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Re: LUNATIC again

From:Logical Language Group <lojbab@...>
Date:Wednesday, November 4, 1998, 19:28
Responding to those who responded before me

>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.
That may be so, but most Auxlang communities do not call survival "success" except in the most minimal terms.
>Those that failed are the ones >no longer being used for anything.
But in this era of Internet revival, it cannot then be said that any conlang has failed as an auxlang as long as one copy of its book remains in existance. Someone might later revive it.
>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.
I would only call the first two successes on even the most liberal of definitions (other than calling "survival" success, which I consider a useless definition). Remembering the definitions of languages used by linguists, Esperanto is certainly a language of a sort. It has been passed to new generations and has some native speakers. Interlingua has no native speakers but has redefined its nature such that it can call all Romance language native speakers with IAL awareness "native speakers" of a sort. All of the rest are pretty much no more alive than is Latin, which is also used by a community for intercommunication (i.e. the Rooman Catholic Church). Lojban has survived, and has shown siggns that it can survive me %^), but I cannot yet claim that as "success". As a language PROJECT, it is a success. It survived to completion and some use. As a language itself, it is not yet proven. I think the distinction between language and language project is essential, especially in the auxlang arena, but probably for all of conlangdom.
>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.
No they are not successful in "their own ways" because in general the supporters of an auxlang do not define success so easily. Certainly the primary goal fo most auxlangs is NOT simply to get used by a few people.
>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.
I agree with you that in the short term, interest in one conlang will stimulate interest in all conlangs. Butthe universality of an auxlang that remains a goal stands in the way of such being seen as "success". Positive "progress" maybe, but "success" is seen by most as being a finality and not an in-progress kind of thing.
>> 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.
Again, I agree. But the selling point for the concept of an auxlang largely depends on its potential singularity. If I leanr Brand X conlang and then go to some other place and it is not understood, I might as well have stuck with English. Only if Brand X at least has the potential to be more widely understood than English have I gained from studyuing it, at least in terms of the auxlang goals (I might have gained interms of langauge awareness merely by studying any foreign language).
>> 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.
Indeed that is the claimed purpose. But the reality, which is more orless a socio-economic imperative, is that success of any interlanguage will lead to the suffocation of indiginous languages. Why? Because the investment of time and energy in language learning remains too high. The econiomics of that time investment will not change. Time is money, and the world is a long way from the stage where people in generall have too much time or money on their hands %^).
>> 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.
Again, I agree with the attitude, if not the rationale. I won't learn Esperantobut will happily use Esperanto to reach potential Lojbanists if possible.
>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.
I bl I believe, but am not sure of my facts, that Ido was in a similar position prior to WWI, and actually had the highest number of speakers other than Esperanto and Volapu:k in its heydey. Occidental may have been active, but I don't think its peak was anywhere near as high as its predescessors. This was largely because WWI largely killed off the idealism that led to the IAL movement, and the Depression and WWII destroyed what little was left. Sally again:
>I should actually reword my question: > > How do these various auxlangs perceive the option > of working together or for each other? As I peruse > John's Lojban pages, I note that Lojban often uses > Esperanto to spread news about itself.
Actually, the Lojban pages were largely done by Veijo Vilva of Finland, an otherwise mostly invisible Lojbanist %^). I probably wrote most of the text that was used in the site. But I'll happily give John credit for getting the reference grammar done and much else that makes Lojban far more viable than I could ever have made it on my own. But too many others not noted deserve credit as well, so Veijo gets first mention this time. Now Lojban does not actually use Esperanto much, but we have translated our basical brochure into E., as well as into French and Spanish and Russian. And among non English queries about Lojban, almost all have been in esperanto, so I keep a stable of on-call Esperantists to respond to people who so ask, since i don't read the language. But we are talking about a half dozen queries a year at most, and we have no other materials in E. yet besides our basic brochure. Maybe someday.... The difference is that we have no qualms about supporting E by using it to promote L. The basis for this attitude is pragmatic, E. is a good tool to reach our audience that is interested in conlangs and doesn 't speak English. It also promotes harmony instead of flamewars, which I think a good thing, but we had a few hot exchanges earlier in Lojban history before I settled on and made clear this attitude (most noteworthy was Athelstan and my ripping up of the claim that E. had only 16 rules. Perhaps others had made this point before, but the claim has largely disappeared from the net since we tackled the issue).
> Interesting! The two world wars cutting into the >--More-- > middle, so to speak, of these attempts to unite > the world.
The woirld wars were themselves a product of the same forces that led to the IAL movement. nationalism and responses to nationalism. Imperialism and the search for an alternative to imperialism that was not nationalistic and hence chavinistic. Rob again:
>I'm not sure how all the folks perceive this. I see it as a form of >"inspired" friendly competition which spurs people on to accomplish their >goals. But, then again, some see any kind of competition as "wrong".
That may be true, but we areuin the heydey of capitalism these days and competition is pretty much a universal metaphor for all manner of human endeavor, whether it be "wrong" or not.
>If I knew it were no problem >, I >would use more Occidental here and on Auxlang as a form of communication >versus using quotes as I have done in the past to let people see what >Occidental looks like.
I would have no problem, but I wouldn't try to read the posts, sothe effect is to lose part of your audience - maybe most of it. Same would be true if I had tried to post this in Lojban. No one would have read it.
>However, it was designed to be used for communication with people who had > not >studied it, and spoke different languages. So, here and on auxlang there are >som e >potential problems with doing this. One of them certainly is, we all to my >knowl edge >can use English, and there are no speakers here who speak other than English.
I am quite sure that there are native speakers of other-than-English here. All who read conlang oibviosuly read English, and most presumably can write it at some level of competance, but the only reason for posting only in English is because probably no other language can be read by even a large fraction of the reasdership. Side by side bilingual posting, of the sort the Esperantists do, would be a plus, though how they do that in realtime posting I would never guess. My editor cannot hack two column posting, and Microsoft Word is anything but easy to use for net communications %^). Carlos Thompson:
>Should I invent a language for experiment with linguistics? I want to too. >Those won't be called languages by Lojbab but I thing those projects belong >here the way any other constructed language, conAILs included, does.
I certainly agree. I pretty much have no complaint with anyone on conlang posting about their creations. Even a not-a-language can inspire others. And maybe posting about a language will gain the encouragement needed for someone to complete it so that it can really BE a "language" in the linguist's sense of the word.
>Should I invent an auxiliary language? No. I could pretend to invent a >language which could be use as auxiliary: ease of learning as L2, and any >other feature I could think is good for IALs but I wouldn't pretend it to >become a real AIL, just an experiment of what an AIL could be.
An excellent and realistic attitude. If we all called our efforts "language projects" or "model languages" or "language experiments" or even "language toys", we would cease to offend the linguists (which in turn would shut me up. I don't disparage conlanging at all, merely the use of a label for that avocation that makes my work harder and promotes misunderstanding of the complexity of language to boot.) 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.