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Re: Ygyde as an IAL

From:Joseph Fatula <fatula3@...>
Date:Saturday, January 25, 2003, 12:31
From: "Eamon Graham" <robertg@...>
Subject: Re: Ygyde as an IAL

> Joe, I think you do a good job breaking down the situation for us!
Thank you.
> Joseph Fatula wrote: > > > I come to the conlang list with a question: Is Ygyde plausible?
I was wondering that myself. Hmm...
> Before I begin, standard disclaimer: I think the idea of an IAL is > interesting, but I am not an "active supporter" of the idea nor do I > have any IAL of my own to offer (and heaven know's I never will!).
I'm in the same boat here. I find most of the IALs interesting, some more than others, but I look at them as any other conlang. This is where I like the Spanish term, ideolengua. It seems to carry the sense of a personal language, quite the opposite of the _goal_ of an auxlang, even if that's what most of them are.
> IAL projects that have been offered in the past are interesting to > me in the same way that Ygyde is interesting to me: they are > conlangs, some of them are quite good - **as conlangs**. When I > first discovered Esperanto and Solresol at - what? the age of nine? > - they were interesting to me as conlangs, and that's still how I > look at them. In fact, I think they are quite artistic - but good > art does not necessarily a good auxlang make.
If you were to ask me what I thought were the two worst sounding auxlangs, I probably would have picked Esperanto and Solresol. Though Lojban has come close on occasion. Which all hits the heart of auxlanging. An auxlang that sounds awful won't be very likely to make it. Yet what sounds awful is entirely subjective, and varies completely from one person to another.
> What makes a good > auxlang? I don't know and I don't wanna know. :)
I wanna know! But actually, I think we already do know. Making a good auxlang for a limited region is actually not so hard. Consider Interlingua - it's easily understood by people who speak Spanish, Italian, etc. with little effort, and not too hard to learn if you speak some of the more divergent forms of Latin. And an auxlang specifically designed for ease of use by both English and French speakers could work pretty well. Something for Canadians to think about. But there's a bigger problem at work. I _like_ my language, and most people feel the same about theirs. Unlike Zamenhof, I don't think ethnic and racial strife is solved by a common language. A Jew in Berlin could have told you that in '39. Or a black man in Alabama around the same time. The situations are quite different, but my point is that people don't need different languages to hate. And what about the Newspeak principle? If people refer to something, they'll have a word for it. So the idea of making an IAL to solve social problems is pretty foolish. And remember - no one learns a language if there's no one to talk to. That's why you don't hear Esperanto spoken on TV or at the local restaurant. I've been to many different places and heard many different languages, but the only conlang I've heard spoken by anyone (in person) was Klingon. And that beats Esperanto in that it even has a culture. (But the food keeps scaring everyone off.)
> To cut it short: > I love conlangs - whatever their original or stated purpose - and > I'm not a defender or detractor of any language _as auxlang_. I > certainly don't want to debate with anyone the merits or demerits of > the idea of auxlangs or auxlangs themselves etc. etc. etc. :) > > Having said that: > > It is my *personal* opinion - take it or leave it - that Ygyde (like > many other philosophical languages - is not plausible as an > auxlang. I think philosophical languages are terribly interesting > and display a depth of intellect that blows me away *however* I > don't think an auxlang should be as complicated as most > philosophical languages are - some of them have grammars the size > and style of computer programming language manuals, and my enfeebled > mind never got past BASIC.
Ygyde runs into the worst of both worlds, though. A philosophical language of the kind you describe has a well-defined way to make up any word you might need (within the bounds of the author's experience/foresight). More natural languages have easier roots to work with, but they are often poorly defined. An Ygyde compound is poorly defined (so much so that you can't figure out the meaning of a word without consulting the dictionary) and there aren't enough to make up any word you want.
> I think logical languages (like Lojban) and philosophical languages > (like Ygyde) are terribly interesting, I even see artistic > applications (Victor Medrano has at least one artlang that uses > logic-based grammar). But does an auxlang need the elaborate system > of colour definition, for example? Frankly, I just need a way to > say "redish" or "bluish." I think such a system is unneeded in an > auxlang - but when I see a *conlang* that offers me the ability to > be so precise in just one word I have to stand back and say "wow!"
Many philosophical languages make distinctions that aren't needed, just like you describe. But many natlangs make distinctions that aren't needed in some other natlang. So you have to cover a lot of ground quite thoroughly in order to get all the distinctions everyone makes.
> If Andrew came to me one day and showed me Ygyde as an > artistic-intellectual language I'd say "Don't change a thing, I love > it!" I think the two fellows who worked on it are obviously > intelligent and creative. But as an auxlang I think it may be too > smart for its own good.
It's definitely a very interesting artlang, and I have enjoyed reading about it very much. If the authors of it can translate a couple of simple sentences for me, I'd say it's great. But it currently lacks a lot of the basic vocab you'd need for communication.
> I enjoy the exercise of intellect - it's inspiring to me as an > intellectual and an artist. I think it could have artistic and > intellectual applications. Surrealism would be deadly with a tool > such as Ygyde. Look at Solresol for example: a language entirely > musical - outrageous! Auxlang? I dunno... > > No hard feelings, love you all... ;)
Most of us here have been pretty friendly about any discussion of conlangs, whether aux- or art-. It's like a computer discussion group. If you want us to review your new computer system, great! If you keep trying to sell it, we get upset. Same with languages. We'd all be glad to read over a summary of your language, some of us would even try and use your conlang. But we're not buying any new ones right now, so auxlangs have to wait in line like everybody else. Joe Fatula
> My two Eurocents, > Eamon
I'll stick with real money, thanks.