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IAL's and history (was: minimal vocabulary)

Kevin Smith ("Kevin Smith" <lingua@...>) on April 11, 2006

— In, “William T. Branch” wrote:

Esperanto = has been so slow to grow over the last century I think, because it is no= t as easy to learn as it claims to be.

I think we have to split the histo= ry of Esperanto into at least a few overlapping segments. Here is my grossl= y over-simplified version of history: 1) until about 1930 (pre-automobile)=

2) 1920 - 1990 (pre-email) 3) 1980 - present (email and internet)

During = phase one, people talked a lot with each other, and formed small, cohesive,= long-term groups. Books were widely used. Esperanto did pretty well in cer= tain communities, but had trouble penetrating the mainstream.

During the s= econd phase, people in Greater Europe (including the US) grew more isolated= , and started to rely more on mass media. This would be a very difficult en= vironment for an IAL to catch on.

The third phase started with limited ema= il and BBS communications, and now includes very widespread use of email, I= M, and the web. This allows a return to tight-knit communities. It allows p= eople on opposite sides of the planet to communicate easily and cheaply. It=

groups people by interest rather than by geographic location.

My impress= ion is that Esperanto has grown more in the last ten years than it did in t= he decades before that. On the other hand, with the internet, anyone who he= ars about Esperanto also discovers Ido and the other alternatives. Esperant= o has a wider reach, better learning materials, and a stronger community…= but it has competition.

Any strategies for promoting an IAL need to focus = on the current world, not on how things were in 1880. Internet. Blogs. Emai= l. Cell phones. Much wider translation of materials into local languages. E= nglish as the defacto (but not ubiquitous) global language.


Fast links: Interglossa » Glosa »

IAL's and history (was: minimal vocabulary) - Committee on language planning, FIAS. Coordination: Vergara & Hardy, PhDs.