Why a global auxlang is impossible and what is possible

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Micamo
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Re: Why a global auxlang is impossible and what is possible

Post by Micamo » Thu 26 May 2011, 20:43

That's so obviously false it's laughable.

Look at all the attempts that have been made. Look at what failures they all were.

I may be extrapolating too far to say a global auxlang is impossible, instead of just very very difficult; but I think we can all say that we all know for certain that "making a global auxlang, that really is objectively better at its job of facilitating communication than any existing natlang" is most definitely and certainly not "very easy".
After hundreds of years of trying to flap their arms hard enough, people concluded flight was impossible too. It's obvious the current popular auxlang design method of just mixing things from Romance languages together is going absolutely nowhere, but who says flapping your arms really hard is the only way to fly? Maybe there's another way that you and I just aren't creative enough to see?
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Re: Why a global auxlang is impossible and what is possible

Post by eldin raigmore » Thu 26 May 2011, 21:11

roninbodhisattva wrote:But those regions already have a ( or often times multiple) lingua franca(s). So what's the point?
Maybe use different regions?

Centered at each of the points whose longitude and latitude are some whole-number-multiple of 22.5 degrees (east or west, north or south), draw a circle with radius 1350 nautical miles (2500 kilometres, about 1562.5 statute miles).

All that stuff I said in my first post, apply it to each such region instead of to continents and oceans. That'll be 114 (7*16 + 2) regions, including the Arctic and the Antarctic. On average they will be about half the size of China or Australia; in fact one of them is roughly the middle half of China, and one of them is roughly the western half of Australia, and one of them is roughly the eastern half of Australia.

You can use Google Directions to go from 22.5N 90E to 45N 112.5E for example. Or, better, from 45N 90E to 22.5N 112.5E.

--------------------------------------------

Anyway, the points of creating a regional international auxlang that maximizes shared phonology and shared vocabulary among the dominant languages of the region, are;
(1) It might be fun;
(2) The result might be interesting;
(3) The result is likely to be easy to understand for the inhabitants, even those who cannot yet "speak" it; there might be no or nearly no "learning curve" needed to comprehend it, though there probably would be some learning to fluidly speak one's own new sentences in it;
(4) To the extent that difficulties are encountered, or remark (3) above isn't true, that might be informative on the nature either of languages as a whole or of those particular sprachbunds or linguistic areas;
(5) It would be neat to see how the pidgin developed a syntax and turned into a creole.

So, do I think it will actually happen?

Well, it depends on the region.

I doubt there's going to be a pan-Asian international auxlang. Asian languages include Sino-Tibetan languages, Afro-Asiatic languages, and Indo-European languages, among others; it might be very difficult to make an auxlang by the sort of formula I was trying for in my first post, that would incorporate the major languages in Asia of all those families.

Pan-African might be a lesser problem of the same sort. If a pan-African international auxlang can't be made that fits the above, then I seriously doubt a pan-Asian one can. Conversely, if the pan-Asian problem could be solved, I'd bet the pan-African one could.

Pan-North-American and pan-South-American would be less of a problem than pan-African, though perhaps still the same sort of problem.

Pan-Australian might be a lesser problem still.

I don't think that a pan-European international auxpidgin should be that difficult. Maybe that should be the first one tried.

Pan-Pacific and pan-Atlantic would probably still be problems.

Maybe a pan-Indian-Ocean international auxpidgin wouldn't be any harder than a pan-European one. In fact, it might be easier. Or it might not.

A pan-Arctic international auxpidgin might be easier than a pan-Indian-Ocean one; or it might be easier than a pan-European one.

At any rate it looks like one or some or all of pan-Arctic and/or pan-Indian-Ocean and/or pan-European should be the easiest ones, therefore the ones to start with.

A pan-Antarctic international auxpidgin would run into difficulties because there are few (no?) natlangs whose homelands are south of 67.5S. In fact, permanent settlements south of 45S tend to have small permanent populations and to be few in number.


_______________________________________________________________________________

Micamo wrote:After hundreds of years of trying to flap their arms hard enough, people concluded flight was impossible too. It's obvious the current popular auxlang design method of just mixing things from Romance languages together is going absolutely nowhere, but who says flapping your arms really hard is the only way to fly? Maybe there's another way that you and I just aren't creative enough to see?
Well, flying turned out to be possible; it certainly did not turn out to be easy.

I'd love to be proven wrong about the global auxlang.
I think I've put my finger on the one or two or three major obstacle(s).

In the meantime;

University mathematics departments will continue to ignore purported trisectings of angles and squarings of circles, because it's just too much of a waste of time to detect the error and explain it to the "prover".

The U.S. Patent Office will continue to ignore any application for a patent on a "perpetual motion machine" or any other device that violates one or more of the laws of thermodynamics, because their centuries of experience have shown that none of them work and that it's a waste of their time to figure out why not;

And I'll continue to ignore all global auxlangs until the majority of CBBers or ZBBers tell me "But, hey, Eldin! This one really does work!".

But I'd love to see some regional international auxpidgins or auxcreoles for linguistic macro-areas such as continents (and near neigbors) and oceans (and their coasts).

Micamo wrote:I do disagree, however, with the creole idea. It seems to accomplish... very little. Why not just let natural language evolution take its course?
"Natural language evolution" is how I was proposing the regional international auxpidgins get turned into regional international auxcreoles; let the users create the syntax by using the language.
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Re: Why a global auxlang is impossible and what is possible

Post by zelos » Fri 27 May 2011, 17:41

Why do an auxlang whe nthere already is one?
Visit the growing Conlang Wiki!
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Re: Why a global auxlang is impossible and what is possible

Post by eldin raigmore » Fri 27 May 2011, 18:52

zelos wrote:Why do an auxlang when there already is one?
For fun.
Otherwise, no compelling reason.

The methodology by which IALA was put together was; they picked (by some criterion) a set of root languages (all of which were European), and then, any vocabulary item which was common to half or more of those languages was included in IALA's vocab.

(I don't know how they decided on grammar. Presumably it was a similar method; I was never told. I suppose it can be looked up, perhaps on the WWWeb.)

The result was impressive to me.
My father, a doctor, coroner, medical examiner, pathologist, and bloodbank director, got professional journals in which the articles' abstracts were printed in IALA.
With no training in IALA I found those abstracts easy to understand.

I think it would be fun to use similar methods to create various regional international auxlangs.
I think it would be challenging to make the regions as big as possible.

The regions to start with might be any of these:
  • the whole Arctic
  • all of Australia
  • all of India
  • the whole Indian Ocean
  • every island south of Asia, west of Australia, and east of Africa
  • every island in the Pacific (is that "Oceania"?), including all of Insular South-East Asia
Larger more populous regions might be too challenging;
  • all of Asia
  • all of Africa
  • all of Europe
Though perhaps "all of Europe" and/or "all of the Americas" might be doable.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Obviously there is no crying need for a spoken auxlang to tie together all (or as many as possible) of the Native American natlangs; not even "the most important ones", whatever "important" means.

Nowadays the native speakers of those languages use Spanish and English and Portuguese and French and Danish and Dutch and Russian as auxlangs.

Furthermore, in the 19th century, there was a signed auxlang among (many of) the Native North American language-groups. To some degree it became a signed creole.

So, creating a spoken continental intertribal auxcreole or auxpidgin out of the Native American languages (or Native North American, or Native South American, or even Native Central American), would be carried out just for fun, for practice, and for research into the difficulties encountered and the usefulness of techniques to resolve those difficulties.
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Re: Why a global auxlang is impossible and what is possible

Post by lsd » Fri 27 May 2011, 20:36

If you wait for an auxlang as an universal language sure it cant be possible (greatest philosophers lost their mind serching...).
A good auxlang is just a speed learnable langage that can speak about anything and no more.
any (good) conlang can become an auxlang, it just need polical will.
Last edited by lsd on Fri 27 May 2011, 20:38, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why a global auxlang is impossible and what is possible

Post by Thakowsaizmu » Fri 27 May 2011, 20:41

There is no such thing as a "hard" or "easy" language to learn.
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Re: Why a global auxlang is impossible and what is possible

Post by MrKrov » Fri 27 May 2011, 20:46

I basically agree except reading proficiency is included.

Also,
Three different writing systems and two syllabary systems add to the language's difficulty.
Ze hell?
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Re: Why a global auxlang is impossible and what is possible

Post by peterofthecorn » Fri 27 May 2011, 20:48

Out of curiosity, why is Arabic listed as so much harder to learn than Hebrew, when all the reasons why listed are also true of Hebrew?
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Re: Why a global auxlang is impossible and what is possible

Post by Micamo » Fri 27 May 2011, 20:58

For understandable reasons it leaves out the marginal languages that don't have very many speakers but still, there are WAY more complicated languages than mandarin.
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Re: Why a global auxlang is impossible and what is possible

Post by MrKrov » Fri 27 May 2011, 21:07

In what way do you measure "WAY more complicated"?
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Re: Why a global auxlang is impossible and what is possible

Post by eldin raigmore » Fri 27 May 2011, 21:42

MrKrov wrote:I basically agree except reading proficiency is included.
Also,
Three different writing systems and two syllabary systems add to the language's difficulty.

Ze hell?
Reading proficiency is included as one of the things to learn, and Japanese writing often includes the Hanzi or kanji logograms, the hiragana syllabary and the katekana syllabary (though IMO and perhaps IYO as well, to me these are just different fonts of the same syllabary), and the romanji alphabet.

peterofthecorn wrote:Out of curiosity, why is Arabic listed as so much harder to learn than Hebrew, when all the reasons why listed are also true of Hebrew?
They only listed their guesses as to why the hard-to-learn-for-English-speakers languages were hard to learn for English speakers.
They didn't list why the medium-difficulty-for-English-speakers were only of medium difficulty for English speakers instead of "hard".
Hebrew was listed as "medium" and Arabic as "hard".

Possibly Hebrew has more common vocabulary with English than Arabic does?
Though I don't think that's the explanation; in fact I rather doubt it's even true.

English does have some words that come from Semitic etymons.
Some of those are more Arabic than Hebrew, and some are just as Arabic as Hebrew.
"Admiral", "alcohol", "alkaline", "sugar", "arsenal", "magazine", are just a few.

The business about "few words in common with European languages" doesn't fly, IMO.
English and French have many cognates; I had an easy time learning French.
English and German have many cognates; I had an easy time learning German.

Russian has many cognates with French, and also many cognates with German; nevertheless I had great difficulty learning Russian, even after learning both French and German.

What matters, then, at least in my experience (YMMV), is the cognates with (my native tongue) English, not the cognates with my other L2s.

Hebrew isn't easy, for roughly the same reasons Arabic isn't easy.
But I can't understand why Hebrew is only medium and Arabic is hard.
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Re: Why a global auxlang is impossible and what is possible

Post by Ear of the Sphinx » Sat 28 May 2011, 12:01

Reading proficiency is included as one of the things to learn, and Japanese writing often includes the Hanzi or kanji logograms, the hiragana syllabary and the katekana syllabary (though IMO and perhaps IYO as well, to me these are just different fonts of the same syllabary), and the romanji alphabet.
Ok, but it should be:
Three different writing systems including two syllabary systems add to the language's difficulty.
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Re: Why a global auxlang is impossible and what is possible

Post by lsd » Sat 28 May 2011, 15:05

eldin raigmore wrote:
MrKrov wrote: But I can't understand why Hebrew is only medium and Arabic is hard.
Can be right for jew english speaker ;-)
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Re: Why a global auxlang is impossible and what is possible

Post by MrKrov » Sat 28 May 2011, 16:30

MrKrov did not say what you make me out to have said.
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Re: Why a global auxlang is impossible and what is possible

Post by lsd » Sat 28 May 2011, 17:12

sorry bad cut'n'paste :-D
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Re: Why a global auxlang is impossible and what is possible

Post by Xing » Sun 29 May 2011, 15:14

Three different writing systems including two syllabary systems add to the language's difficulty.
If the Japanese need to understand fewer kanjis than the Chinese in order to be fully literate, the Japanese writing system may be easier than the Chinese.
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Re: Why a global auxlang is impossible and what is possible

Post by Bryan » Sat 29 Oct 2011, 20:48

Hi Eldin.

Yes, my current auxlang is a "world auxlang". I very quickly realised that in order to make it "common" to all languages in the world, the differences between the various groups meant that you would end up only with the most rudimentary of pidgins.

As you say and/or allude, the phonology would have to be so basic, the grammar and semantics, etc, so simple and vague, it just wouldn't work.

FWIW, I'm taking Mandarin, English, and Spanish as the primary influences (being the three most spoken languages in the world) with a variety of other main influence thrown in: creoles, Hindustani, Arabic, other Romance languages, Russian, Japanese, etc.

But yeah, I would rather make a language that is fairly user-friendly and intuitive to, say, 20% of the world's population, than cry and whine about not being able to make a language that is usable by all.
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