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Re: [glosalist] Too much plainnnnnnessss

Robin Gaskell (Robin Gaskell <drought-breaker@...>) on February 29, 2004

At 08:35 PM 2/22/04 +0100, Igor Wasilewski pa grafo:

Saluta a plu lista-p= e,

T=F3th L=E1szl=F3 pa grafo:

Those expressions you have to learn in= advance, otherwise you will be incapable of using, understanding the Gl= osa.

“Mi dona auxi a mu”. - dona auxi =3D> it is an expression th= at you have to learn by all means, otherwise you will not be able to use= the Glosa.


Thanks for your comment. As far as the exp= ressions “dona auxi”, “dice u petitio” or “dice u qestio” are concerned, = I think they are not any additional study material to memorize. I use the= words “dona” or “dice” only according to logic, not because it is decide= d so. You can use a word “akti” instead of “dona” without any special cha= nge of its meaning. *** It seems to be a normal part of Glosa to use %give= help% %say a question% etc, rather than just use the bare word … as we= often do in English. I think Igor has the feel for the language her= e. I use the thought of sculpting in words.

  The difference is betw= een the use of language in the 'abstract' by  ccomparison with using a 'con= crete' form of speech.
  Chinese, possibly the closest language to Glos= a in sentence  construction, uses "unchanging characters" whereas Glosa has=  the  "unchanging words."
  And most linguists will hail Chinese as a l= anguage capable of great  poetry because of its subtlety and the more or le= ss abstract way its poets  use the language.
   However all Chinese peo= ple are not poets, and the Chinese person in  the street learns his usage a= s a series of 'concrete' acts, but does so by  memorising beautiful poetry = off by heart.
   Similarly, Glosa can be treated as a rule-based commun= ication  medium, which it really is not; or as a language that is sculpture= d from thought ... more or less  directly.  This second approach to the usa= ge of Glosa I call the "abstract"  usage of language.

You also wrote:

= I think, there is only one thing that the Glosa should introduce: the = use of endings for marking the word class (for example: -o, -a, -e, -i = or other solution). This kind of using words will not change the basic = concept of the Glosa on the multi-sense of the words.

It seems that you= can see such a structure in Sasxsek language. *** Sadly I have no time le= ft in this life to study the wide range of designed languages, though abou= t twenty years ago I did attempt it. Having viewed the field, I decided t= hat Glosa was the shape of the future, or, at least, very close to it.

O= ne more thing: I have spent some time comparing the International Auxilia= ry Languages which may be regarded as isolating and I see they are really= very few. For example, Lingua Franca Nova, a quite popular IAL, has many= isolating features but it maintains the letter “s” to form the plural, i= t also uses special suffixes to form the active and passive participles a= nd it has some other useful affixes. I also took a closer look at a very i= nteresting language Sona and I see it is only partially isolating, with a= very sophisticated agglutinative system. In such comparison Glosa seems = to be completely isolating, so it is a quite unique IAL. The question is = not which grammar structure is the best. Every IAL has its advantages. An= interesting question here is why the IALs like Glosa are so few. *** Th= is matter of the rarity of Glosa-like languages is intriguing. T= here is a label for them; I invented it years ago: languages with syntax= -based grammar.

       I believe there are a few possible explanations=  for this rarity,  but they all revolve around the concept of EVOLUTION.   =   1. Is civilisation possibly evolving?
2. Could language usage on the = Planet possibly be evolving?
3. Does the ^survival of the fittest^ prin= ciple apply to the elements  of language?
4. Do languages evolve?
5= . Can we say that some languages are more evolved than others?
6. Can w= e say that some designed languages are more evolved than others?
7. If = anything does, what might constitute the evolutionary characteristics of la= nguage?

I know what my answer is to all of the above, but for fear of = upsetting  people, who might suspect that their national, or their native, = language is  more primitive than other languages, I do not mention it here.=

 While the possibility of the evolution of language should be a  scie= ntific question, because of all of the elements of nationality and  culture=  associated with language, most Linguists adopt the safe position  and quot= e the Politically Correct statement that no language is better than  any ot= her.

  Trying hard not to say "what rubbish," I would call upon Englis= h and  Chinese to enter the witness-box.
  Chinese has had the benefit = of millenia over which to evolve, and  once had a complex morphological gra= mmar.  The language that remains has a  grammar that is fundamentally synta= x-based.  There is an absolute minimum  of words that are without semantic = meaning but which are retained for  reasons of grammar.
   English got = the pressure-cooker treatment: with a large number of  linguistic invasions= , there was a rapid succession of linguistic flavours  imposed on the islan= d and its population, and being an ornery lot, the  Britons picked and chos= e from among the modes of usage that passed through  their culture.  Some p= eople, including me, would say that the linguistic  features that had survi= val value were retained, while those with an  unnecessary complexity were a= llowed to fall into disuse.
   So English, which, of the European natio= nal languages, has the  smallest number of inflections, has had what amount= s to greatest admixture  of inputs, and thus, the greatest pressure for "su= rvival of the fittest" of  the numerous imposed linguistic elements.
  =  Both of my witnesses, for greatly different, but undeniably  evolutionary,=  reasons are languages that have very little morphological  grammar.

 =   Back to the question.
   When people muse on the creation of planned = language, most look at  what is presently in use - often in their own cultu= re - and improve upon  it.  Some, of course,   go high tech, and decide tha= t in future we should all be communicating  likre computers - in blips.    =
So, without upsetting too many people, I can say that the vast  majorit= y of language creators looked to see how the majority of national  language= s were constructed.  The big difference with Glosa, is that instead  of loo= king towards the past, or even at the present, its authors projected  langu= age use into the future.

   This is where the story gets painful, not = for me but for my  readers.  Ron and Wendy took a fairly promising language=  design - that of  Interglossa - and melded it with a weather eye on the se= emingly highly  evolved languages, English and Chinese, and gradually chang= ed Interglossa  into Glossa, and then Glosa, streamlining it all the while = - pushing their  creation through an even more extreme evolutionary process=  than that which  English had undergone.

   The trouble with Glosa is = that the world is not ready for it yet: it  is the shape of a human/compute= r interface, and has all of the elements of  an idealised communication med= ium.  However, it lacks the element of  ^redundancy^ by which a number of l= inguistic elements combine to ensure  that meaning does not rely on only a = single sound or letter.  This could be  a genuine fault.  Also, there is th= e possibility that the human mind does  carry an inbuilt tendency towards i= nflection; whether this is a genuine  psychological need, or simply a pleas= ant, warm fuzzy feeling remains to be  seen.

   The biggest criticism = of Glosa, and also possibly the real  explanation of the rarity of its ling= uistic specification, is that creative  people speak better Glosa than less=  creative ones.  To be good at Glosa, it  seems that a person needs a reaso= nable imagination.  This possibly comes  with Glosa being more of a 'concep= t-based' language, than a  'concrete-based' one.

    Who would create = a designed language, and attempt to give it to the  world, without providin= g a grammar book?  Ron Clark did!
    He thought that the human race ha= d enough savvy to listen to their  own thoughts, and organise their spoken/= written language in accordance with  these.  Do we have to wait another cen= tury or two to see if his faith in  humanity's innate ability to communicat= e was was well-founded, or not?

‘Fraid I won’t be around to find out,

Rob= in Gaskell

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Re: [glosalist] Too much plainnnnnnessss - Committee on language planning, FIAS. Coordination: Vergara & Hardy, PhDs.