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CHAT: EU allumettes (was: Re: THEORY/CHAT: Talmy, Jackendoff and Matchboxes

From:And Rosta <a.rosta@...>
Date:Saturday, May 1, 2004, 19:39
Philippe Caquant:
> This all written on a surface of 4 x 5 cm, that is, > about the size of a standard stamp from Mongolia. The > matchbox is made in Czech Republic. Now wait ! That > was only 12 languages. But on the 1st of May (in three > days !) there will be 25 countries in the European > Union. So they will soon have to add Hungarian, > Estonian, Maltese and Slovak, among others > (including... Czech). And many manufacturers already > add Arabic, Russian and other non-EU language mentions > on their products. A matchbox being not indefinitely > extensible, can you imagine the result ? You will need > a microscope. Now if THIS is not an argument for > Esperanto, at least for such uses, I don't know how we > should explain it to our governments !
Were the EU to mandate that we all learn a new language, let it at least be a language designed to be incapable of ambiguity (-- no such language exists, but us conlangers would, I expect, be happy to oblige by designing one). It would criminal to squander, by selecting Esperanto, the opportunities afforded by a new common language. If all that is required were a language that was understood by as many as possible, then there'd be no need for Esperanto: English would be far superior a choice. But it in fact is important that Estonian, Breton, Romagnolo and Catalan should be on matchboxes, so as to protect endangered cultural entities from oppression by the hegemony of the major languages. (I do realize that nonnational languages have at best a second-class status, but that is odious.) --And.


Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>