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Re: [glosalist] Hello all!

Robin Fairbridge Gaskell (Robin Fairbridge Gaskell <drought-breaker@...>) on August 15, 2005

Saluta Nikhil e plu hetero lingua-pe,

At 03:47 PM 8/14/05, you wrote:


I am Nikhil Sinha from India. I just joined the Glosa mailing list. I came to know about Glosa last year. I got interested in the language, but I have not yet been able to learn the language!

Nikhil Sinha


“Lukw Aazgaenae - aamos vurda-aan-Kaunlaanga jaenamaenta. Vizitw non far moaapro taelaamaente itae aan Daaunlodw ita diden!” Well, I guess I understand the difficulty you might have been having with Glosa.

Were I immortal, I’d spend some of my endless time inventing fun languages for my own amusement … too.

But I’m 69 and my time will be up one day soon enough. So, I put it down that the twenty-five years I’ve spent in and around Glosa have been enough. And after I die there will only be a few traces of what I have done with Glosa - lingering on the Internet: ghosts of what could have been.

Why is it hard to learn: it was an attempt to find the golden thread of commonality running through the major European national languages. I suspect that there is some common denominator .. mainly from the Indo-European stem.

But Ron was bright, and he assumed too much of his fellow man. He tried to avoid imposing a grammar upon Glosa’s learners, expecting that intuition would take over – and the innate nature of a natural syntactic pattern, which was hard-wired into our brains, would emerge.

Perhaps he expected too much creativity. The Classical_vocab/Italian-sounding language that he created might yet be adopted as a standardised form of communication for science internationally. Glosa is boringly logical, and devoid of colour, if you cut out the similes and metaphors as he advised.

What really makes Glosa difficult is not the syntax, which is virtually mechanical, but the precise vocabulary. In saying something, you are supposed to call a spade “a spade” always. However, people are lazy, and often deceptive, or even dishonest: our brains find it too tiresome to always use the correct word; and, often, using plain language is painfully revealing. We have all developed the comfortable shorthand of saying something as briefly as possible (often using ellipsis), and usually with the nearest words that come to mind - there not being any need for exact accuracy. What’s more, there’s more poetry in communication if we are artful in our use of words and in our turn of phrase.

In short, Nikhil, I did browse your website, and it is obvious that complexities of sound, grammar and script make language interesting for you. Glosa was invented on a different tack: the aim was for simplicity of use, and for ease of learning. Perhaps the human brain really does not seek the simplicity that Ron Clark thought he had found. But one truism I did learn in my wanderings through the Linguistic wilderness, is that there are two types of people: one group is memory-based, and revels in the twists and turns of inflection; the other group is considerably less polyglot, and wishes for an easy path through communication. Being less rule-based, members of this second group use less memory and more intuition in the way they speak. The first group is epitomised by those who learn to like Esperanto; the second group might be drawn to Glosa, but would see Italian or Spanish as easy second languages, because although they are somewhat inflected, they are fairly regular. English while only very slightly inflected, appears to lack pattern, and does carry the confusions of vocabulary and grammar from its numerous cultural infusions. Glosa, restricted to only Roman &/or Greek vocabulary sources, and having a standardised (head final) syntactic structure is, in theory, easy to learn and use.

My favourite example of how Glosa differs from English is the sentence, “I’m going home.” which translates - more or less correctly - into Glosa as ~Mi ki a mi domi.~

Everyone who learns to speak English acknowledges the unwritten rule that there probably are a few words missing between “going” and “home,” and that one really cannot “go” a “home.” However, if there is no hard and fast rule stating that the ‘indirect object’ always requires a preposition; and, if everyone understands what you mean, then ^near enough is good enough^.

If, of course, the continuous tense is required, then the above example would need the addition of an extra particle before the verb:-

                G.         Mi ki a mi domi.                    Mi du ki  a mi domi.
     glos.                I go to my house                    I  continue to go to my house

                E.          I go home.                            I am  going home.

So, while I am still very interested in language and communication, and I believe that Glosa best embodies the innate syntax of the brain’s linguistic function (related to Chomsky’s Universal Grammar), I know that rule-based people have been taught language must follow set patterns, and they expect that all languages must have culturally imposed, detailed morphological grammars. Thus, while Glosa appears to be obviously not rule-based, it is highly unsuitable for this large section of mankind, which has been educated to believe that all successful languages are highly inflected with ornate morphologies that parallel this.

There are a few spots around the Net with Glosa items on them, and Wendy Ashby would sell you Glosa instructional material - if you are interested. Wendy is at P. O. Box 18, Richmond, Surrey TW9 2GE, England.


Robin Gaskell

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Re: [glosalist] Hello all! - Committee on language planning, FIAS. Coordination: Vergara & Hardy, PhDs.