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Ease of learning (was: Unilang: the Lexicon)

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Monday, April 23, 2001, 5:39
At 3:39 pm -0400 21/4/01, Nik Taylor wrote:
>Oskar Gudlaugsson wrote: >> I've never seen a unilang created by anyone from the domain of a non- >> Western lingua franca. > >I've *heard* of an auxlang called "Afrihili" which was designed as an >African auxiliary language.
Yep - I'd forgotten that one.
>I don't know any details, tho.
Nor I. Anyone on this list have info on this? It would be interesting to know more.
>> The problem with an a priori ("out-of-thin-air") lexicon is its >> basic "unattractiveness" to the layman. > >I'm of the opinion that "ease of learning" and the like is over-rated in >auxlangs.
So am I which, I guess, I was trying to say in my email that caused a stir: a conlang which in theory is easier than another one does not always do better. The conIALs that have got considerably further than the drawing-board and had a sizeable following at one time or another - SolReSol, Volapük, Esperanto - have all in some way or other not conformed entirely to the "ease of learning" dogma that was touted on Auxlang when I was there. Indeed, it's interesting to see how Uusisuom & Unilang are both adopting very different approaches to the problem. Get on and design it the way you want, I say.
>Languages become dominant not because of any inherent >superiority, but because it's spoken by a powerful people, whether >that's political or military or economic power.
Yes - by far and away the most successful IAL at present is English. Imagine the reaction if someone proposed a constructed IAL with similar orthography and all those idiomatic phrasal verbs that cause learners so many problems!
>If an artificial >auxlang were ever to win out, I suspect it would be because a large >number of nations in a region (say, the European Union) decided to >require their children to learn the language, thus, after a generation >or two, that language became the regional lingua franca, and, due to >that region's economic importance, became an important language outside >that region.
Yep - if an conIAL were to win out, I'm quite sure linguistic considerations will not be one of the criteria affecting its choice. It will be political & economic factors that determine the choice. Who knows? Maybe in the 21st cent. Africa will become stable and its economy prosper, while western & far-eastern economies stagnate, and Afrihili become the global IAL ;) ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================