Monday, February 1, 2010

how to market an aux-lang. Z's example.

Aux-langs are widely perceived to be "a solution in search of a problem".
(Note - I like the period outside of quotation marks. Deal with it.)

I need not here point out the considerable importance to humanity of an international language—a language unconditionally accepted by everyone, and the common property of the whole world.

D:: well, he lost most of the audience from the get-go. The 'common property' of the world is not the way that English-speakers, the latest imperial power, care to present an ideal state of affairs.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Speak as the Romans speak. By Roman, of course I mean ENGLISH.

Z: The best years of my life have been devoted to the momentous cause which I am now bringing before the public... (as well as health).
D: I imagine I will feel much the same.

D: Z, regarding OTHER attempts at a world language.

But the number of enthusiasts, after having risen to a certain number, will remain stationary (*3) and as the unfeeling and indifferent world will never consent to take any pains in order to speak with the few, this attempt will, like its predecessors, disappear without having achieved any practical victory.

D: Hmm. Sounds familiar. <:

The principal difficulties to be overcome were:

1) To render the study of the language so easy as to make its acquisition mere play to the learner...

D: OK this is just plain naive. For an adult, learning a new language is work. Maybe worthwhile work, but work. Period.

Zamenhof's ideological motivations

Esperanto was conceived by Zamenhof, originally, as one part of a social reform movement, which was to include the establishment of a "neutral" non-theistic religion to complement the "natural" non-national language. Having first, like his close contemporary Martin Buber, been an enthusiastic proponent of Zionism, he soon became disillusioned with the proposition that social strife could be ended by withdrawing from current society in order to form a utopian community. Instead, he became convinced that ideological and linguistic factors are the main roots of social strife. For him, ideological factors meant religious factors, rather than political

As these authors naively imagined that their essays would be enthusiastically welcomed and taken up by the whole world, and as this unanimous welcome is precisely what the cold and indifferent world declines to give, when there is no chance of realising any immediate benefit, it is not much to be marvelled at, if these brilliant attempts came to nothing. The greater part of the world was not in the slightest degree interested in the prospect of a new language, and the persons who really cared about the matter thought it scarcely worth while to learn a tongue which none but the inventor could understand. When the whole world, said they, has learnt this language, or at least several million people, we will do the same. And so a scheme, which had it but been able to number some thousands of adepts before its appearance in public, would have been enthusiastically hailed, came into the world an utter fiasco.

D: It is not enough to build a better mousetrap. The mousetrap needs be a sensation - talked about.

I merely beg of you, the present reader of the pamphlet, to take up your pen for a moment, fill in one of the appended “Promes'o'j” (below) and send it to me (Dr. Esperanto, c/o Dr. L. Samenhof, Warsaw, Poland). The “Promes'o” is to this effect:

“I, the undersigned, promise to learn the international language, proposed by Dr. Esperanto, if it shall be shown that ten million similar promises have been publicly given”.

D: now this is clever. A signature takes but a few seconds. But social psychology suggests those people who sign will feel bound by consistency to follow through.

A signature only takes a few seconds.
And... so does clicking on a cause in FACEBOOK.
The right promotion for an aux-lang matters. A patron group that ideologically identifies with it.

Well, what if we didn't say 'million' and 'learn the language'?
What if we said THOUSAND. And only suggested a few 100 core concepts.
Heck, even just the alphabet and # system - and permutations.
After all, THAT is enough to show the potential of the 'whole language'.

Once we have our 1000, then we can talk about 1,000,000.
Just core vocabulary.
10,000,000? More. And so on.
But at first, just baby steps.

Really, the Facebook-1000 approach is just a way to portray an overview of basic phonology, syllables, and grammatical elements. A typical English speaker, unfamiliar with any other language let alone a well-designed aux-lang, may well be impressed.

And here is where the 2nd part of the market promo enters into the picture.
We all hate chain-letters. I delete such e-mails as soon as I get them, and resent those who send them to me.
But some people respond.
What if those 1000 people agreed to send a 'hey check this out' e-mail to 10 of their friends.
Let's assume most will not respond,, or will not respond favorably.
That's the 2nd 1000. Repeat process. The 3rd 1000.
And so on.

So there we have it. I need:
1) LOL a complete phonology and core vocabulary.
2) A Facebook app.
3) a commitment to look Decimese over at 1000 signatures.
4) the e-mail 'chain letter'.

Creating a buzz online is so hard. There are a million voices crying out in the electronic wilderness for attention.
A new spin to get noticed is difficult to come by.

I've had worse ideas.

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