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Re: [glosalist]

Robin Fairbridge Gaskell (Robin Fairbridge Gaskell <drought-breaker@...>) on October 12, 2005

At 11:23 PM 10/9/05, John Avis pa grafo:

— Robin Fairbridge Gaskell wrote:

At 09:09 PM 10/4/05, John Avis pa grafo:

Mi ne es glosa-pe, sed glosa interese mi.

I write this as an outsider, but I think Glosa could have great potential.

  • So far so good. **A nu fo boni.

 Much omitted.

Saluta holo-pe, e speciali John,

Thank you, Robin, for your explanation.

My first thoughts were that the two sentences meant what you said and that panto cina ami were agreeing with the criticism in the first sentence.

It was not the “verb cluster” that threw me - what threw me was that I could not believe that panto cina ami could not recognise Chinese syntax in Glosa ! This made me question whether I was translating correctly.

  • A perfect example of the imperfectness of language for communication.
Even from this, I am not sure if you are revising your first  interpretation of these two Glosa sentences and possibly misreading the second to understand that Chinese people had trouble accepting that a weird languge like Glosa could be so close to their Chinese language in its syntax, or that you thought the sentence implied an opposite meaning, i.e. that Chinese people could not perceive that the syntaxes of Chinese language and Glosa were almost parallel.
 What should have been said - and not just implied - in the original Glosa statement, is that through lengthy processes of linguistic evolution, both Chinese and English have dropped out most of their  inflections.  Thus, they have shown a form of convergent evolution in that they have both come to rely on syntax for the sense of their sentences ... very notably, from East and West, the resulting syntax - regardless of the forms of the two languages - is very similar.
 Pushing the argument to an unprovable level, we might conclude that syntax is really the language element that is hard-wired into our brains, and that the speakers of both of these languages have 'intuitively'  discovered this primacy of syntax.

I suppose the answer is that while Glosa is similar to Chinese and English, it not Chinese nor English.

  • This is something that some people find hard to accept. In fact, Glosa is a language in its own right, and there are expressions that can be more elegant in Glosa than they would be in English. Simply because the authors of Glosa are English speakers, some critics see the similarities between the two languages as a function of author First Language. On standing back, I tend to see the fact that Ron and Wendy spoke a language, that had become streamlined through the loss of inflections, as a catalyst for the synthesis of Glosa: pushing language to the full extent of this dimension - where there was no other grammar than syntax.

I do not consider myself a glosa-pe as I have made no attempt to learn Glosa, but with a rough idea of its syntax I have been reading it and, as I said, most of the time I can read it easily.

  • John you can be described as a casual reader of Glosa. How many other languages can be picked up, without tuition, by the casual reader? While Ron Clark went out of his way to avoid giving a grammatical prescription for Glosa, the Linguists demand it! Ron wanted to avoid the confusions of a pedantically imposed book of grammatical rules. History might show this to have been a mistake. I did try subsequently, to explain the grammar of Glosa, and this is on the web somewhere. However, what Ron should definitely have done was to research the rules of syntax; and, most people do not recognise that syntax does have rules. So, good syntax - good word order - is what gives English its rhythm, flow and meaning. Glosa is the same, only moreso. While Chinese people sometimes do not know what to do with the “-ing” inflection, and so add it to almost everything, with Glosa, this conundrum is removed. But, for people whose first languages rely heavily on inflection, asking them to use Glosa can be akin to removing the crutch from a cripple. All in all, Glosa looks like being the Planned Language most likely to be readily readable by the largest proportion of the human population. Writing Glosa, on the other hand takes a little skill, and also some precision of mind.

You have left me wondering whether I should make some serious effort to learn it !

  • Know that it exists, acknowledge that it is at the other end of the language spectrum to languages which are very highly inflected; then, consider not translating, but ‘retelling’ a well-known story in Glosa. When you catch yourself thinking in Glosa, rather than thinking in English, and and then translating it, you will know you are using Glosa effectively. When I use two language writing - Engilsh and Glosa - I always write the Glosa first: for me, it is fatal to write the English first, then try to find translations into Glosa for my vernacular English. You could be in for a pleasant shock. I was when I explored “Cinderella” in Glosa: my imagination took off, resulting in a much more intriguing, and believable, ~Cinerala~.

Habe u boni di.

Robin Gaskell

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