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Re: Why we don't discuss auxlangs on CONLANG list

From:Logical Language Group <lojbab@...>
Date:Thursday, November 5, 1998, 20:05
Rick Morneau:
>Ray Brown writes: >> >> But surely if a conlang of whatever nature is mentioned here, may we not >> discuss it? I think both Matt & David (and others) do agree on that point. >> > >I also agree, but there is an important distinction between artlangs and >auxlangs that we have to keep in mind. Artlangers are not trying to >"sell" their languages, while auxlangers ARE trying. Because of this, >IAL designers have to be willing to listen to objective criticism of >their designs,
Why? If the IAL is complete, then it is not subject to change by arbitrary dictum. So the point of criticism cannot be to provioke such change. Unfortunately, it usually is. Since most such changes have at least some aesthetic basis in the priorities of the commenter, the criticisms have to be carefully stated as to their purpose. By the nature of an IAL, it is simply not possible for the salesman to tailor the product to each customer. Henry Ford needs to come up with a Model T that everyone will buy in the same color. If that cannot be achieved, or if the criticism doesn not take into account that necessity, then the criticism is meaningless.
>In the early days of this list, I pointed out what I considered to be >flaws in some auxlangs. The result was long heated arguments that got >nowhere except to cause a lot of bad feelings.
If Henry Ford cannot sell you his Model T in black as he made it, and by its nature he can only make Model T's in one color, then to accept your criticism as valid he has to write off his entire product. I think most people would be strong-willed in such a situation. If no one is yet using the language, changes can in theory be made. But most changes made at that stage tend to look like hackers' patches. Not very pretty.evn if they are functional. But for the market-at-large, there can be only one auxlang. If there are two, most will wait until someone else picks one before they waste time learning it.
>I DO want to discuss the technical strengths and weaknesses of various >designs (especially my own!), but I've been burnt by experience. I love >discussing the best ways to accomplish certain language design goals. >But this, by implication, may mean that other approaches are not as >good.
ONLY if the identical design goals with identical priorities are being targetted. This is seldom the case. YOu just have to be qwuite clear how your priorities differe from your "opponent". And sometimes the opponent doesn't even know what his priorities are till you challenge him %^) Of course, making a clear statement of priorities is sometimes difficult. And it is probably not appropriate to attack another s priorities, except on the basis of whether they will be accepted by the "market", which is at best debatable. treat priorities as assumptions, to question them is a different topic than to question the response to those priorities in the design. lojbab ---- lojbab Bob LeChevalier, President, The Logical Language Group, Inc. 2904 Beau Lane, Fairfax VA 22031-1303 USA 703-385-0273 Artificial language Loglan/Lojban: /pub/access/lojbab or see Lojban WWW Server: href="" Order _The Complete Lojban Language_ - see our Web pages or ask me.