December 26th, 2002

beartato phd

(no subject)

A sequence of links I followed today, documented for no particular reason other than bookmark-like purposes, since I will not have access to this particular computer later:

Not a lot happened today. Basically finished "historical linguistics", although I kind of skimmed through the last fiftyish pages. Had some dinner at Uno's. As lincoln3 would say, "Yummmmm."

Read a bunch of conlang rants on the web, and a bunch of separate rants which were either pro- or anti-esperanto. Many were impressively stupid. Both pro- and anti-arguments which presented examples whose viability as supporting evidence depended on misinterpreting issues of taste as questions of objective fact, or believing in rightfully-out-of-fashion ideas such as that languages are gradually becoming more "civilized" over time, and such nonsense as case markings are "primitive" and purely english-style morphology is obviously the way to go. Such intense foolishness.

Yet on the other hand, I do wonder why I bother with it. It's not really as if within my lifetime that many people are going to speak it. And even if it were the case, there is a serious problem that I've never seen addressed that a huge wave of native speakers in the next generation would seriously damage the credibility of its international and neutral character: I wouldn't be surprised if that would allow local variations to creep in, (if there were significant geographically connected speech communities) and a large number of native speakers would have a noticeably different status than "newcomers". As it stands, there are only a couple thousand denaskaj worldwide, and nobody makes much of a big deal about it.

So, right. I don't really have hope for it being this magic-bullet solution to the world's language problems, and it's not the most perfectly logical, pristine, wartless crystal of a language (even though it does leave out a hell of a lot of cruft) so what's the big fucking deal? I don't know, maybe I am a Raumist at heart. It's not the intrinsic design of the language that makes it beautiful, I don't think, (although it is what made it relatively easy to learn) it's what has been done in the language in the last hundred-odd years, the rich culture (that various people have blithely asserted doesn't exist at all, just because they have never seen it -- can you imagine someone saying Hungary has no culture because you've never seen a book in Hungarian?) it has produced as if out of nowhere that is so interesting to me.