Esseva le formas de interlingua intendite facilitar le communication?

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Mulaik, Stanley A

May 11, 2014, 10:01:31 PM5/11/14
Osmund ha dicite:
>In su intentiones le pioneros de interlingua voleva crear un lingua que non
>discrimina ulle participantes. Ma isto es impossible, et on voleva crear un
>lingua distincte e definite. Assi le favorisation es inavoidable.
>Alternativemente on pote permitter un version de interlingua plus
>flexibile, i.e. per exemplo per permitter le uso de parolas anglese cuje
>radices son latinic. Le prime intention de interlingua es communication, e
>le lingua european plus usate internationalemente es anglese. Per permitter
>un tal flexibilitate un nove "dialect" de interlingua vea emerger, e plus
>personas vea participar sin timor a parer ridicule.

Io sape que isto esserea confundente pro te, mais un major misconception
de interlinguaistas europee, in mi opinion, es le imposition de lor
experientias con linguas como esperanto, ido, occidental/interlingue
super lo que interlingua es. Iste linguas comencia con un conception de
lo que es un lingua ideal pro un certe function, alora illes cerca pro formas e
structuras pro attinger aquelle ideal. Tu suggere que le prime intention
de interlingua es appoiar le function del communication. Io dice que isto
non esseva un guidante principio de interlingua in su formulation. Que in
facto interlingua facilita ben le communication in certe contextos non implica
que isto esseva un principio guidante in le real labores de IALA sub le direction
de Gode.

In loco de isto, interlingua esseva un registration objective de lo que es
commun inter certe linguas importante que jam ha un certe coherentia e similaritate
a causa de formas ancestral que facilita un methodologia pro extraher e
standardizar formas commun e similar inter iste linguas. In facer tal labores necun
question,"Esque isto facilita le communication?" es considerate.

Le problema de differentias inter io e certe europeos super interlingua, io opina,
es que io ha habite accesso a documentos scribite per Dr. Gode, que non es
generalmente disponibile in europa. De plus, io pensa que certe gerentes
de movimentos de interlingua in europa ha ignorate iste documentos o mesmo
ha disdignate los.

Io te refere a un lectura presentate per Dr. Alexander Gode in 1954 al
Modern Language Association in Nove York, "The Problem of Function and
Structure in Interlingua". Il es instructive leger le integre articulo,
mais io vole presentar alcun citationes de illo:
"The spell of the idea that interlinguistics is concerned with the
definition of linguistic functions and the subsequent provision of
efficient structural devices for their operation was totally discarded in
the theory of Interlingua. It will be the task of the historian of
interlinguistics to show that this event was the climax of an arduous
development and cannot be accounted for as an act of creative inspiration
on the part of the Interlingua theoretician. The only "creativity" for
which these theoreticians claim credit is that they have not been creative
at all.
In methodological terms this signifies that the linguistic system now in
use under the name of Interlingua was codified on the basis of observed
forms and never by a process of supplying forms for functions previously
analyzed and judged to be desirable. In support of this observation I
should' like to review briefly some aspects of the procedures used in the
elaboration of Interlingua.
The fundamental work on the theory and methodology of Interlingua is
unfortunately available only in typescript. It is a 500-page tome written
in 1943 in collaboration with the research staff of the International
Auxiliary Language Association by E. Clark Stillman and A. Gode-von Aesch
and bears the significant title, "Interlinguistic Standardization, An
Objective System for the Normalization of Internationally Current
Word-Material Together With a Practical Plan for Its Elaboration Into a
Complete Auxiliary Language."
I think the work keeps the promise of the title. It justifies the
limitation of its field of research to Italian, Spanish-Portuguese,
French, and English -- with Latin as a binding power in the background and
German and Russian as occasional supplementary sources. It does so by
elaborating the idea that these occidental languages may well be
considered dialects of a common norm which five hundred years ago might
have been identified with medieval Latin and which today must be
precipitated from its half-existence into international terminologies of
often world-wide validity especially in science and technology.
In this the salient point is the contention that a common standard is
latently present and variously modified in the major languages of the
Western World. The task of the interlinguist on this basis turns out to be
the search for an objective methodology whereby a visualized pan-Occidental
Interlingua can be put down on paper. I may note here in passing that to my
mind it is not possible to doubt the reality of the idea of Interlingua --
if this somewhat paradoxical formulation is permissible. It is only
possible to attack the methodology employed in the codification of
Interlingua and condemn it as inadequate. In other words, it is not
possible to improve the visualized reality Interlingua by extrinsic
additions; it is only possible to ask and search for more refined devices
which would permit the putting down on paper of a more perfect concrete
likeness of the visualized idea.
As we look briefly at the methodology employed in the extraction of
Interlingua we shall find--quite in keeping with the expectations aroused
by the foregoing argumentation--that there is nowhere an instance of
willful or arbitrary juggling of the relation of function and structure.
This is quite apparent in the procedures used to compile a standardized
vocabulary. Instead of following the interlinguistic tradition of assuming
that it is possible to compile a list of concepts for which an
international auxiliary language must provide forms, the theoreticians of
Interlingua insisted that the first step had to be the parallelization --
on as complete a scale as possible -- of the vocabularies of the four
source-language units. This was done by an exhaustive study of several
thousand etymological families.
In culling from the resulting enormous files the words justly to be called
international, the purpose of arriving ultimately at a realistic effigy of
the visualized Interlingua was naturally the guiding principle. This
required generally speaking the slighting of whatever could be called an
accidental idiosyncrasy in one individual language. Hence a word was
accepted as international if it occurred in all four language units but
also if it was accidentally absent from one of then. The requirement of a
word's occurring in three language units was so construed that either
German or Russian could serve as substitutes. In all this work the
explicitly used definition of the term 'word' was a unit of form and
meaning.' In determining the form under which a particular word was to be
entered in the international vocabulary it was deemed necessary -- again
in view of the ultimate purpose of this work -- to treat each item in the
light of its derivatives. To illustrate this very important point; from a
strictly French point of view the word vital is not really a derivative
from vie although both belong to the same etymological family. But in the
international vocabulary the word corresponding to vital will have to
appear as a derivative from the word corresponding to vie, and so one
might say that the resulting Interlingua pair vita-vital reestablishes a
continuity of form which has been disturbed in French, just as it has been
disturbed in Spanish and Portuguese and is missing in English or German.
The Interlingua forms -- in the present case vita and vital -- follow the
simple rule that all their correspondences in the contributing languages
as well as all the direct derivatives must be evolvable from them by a
repetition of the processes to which those correspondences owe their
identity. That is, whatever process brought about the forms vie in French,
vida in Spanish, etc., must be sufficient to explain their relation to the
Interlingua form. In other words, the Interlingua form is the nearest
common historical or theoretical ancestor of its variants in the
contributing languages with the proviso that it must also suffice to
explain the derivatives in the contributing languages. The result of this
method of "extracting" the Interlingua forms from the consensus of the
contributing languages is in very many instances a most interesting
revitalization of a function-structure relationship which in the
contributing languages appears to be blurred or completely disrupted. In
its semantic value, or if we prefer, in its expressive functions the
English term vital is a derivative from life. Furthermore, even without
any sort of reference to other languages the term vital is formally a
derivative built with the suffix - al. In English terms vital comes
clearly from something else, but that something else is not there. The
same can be said for German vital. In French and Spanish vital ought to
come from vie and vida, but French has no suffix -tal and Spanish no
suffix -al which changes a preceding -d- to -t- In all these languages the
form vital is a derivative from something potentially present just as the
corresponding meaning is a derivative from something that does occur in
Interlingua this potential pattern turns out to be an actual one.
One might of course insist that in these matters Interlingua simply
follows the model of Latin. In practice such a statement is entirely
satisfactory, but in theory it is necessary to emphasize that Interlingua
forms result from those found in any of the modern languages of the West
under the influence of their derivatives in the same language and of their
correspondences in the neighbor languages.
The next step in the Interlingua methodology had to be an attempt to round
off the assembled international vocabulary in terms of practical
requirements. This obviously could not simply consist in ascertaining that
either the English or the French or the German vocabulary was adequately
covered by the available Interlingua forms. The international vocabulary
must be adequate to cover the internationally current body of concepts,
and a major implication of the basic Interlingua tenets is after all
precisely that the internationally current body of concepts constitutes a
complete language. Hence every concept -- regardless of whether it was
conceived in English or in one of the other source languages had to
qualify as international before its claim to representation in the
international vocabulary could be acknowledged. This led to the striking
observation that the international vocabulary already assembled on the
basis of internationality of form was adequate on the whole in regard to
abstract, scientific. and generally learned terms. The gaps appeared
rather in the realm of everyday concepts of a totally concrete nature.
The problem here was not envisaged as amounting to the requirement of
clarifying a given concept and of then providing for it a satisfactory
term. It was rather construed as requiring the search for a new view point
which would permit the established methodology to yield the forms wanted.
For numerous concepts whose internationality could not be doubted this was
achieved by simply taking into consideration older levels of the source
languages, sometimes going straight back to Latin. More frequently it was
done by examining and in a way by choosing among the various forms
representing a given international concept in the source languages. For
instance the concept represented in English by 'safety match' is clearly
international, but its forms in the several source languages are totally
divergent. Since we are here concerned with the problem of the elaboration
of an internationally valid vocabulary, we might test the various
sourcelanguage forms in their international potentialities. The Spanish
cerillas might be imitated in English as something like waxlet or in
French as cirette, but neither of these could carry the required meaning
even in context. Testing the other possibilities in a similar way one is
bound to emerge with the conclusion that the italian fiammifero has a fair
degree of international expressive potency. In English it would appear as
flamebearer or simply as lucifer, which is quite excellent. But the more'
important point is that this term can be built into the already,
established international vocabulary by means of available elements. The
Interlingua word for 'match' is flammifero. The interest of this example
is again that the Interlingua methodology -- without assuming that it can
"creatively" define a concept and then proceed to devise a word form for
it - results in a clear correspondence of function and form which the
contributing languages harbor only potentially or historically. The German
Feuerzeug (which corresponds fairly closely to flammifero) would not be a
bad representation of 'match' and English 'lucifer' which is almost
completely the same as flammifero) got accidentally pushed into the
background because its etymology is not kept alive by related popular

Si tu vole un copia de iste articulo de Gode, io essera felice de inviar
lo a te.

Stan Mulaik

carolus augustus lusitanus

May 12, 2014, 12:31:30 PM5/12/14
to, Stanley Mulaik,
le 'sisyphorrheico' reveni al carga montate in su cavallo de battalia

Osmund Aukland

May 12, 2014, 5:07:28 PM5/12/14
to, Osmund
Dear Stanley Mulaik!
Thank you for this thorough analysis of methodology providing the basis of IALA's design of Interlingua. I realize now that my suggestion of the pioneers of Interlingua being primarily concerned with designing a lingua franca with a maximal facility in grammar and a vocabulary, though selected from within the roman/latin inheritance, were to be those most internationally known, was my misunderstanding.
Auxlinguas like Esperanto were designed to provide facility and international vocabulary. And yet the intended ingenuity in simplified grammar resulted in what many found unnatural and thus a complication, rather than an advantage. Also the intended internationalisation by importing words of latin, teutonic and slavonic origin destroyed the coherency, rhythm and harmony of the resulting language.
Ido was, as I see it, a melioration, and the vocabulary being more roman/latin improved the "melody" and harmony in the language.

Your explanation of the basic principles of the design of Interlingua provides an insight in why Interlingua retained what I have regarded as various "unneccessary complications". Among these is the question why Interlingua, having like English, just one gender, nevertheless ends its nouns with vowels that are reminiscences of having masculine, feminine and neutral. Why not, as a main rule, end most nouns in -e or in a consonant? Why not simplify the numbers like they are in Esperanto and Ido? Like 20 = dudec instead of vinti, 30 = tridec instead of trenta etc. The "vinti" is a reminiscence from a system based on 20, like in French vingt, Spanish vainte, Italian venti...
Granted, this is the obvious choice of those who have these languages as their mother tongues. But to the English, the Norse, the Germans etc it is just a complication.
So, the intention in the design of Interlingua may be: "Did they really sacrifice the simplicity on the altar of tradition?"
An argument for the design of auxlingui is that we should not favour one group of "mother tongues" above an other. That is the strongest argument for not directly adopting English as the obvious international language.
But I do understand why the choice of IALA became as it became.

That does not, however, mean that one need to oblige.
Rather it leaves an area open for new trees to be planted.
There is no law enforcing Interlingua, no authorities to excommunicate infidels.
Or, rather, if somebody want to build an alternative on other paradigma, he is free to do so.
There is, as far as I know, no international patent on the vocabulary of Interlingua or any other language.
I observe that there is a growing environment / milieu for experimenting in linguistic designs, all from the Tolkien linguas to the Lingua Franca Nova and Toki Pona.
Today was my 81st birthday, so I may not be present to observe which of the many will win.
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