D: 6000 roots as a mid-level compromise? I can be functional, even fluent in Chinese with that many.

D: I actually think Espo would be a useful language for the EU, since members necessarily have been exposed to Greek and Latin-derived languages.
But the Euroclone did not market itself as a regional language- something it was actually capable of.
It was promoted as a WORLD language.
And as I'd said before, that means catering to the Chinese, now more than ever, and more and more as time goes on.
I think a detailed examination would find that Espo is NOT easier than 'any natural language' to Asians.
Which begs the question, why bother?

1 comment:

michjo said...

About ease of Esperanto for Asians:

Let's assume that Esperanto is no easier to learn for Asians than English and that Asians who claim it to be easier than English say so because they were exposed to English first. What one would expect, then, is that Asians achieve a level of fluency in Esperanto comparable to that in English. Once the beneficial effect of English on Esperanto learning has been exhausted, progress in Esperanto should be similar to what was experienced in English, after which Esperanto should boost English learning, just as English boosted Esperanto learning previously. However, a consistent pattern in actual testimonials by Asian Esperantists is something along the lines of "I am much more competent in Esperanto after M months than I am in English after Y years". Asians not only learn Esperanto much more quickly than English, but they achieve significantly greater fluency in that much shorter time. For Asians, Esperanto may be somewhat more difficult than for Europeans, but it remains much easier than English.