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General => DnD Central => Topic started by: ersi on 2016-08-30, 15:49:05

Title: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-08-30, 15:49:05
(A new topic in the hope of attracting an Esperanto community here, the way we already have Otter community.)

What ticked me off is that you wrote "you mean Y." You can say what amounts to the exact same thing inoffensively by prefixing "if I understand you correctly."

  • If I understand you correctly, you mean Y.
  • Did you mean Y?
  • Could you clarify what you meant by X?
I sincerely apologise for ticking you off. Sometimes I upset people deliberately in order to beat some topic dead more thoroughly (I like them dead, so I can say they are properly settled), but it was not so in this case. I was not really interested in what you were saying, except that it reminded to me that I had that obscure page about Esperanto (http://www.xibalba.demon.co.uk/jbr/ranto/) in my bookmarks. And another apology for that I lack proper internet manners. I hope I'm not too bad though.

However, now I've become a bit interested in this topic and after reading and re-reading I find your attempts to clarify yourself woefully inadequate. Should I analyse this? Maybe just a little bit.

The fact that I didn't simply mean lingua franca should reveal itself from the nonsensical resulting phrase "hoping to attain the status of [a lingua franca], but with a slightly different language emphasis." In which case you should ask, a slightly different language emphasis that what?
True, that would have been my next question, had it turned out that by the latter part of the sentence ("but with...") you meant anything serious. Since the first part of the sentence appeared dilettantish to me and called for an immediate correction, I ignored the latter part for the time being.

Let's recall the first part of your sentence: "...[Esperanto is] an artificially created pidgin/creole hoping to attain the status of an English or French..."

Two immediate things here prompted me to suggest "lingua franca" instead of "English or French".

First, you had already used "pidgin/creole" in the same sentence. You were saying that the pidgin/creole was hoping to attain something. In order for the pidgin/creole to hope to attain something reasonably attainable, the goal should be something of its own class. Pidgin/creole and lingua franca are, in terms of linguistic terminology, animals of kin, while English and French inhabit a different conceptual category in linguistics.

This impression was amplified by the fact that you said "an English or French". If you put an actual meaning behind the article, then you didn't really mean English or French, but something like English or French, whatever it may be (not a specific language at any rate). Without letting you walk deeper into the woods, I suggested you must have meant lingua franca. But now you have chosen to take a deeper walk in the woods.

Second, you didn't say that the pidgin/creole was hoping to replace English or French (which would have been so hopelessly dilettantish that I would have declined to comment on it). Instead, you opted for a slightly more technical-sounding "to attain the status of an English or French". So, another possible emphasis is the word "status". What status do English and French have? The one I could think of was that they are both lingua franca, i.e. current in many countries among people who use it for communication beyond their own native languages. English and French are examples of lingua franca par excellence in that non-native speakers decisively outnumber native speakers.

But possibly you meant a different status. Unfortunately your latest clarifications don't clarify what status that would be. Instead, your clarifications seem to fall back to English and French specifically as English and French (which should be impossible, if "an" had a meaning in the original sentence).

In your clarification, you say "English is a Germanic language, possibly a creole, with a particularly strong Romance substrate, while French is the Romance language with the strongest Germanic substrate." Are you saying both are mixed to a high degree? Why would you say that? Let's try to put it in the original sentence: "[Esperanto is] an artificially created pidgin/creole hoping to attain the status of an English or French [as mixed language]..." Well, why would Esperanto hope to attain the status of mixed language when it was most obviously created as a language mix? It doesn't need to hope to attain what it already is. "Lingua franca", i.e. spreading all over the world as a universal means of communication, would make more sense here as something to be attained.

All this said, could you please clarify what you mean by the latter part of the sentence? I'm not sure what "a different language emphasis" could mean. Was the whole sentence meant to convey something like Esperanto is hoping to attain the status of a mixed language like English or French, but drawing material from languages other than English and French...?

To sum up, I replied because your strategic use of "an" and "status" were interesting. I was hoping that the rest of the sentence would also be interesting and meaningful. To be honest, I am quite positive that you had a really good idea in your mind at first, but it unfortunately withered away in the process of writing. Happens to some of my own ideas too. When that happens and it still was an idea truly worth sharing, then the thing to do is to re-think it and re-formulate it.


Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Barulheira on 2016-08-30, 18:28:16
Esperanto is not a problem - irrelevant as it is.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-08-30, 20:21:00
To recap how the topic got started, Frenzie linked to a book (https://thedndsanctuary.eu/index.php?topic=2402.msg64997#msg64997). The book was Bridge of Words: Esperanto and the Dream of a Universal Language.

Esperanto in there caught my attention. Next, I linked to a webpage that lists good reasons for a low view of Esperanto. I happen to have a low view of Esperanto ever since my first encounters with it when I was ten or a bit more. Two relevant incidents here. My father, noticing my early interest in languages, bought me, at random, a grammar of Esperanto (he knew nothing about languages himself, but he thought he was encouraging my interest, which he did). And there was a reference to Esperanto in one of my storybooks as a kid.

Doing some of my little research back then, I found out that the main aspects of Esperanto (vocabulary, morphology and syntax) seemed to be relying on Italian and Greek, while the alphabet had all the unnecessary characteristics of Slavic-on-Latin, specifically the u-breve must be from Belarusian because there's no other evident source to it. Eventually I have come to appreciate real Greek and Latin and I find constructed languages a wonderful exercise, but I have always had a low view of Esperanto in every way, in pragmatic terms, in terms of beauty and elegance, as an exercise or entertainment.

Now, instead of the grammar, the book (Bridge of Words) seems to be more about the ideology behind and the history around Esperanto. For example this review says:

Quote from: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/esther-schor/bridge-of-words/
Meant to be a bridge, Esperanto soon became a source of division, as followers of Zamenhof sought to seize power over the dissemination of the language and align it with their own widely dissonant political views, including imperialism, isolationism, socialism, anarchism, and communism. Multiculturalism, meant to be "the lifeblood of Esperanto," was not easily achieved.
All that would be interesting, if it were unique to Esperanto. Or if Esperanto were an ingenious invention tragically misused. Neither is the case. Esperanto contains obvious seeds of dissent in itself: It's half-baked, suggesting by its own appearance simple immediate improvement and simplification, but different people would want to improve it differently, so fights would be guaranteed. The tragedy of Esperanto is that while its inventor may have had noble ideas, the implementation was poor and the result is impractical and safely ignorable.

Probably Frenzie agrees with all this. So, where's the disagreement? Nowhere really. There's just my terminological quibble about artificial language/Esperanto/pidgin/English/lingua franca/French/creole, which is not one single fluid interchangeable thing, but he seemed to use the words this way. Linguistics is a science of distinctions and comparisons.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Belfrager on 2016-08-30, 21:25:32
Propaedeutic value of Esperanto (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaedeutic_value_of_Esperanto)
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: OakdaleFTL on 2016-08-30, 22:44:02
Certainly an interesting and fruitful application, Bel!

I'm reminded of a reminiscence of Alfred North Whitehead about the teaching of English grammar when he was a lad: It simply wasn't done! If a student wanted to know if his English construction was grammatical, he'd translate it into Greek or Latin; if it still had the sense intended, the English was grammatical... Of course, this was in the latter half of the 19th century!

I'm surprised that this use of Esperanto been all-but abandoned here... And yet an obvious failure such as the New Math -where the focus was upon set theory- persists. :sigh:
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-08-31, 04:06:00
Propaedeutic value of Esperanto (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaedeutic_value_of_Esperanto)
It in fact has worked out this way in my life, but I suggest classical Latin is more useful for this purpose (if you are European, I should add). I have studied both Esperanto and Latin, so I should know.

Latin may have little currency at the moment (though certainly more than Esperanto, heh) but it has a tremendous history and several lovely grown-up daughters.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: OakdaleFTL on 2016-08-31, 07:06:01
ersi, I'm grateful for the opportunity to agree with you... !
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Belfrager on 2016-08-31, 11:02:12
It in fact has worked out this way in my life, but I suggest classical Latin is more useful for this purpose (if you are European, I should add). I have studied both Esperanto and Latin, so I should know.
In my times of student, the teaching system was divided into two areas, "Humanities" (Literature, History, Languages, etc) and "Sciences".
Latin discipline was mandatory to the "Humanities" students, the others got free of it, so it was my case being of "Sciences". Got rid of it at school but not in my parent's home with home lessons.

Latin teaching at the time was very scholastic, almost medieval,  tremendously boring and, besides the etymological knowledge of words meaning, not of great utility.

I agree that, if taught in a modern way, with a defined purpose of being a support for Latin-like languages, it's something of the most importance for educate the elites.
Language knowledge shapes the ability of reasoning.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: OakdaleFTL on 2016-08-31, 12:22:20
[...] it's something of the most importance for educat[ing] the elites.
Language knowledge shapes the ability of reasoning.
I'm not sure I agree; but I'm not sure I disagree either.
From what I've seen here and there, a "wide" experience -linguistic or otherwise- leads to...nothing a focused mind wouldn't find easier and earlier.
I'll readily admit the advantage of being familiar with other languages (French, Spanish/Portuguese, Russian, Greek, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean -- and some few others, spoken mostly on islands none of us will ever visit...except for jax!); but, really, one language is enough. And most people can hardly manage that.
You go too far proclaiming that reasoning -as a skill, for such it is!- is enhanced by more and more varied words! Were that the case, you'd have to acclaim American English as the best language... :)
(Somehow, I doubt you'd want to do that!) And admit that those who speak, read and write it natively, reason more naturally and, perhaps, better? :)
(I'd argue against that point, if you take it as a thesis! But you know that's what I do... :) )
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Belfrager on 2016-08-31, 14:05:57
You go too far proclaiming that reasoning -as a skill, for such it is!- is enhanced by more and more varied words! Were that the case, you'd have to acclaim American English as the best language...
The number of words it's important but at a second level.
In the first place, a language it's a mechanism that allows you to conceptualize the inner and external world and to transmit it to others either in a written way or directly by speech. It works by encoding reality into a formal, transmissible system.

The better you know the encoding rules and structure the better you can think, you can rationalize (or transmit it). It's clear now that language knowledge molds people's capacity of abstraction and consequent reasoning.

Naturally, the more different words (with different meanings) you have more subtleness you can use. English is not, by any way, the language with more different words as some articles in the media tries to convince people. There you have a link (http://www.lingholic.com/how-many-words-do-i-need-to-know-the-955-rule-in-language-learning-part-2/) for an interesting table about it.

A different problem is to decide if there are languages better than others.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-08-31, 14:45:09
Latin teaching at the time was very scholastic, almost medieval,  tremendously boring and, besides the etymological knowledge of words meaning, not of great utility.

I agree that, if taught in a modern way, with a defined purpose of being a support for Latin-like languages, it's something of the most importance for educate the elites.
Language knowledge shapes the ability of reasoning.
When I officially studied Latin - in secondary school at first - it was boring and medieval as you say, but I still drew much benefit and found it interesting, simply because I am inclined that way. My first Latin teacher was so dry and boring she didn't say that Latin had evolved into French and Italian and there's much common vocabulary, etc. Instead, she presented us with the conjugations and declinations and we had to learn the first page of De Bello Gallico by heart and lots of other stuff by heart. Still, I valued the learning because I already knew about language families and that historical linguistics would be great and Latin would be a necessary pain to go through, if I wanted to claim any expertise later in life. I happen to be a man of humanities. You are not, so all the potential of Latin didn't present itself to you so easily.

Moreover, how would you teach Latin in a modern way? Do you mean a quick conversational crash course? Who will you go converse with in Latin? Do you mean material presented as if in tourist phrasebook? Where would you need "What time does the next train leave?" in Latin? Actually, my teacher did something modern. At the time, Finnish radio presented news in Latin (hey, they still do (http://areena.yle.fi/1-1931339)) and that was part of our study material.

Latin is good almost exclusively for reading up on old dusty books. Only antisocial hypernerdy people like me do it. Latin is also compulsory for doctors, but I guess for them it's indeed just a silly ancient relic that should have been dropped a few centuries ago. Come to think of it, had it been dropped from doctors' curriculum, Zamenhof probably would not have gotten his ideas for Esperanto. The way Zamenhof originally presented his thing very likely reflects the little he could remember from his own Latin and Greek studies, dumbed down and cast as if a new language.

Zamenhof's work is a case study of how to not approach a language, whether constructed or natural. Keeping away from Esperantist errors is a good step towards real linguistics.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Barulheira on 2016-08-31, 14:52:15
but, really, one language is enough.
When it's English. :left:
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Belfrager on 2016-08-31, 15:21:23
Moreover, how would you teach Latin in a modern way?
As a subsidiary study of the native language.

I do read some medieval texts written in so called "barbarian Latin"  which was used before the usage of native languages writing around the XI and XII centuries. It's a bit easier, for example Horse (Cavalo in Portuguese) is not equus anymore but cavallus. Course that if you know Latin, you know the root meaning of equine, therefore you know an equus to be an horse.

But more than the linguistic aspects I'm interested in the mentality and life of those that have written those texts, language is just a tool.

Besides, I declare Dr Zamenhof not guilty of your accusations.
Ego Belfrager Portugalensis Rex.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Belfrager on 2016-08-31, 15:25:54
hey, they still do
:) Fantastic. She has clearly a Finnish accent in her Latin....
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-08-31, 15:29:38
Moreover, how would you teach Latin in a modern way?
As a subsidiary study of the native language.
That's not modern. That's advanced level, expanded studies, deep-dive exploration.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Belfrager on 2016-08-31, 15:52:27
That's not modern. That's advanced level, expanded studies, deep-dive exploration.
My fault, I forgot you are not a modernist.  :lol:

Course not, maybe to you there's a need for an extra effort to connect Latin to your language, I can assure you that's something any child speaking natively a Latin like language can do if supported by a good teaching system that makes the child understand and satisfy her natural curiosity about "why?".
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-08-31, 16:18:30
...maybe to you there's a need for an extra effort to connect Latin to your language...
There's no connection. To me Latin was at first about as exotic as Turkish, no preference between the two. Now having studied Latin, there's still no connection, just a sense of accomplishment for having studied it. My sister studies Turkish...
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-08-31, 17:12:36
You go too far proclaiming that reasoning -as a skill, for such it is!- is enhanced by more and more varied words! Were that the case, you'd have to acclaim American English as the best language... :)
I don't think Bel said that. I'm still unsure what his approach to language is. If he sees it like an inherited chest of treasure, then added language skills would feel to him like growth in riches, some words/meanings would be like especially wonderful gems. Something like that.

English has a potentially endless vocabulary, just like Chinese has a potentially endless set of hieroglyphs, to be learned throughout one's life, first about a thousand for the beginner/commoner, then adding to it as one's education progresses (or noblesse obliges) until the edge of human capacity is reached. A person within in such a culture is like a growing/ripening fruit, sometimes identifying with a specific branch/storey, while some more holistic souls have affinity to the entire tree/house. In old classy times, Western European people educated themselves in a similar tree-manner towards Latin, deeper towards their roots so to say. A tree may not necessarily be viewed as a strictly structured system for a defined purpose, but more like a living thing and therefore valuable as such.

To me it's completely different. Another language, being normally quite unrelated to my own, is another distinct asset, a tool, like buying a new mobile phone or a bicycle. A different bicycle is different, some are worse, some are better, but it's awesome to have several to suit different purposes and circumstances. When I eventually get tired of riding, I'll just let it rust in the basement or throw it away. But the one thing I cannot throw away is my own native language. It would be like throwing away myself.

Languages are all different instances of formal systems. Acquiring another language has, first, a pragmatic value in that it enables reading literature in that language or communicating with those people, connecting with them relatively closely, enabling an insight into their world almost as if from the inside. Which is cool.

Second, it adds more intellectual/metaphysical light. A new language does not add simply more words. Vocabulary of any language is a structured system. Another vocabulary of another language is another structured system shaped out of the same semantic field. Acquiring multiple vocabularies means illuminating the metaphysical world of knowables from multiple angles. A single vocabulary would be like a static diamond, but multiple vocabularies enables turning it, viewing the diamond whichever way one wishes. That diamond is the cosmos and the vocabulary is light on it.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Frenzie on 2016-08-31, 19:51:27
I sincerely apologise for ticking you off.
The problem is mine, really. I don't think my response was entirely unwarranted, but it was certainly disproportional.

Two immediate things here prompted me to suggest "lingua franca" instead of "English or French".
You are correct. The entire sentence should be drastically rewritten for the second draft. It would in fact also be perfectly fine if it simply said "lingua franca" (with the remainder deleted), but it wouldn't have been what I actually meant at the time of writing. But what I responded to wasn't so much what I did or didn't mean as that turn of phrase, "you mean X."

Anyway, "English or French" wasn't something I put there just because I couldn't think of the term lingua franca. Of course you shouldn't have to perform a close reading of my text to interpret it as if it were literature, wondering if "English or French" was simply the first lingua franca to come to mind or if there was a deeper meaning behind using those two specifically. There were two ideas stuck in that sentence, one of which didn't show clearly. The solution in editing is simple: either remove the background idea, or split it up into two sentences so both ideas shine as brightly as possible. To clarify hopefully once and for all what I meant when I wrote that sentence, while (perhaps unwisely) retaining most of the original sentence to show how it fits in:

Esperanto is something of an artificially created pidgin/creole [purporting universality], hoping to attain the status of a lingua franca. However, it would still be a [distinctly European] lingua franca like English or French, but with a slightly different language emphasis.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Belfrager on 2016-08-31, 20:58:47
Esperanto is something of an artificially created pidgin/creole [purporting universality], hoping to attain the status of a lingua franca. However, it would still be a [distinctly European] lingua franca like English or French, but with a slightly different language emphasis.
Have you done better? Has Ersi done better?
Can you both point out a better constructed language?
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-08-31, 22:01:21
Can you both point out a better constructed language?
I have greatly enjoyed exploring the conlang section of Mark Rosenfelder's website. An excerpt:

Quote from: http://www.zompist.com/verdurian.htm
Caďinor is a highly inflected, rich, sophisticated language, a language of empire. An example of classic Caďinor, circa Z.E. 1600:

[...]

What has changed in these two thousand years? Phonologically, Verdurian has lost three consonants, ť, kh and h', and has gained four new ones (č, š, ř and ž). It has developed three new vowels (î, ü, and ö). It has simplified word endings and consonant clusters, and monophthongized diphthongs: sautem --> säte, aeďie --> aďië, ctanen --> žanen.

In morphology, Verdurian has lost the ablative case and the inflected comparative and superlative (e.g. vestes 'worst'), and regularized the declensional system. It has lost the remote and dynamic verbal inflections, relying more heavily on analytic forms and regularizing conjugation. Word order is no longer free, and syntax is more complex.
What I like here is the diachrony. It's pure fiction or thought exercise (like Esperanto is), but the diachrony extends the thing, gives it history and life. And the linguistics in it is sound. The presentation reveals the dynamic of both the language itself, of its structure, and of the terminology used to describe it. It's standard terminology of course.

Compare with Esperanto, which is described by sometimes flawed, sometimes unexplanatory rules like "Every word is to be read exactly as written, there are no silent letters... Grammatical terminations are considered as independent words." Basic terms are used so that it's clear there's no comprehension of their meaning.

When I write my own articles, my style is much closer to Esperanto, not to Verdurian, but I aim at flawless structure, providing definitions at every step and considering all the implications of every rule and their order, like in Panini's grammar, which is my ideal.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: rjhowie on 2016-08-31, 23:47:27
'Awesome' again for goodness sake!  :irked:
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: OakdaleFTL on 2016-09-01, 05:37:31
In Valley Girl-speak, it's "awesomesauce," RJ! :)
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Frenzie on 2016-09-01, 07:19:13
Have you done better? Has Ersi done better?
Can you both point out a better constructed language?
I haven't done better, so you've a point there I suppose although I think my criticism was mostly constructive. If you're going to design a universal language, at least pretend that you performed a token analysis of the phonological inventories of a couple of languages from every continent so as to exclude the most problematic ones if nothing else. Particularly, iirc Esperanto uses some globally rather rare Slavic phonemes. It's a bit like how I probably shouldn't include [ɣ] or [ʋ] if I were to create an artificial language, no matter how much I like them in Dutch, no matter how great I think they sound, and no matter how much I think any language without those phonemes is really lacking something in their absence.

Better is simple. Out of the big three (if they can be called big), both Ido and Interlingua look better. To be fair, they came after Esperanto, and Ido literally means child in Esperanto so even without taking a closer look I think we can assume it's probably fair to describe Ido as Esperanto with some fixes. To be even fairer, I think Interlingua may well address the universality complaint by simply not claiming any.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-09-01, 08:22:50
Particularly, iirc Esperanto uses some globally rather rare Slavic phonemes. It's a bit like how I probably shouldn't include [ɣ] or [ʋ] if I were to create an artificial language, no matter how much I like them in Dutch, no matter how great I think they sound, and no matter how much I think any language without those phonemes is really lacking something in their absence.
Rather than objecting to any single phoneme or even the selected set, my objection concerns the principles of selection. I object to the sound system of Esperanto. From the systemic point of view, the sounds fill certain slots in the table and the table is either tidy or messy. Sounds form minimal pairs and sets based on distinct qualities.

For example, Esperanto makes you distinguish between the affricates [tsh] and [dzh], but there is no corresponding distinction of [ts] and [dz], there's just [ts]. A slot in the table is empty for no good reason. Or rather, a slot is filled for no good reason - I would remove [dzh]. And there's the utterly irrational and universally rare distinction of h and ĥ (both in spelling and pronunciation) and of u and ŭ (just a spelling ornament, it seems).

From the same systemic point of view, I have objections to the way the alphabet is designed. My own preference would be to have not a strictly phonemic orthography, but morphophonemic to display morphology regularly in orthography, while leaving plenty of room for natural phonotactics in pronunciation. Zamenhof showed no awareness of the existence of phonotactics, which is the thing that make people pronounce, for example, the orthographic s differently in [kats] and [dogz]. Heck, he didn't even know that n in the word "Esperanto" is a whole different sound than in "blanka".

Ultimately, I don't want to improve Esperanto. I think it's flawed too close to the foundations, incorrigible. While my criticism is utterly dismissive of Esperanto, it's quite constructive to others who would like to design a language.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: krake on 2016-09-01, 10:09:19
Not directly related and on a less serious note

(https://thedndsanctuary.eu/imagecache.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Ffun.drno.de%2Fpics%2Fenglish%2Fthe_evolution_of_the_written_language.jpg&hash=f9b904b5861b4eebe291046fe47a398d" rel="cached" data-warn="External image, click here to view original" data-url="http://fun.drno.de/pics/english/the_evolution_of_the_written_language.jpg)
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Belfrager on 2016-09-01, 10:46:47
If you're going to design a universal language, at least pretend that you performed a token analysis of the phonological inventories of a couple of languages from every continent so as to exclude the most problematic ones if nothing else.
I doubt that back in 1887 there was someone concerned with the phonological presence of Africa or Eastern Asia regarding an artificial language.
The objective of Esperanto was to be an easier language that could be learned by everybody, it was not to include little pieces of everybody's languages.

In my opinion, the only real problem that can't be solved regarding Esperanto it's not the linguistic details, it's what we can designate by language imperialism.
Neither Esperanto nor any other artificial language (except those exclusive for deaf or blind people) can overpass it.

Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-09-01, 11:22:54
I doubt that back in 1887 there was someone concerned with the phonological presence of Africa or Eastern Asia regarding an artificial language.
May I attempt to remove your doubt? Wilhelm Bleek (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Bleek) († 1875) compiled the grammar of the language of so-called Bushmen in Africa. By this, all languages of Africa had been described preliminarily (because other Africans were out of the bushes and already in the accounts).

In general, European colonial history somewhat reflects the history of awareness about different languages. By 1887 the whole world had been already colonised a few times over.
 
The objective of Esperanto was to be an easier language that could be learned by everybody, it was not to include little pieces of everybody's languages.
Yet, quite objectively, it looks exactly like made of pieces of everybody's languages (everybody in Zamenhof's neighbourhood, that is). This in itself would not be a problem, but unfortunately the pieces were chosen at random without a sensible guiding principle and they don't fit together.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Barulheira on 2016-09-01, 11:55:23
Not directly related and on a less serious note
Emoticons are effective in expressing something regardless of language.
I recall the Chinese ideographs work like this somehow.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Belfrager on 2016-09-01, 12:26:05
the pieces were chosen at random without a sensible guiding principle and they don't fit together.
Maybe, I don't know.

What I know is that even if I have never learned Esperanto I can understand it very easily.
Kion mi scias estas ke eĉ se mi neniam lernis Esperanton mi povas kompreni ĝin tre facile.

(Google translation)

The above is not a very easy phrase and I can understand it reasonably. Maybe English speakers have more difficulty, I see more French/Portuguese similar things than English. I don't know the pronounce but it doesn't seems to me as English like.
That's more than enough to explain Anglo Saxon definitive rejection to adopt Esperanto.

Course that your objections Ersi are different, your objections are technical.

Emoticons are effective in expressing something regardless of language.
Emoticons are draws, draws always were effective for expression. Remember Lascaux.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Barulheira on 2016-09-01, 13:22:39
Emoticons are draws, draws always were effective for expression. Remember Lascaux.
That's correct. But they are easy to draw with a keyboard. ???
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-09-01, 16:08:54
the pieces were chosen at random without a sensible guiding principle and they don't fit together.
Maybe, I don't know.

What I know is that even if I have never learned Esperanto I can understand it very easily.
Kion mi scias estas ke eĉ se mi neniam lernis Esperanton mi povas kompreni ĝin tre facile.

(Google translation)

The above is not a very easy phrase and I can understand it reasonably. Maybe English speakers have more difficulty, I see more French/Portuguese similar things than English.
Yes, there's similarity with your own language, that's why you are attracted to it. But when there's similarity with your own language, you should be able to logically deduce that there's dissimilarity with other languages, which makes Esperanto not at all a catholic language the way Zamenhof assumed. Estonians and Bushmen cannot like it. A fair universal lingo would cause equal headache and brainbleed for everyone.

See your sentence in Estonian:
Ma tean, et isegi kui ma pole esperantot õppinud, saan ma sellest väga kergesti aru.

I don't know the pronounce but it doesn't seems to me as English like.
But pronunciation is a necessary part of any language (where the tricky bit is phonotactics). As is orthography (where the tricky bit is whether to opt for closer sound-letter correspondence or morphophonological correspondence or maybe a syllabary or hieroglyphs), morphology (where the tricky bit is morphotactics) and syntax (where the tricky bit is how to define word classes and word ordering in the sentence), things that Zamenhof either didn't know about, didn't think about, or thought poorly. And all this was known in European linguistics by Zamenhof's time, a landmark achievement being Grammaire générale et raisonnée (https://archive.org/details/fre_b1886028) (1660) a.k.a. Port Royal grammar.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Frenzie on 2016-09-01, 16:33:04
Rather than objecting to any single phoneme or even the selected set, my objection concerns the principles of selection. I object to the sound system of Esperanto. From the systemic point of view, the sounds fill certain slots in the table and the table is either tidy or messy. Sounds form minimal pairs and sets based on distinct qualities.
Sure, but I'd say that's a different side of (mostly) the same coin. If my selection process consists of: "I like this sound in Dutch, this other sound in French, that sound in Spanish..." you're going to end up with something quite messy. Nevertheless, a phoneme being present only in a very select group of languages certainly provides an argument for its exclusion. I'd be inclined to say that, besides the possibility of nicely filling up a gap in the phonological system, there wouldn't really be much of an argument for its inclusion.

Heck, he didn't even know that n in the word "Esperanto" is a whole different sound than in "blanka".
Wait, what? I'm pretty sure I didn't have to learn that there's a concept called voicing assimilation before I knew that zakdoek is pronounced more like zagdoek...

I doubt that back in 1887 there was someone concerned with the phonological presence of Africa or Eastern Asia regarding an artificial language.
The objective of Esperanto was to be an easier language that could be learned by everybody, it was not to include little pieces of everybody's languages.
I'm talking more about exclusion than inclusion. Incidentally, the same goes for morphosyntactic features. If you take something like Spanish or Italian you're a lot closer to what I have in mind than anything involving your average Slavic or Germanic phonemic system, notwithstanding that I would personally prefer something more Germanic in nature.[1] This applies almost as strongly within Europe, really. So another, derogatory way to describe Esperanto is to say it's Italian polluted with Slavic elements. (My apologies to any Slavic speakers; I like your languages, I really do!) Because let's face it, the Italian phonetic system is relatively easy to use for both Germanic speakers and Slavic speakers while the reverse doesn't apply.

The above is not a very easy phrase and I can understand it reasonably. Maybe English speakers have more difficulty, I see more French/Portuguese similar things than English. I don't know the pronounce but it doesn't seems to me as English like.
That's more than enough to explain Anglo Saxon definitive rejection to adopt Esperanto.
Interlingua is much better at that. With Esperanto I recognize things here and there. Interlingua on the other hand feels like a less complicated version of Latin.

Quote from: https://ia.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interlingua
Interlingua es un lingua auxiliar international naturalistic basate super le vocabulos commun al major linguas europee e super un grammatica anglo-romanic simple, initialmente publicate in 1951 per International Auxiliary Language Association (IALA).

Edit: incidentally, YouTube suggested I watch this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btn0-Vce5ug
In other words, if I designed Esperanto the way it appears to have been designed, you'd get something like: "okay, Italian is fairly universal, but I really, really like a bunch of Dutch and German and maybe one or two English sounds... never mind if they fit in there."
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Frenzie on 2016-09-01, 18:37:42
PS Definitely going to read that book now.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: krake on 2016-09-01, 20:25:13
A simplificated construct of an universal language has its benefits without any doubt.
However it can never compete whith the diversity and expressiveness of a natural one. To make a harsh comparison - Rembrandt painting vis-à-vis a cartoon.

BTW,
I was never attracted by philology. Even so it happens that I speak a few languages and not all of them are part of the same language family.
There are situations where I would have real difficulties to translate a text while keeping the original context and meaning.
I had once a conversation with a former student of Noica (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantin_Noica). The first condition to become one of his private students was to learn Greek.
No matter how good a translation is, there is always the risk of something getting lost during translation. The best way to understand an author is to read the text in the language it was written.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-09-01, 20:53:58
I'd be inclined to say that, besides the possibility of nicely filling up a gap in the phonological system, there wouldn't really be much of an argument for its inclusion.
I consider most phonologies in European languages erring towards the baroque side, so I am more prone to minimalism when building something for myself. When faced with an inconsistency in the table, I would rather remove than add stuff.

Wait, what? I'm pretty sure I didn't have to learn that there's a concept called voicing assimilation before I knew that zakdoek is pronounced more like zagdoek...
That would be you, a smart guy. The funny thing is, features like this are abundant and stick out clearly in Russian and Polish, languages that Zamenhof must have been familiar with, yet he still didn't notice it and stated the impossible rule "Every word is to be read exactly as written, there are no silent letters."

A simplificated construct of an universal language has its benefits without any doubt.
However it can never compete whith the diversity and expressiveness of a natural one.
It's also the fact that, no matter how simple, people have to learn it. Learning is hard and people will need a very good reason to do it. Such as being forced to. Or being drenched in it like everybody is in English these days. Only some silly nerds will learn extracurricular things, such as an invented language that nobody uses. There the structure or simplicity or beauty of the language does not matter at all. It matters that nobody uses it, and people learn things only when they need it very badly or they cannot escape it.

The thing is, only cosmopolitans or international erudites need a lingua franca. And since they always needed it, they always had it. The old language of academia was Latin. Later the language of diplomacy was French. Now the international language is English. For smartasses like us, it absolutely does not matter how complicated the language is, we can handle it. That's why no invented language, no matter how simple allegedly, can gain any ground. In fact, "simple" can be taken as something to be frowned upon, certainly among erudites. That's why Latin will always beat Esperanto in terms of actual users. An invented lingua franca could win ground only if there were no lingua franca, but one would be urgently needed, but at all points of history there always was a lingua franca.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Frenzie on 2016-09-02, 07:14:33
In fact, "simple" can be taken as something to be frowned upon, certainly among erudites.
You make an interesting point. Incidentally, I don't know if anything like this went down in the east, but in the 16th century they had a somewhat peculiar view of this concept around these parts. The way we construct sentences in English and Dutch (with location and prepositions etc.) rather than with case markers is simple to us. But of course a "proper", more difficult language like Latin is highly synthetic. In order to fix this "problem", they dug up these case markers from Early Middle Dutch, which therefore stuck with us in our spelling up to the 1940s. Do you spell Dutch the as "de" or "den" (both always pronounced "de" for the past millennium, give or take a few centuries)? You just have to figure out if it's a direct or an indirect object. And that, of course, is how "grammar" doesn't signify an interesting field of investigation to the general population, but the stuff nightmares are made of. :P
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-09-02, 14:44:36
Do you spell Dutch the as "de" or "den" (both always pronounced "de" for the past millennium, give or take a few centuries)?
There's a same kind of detail in Swedish. The equivalents of English "they" and "them" are, respectively, "de" and "dem" in Swedish, but both are pronounced [dom] - and in informal contexts also written this way.

I don't know if anything like this went down in the east,...
Well, one of the developments is shown in the YT video you linked to, concerning Tibetan. Their traditional writing system is rather complicated.

In Chinese the erudite aversion for simplicity has a twist to it. I remember reading about Mandarin[1] that the imperial family tended to streamline (i.e. simplify) the syllable structures in pronunciation[2] and this was highly fashionable, of course, because prestigious people were doing it. The result was that Mandarin now has the least number of possible syllables in its language. Unfortunately, syllable equals word in Chinese, so Mandarin has limited vocabulary in this sense.

Generally, when you have limited vocabulary, there are two possibilities. Either words begin meaning many things (polysemy) or, in case of contact with another language, loans begin flooding in. So, simplified syllable structure and vocabulary would lead to complicated semantics and vulnerability to excessive loans. The latter occurred only moderately in Mandarin, as Mandarin itself was the most prestigious language of the region. Polysemy began to be a pain, but it was mitigated by the writing system. Namely, there's a potentially endless number of hieroglyphs (up to the very limit of possible meanings in language), the hieroglyphs being far more expressive than Mandarin syllables, so educated people could toy with word-sign correspondences to their heart's content. Chinese prose and poetry are allegedly famous for nuance, according to experts, something that I am unable to assess.

This does not apply to other varieties of Chinese, which have more tones and more complex syllable structures. They are sufficiently expressive even when spoken. They don't need auxiliary syllables or token words the way Mandarin needs in order to stay clear in speech. The problem of the other varieties is to resist the influence of Mandarin which tends to replace their pronunciation.

As for writing system, after revolution there was introduced the so-called simplified Chinese. A populist move. This is also quite a story.
Mandarin does not equal Chinese. It's the most important dialect/variety of Chinese, like English is the most widespread Germanic language. But Mandarin has the simplest syllable and syntactic structure, which does not characterise the rest of Chinese - exact same relation as English has to the rest of Germanic family.
The last dynasties were Mongol and Manchu, not Han Chinese, but they adopted the Chinese language. One might guess that they mangled it.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-09-02, 17:15:08
Cont'd storytime on Chinese writing.

When possible syllables are few and a syllable equals a word, then it becomes urgent to make up for the polysemy.[1] Mandarin uses many compounds and auxiliary words[2] to reduce polysemy in speech.

This is how spoken Mandarin evolved, but the writing system with its practically unlimited hieroglyphs did not need such auxiliaries and compounds. Moreover, the earlier stage of the language was free from such auxiliaries, so people sufficiently educated in the literary language continued to write the old way. Besides, writing tends to be universally conservative anyway. Thus there was a gap between the highly compact synthetic writing on the one hand and analytic speech on the other.

To learn Chinese writing is really quite a task. Some characters (hundreds, actually) are simple and they are used in teaching as the beginner's vocabulary to build upon. All the basic hieroglyphs get combined to form new hieroglyphs and they are repeated in or attached to various hieroglyphs in various functions, either to show a meaning-combination[3] or to provide a clue to pronunciation.[4]

In post-revolution simplified Chinese writing, the principle of meaning-combination is drastically reduced, while pronunciation clues are multiplied. Such a move, on the one hand, appeals to popular sentiment by bringing writing to the masses, but on the other, the pronunciation clues of course follow Mandarin pronunciation, so it gets a firmer upper hand over every other spoken variety, and this new writing breaks the continuity with the older literary tradition for absolutely everybody.

Moral: Spelling reforms (and constructed languages intended to become a universal lingua franca) are not a safe game. Some idealist may think that it would be nice to bring writing (or a tongue) to the masses by reforming it to something efficiently learnable, but if this makes older literary heritage inaccessible to the people (which it always does, if such heritage exists), it may end up a cultural disaster. Revolutionary ideologies like to mastermind cultural disasters like this, such as in Russia when all Tatar and Turkic peoples switched from Arabic to Cyrillic and thus lost the connection to their traditional literature, except for the little that got republished in the new writing.
But educated people reportedly, and plausibly, enjoyed making fun of commoners (and of each other) by playing on double/triple/etc. meanings.
Signal words to mark certain syntactic functions apart, such as, a word denoting 'piece' to introduce things and persons to distinguish them from abstracts and actions (our verbs), which had their own markers. In Mandarin you allegedly cannot say 'one man', but mostly you have to say 'one piece man'. In their speech some of these auxiliaries work like caps and punctuation in our writing.
For example, when the signs for 'sun' and 'moon' are combined, they denote the meaning 'bright', which in pronunciation is another distinct word different from both 'sun' and 'moon'. These meaning-combinations in writing are called logical compounds, even though they have logic to them only in very primitive sense.
A clue to pronunciation in Chinese writing works as follows. A basic hieroglyph is taken for its pronunciation, not for its meaning, and is attached to other hieroglyphs. The result is pronounced the same way as the basic hieroglyph, but other glyphs in the sign show that its meaning is different. These are called phonetic compounds. I borrow these examples from Bernhard Karlgren (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernhard_Karlgren).
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Barulheira on 2016-09-02, 17:23:57
[dumb question]Isn't "ideograph" more suited to Chinese writings, while "hieroglyph" is usually related to ancient Egyptian carvings?[/dumb question]
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-09-02, 18:11:35
Not too dumb a question. But it's called ideogram. (I often make the same mistake with holograph/hologram - in English.)

These things come in degrees or layers:

- pictogram
- ideogram
- hieroglyph
- syllabary characters
- abjad characters/letters
- alphabet characters/letters

The last has the closest (potential to represent) sound-to-character correspondence. A syllabary is concerned with syllable-to-character correspondence.

Hieroglyph is a complex term. It denotes a writing system where characters involve or have involved images of things. However, as writing (distinct from imagery), they do not represent things, but syllables/words.

Egyptian writing system evolved from hieroglyphs to an alphabet/abjad. It's totally awesome how this history can be observed.

Chinese writing system, due to the typological nature of Chinese language (namely, syllable = word), can be thought to be close to ideogram (character = concept), but given the multiplicity of auxiliary syllables in Mandarin (i.e. syllables with syntactic or even morphotactic functions rather than semantic), it's not quite so.

A pure ideogram, truly representing a recognisable concept, would be admirably free from attachment to any specific language. It would be a simple instantly recognisable picture, such as the pedestrian crossing sign. Chinese writing system does not quite involve images like this anymore, but it still has the potential to suit very different spoken varieties. Chinese was historically used to write Vietnamese. This was handily achieved because Vietnamese has the same typological nature as Chinese. Chinese characters can only be adapted with difficulty to other types of languages. They somewhat participate in Korean and Japanese hybrid writing systems.

When the distinction of ideogram and hieroglyph is not important (and it normally isn't), it's quite tolerable to use 'hieroglyph' as the more general concept and as a more recognisable word. This is my expert opinion.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Frenzie on 2016-09-02, 18:25:48
There's a same kind of detail in Swedish. The equivalents of English "they" and "them" are, respectively, "de" and "dem" in Swedish, but both are pronounced [dom] - and in informal contexts also written this way.
Luckily, the meaningless detail was phased out in... I believe 1948. ;)

To learn Chinese writing is really quite a task. Some characters (hundreds, actually) are simple and they are used in teaching as the beginner's vocabulary to build upon. All the basic hieroglyphs get combined to form new hieroglyphs and they are repeated in or attached to various hieroglyphs in various functions, either to show a meaning-combination[3] (https://thedndsanctuary.eu/index.php?topic=2438.msg65327;boardseen#fn3_3) or to provide a clue to pronunciation.[4] (https://thedndsanctuary.eu/index.php?topic=2438.msg65327;boardseen#fn4_3)
If you're not familiar with it yet, take a look at Language Log (http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/). Victor Mair wrote more than a multitude of posts on that subject.

Edit: this might be a decent start http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=26711
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Belfrager on 2016-09-02, 23:43:24
Blá blá blá is the root of language.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-09-03, 05:08:44
@Barulheira I looked it up. Experts seem to be saying logogram/logograph (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logogram) these days. Karlgren didn't, but he is not of these days either. And I would not use logogram/logograph because they couldn't make up their minds whether to use m or ph at the end, but I must admit that logographic system is brilliant from the terminological point of view.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: OakdaleFTL on 2016-09-03, 06:27:19
...always find the terminology that suits you! Reality be damned! :)

Would anyone care to discuss Universal Grammar? (à la Chomsky...) I won't blame you, if you don't!
But I cut my eye-teeth on his theoretical postulations; so, I'm still enamored... And his ideas still strike me as reasonable!
(But I still think Jaynes made a brilliant hypothesis! So, I'm easily misled...)
What do academics do, when they can't convince their peers?!
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-09-03, 07:10:21
What did you want to discuss? How terminology works, universal grammar, Jaynes' hypothesis, or what academics do?

I know the answer (viz. None of the above). Just checking.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: OakdaleFTL on 2016-09-03, 07:26:11
ersi, you remain yourself! :) (I feel a little sorry for you, but not a lot!)

Perhaps you could take an opinion poll... That's pretty much how you "check" things, isn't it? :)

You assume your way of "seeing" things is the only way; and that any other way is wrong... I understand that. But that makes you an idiot! A quite intelligent idiot; but still... :)

For example, you think something called "structualiam" has a meaning -- even though you refuse to define it!
(I understand why you do: You don't know what it means, either. Structualism is a sterile branch of the "scientific" endeavor. But it still seems to agree with Marxism, or Neo-Marxism. So, you'll continue to argue for it!)

Could you point me to an exposition of "structualism" that makes it make sense?
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-09-03, 09:50:51
Could you point me to an exposition of "structualism" that makes it make sense?
If you bothered to spell it correctly, you would find that I already have. Hjelmslev's Prolegomena https://thedndsanctuary.eu/index.php?topic=425.msg24088#msg24088
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Frenzie on 2016-09-03, 19:06:31
@Barulheira I looked it up. Experts seem to be saying logogram/logograph (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logogram) these days. Karlgren didn't, but he is not of these days either. And I would not use logogram/logograph because they couldn't make up their minds whether to use m or ph at the end, but I must admit that logographic system is brilliant from the terminological point of view.
In Shapes for sounds (cowhouse) (http://fransdejonge.com/2013/06/shapes-for-sounds-cowhouse-not-perfect-but-very-good-looking/) the evolution of alphabets is described as going from a pictographic to a logographic to a phonographic stage. Whether this means that logogram has fallen out of favor or if it's just avoidance tactics I'm not sure.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-09-04, 15:17:56
@Barulheira I looked it up. Experts seem to be saying logogram/logograph (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logogram) these days. Karlgren didn't, but he is not of these days either. And I would not use logogram/logograph because they couldn't make up their minds whether to use m or ph at the end, but I must admit that logographic system is brilliant from the terminological point of view.
In Shapes for sounds (cowhouse) (http://fransdejonge.com/2013/06/shapes-for-sounds-cowhouse-not-perfect-but-very-good-looking/) the evolution of alphabets is described as going from a pictographic to a logographic to a phonographic stage. Whether this means that logogram has fallen out of favor or if it's just avoidance tactics I'm not sure.
You mean logogram as opposed to logograph has fallen out of favour? The issue with those words is how to derive the adjective. Logographic sounds better than logogrammic or logogrammatic, hence the noun tends to be logograph. The same tension is with words ideogram and pictogram, with adjectives ideographic and pictographic.

As to evolution of alphabets from pictographic to logographic and phonographic, yes, that be the Darwinian view, not well supported in reality. Evolution of Egyptian writing, otherwise going through amazing transformation from hieroglyphs to alphabet, seems to be missing the pictographic phase (paintings and writings, even though very often on the same surface, were always separate things down to the remotest history), whereas Chinese has a rather good connection to the pictographic phase, but never evolved into an alphabet.

Scripts seem to emerge rather abruptly and they seem to often go extinct too without much development. Cave paintings may be interpreted as a sort of script, but looks like when people got out of the caves and into houses, they usually left the script into the caves and never looked back. So either it wasn't script or it wasn't important.

My view is that script is not a necessary part of culture. It emerges when other more critical elements of civilisation are in place. Script may occasionally linger on after the civilisation has declined (such as Bolgar runes until they adopted Islam along with Arabic). Overall, script is something for people with way too much time in their hands. Normally people have other concerns.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Frenzie on 2016-09-04, 17:09:32
You mean logogram as opposed to logograph has fallen out of favour? The issue with those words is how to derive the adjective. Logographic sounds better than logogrammic or logogrammatic, hence the noun tends to be logograph. The same tension is with words ideogram and pictogram, with adjectives ideographic and pictographic.
That's what I said. It might mean that logogram has fallen out of favor, or it could just be avoidance tactics.

As to evolution of alphabets from pictographic to logographic and phonographic, yes, that be the Darwinian view, not well supported in reality. Evolution of Egyptian writing, otherwise going through amazing transformation from hieroglyphs to alphabet, seems to be missing the pictographic phase (paintings and writings, even though very often on the same surface, were always separate things down to the remotest history), whereas Chinese has a rather good connection to the pictographic phase, but never evolved into an alphabet.
You can blame the "Darwinian" summary at least partially on me (imo a goal- or ladder-based view of evolution is not the least bit Darwinian), since the book itself immediately continues by saying that e.g. Egyptian hieroglyphics displayed all three "phases" simultaneously. In any case the book is about our alphabet, so it describes the attested evolution of our own alphabet from Phoenician onward, with an eye on connections with e.g. hieroglyphics and the quite clearly at least slightly related Sinai writings.

Overall, script is something for people with way too much time in their hands. Normally people have other concerns.
Hunter-gatherers "worked" for a couple of hours a day at most to provide for their needs. The rest was spare time. They probably didn't spend it writing, but either way we have the exact opposite of too much time on our hands.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Belfrager on 2016-09-04, 21:11:02
Scripts seem to emerge rather abruptly and they seem to often go extinct too without much development. Cave paintings may be interpreted as a sort of script, but looks like when people got out of the caves and into houses, they usually left the script into the caves and never looked back. So either it wasn't script or it wasn't important.
Since you gave no definition of "script" (1) and the Latin guy here is me, not you, script means nothing but writing. Just as in Scriptorium.

Cave paintings didn't finished wen men leaved caves.
Roman houses were fully covered with painted walls representing many different scenes. Medieval and Renaissence houses had the walls painted with frescos.

Even today, most people hangs paintings in their walls.

So it goes for "script"

1 Copyright by Ersi...
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Frenzie on 2016-10-17, 18:07:33
Leiden University Linguistics started a blog. One of their first (and only) posts is about Esperanto: http://www.linguisticsinleiden.nl/articles/on-the-trail-of-esperanto-with-kate-bellamy
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Mr. Tennessee on 2016-10-21, 11:15:31
"One language you don't receive much input from is Esperanto. So imagine my surprise - and delight - when I discovered trilingual Polish-English-Esperanto information boards ....."
Which immediately took me back to secondary school and my language "studies". I first studied Latin, at which I ingloriously failed. Since successful study of a language was required for graduation, a kindly teacher/counsellor told me that she'd signed me up for a yearlong class of Polish! The rules were simple:
1. Sit in the last row of the classroom.
2. Never open my mouth.
3. Take no tests.
4. Pass the class.

It worked! Thank Buddha for the kindness of some teachers.

PS I studied German at university.

Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: rjhowie on 2016-10-21, 22:07:47
1. My teachers thought I was progressive in Primary school.
2. In Secondary school I drew their attention for being different from the routine.
3. Two teachers I met separately in my mid-twenties said they had never forgotten me
4. I did French at Secondary school and practiced it on a school trip to Paris and took an interest in their quizzical reaction.
 ???
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Belfrager on 2016-11-19, 21:48:55
I did French at Secondary school and practiced it on a school trip to Paris
Trés bien, on va parler Français à partir de maintenant. Magistrate. 
:lol:
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Frenzie on 2016-11-20, 08:59:37
Bon, mais il faut garder à l'esprit que le français est plus difficile pour moi qu'anglais ou qu'allemand. C'est une langue que je lis, que j'écoute, et même que j'écris, mais parler n'est pas en tous temps une plaisanterie !
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: OakdaleFTL on 2016-11-21, 02:27:15
n'est pas en tous temps
? Shouldn't that simply be "parfois"? :)
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2016-11-21, 08:24:27
n'est pas en tous temps
? Shouldn't that simply be "parfois"? :)
Je ne sais quoi. Comme ci, comme ça.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Frenzie on 2016-11-21, 09:59:26
? Shouldn't that simply be "parfois"?  :)
Should it? :) Google translates the phrase as follows:
Quote
But speaking is not at all times a joke!
Or as I might put it, speaking isn't always a piece of cake.

In a paraphrase you could turn it around to say that talking is sometimes hard (parler est parfois difficile, or something along those lines), but if what I wrote is unidiomatic it should instead be something like tout le temps, toujours, à chaque instant, etc.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: OakdaleFTL on 2016-11-22, 00:11:29
Frenzie, you're well aware of my limitations, when it comes to languages other than English. I don't reject an (unknown to me) idiom that would equate "is not at all times" with "is sometimes" -which is what I think you meant- but I'm unfamiliar with one. (Except in logic...! There, they're synonymous, definitionally.)

BTW: That's what you get for being smart! People tweak your nose... :) Just because they know it'll be fun to hear your reply!
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Belfrager on 2016-11-26, 23:10:42
? Shouldn't that simply be "parfois"?
No, the contrary, "always", "at all the time".
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: OakdaleFTL on 2016-12-07, 18:08:18
You are, of course, speaking for yourself, Bel! :)
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Belfrager on 2016-12-08, 00:23:34
You are, of course, speaking for yourself, Bel!  :)
Nope, I was not.
Speaking for myself, you're an ignorant of French, all Latin based languages and logics.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: OakdaleFTL on 2016-12-12, 00:40:19
Logic? :) Oh, you mean syllogisms... But you're wrong there too!
It's true, however, that I know little of French -- a language so little-used nowadays that the government has to "police" it... :)

Maybe you could learn Brazilian?
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Barulheira on 2016-12-12, 10:51:09
Do you mean this (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tupi-Guarani_languages)?
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: OakdaleFTL on 2016-12-13, 10:10:34
Nope. Belfrager is -like the French about their language- a "purist". Meaning even if most people actually using the language use it one way or more, if they don't use it his way they're wrong...
I'd feel the same way about English, if it were so constipated! :)
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Belfrager on 2016-12-17, 15:09:48
You don't understand the value of language diversity Oakdale. You don't understand that the value of diversity it's made upon the stability of difference. Therefore, you don't mind with your language's destruction and extinction as it's happening with English.

There's no such a thing anymore as English. Today you have Chinese English, Pakistani English, French English, American English, Portuguese English, Russian English and maybe some day even monkey English.
You have everything so you got with nothing, you have English no more.

One thing you're right, if the British don't complain (or maybe some do, I don't know) why should you...
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: OakdaleFTL on 2016-12-18, 00:43:17
You don't understand the value of language diversity Oakdale.
I'm somewhat familiar with the history of the English language; and I'm personally familiar with many American variants... Languages vary among populations and over time.
Not only can nothing be done about that but nothing should be done. Only silly intellectuals would think otherwise.

Of course, I have my own preferences... :) But as someone a long time ago said, there's no accounting for taste.

An obvious example would be my enjoyment of Bernard Shaw's introductions to his published plays: No matter how much I disagreed with his arguments, no matter how fatuous some of those arguments were, his prose was always forceful and elegant!
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Frenzie on 2016-12-30, 18:09:46
Not really Esperanto, but I thought this encyclopedia of writing systems and languages was pretty cool.

http://www.omniglot.com/
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: OakdaleFTL on 2016-12-31, 23:48:55
... I'd agree, pretty cool. Such used to be confined to coffee houses and student unions! Now, with the internet, they're much more open to the public at large. One needn't live in a "college town" to be aware of and participate in such discussions.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2017-01-22, 21:38:12
In this book about "international language" (https://archive.org/details/internationallan00pfaurich), which is importantly a protocol of proceedings of Délégation pour l'Adoption d'une Langue auxiliare internationale, there's some criticism of most other constructed languages. The approach of the Délégation itself was most scientific, as it was composed of the most eminent linguists.

Otto Jespersen's article in the book summarises the linguistic achievements of the Délégation. For example, to compile a recognisable vocabulary, they would calculate the number of speakers of the language(s) where the word/root/affix occurs. Good idea, but my criticism of the whole project, whoever is attempting it as a means of international communication, remains the same - the result will inevitably be Europocentric, i.e. difficult for the rest of the world, while Europeans themselves are educated enough to get by in a few strategic foreign languages so, among all the people in the world, Europeans have the least need for any artificial auxiliary language.

Otto Jespersen has something positive to say about Esperanto, "The knowledge of these imperfections does not prevent me from recognising the meritorious services of Zamenhof, who, at a time when the question of the best construction of an international language was not seriously discussed, succeeded in producing one which was in many respects superior to the attempts of that time, and which has proved in practice a serviceable, though very imperfect, means of international communication." - p. 41

Robert Lorenz says this about Volapük, "The fate of Volapük was sealed when its supporters, in the year 1889, made the experiment of organising a a congress at which Volapük should be spoken. Although a few Volapükists succeeded in speaking the language, it was only too painfully evident that such a goal could not be reached with this system." - pp. 16-17, followed by the remark that Esperanto has proven to be speakable in the conferences of its enthusiasts and such conferences keep it alive.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Belfrager on 2017-02-14, 23:37:42
"Internacional Languages" are a crime against each People self determination, culture and survival.
English has turned much more worst than Esperanto or anything else.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: krake on 2017-02-15, 08:01:30
"Internacional Languages" are a crime against each People self determination, culture and survival.
You mean colonial languages like Spanish for South America or Portuguese for Brasil? :D
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Belfrager on 2017-02-18, 13:28:47
You mean colonial civilizational languages like Spanish for South America or Portuguese for Brasil?  :D
That's it.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: krake on 2017-02-18, 19:59:34
You mean colonial civilizational languages like Spanish for South America or Portuguese for Brasil?  :D
That's it.
Vanity, arrogance and disdain toward other cultures at its best.
Sorry but can't help it - that's it.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Belfrager on 2017-06-16, 23:36:19
Vanity, arrogance and disdain toward other cultures at its best.
It's called Civilization. Without your extermination policy, concentration camps and genocide.
Better to you to stay quiet.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2018-05-17, 06:48:03
Yet another Romance-based intl conlang has appeared: Lingua Franca Nova, Elefen or LFN
Quote from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lingua_Franca_Nova
LFN was first presented on the Internet in 1998.[6][7] A Yahoo! Group was formed in 2002 by Bjorn Madsen. Group members contributed significantly to the further evolution of the language. In 2007, Igor Vasiljevic began a Facebook page,[8] which has over 300 members. LFN was given an ISO 639-3 designation (lfn) by SIL in 2008.[9]

Stefan Fisahn[10] created a wiki for the language in 2005. The site moved to Wikia in 2009 [11] and as of 2015 has over 3000 articles.

[...]

Simon Davies's translation of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland is the first publication of a work entirely in LFN.[23]

As of January 1, 2014, LFN has a news blog, maintained by Simon Davies, called Aora Oji ("Now Today"),[24] as well as a homepage using the name "Elefen".[25] An English-Elefen-English dictionary is awaiting publication for 2018. The LFN Wikipedia was created (released) to the public on April 18, 2018.
Title: New Nova
Post by: Barulheira on 2018-05-17, 12:05:45
Every thing called "New" (the meaning of "Nova") will become old sooner or later.

I wonder if there's a demand for new languages.

The company where I work has suffered for developing fantastic new products for which nobody was really interested.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: ersi on 2018-05-17, 12:26:49
In this case, new or "nova" is a misnomer. Romance-based conlangs have been around since Esperanto, so they are the oldest idea among cosmopolitan intl conlangers. They are also the easiest to do, because Romance languages are the most recognisable and simplest in Europe - so simple that there is  really no need to simplify them further.

The result is not even a proper conlang and not a practical simplification, but a futile corruption of the existing Romance base. It's more appropriate (and not harder at all) to learn about two of the Romance languages and go with that.
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: rjhowie on 2018-05-17, 17:49:59
Esperanto was always pointless and a think of the past (just in passing that is all). My country's great Empire gac
the the world an international language. Hallelujah to that!!  :lol:
Title: Re: Awesomesauce Esperanto problem
Post by: Frenzie on 2018-05-18, 19:46:18
The result is not even a proper conlang and not a practical simplification, but a futile corruption of the existing Romance base. It's more appropriate (and not harder at all) to learn about two of the Romance languages and go with that.
Besides, there's an awful lot of Neo-Latin that's been invented over the past millennium. If you're going to make life harder on yourself by learning a language that isn't really spoken you might as well go with the language that allows you to read Vergil and Apuleius. Esperanto does not appear any easier or more "Germanic" to my Germanic eyes.

(Unless you count a couple of nouns here and there, but French has those too. Particularly Belgian French is full of barely recognizable Dutch nouns.)