Fast links: Interglossa » Glosa »

Re: [glosalist] Glosa in the Information Age

Robin Fairbridge Gaskell (Robin Fairbridge Gaskell <drought-breaker@...>) on April 20, 2005

Hi Don,

Glad you like Glosa.
Guess you have not looked far into its reason for being.
Yes we do take messages in other languages; prefer to have the first  language plus Glosa; OR as I usually do... think in Glosa, write the Glosa,  then give an English language rendition.
    ~mi grafo uti Glosa; seqe, mi grafo uti England Lingua.~
     ' I write in Glosa, then I write in English.'
 However, I see no actual conceptual leap in using the "Graffiti" font,  other than to facilitate the writing of info on a hand-held stylus-input  computer.
 In Glosa, the hidden flaw has always been the need to teach people who  use alternative writing schemes to the Roman alphabet, how to write in this  script.  The second hidden flaw has been in trying to get people to use  plain (non-metaphor) thinking and to put these '''concept/words''' into  pure, syntactical sentences.
       ...The use of  "Graffiti" script addresses neither of these  problems.
  I very strongly suspect that the lower-case, simple Latin script is  easier to read than the upper-case version of this script, and, even  without much experience of it, I believe the Graffiti font, with its  irregularly shaped letters would be even harder to read, and possibly more  tiring to the eyes, than having to struggle through pages of Latin script  USING ONLY CAPITAL LETTERS!
  While I respect your search for better ways of achieving  international written/typed communication than at present, I'd say that  adopting an easily written font for the Latin script - especially one based  on the upper-case form of that script - is not the way to go.
   Worse than that, I would imagine that adopting an easily  stylus-written script is a rationalisation for using 'Notepad-type'  computers created by an executive of a note-pad type corporation.
   I would also question the existence of educational research trials  testing the ease of learning of Graffiti font by school-children, both  those in Latin-script culture and those living in cultures with other than  Latin script.

   While Blissymbols was an obvious attempt to come up with a  culture-free set of communication symbols, these are not easy to write, and  there is no spoken form for them. They could be written and read  internationally - within a very limited 'vocabulary' range, but they would  not pass the "telephone test."  And Graffiti font used with Glosa, for that  matter, would do nothing to make speaking Glosa any easier.

   In all seriousness, just to show that I have not avoided thinking  about innovative symbology in relation to Glosa, I wwould mention  SYNTAX.  In the task of teaching an Iternational Alternative Language,  possibly Glosa, to the world, of much greater significance than coming up  with a better font, is the question of teaching a suitable use of  syntax.  By doing a bit of searching in the stacks at Sydney University, I  found two elderly books that contained alphanumeric symbol systems for  demonstrating and teaching the use of syntax.
   Now, although it might be a secret, Glosa has a system of grammar  that I have described as 'Syntax-based."  The Glosa authors' idea was for  people to use plain, and somewhat standardised, language that followed an  agreed '''natural''' syntax.   There was a problem with this: the authors  of Glosa had not written down the rules of syntax that Glosa was supposed  to follow; nor were there any abstract symbols to indicate a syntactical  statement.
  You guessed it: I settled down to the task of creating a set of  symbols that could be used to indicate a syntactic sequence ... without  reference to the words of any language!   In short, I selected the  non-alphanumeric symbols on the keyboard of a standard computer (there's  about thirty of them), and set about appointing suitable symbols to the  various syntactic elements.    EG "The cat ate the canary."   might have been shown,   . /  .    (thing-action-thing)
     "The cat sat on the mat."         . /  `.      (thing-action-preposition-thing)
     "The cat sat on the mat, and ate the canary."   . / `.  &/  .     (& - conjunction)

  In trying to cover all bases, I had to call on a few alphabetic  symbols; and, I used different numbers of spaces to indicate junctions  between phrases, clauses and sentences.
  What was a real hoot was the fact that my amazing innovation was  completely ignored by everyone.  If a language that had 'Syntax-based  Grammar' was to be taught worldwide, then perhaps there was a need to  demonstrate, and teach, syntactically-correct usage; and, logically, there  could be a case for developing a set of suitable, non-verbal symbols to  demonstrate the use of this 'natural syntax.'
   Well, either I am mad, or the rest of the world is mad.  Having put  twenty years of serious work into promoting Glosa, I have come to the  conclusion that the concepts on which Glosa is based are ahead of their  time... and that things might be more amenable next time around.  Having  observed the unsustainable use of resources, a generally blatant disrespect  for the laws of nature, and the racially suicidal use of materials such as  Depleted Uranium, I reserve my opinion on the sanity of the human  race.  What hope is there for Glosa, the Graffiti font, syntax symbols, or  any other promising idea, in a world that appears to be intent on  self-destruction?

   Actually, If I am concerned about the use of an International  Auxiliary Language, I ought to - as my brother insists - get with the  obvious winner, and learn, and promote, Esperanto.  The fact that Esperanto  affixes do not suit the way my brain works is one reason for not taking my  brother's advice; however, there do really seem to be more urgent problems  to solve within the human experience, than that of the adoption of a  universal tongue.

   Mi spe ke homi habe triumfa supra an natura te destru; ko-co, an  nece gene holo un auxi an pote cepti.

  [I hope that Mankind triumphs over his destructive nature; (but) with  that, he needs all the help he can get.]


Robin Gaskell

Fast links: Interglossa » Glosa »

Re: [glosalist] Glosa in the Information Age - Committee on language planning, FIAS. Coordination: Vergara & Hardy, PhDs.