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Re: LUNATIC again

From:Robert J. Petry <ambassador@...>
Date:Tuesday, November 3, 1998, 22:59
Sally Caves wrote:

> On Tue, 3 Nov 1998, John Cowan wrote: > > > Auxlangers as a rule want to make such changes in the world: > > specifically, they want an auxlang, either already existing or soon to > > be created, to become a widely spoken second language. > > > > Rightly or wrongly, the perception is that there is at most > > one slot for such a thing, so if "my" auxlang "succeeds", then > > by definition "your" auxlang "fails". So far all have "failed". > > Thank you John... I don't know why I didn't see this OBVIOUS point, and > Bryan has put it a little more beerishly, ;-) but it generates a new > question. We've got Esperanto going along, and Occidental, and now Lojban > and NGL... say that NGL gets ironed out to perfection some day amongst its > members, and having visited its page I realize that it doesn't consider > itself as an auxiliary language but as a primary language for the modern > world:
Perhaps, there is a little more to it than this. First, if one auxlang succeeds the others fail, is not exactly correct. Today, there are three to five active auxlangs that I know of. They are all successes in that they work and do the job they were designed to do. They are also successes in that they are being used for international communication. Those that failed are the ones no longer being used for anything. Though some do not like it, Esperanto is a success, it is being used. Interlingua is a success, Ido is a success, Occidental is as is Speedwords. At the moment I do not know of others called auxlangs that are being used actively. Oops, I think Glosa is in a couple places. Various conlangs are also successes and failures. The failures are those no longer being used by anyone. Someone used the analogy of beer before. Well, there are many successful beers in the world. Some sell more than others. In the same way, this is how I feel about conlangs and auxlangs. They are all successful in their own ways, but some are used more than others. And, the used to be considered "best" car on the road was the Rolls Royce. I don't know what has taken its place, if any other make has. But, comparatively speaking, it was a great success at what it was designed to do. No other car came up to its standard. However, in total numbers of users it was a "failure". Or was it? I, along with others, support specific auxlangs. However, I have never felt, nor do I now, that if mine were to "succeed" that it would place the others out of business or make them failures. In fact, if it were to gather millions of users, that would only help the others achieve their slot in the scheme of things. Why? Because the world would become familiar with the idea. So Esperanto would grow too. And the others. Or, if Esperanto took off like a rocket, then Occidental, etc. would grow also. Primarily two world wars coming so close together wiped out most of the progress these two languages made before our era. And, now maybe the time for a renewed interest, and a comeback of the strong ones.
> Will there then be a competition for that one slot among > these improved languages?
I don't believe at this stage in the history of mankind that there is just one spot. There may be what we call "top spots" that are limited to say 4-10 spots. But, I don't see a top spot, certainly not for a very long time.
> What if (science fiction) all of them catch on equally? > Aren't we back where we started with multiple improved > languages? > ;-)
Maybe not, since there are only about five, plus or minus, contenders right now. Being created, and being a contender are two different things. And, having 5-10 in the world versus 1-3,000 different languages would be an "improvement". Of course, the local language would not die out, it would just become easier to communicate across langauge barriers. At least, that is how I understand their purpose.
> The requirement that there has to be ONE lingua franca language > for the world to speak seems a little severe, and one that > would be hard to keep track of.
Though it may have been thought otherwise, I do not believe there is going to be only ONE lingua franca, otherwise why promote two at the same time? I believe those that are compatible in major ways with each other should be promoted, not hidden, or ignored.
> Then what would happen if different branches develop as is > inevitable in all developing languages?
I believe the three most used languages of this kind, Volapu"k, Esperanto, and Occidental up to the second world war, are still basically the same today, although there have been attempts at reform. But no reform yet has attained even the size Volapu"k achieved at its height. At one time, in the late 1920's through the 1930's up to WWII, size wise there were two very active auxlangs, Esperanto and Occidental. The so-called "artificial" language and the "natural" language.
> Latin really worked as a lingua franca way back when, but it > was adopted because it was the language of a literature and > a culture that was already in existence, and already had > attached to it a certain prestige, and a body of classical > and religious texts that made studying it worthwhile. > Also, students were beaten if they didn't conform to the > grammatical standards of the language. We don't do that > now.
No, in our modern era that seems to be reversed now.
> But if there were TEXTS out there that made it imperative that > the nations of the world unite around them, I could see the > creation of a new lingua franca. But starting from the > language end of it... it's just not going to work. There > has to be a more enticing incentive. What is that going to > be?
A change in human nature? Who knows? I belong to an international trade group on the web, and periodically this kind of question comes up. Where can I get my letters, etc. translated into such and such a language for a trade show I'm going to be in? The answer could be simply, well here's a simple solution you could use for a one time translation for the many countries you visit. But, that answer is never presented there. Too bad more of the conlangers and auxlangers don't get on those kinds of lists too, and in a positive way let them know such a thing is possible. I've gotten most of my RLR & Occ responses from people like this.
> I am sure all of this is completely old hat to you auxlangers, and > that's why few of you are jumping to answer my queries.
You know, I think it might seem silly, but maybe we should call ourselves langer. Most all the "auslangs" I know of are "constructed" in some manner or other. So, maybe some of us are langers who construct, and others are langers who us auxiliary languages, etc. Al l sue a v Sally, Bob, x+