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Re: [glosalist] glosa + english ?

Eike Preuss (Eike Preuss <mail@...>) on December 12, 2005


Hi everybody, sorry for the long post, hope that some of you proceed to the end :) (skip parts ;) )

A Glosa with english words doesn’t feel like a good idea for me, if it were intended as an auxlang. While I was looking for a different auxlang after trying esperanto, I also came across Basic English, and it seems that the critics go along the lines that 1) as a simplified natural language, it may sound very stupid to native speakers of the original (and worse, the speakers of the simplified language may sound stupid to them) 2) as a simplified natural language, it may actually be hard for native speakers to use it 3) it can be seen (and by some people will be seen / is seen) as one further, obfuscated step to make english itself the world language. While you could argue that point 3 is no longer relevant, because english has in fact become the world language, I still think it’s not a good choice to use a single living language as the basis for an international language. For all who don’t know the book: I read ‘Homens contra babel’ of Paulo R�onai (english title might be something like ‘Battle against Babel’, but I don’t know). It is quite old (~1969) so Klingon is not included ;), but I found it very informative and entertaining (and it was available at my local public library :) )

Some things came to my mind when I tried esperanto: I began to learn it from the free programs/websites they provide, and played around with it for a couple of weeks. My experiences are: Grammar is still not so easy, words are transforming a lot with different roles. I found the ‘ki-/-el’,’ti-/-u’ etc very hard to memorize (took me longer than memorizing 40 of the ‘normal’ words…), and the same was the case with most of the lots of post-and prefixes. With some of them, I also had difficulties to find out the subtle differences between two or three of them. I found the glosa postfixes much easier to remember, and, I currently think, the limited number of them is much to Glosa’s advantage. Adding to the list should be done very carefully, if at all… I then tried to read a few threads in discussion forums in Esperanto, and found it very hard to understand them with help of a dictionary(-program). First of all, because words change a lot, it is sometimes hard to find the word(-stem) at all. Second, I found the so-much-celebrated flexibility in structuring the sentence (object-verb-subject, whatever) getting in my way. It seems to me that, because “the structure is clear because I mark objects, verbs and subjects with different endings”, people begin to construct sentences 2 kilometers long, mixing different ways of structuring their sentence. Often, it was very hard for me to find out which object belonged to which verb/subject, or perhaps the object of one part of the sentence was suddenly the subject of another part? I can’t tell. Probably they did it the way they were used from they mother language, and this flexibility is great. But it comes to the cost that every ‘receiver’ of ‘messages’ in Esperanto has to adapt to the special way the ‘sender’ structures the message, and that might be very different from what you are used to, and, more importantly, you might have absolutely no idea about it. E.g. I’m told that hungarian is very special and complicated, and clearly Esperanto sometimes comes with hungarian ‘flavor’. I know that glosa doesn’t prevent you from forming too complicated sentences, but at least it gets rid of the complexity of changing words according to their role, that doesn’t help to prevent the problem anyway.

I think, the language of the future must be easily processable by a computer, and with Glosa I find this a very big advantage. Glosa could and probably should be further refined in this direction. If you could truthfully say ‘download this small program and be able to read and write texts in Glosa’, well, that would be a thing to mention ;)

Saluta, Eike

Robin Fairbridge Gaskell wrote:

At 04:19 PM 12/3/05, you wrote:

What will we have, if we use a gram. of Glosa with english words? Let’s make a try


Saluta Plu Glosa-pe, It could be done, and might be beneficial. But an “English” with Syntax-based Grammar would be a very specialised usage of the lexicon.

If we wanted a fool-proof English-type language that could be  used between automatons, but which was also understandable to  flesh-and-blood humans, also, then there would be a value in it.

Such a language which was strictly syntax-driven would have to be  devoid of 'non-literal language' such as metaphor and idiom - as Ron  Clark specified originally for Glosa!  We could get around this  straight-jacket by using metaphor as "slang" possibly either using  italics or bold or even ^some symbol^ as a flag  to signal the  non-literal usage. This type of English would be in the category of  meta-language: a very tightly-defined subset of English, and it would  probably use the full (or verbose) form of the language, not using elision.

Needless to say, I imagine that Nikolao makes his suggestion for computer (and programming) usage, and not for speech.

I think that a streamlined, standardised and very straight form  of English could be used in an emergency multicultural  scientific-type environment, and then it could be spoken, but this  sounds a bit like using a subset of Latin to describe a new species  of plant... a little forced.

An example of #English                 (# = Syntax-based,  unelided, literal)

  v-English  "I am shopping."                 (v- = vernacular)

   #English  "I am doing the shopping."

The VERB is not ‘to be shopping’ it is ‘to be doing’ OR ‘to do’.

Here “shopping” is the NOUN, object of a transitive VERB.

Alternatively, the phrase “to be shopping” could be used to describe themself by a person who has been the bought item in a slave market.

Native speakers of English would, I imagine, find it almost intolerable to limit themselves to such a subset of English as #English.

But as a Bridge Language, or an interface between people and machines, or between machines, it could be a goer … and would probably work better than a subset of any other national language.

However, I still feel that Glosa, itself, would do these jobs better than #English.



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