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Re: [glosalist] Re: Redundancies

William T. Branch ("William T. Branch" <bill@...>) on April 5, 2006

Hello Kevin,

I wrote you an email earlier and got temperarily undeliverable messages. I’m not sure if you got it yet.

Anyway. Here are some of my thoughts about IAL use, promotion and perfecting. I think all fronts are important at any one time, or at least till the language really is “perfected”.

First the language should be learned as it is. Of course work cannot take place for a glosa-pe until this first step. Sometimes flaws in the language are actually mis-understandings on the learners part. This of course is often a shortcoming of the learning material. I’m still in this phase myself.

Next, there are many possibilities for an active glosa-pe all relating to what needs to happen with the language.

I know there’s a tendency to lock down an official version and call it good in spite of any flaws that pop up. After all, no one like to read and write in an IAL only to have the rug pulled out from under them. However, a large part of the attraction to early adopters of any IAL is purely as a linguistic playground. Several people have competing ideas on what an IAL should have and shouldn’t have and would love to help a language evolve.

So you have this built in struggle between the “endless tinkerers” and those that wish to get on with other fronts. Look at Esperanto and Ido for a case in point. My belief is that there is a way for everyone to be happy while avoiding the Esperanto Ido incident. I think the best thing for the language is to have several fronts in a way that no real disruption is caused.

One front will be further clarification of the official description of the language as per the original creators currently under the direction of Wendy Ashby (as I understand it). This front could be locked down for a period, forever or whatever suits those with the copyrights to the language. (I’m uncertain whether the language is copyrighted or not and all the legal stuff).

The second front is the use of the language for it’s intended purpose as an IAL. This is conceivably the largest area here in time as the language becomes more popular.

The third front is continual development of the language. This could happen on one branch or several, by a group or several individuals acting independently. It could be in the form of a few tweaks here and there, extending the vocabulary, shrinking the vocabulary or adding grammatical constructs. Whatever they deem good and for whatever reasons, they, like artists will tinker to their hearts desire.

Those that control the official version may at any time adopt changes they see fit whether from the third front or their own. In their wisdom, they may be very careful, if there are many users as not to drive away glosa-pe by causing confusion in the official version. Those that actually use the language on a regular basis, as a group, will at the end of the day have the biggest influence on the direction Glosa takes. These people will have access to all the Glosa proposals as well as the official version as well as all Glosa writings and will pick and choose to their taste and audience. If any one writer get too radical or adopt ideas that are un-workable, they simply won’t get read and their way of writing Glosa will not be adopted into mainstream Glosa usage.

Most importantly, those that create learning materials to read the mainstream Glosa material should adopt a descriptive rather then prescriptive ideology in their teaching methods. This means that regardless of what the official Glosa says on any one point or what any variant proposal says on any one point, they act only as a lens to how the many (hopefully thousands) of Glosa-pe are actually using the language in order to help newbies get up to speed with communicating in Glosa.

I agree with Kevin that at this early stage, if there is to be further development, it should happen before the ball gets rolling to have the biggest impact. I have also been thinking of ways of scaling back the vocabulary. I really like the idea of various sets of vocabulary for various purposes. I’ve been working on concepts lately for a self-defining dictionary that requires no knowledge of any language. This first portion of the dictionary describes the “defining” vocabulary using diagrams and illustrations after which all of the Glosa vocabulary can be defined in Glosa. Several dictionaries in current use make use of a defining vocabulary such as the longman’s vocabulary. This vocabulary is what is strictly used to define all other words.

The fourth front is the development of learning materials, dictionaries, translators, etc. As the language takes on a life of its own in the community of writers, the learning materials will need to reflect how the language gets used in practice. My dictionary project would fall under this heading.

Anyway, those are my thoughts for now, and as it is 2:15 am I should call it a night.


Kevin Smith wrote:

Hi Robin, and thanks for your reply.

— In, Robin Fairbridge Gaskell wrote:

     The difference is that some new thinkers have joined the stayers in the Glosa field, and it looks as if some new thinking has come up.  So, we could be ready to move up from the vocabulary formation plateau, and get a bit more organised about promoting the language.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure the language is quite ready to be promoted. I still have a few concerns about the grammar/syntax, such as verb markers being optional. Endless tweaking is bad, but one round of interactive group tweaking might be good.

     Likewise, the idea of using one Glosa word per concept in the Core Vocab. would simplify things for learners.  However the regular repetition of Glosa words in such a "Basic Glosa" will soon lead Glosa-neo-pe to want to take the step up to a language that allows synonyms, if not metaphors.

I guess it really depends on what type of material you are writing. For literature and poetry, you may be right. When you simply want to convey information, synonyms are purely harmful.

The problem is: if Glosa has 10000 words, and people actually use them in writing, then you can’t read Glosa text without memorizing tons of words. That’s exactly what I want to avoid. I want people to be able to learn Glosa quickly (<1000 words, preferably more like 500), and be able to read almost any Glosa text. I guess my goals are different from those of the folks in charge of Glosa.

I believe efficient communication of non-fiction material will be the best (only?) way to make an IAL popular, I would like to see an IAL focus on that market first, and only grow a large vocabulary after many people have learned and are using the basic language.

Just my opinions, of course.



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