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Re: novegradian and neoslavonic

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  • Jan van Steenbergen
    ... Almost. Although I have to say, most of them (especially the more recent ones) are not much more than sketches. What really distinguishes an auxlang from
    Message 1 of 16 , Dec 3, 2010
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      --- Vojtěch Merunka skrzypszy:

      >>> http://steen.free.fr/slovianski/constructed_slavic_languages.html
      >>
      >> Are they all auxilary languages?

      Almost. Although I have to say, most of them (especially the more recent
      ones) are not much more than sketches.

      What really distinguishes an auxlang from an artlang is not always easy to
      say. Libor Sztemon presented his languages as "auxlangs", but my guts tell me
      that he was an artlanger who enjoyed creating languages like all of us do, but
      felt somehow obliged to justify his efforts by attaching this "higher purpose" to
      them.

      >> On CALS I have stumbled upon a very interesting Slavic artlang,
      >> Novegradian: http://cals.conlang.org/language/novegradian/
      >> [...]
      >> http://www.veche.net/

      Yeah, it's a remarkable piece of work, really. Fascinating! And extremely well-
      developed. I've rarely seen so much detail in a conlang/conworld project. It
      could have been a nice addition to Ill Bethisad...

      >But more seriously: I studied miscellaneous works on the subject of
      >Slavic languages similarities and classification. I think that
      >tree-based hierarchic models are wrong way. I propose to use
      >heptatochomic network model by V. V. Ivanov(*) filled by metrics by
      >Zhuravlev(**), which looks like this (please set monospaced font):
      >
      > +---------------lechitic (polish)------northern(novgorodian)
      > polabian | |
      >(lusatian,...) | |
      > +-------------czechoslovak-------------------eastern(UA,BY,RUS)
      > | |
      > | |
      > slovenian-serbocroatian----macedonian-bulgarian

      Yeah, this is a model very similar to the one Slovianski uses: six branches, or
      subbranches, while the Polabian/Sorbian one is usually not taken into
      consideration. I'm not so sure about juxtaposing Czechoslovak and Eastern,
      though.

      I tend to see the Slavic languages as a wheel, or circle:
      Russian - Belarussian - Ukrainian - Rusyn - Polish - Cashubian - Lower
      Sorbian - Upper Sorbian - Czech - Slovak - Slovene - Serbo-Croatian -
      Macedonian - Bulgarian - back to Russian

      But it really depends how you look at it. Phonologically, the most obvious
      distinction is North - South (where Czech and Slovak are closer to the South);
      lexically, the East/West distinction is at least as important as the North/South
      distinction.

      But tell me, does Ivanov actually call Old Novgorian a "North Slavic language"?
      I've been looking for sources for the hypothesis of a fourth (North Slavic)
      group, but couldn't find it.

      >The ideal candidate for interslavic language from current modern
      >languages is probably Slovak or something shift bit closer to Rusyn. But
      >if we extend this model to extinct languages, the best candidate is Old
      >Slavonic.

      Well, there are in fact several candidates. Slovak and Rusyn are indeed pretty
      much at the epicentre of the Slavic languages, but they have a lot of their
      own specificalities as well. Another good candidate would be Old Ruthenian
      (a.k.a. Old Belorussian). And Church Slavonic, as you say. But the best
      candidate would of course be a modernised form of reconstructed Proto-
      Slavic! :)

      >There are also another not so scientific but also meaningful arguments
      >for the preference of modernized Old Slavonic:
      >
      >1) Old Slavonic was already a conlang!

      I have heard that theory, but as far as I know, it is absolutely not a broadly
      recognised one.

      >2) Old Slavonic is usualy assigned to the sub-group of southslavic
      >languages by its grammar and phonetics. Southslavic phonetics and
      >grammar (e.g. verbal system) is good candidate for an inter-Slavic
      >language. Southern accent is not so soft as eastern, and has very
      >similar phonetics with romance languages and Greek. This is not a bad
      >company, is it?

      Well, that's a matter of taste, really. To me, it is doubtful that South Slavic
      grammar (excluding Slovene) is such a good candidate, because it is so
      radically different from the remaining Slavic languages. IMO an Interslavic
      language should avoid forms that are not understandable at all to over 75% of
      the Slavic population.

      The greatest disadvantage of OCS, however, is not that it is archaic, but that
      it never covered the whole Slavic territory. There has never been any mutual
      influence with Polish at all, and its influence on Ukrainian has been very limited
      as well. It is not more understandable to a Pole than, say, Classical Latin is to
      a Frenchman. That's something that always must be taken into account -
      especially if you consider that the number of Polish speakers is about as high
      as the number of Czech, Slovak and South Slavic speakers together!

      Therefore, I still think it is a great source of input, but it should be handled
      with care. Except for the soft consonants, the phonology of OCS is very
      South Slavic indeed. For example, the reflex of CSl. tj/dj as s^t/z^d is typical
      for Bulgarian, but doesn't exist anywhere else (not even in standard
      Macedonian), except for numerous OCS borrowings in Russian. I would strongly
      recommend you to consider this. Also lexically OCS is a bit of a mousetrap,
      because it contains lots of words that are understandable to South Slavs only
      (and not for the remaining 90% of the Slavic population). Therefore, to be
      useful as a real Interslavic language, it needs lots of adjustments.

      Cheers,
      Jan
    • Vojtěch Merunka
      Hello everybody, ... Jan, maybe ordinary people do not feel this similarities because of different alphabets, accents and cultural and political background of
      Message 2 of 16 , Dec 4, 2010
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        Hello everybody,
        >> But more seriously: I studied miscellaneous works on the subject of
        >> Slavic languages similarities and classification. I think that
        >> tree-based hierarchic models are wrong way. I propose to use
        >> heptatochomic network model by V. V. Ivanov(*) filled by metrics by
        >> Zhuravlev(**), which looks like this (please set monospaced font):
        >>
        >> +---------------lechitic (polish)------northern(novgorodian)
        >> polabian | |
        >> (lusatian,...) | |
        >> +-------------czechoslovak-------------------eastern(UA,BY,RUS)
        >> | |
        >> | |
        >> slovenian-serbocroatian----macedonian-bulgarian
        >>
        > Yeah, this is a model very similar to the one Slovianski uses: six branches, or
        > subbranches, while the Polabian/Sorbian one is usually not taken into
        > consideration. I'm not so sure about juxtaposing Czechoslovak and Eastern,
        > though.
        >

        Jan, maybe ordinary people do not feel this similarities because of
        different alphabets, accents and cultural and political background of
        eastern and western languages, but it is real, indeed:

        This is based on the deep lexicostatistical test made by Zhuravlev (*)
        from the etymological dictionary of slavic languages in 15 books (ed.
        O.N. Trubachev, Moscow 1974).
        There is a complex formula how to compute statistical distance of languages:

        G(A,B) = SUM i is from 2 to n ((n + 2 - i) * V(A,B)i) / H(A) / H(B), where

        A,B are tested languages,
        n is total number of tested languages
        G(A,B) is congruence of these two languages
        H(A), H(B) is inherited dictionary from common root of these two languages
        V(A,B)i is isoglossa

        In this formula, the higher value has isoglossa limited to only two
        languages and the lower number has isoglossa, which is common for more
        languages.

        The highest number of profimity is between upper and lower lusatian
        sorbian: 1.93,
        Bulgarian-Slavomacedonian has 1.73,
        Czech-Slovak has 1.36,
        Bielorusian-Russian has 1.27,
        Ukrainian-Russian has 1.20 (but ukrainians learn Russian as well) and
        Polish-Bulgarian has only 0.93 etc.

        If languages have proximity at least 1.1, they can be assigned into one
        group, but this approach goes intoa lot of such similar solutions.

        For mutual understanding of ordinary people You need to have at least 1.2.
        Old Slavonic has value 1.15 (to Polish) or better (1.27 to Czech, for
        example) to modern slavic languages.

        > I tend to see the Slavic languages as a wheel, or circle:
        > Russian - Belarussian - Ukrainian - Rusyn - Polish - Cashubian - Lower
        > Sorbian - Upper Sorbian - Czech - Slovak - Slovene - Serbo-Croatian -
        > Macedonian - Bulgarian - back to Russian
        >
        >
        I do not thing so. In circle You do not have inner relations.
        Belarussian and Polish are not connected only through Rusyn and
        Ukraininan, for example.
        > But it really depends how you look at it. Phonologically, the most obvious
        > distinction is North - South (where Czech and Slovak are closer to the South);
        > lexically, the East/West distinction is at least as important as the North/South
        > distinction.
        >
        >
        Yes, there are many scientific models how to classify slavic languages.
        See references below.
        > But tell me, does Ivanov actually call Old Novgorian a "North Slavic language"?
        > I've been looking for sources for the hypothesis of a fourth (North Slavic)
        > group, but couldn't find it.
        >
        >
        Yes, Novgorodian is assigned as the independent group. But total number
        of literary heritage is very small as far I know.
        >> The ideal candidate for interslavic language from current modern
        >> languages is probably Slovak or something shift bit closer to Rusyn. But
        >> if we extend this model to extinct languages, the best candidate is Old
        >> Slavonic.
        >>
        > Well, there are in fact several candidates. Slovak and Rusyn are indeed pretty
        > much at the epicentre of the Slavic languages, but they have a lot of their
        > own specificalities as well. Another good candidate would be Old Ruthenian
        > (a.k.a. Old Belorussian).
        Belorussian? Why?

        > And Church Slavonic, as you say. But the best
        > candidate would of course be a modernised form of reconstructed Proto-
        > Slavic! :)
        >
        No, I say OLD SLAVONIC, not Church Slavonic. See another mail.

        Protoslavic is yet more archaic than old slavonic. In protoslavic You
        have constructs, which are not present in any current slavic language
        except Polish.

        >> There are also another not so scientific but also meaningful arguments
        >> for the preference of modernized Old Slavonic:
        >>
        >> 1) Old Slavonic was already a conlang!
        >>
        > I have heard that theory, but as far as I know, it is absolutely not a broadly
        > recognised one.
        >
        >
        in another mail
        >> 2) Old Slavonic is usualy assigned to the sub-group of southslavic
        >> languages by its grammar and phonetics. Southslavic phonetics and
        >> grammar (e.g. verbal system) is good candidate for an inter-Slavic
        >> language. Southern accent is not so soft as eastern, and has very
        >> similar phonetics with romance languages and Greek. This is not a bad
        >> company, is it?
        >>
        > Well, that's a matter of taste, really. To me, it is doubtful that South Slavic
        > grammar (excluding Slovene) is such a good candidate, because it is so
        > radically different from the remaining Slavic languages. IMO an Interslavic
        > language should avoid forms that are not understandable at all to over 75% of
        > the Slavic population.
        >
        Who says? Simply say, this is not true. Maybe it is based on some polish
        perception of the surrounding languages, which I do not know. Southern
        people feel it differently.

        Maybe this is the explanation: except Polish, any other slavic nation
        has its closely related and easy understandable language of another
        slavic nation. But who knows...

        BTW. Our results with Neoslavonic in polish forums are also not so bad, eh?
        > The greatest disadvantage of OCS, however, is not that it is archaic, but that
        > it never covered the whole Slavic territory. There has never been any mutual
        > influence with Polish at all, and its influence on Ukrainian has been very limited
        > as well. It is not more understandable to a Pole than, say, Classical Latin is to
        > a Frenchman.
        Old Slavonic is not understandable to any modern man in the same way as
        Old Anglo-Saxon for anybody English speaking person. Jan, please, do not
        mix the apples with the horses.
        You prefer proto-slavic, but this is yet much more "archaic" than OSl.

        If Your simply transcript OSl into latin and pronounce it with modern
        accent, understandability dramatically improves. This is the approach of
        these canadian guys, whom I collaborate with: http://uss.utoronto.ca/

        And moreover, if You fix the language (grammar, morphology, phonetics,
        orthography, add modern words, ) according to evolutionary changes which
        have also occurred in spoken slavic languages, You obtain well working
        Neoslavonic. This is it.
        > That's something that always must be taken into account -
        > especially if you consider that the number of Polish speakers is about as high
        > as the number of Czech, Slovak and South Slavic speakers together!
        >
        > Therefore, I still think it is a great source of input, but it should be handled
        > with care. Except for the soft consonants, the phonology of OCS is very
        > South Slavic indeed. For example, the reflex of CSl. tj/dj as s^t/z^d is typical
        > for Bulgarian, but doesn't exist anywhere else (not even in standard
        > Macedonian), except for numerous OCS borrowings in Russian. I would strongly
        > recommend you to consider this. Also lexically OCS is a bit of a mousetrap,
        > because it contains lots of words that are understandable to South Slavs only
        > (and not for the remaining 90% of the Slavic population). Therefore, to be
        > useful as a real Interslavic language, it needs lots of adjustments.
        >
        You are wrong again, sorry.
        Any form of jazyk, jezik, jezyk, jazik or cviet, cvet, kviet, kvet or
        mezhdu, medzhu is well understandable at the almost same level within
        Slavic community. This is my practical experience. I do not like
        neverending internet debates on it at our slavic conlang forums. We do
        not work really with our interslavic languages, but only solve again and
        again matter of secondary importance in English.

        The biggiest problems we have are different:
        1) false friends and
        2) different grammars (mostly verbal tenses, conditionals, etc.)

        This why we have our concept of language flavourization, receptive
        learning and passive understability. We strongly need to test all these
        ideas in the practice. This is why we organized the E.U. courses - open
        for anybody from slavic conlang community
        (http://ec.europa.eu/education/trainingdatabase/index.cfm?fuseaction=DisplayCourse&cid=26829)
        why we try to produce videos and speak in conlang
        (https://sites.google.com/site/novoslovienskij/youtube)
        and why I try to describe grammar and morphology of the entire
        Neoslavonic language in Neoslavonic.
        https://sites.google.com/site/novoslovienskij/demonstracia-grammatiky-ns-jazyka
        :o)

        cheers
        VM

        references

        Zhuravlev, Anatolij F. 1994. Leksiko-statisticzeskoe modelirovanie
        systemy slavjanskogo jazykovogo rodstva. Moskva: Indrik. Formula of the
        lexicostatistical model at page 63.

        http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBUQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.phil.muni.cz%2Flinguistica%2Fart%2Fnovbla%2Fnob-001.pdf&rct=j&q=bla%C5%BEek%20klasifikace%20slovansk%C3%BDch%20jazyk%C5%AF&ei=EkD6TPmGM4Sv8gOHqbiLDA&usg=AFQjCNFhHFWgiDQk3a9bTbvjxqYfhWBUow&sig2=yvFXFir60GRbLBBuU2MAQw&cad=rja

        http://uss.utoronto.ca/



        --
        ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        *assoc. prof. Vojtěch Merunka, Ph.D.*
        vmerunka@... <mailto:vmerunka@...>
        http://sites.google.com/site/vmerunka

        *Department of Information Engineering*
        /Faculty of Economics and Management/
        Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague

        *Department of Software Engineering in Economy*
        /Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering/
        Czech Technical University in Prague
        ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      • Jan van Steenbergen
        ... Just curious: does this refer to reading or to listening? Because there is quite a huge difference in perception. I can read Czech, Sorbian and even
        Message 3 of 16 , Dec 4, 2010
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          --- Vojtěch Merunka skrzypszy:

          > In this formula, the higher value has isoglossa limited to only two
          > languages and the lower number has isoglossa, which is common for more
          > languages.

          Just curious: does this refer to reading or to listening? Because there is quite a huge difference in perception. I can read Czech, Sorbian and even Serbian (language I've never learned) and understand most of it, but when I hear them...

          > Polish-Bulgarian has only 0.93 etc.

          Yepyep, that is true. For the average Pole, and for me as well, Bulgarian is completely alien. Those languages are very, very different. Although there are also a few strange similarities between them two.

          > If languages have proximity at least 1.1, they can be assigned into one
          > group, but this approach goes intoa lot of such similar solutions.

          Just curious, any idea what would be the value for standard Serbian and Croatian?

          > For mutual understanding of ordinary people You need to have at least
          > 1.2. Old Slavonic has value 1.15 (to Polish) or better (1.27 to Czech,
          > for example) to modern slavic languages.

          Yeah, sounds about right. So well, this formula is some kind of "voting machine" in its own right. :) Do you also have the figures for O(C)S vs. the other Slavic languages?

          Because when I read all this, the conlanger in me wakes up. My first thought it: so what can be done to pump up the result for Polish to some 1.25 or so, and how would that affect understandability for Bulgarians, for example? Ideally, the results should be as balanced as possible. And that is, basically, what Slovianski is about.

          > I do not thing so. In circle You do not have inner relations.
          > Belarussian and Polish are not connected only through Rusyn and
          > Ukraininan, for example.

          Of course not, this was just a rough simplification. Polish is not connected with Lower Sorbian via Cashubian either. BTW, I forgot to add Polabian and Silesian!

          > Yes, Novgorodian is assigned as the independent group. But total number
          > of literary heritage is very small as far I know.

          If you have that book, I'd really appreciate it if you could give me a reference. There has been an ongoing discussion about this at Wikipedia. I am certain I've read something about a hypothesis regarding an extinct fourth Slavic branch (North Slavic), based on Old Novgorodian, but when I started looking for it, I couldn't find it anywhere.

          > Another good candidate would be Old Ruthenian
          > (a.k.a. Old Belorussian). Belorussian? Why?

          This language is known under several names. It was the administrative language of the Grandduchy of Lithuania, and the vernacular language of Kievan Rus. A very interesting language, and definitely the common ancestor Ukrainian, Belarussian and Rusyn. It was in some sort if diglossic opposition to Church Slavonic, much like Dhimotiki vs. Katharevousa in Greece. It was also called "Prosta mova". And indeed, it is remarkably easy to understand (at least for me). You should really take a look at it! :)

          So probably, the ideal Interslavic language would be a compromise between Old Ruthenian and O(C)S! :)

          > Protoslavic is yet more archaic than old slavonic. In protoslavic You
          > have constructs, which are not present in any current slavic language
          > except Polish.

          Well, when I refer to Common Slavic as a source, I don't mean copying it blindly, of course. In fact, it's pretty much a non-issue. OCS and CSl. are very similar indeed, it's mostly a matter of taking it one step back in order to get rid of OCS's distinctly Southern flavour, and take it from there.

          > > IMO an Interslavic language should avoid forms that are not
          > > understandable at all to over 75% of the Slavic population.
          >
          > Who says? Simply say, this is not true. Maybe it is based on some
          > polish perception of the surrounding languages, which I do not know.
          > Southern people feel it differently.

          Sure, but that's the point: South Slavs are only 10% of the entire Slavic population. That doesn't mean they should be neglected or something, but just that South Slavic is not in the position to dictate everything. Hence the solution used by Slovianski of treating all three or six branches equally.

          > Maybe this is the explanation: except Polish, any other slavic nation
          > has its closely related and easy understandable language of another
          > slavic nation. But who knows...

          Probably because Polish itself was quite a prestige language as well. Poles are a difficult case anyway, because "Slavic consciousness" is far less developed in Poland than in other countries. To the average Pole, the Russians are enemies; the Ukrainians are difficult neighours, but perhaps not so bad after all; the Czechs and Slovaks are nice neighbours; and all the rest are savages. But it is also true that there is a particular interest among Poles for Interslavic languages, and for conlangs in general. And for that reason I think it's really wiser to take Polish into consideration as well.

          > BTW. Our results with Neoslavonic in polish forums are also not so bad,
          > eh?

          To tell you the truth, apart from the Polish Conlanger Forum I haven't seen any of them.

          > If Your simply transcript OSl into latin and pronounce it with modern
          > accent, understandability dramatically improves. This is the approach
          > of these canadian guys, whom I collaborate with: http://uss.utoronto.ca/

          Absolutely, I'll be the last person in the world to deny that! All I am saying is: you can improve it even further if you want to. And I'm offering you my help in that.

          > And moreover, if You fix the language (grammar, morphology, phonetics,
          > orthography, add modern words, ) according to evolutionary changes
          > which have also occurred in spoken slavic languages, You obtain well
          > working Neoslavonic. This is it.

          Agreed. Fully agreed. And for the record, I can also see the advantage of taking an existing language as a starting point. The only thing where I really disagree with you, is that the evolutionary changes you apply are quite specific for everything between Czech and Bulgarian, but also quite the opposite of what Polish and East Slavic do. Mind you, this is feedback, not criticism. I'm quite fond of NS, as you know very well! :) But I also think it can be improved at some points.

          For the record, I also invite you to tell me how Slovianski should or could be improved in your opinion.

          > > Therefore, to be useful as a real Interslavic language, it needs lots
          > > of adjustments.
          >
          > You are wrong again, sorry.
          > Any form of jazyk, jezik, jezyk, jazik or cviet, cvet, kviet, kvet or
          > mezhdu, medzhu is well understandable at the almost same level within
          > Slavic community. This is my practical experience. I do not like
          > neverending internet debates on it at our slavic conlang forums. We do
          > not work really with our interslavic languages, but only solve again and
          > again matter of secondary importance in English.

          That's your choice. To me, picking the right sound changes is quite essential in giving people a feeling of familiarity - and it's not so difficult at all. There's no need for neverending debates here, because in most cases it's just a little bit of comparative linguistics. Anyway, most of this can be handled by flavouring.

          Besides, the research has already been done and the neverending debates have already taken place.

          > The biggiest problems we have are different:
          > 1) false friends and
          > 2) different grammars (mostly verbal tenses, conditionals, etc.)

          As for 1, yes, this is a recurring problem.
          As for 2, well... I think all this can be handled. I tell you, the Slavic imperfect won't be understood by most Poles, Ukrainians and probably Russian, too. That's why Slovianski (just like the Northern languages), uses a past tense based on the L-participle only, because it is understood everywhere. But sure, you can teach it to people by means of receptive learning, that's true. I am not opposed against including it at all - it's just that it should be optional and with a big warning sign on it. ;)

          Because don't misunderstand Slovianski: it is NOT a closed set of rules that tell people what they must do and what they are forbidden to do. It is just a set of recommendations that people can apply in varying degrees, and therefore, it doesn't exclude anything. Ideally, it should only tell people what happens if they'll apply some word or form.

          Cheers,
          Jan
        • neo gu
          On Fri, 3 Dec 2010 19:02:56 -0500, Jan van Steenbergen ... Working on my own auxlangs lately, I believe it helps to have worked on a lot of artlangs first. --
          Message 4 of 16 , Dec 4, 2010
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            On Fri, 3 Dec 2010 19:02:56 -0500, Jan van Steenbergen
            <ijzeren_jan@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi everybody, it's been a while! :)
            >
            >
            > But don't you worry, I'm alive and kicking. Still spending more than
            > half of my time working on conlanging in some way. And while I've
            > been working almost exclusively on Slovianski for the last two years,
            > I'm still and artlanger at heart.
            >
            >Cheers,
            >Jan

            Working on my own auxlangs lately, I believe it helps to have worked
            on a lot of artlangs first.

            --
            neo gu
          • <deinx nxtxr>
            ... That s sort of like Sambahsa. It s creator likes to offer it as an auxlang, but in reality it s just too complex to make be a practical auxlang. OTOH
            Message 5 of 16 , Dec 6, 2010
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              On 12/3/10 11:23 PM, Jan van Steenbergen wrote:
              > --- Vojtěch Merunka skrzypszy:
              >
              >>>> http://steen.free.fr/slovianski/constructed_slavic_languages.html
              >>>
              >>> Are they all auxilary languages?
              >
              > Almost. Although I have to say, most of them (especially the more recent
              > ones) are not much more than sketches.
              >
              > What really distinguishes an auxlang from an artlang is not always easy to
              > say. Libor Sztemon presented his languages as "auxlangs", but my guts tell me
              > that he was an artlanger who enjoyed creating languages like all of us do, but
              > felt somehow obliged to justify his efforts by attaching this "higher purpose" to
              > them.

              That's sort of like Sambahsa. It's creator likes to offer it as an
              auxlang, but in reality it's just too complex to make be a practical
              auxlang. OTOH it's a very well done naturalistic artlang drawing
              primary from Indo-European.
            • Jan van Steenbergen
              ... Well, yes. But on the other hand, I have a feeling that the current perception of auxlangs is about to change a bit. We know by now that easy learnability
              Message 6 of 16 , Dec 6, 2010
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                --- <deinx nxtxr> skrzypszy:

                > > What really distinguishes an auxlang from an artlang is not always
                > > easy to say. Libor Sztemon presented his languages as "auxlangs",
                > > but my guts tell me that he was an artlanger who enjoyed creating
                > > languages like all of us do, but felt somehow obliged to justify
                > > his efforts by attaching this "higher purpose" to them.
                >
                > That's sort of like Sambahsa.  It's creator likes to offer it as an
                > auxlang, but in reality it's just too complex to make be a practical
                > auxlang.  OTOH it's a very well done naturalistic artlang drawing
                > primary from Indo-European.

                Well, yes. But on the other hand, I have a feeling that the current perception of auxlangs is about to change a bit. We know by now that easy learnability is a nice idea, but it doesn't work. It's no longer a question of: language A has 12 endings and language B only 10, and therefore language B is "better".

                You all know me, or last least those of you who have been here for a while... I'm not much of an auxlanger at all. Never believed much in auxlangs, probably never will either. But in the case of Slovianski, there was actually one thing that fascinated me nonetheless:
                a) is it possible to create a language that is at least for 90% understandable to all speakers of a Slavic language?
                b) and if so, would that make any difference?

                Surprisingly, it does. Even though nobody has ever done much to promote it, people starting coming. First only a few, but now we have a userbase of well over one hundred (in fact, those are only the people I know about - there might be more, since Slovianski was never meant to become the language of a community or something). And that in spite of the fact that compared to other auxlangs Slovianski is not so very easy at all. Heck, I remember the times when people called me crazy for postulating gender and cases. Now it's an accepted phenomenon.

                Let me quote Vojta:

                > My Neoslavonic language (Novoslovienskij jazyk) is not so generally
                > universal, but our aim was to cover by neoslavonic as well as all
                > possible grammatical features that occur within the group of Slavic
                > languages. It contrast to other Slavic conlangs, it does not have very
                > simplified grammar, because our way was not reduction of everything as
                > much as possible, but fixing or thinking about symmetries, mutually
                > intersected declension and conjugation patterns and reduction of
                > exceptions.

                Yep, I agree with that. Slovianski goes a bit further with simplification than Novoslovienskij, but the idea remains the same. My hypothesis was, and still is: people will not learn an auxlang because it is easy, but because there's some benefit in it for them. One such benefit is the ability to communicate anything to people who have never even heard of the language or seen it, the second one is that it gives you a fairly decent ability to passively understand the living Slavic languages. Well, my experience with language learning (having learnt two-and-a-half Slavic languages from zero) is that it's not gender, cases or declensions that make it hard. What really complicates things are tons of phonological rules, exceptions, exceptions to exceptions, variable stress, etc. A language without those can have gender and cases, but will still be easy, especially for those who are already use to gender and cases anyway. I think the current success of projects
                like Slovianski proves that other things are much more important than simplicity.

                Jan
              • Vojtech Merunka
                Hi, ... Sure, this is amazing. For example in my case, some Russian and Slovak people called me and our idea of interslavic communication stupid in one forum.
                Message 7 of 16 , Dec 7, 2010
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                  Hi,
                  > Jan wrote: You all know me, or last least those of you who have been here for a while... I'm not much of an auxlanger at all. Never believed much in auxlangs, probably never will either. But in the case of Slovianski, there was actually one thing that fascinated me nonetheless:
                  > a) is it possible to create a language that is at least for 90% understandable to all speakers of a Slavic language?
                  > b) and if so, would that make any difference?
                  >
                  > Surprisingly, it does. Even though nobody has ever done much to promote it, people starting coming. First only a few, but now we have a userbase of well over one hundred (in fact, those are only the people I know about - there might be more, since Slovianski was never meant to become the language of a community or something). And that in spite of the fact that compared to other auxlangs Slovianski is not so very easy at all. Heck, I remember the times when people called me crazy for postulating gender and cases. Now it's an accepted phenomenon.
                  Sure, this is amazing. For example in my case, some Russian and Slovak
                  people called me and our idea of interslavic communication stupid in one
                  forum. But they understood EVERYTHING I wrote them in Neoslavonic.

                  About the level of complexity:
                  I believe, that in our conditions (of slavic speakers) drammatical
                  reduction of grammar is not the good way. Sure I know, that one argument
                  for this reduction is the Bulgarian language, which does not have noun
                  cases except vocative. But Bulgarians do passively understand
                  Neoslavonic as well, because they are a small nation in good language
                  contact with Russian, Serbian and Church Slavonic. This is my
                  explanation why works interlanguage having more complex grammar.

                  Of course, the second very important question is:

                  What is the best interlanguage for non-slavic people (e.g. western
                  Europe, America, ...) for their communication with Slavic people. Sure,
                  a lot of people everywhere in the world speak some kind of English, but
                  I think, that this idea may have its foundation in several practical
                  reasons.

                  There is the language Slovio (www.slovio.com), which has structure very
                  simple like Esperanto. This is one possible way, which has its
                  supporters. Its creator Mark Hucko tried to create something like new
                  Esperanto for everybody in the world: the similar easiness, but based on
                  slavic-derived words. This is a very interesting idea, because it is
                  some kind of combination two thing things in one: zonal conlang and very
                  easy language for everybody including asian, african people etc. If we
                  disregard the fact that this idea is much more fantasy than reality, it
                  can work, because it was also the idea of L. L. Zamenhof: A lot of
                  non-germanic people everywhere in the world has big trouble with English
                  phonetics, syntax and idioms. Moreover, the reuse of the Slavic corpus
                  could enable a big advantage to the easy understandability by the
                  approximately 400 million people who are familiar with Slavic languages.

                  But there are also arguments against this concept of "very easy
                  constructed language". For example:
                  1) Greek, Latin and other international words should not be crippled,
                  but rather should remain in the original well-known international
                  orthography. Any artificial form changing original orthography (Y -> I,
                  S -> Z, ...) or shortening original word (hepar -> hepa, psychologia –>
                  psiko, ...) complicates the understanding.
                  2) This is not true, that Esperanto is easier and better understandable
                  in any way. For example, remember the demonstrative and interrogative
                  pronouns and adverbs. They are arranged in a nice 2D-table, but meaning
                  of these words is dramatically depending on each phone. You change only
                  one vowel or consonant, and You have an absolutely different word (e.g.
                  kio, kia, kie, cio, cia, cie, ...). I want to say that the maximum
                  reduction can be dangerously counterproductive in the creation of
                  conlanguage. Usable language should have something similar to computer
                  code, which is fault tolerance and little redundancy. For practically
                  usable conlang, word meaning must stay almost the same, if You change
                  one vowel "E" to "O" or "A" for example.

                  > Let me quote Vojta:
                  >
                  >> My Neoslavonic language (Novoslovienskij jazyk) is not so generally
                  >> universal, but our aim was to cover by neoslavonic as well as all
                  >> possible grammatical features that occur within the group of Slavic
                  >> languages. It contrast to other Slavic conlangs, it does not have very
                  >> simplified grammar, because our way was not reduction of everything as
                  >> much as possible, but fixing or thinking about symmetries, mutually
                  >> intersected declension and conjugation patterns and reduction of
                  >> exceptions.
                  > Yep, I agree with that. Slovianski goes a bit further with simplification than Novoslovienskij, but the idea remains the same. My hypothesis was, and still is: people will not learn an auxlang because it is easy, but because there's some benefit in it for them. One such benefit is the ability to communicate anything to people who have never even heard of the language or seen it, the second one is that it gives you a fairly decent ability to passively understand the living Slavic languages. Well, my experience with language learning (having learnt two-and-a-half Slavic languages from zero) is that it's not gender, cases or declensions that make it hard. What really complicates things are tons of phonological rules, exceptions, exceptions to exceptions, variable stress, etc. A language without those can have gender and cases, but will still be easy, especially for those who are already use to gender and cases anyway. I think the current success of projects
                  > like Slovianski proves that other things are much more important than simplicity.
                  >
                  > Jan
                  I absolutely agree. In my opinion, we do not need to remove almost all
                  grammatical concepts to make better language. The only thing we
                  definitely need is to try to reduce the number of exceptions. Language
                  may stay rich, yet easy to learn.

                  Now to my main subject of this entire mail:

                  Are slavic conlangs only toys for their enthusiasts, but can they be
                  practically used? On this question we can answer only that we will try
                  it. Modern slavic conlang are created from 90s (Slovio and then
                  Glagolica, Slovianski, ...). A lot of them is very similar and looks
                  almost the same to external listeners or readers. I think that we are
                  still spinning at the same point and we do not go one step further. Why
                  we write in English each other in the internet forums to discuss the
                  grammar and vocabulary again and again? At least, we do have to talk and
                  write in our conlangs. Jan writes that the total number of members of
                  his community are a few dozen. That may be true, but in Slovianski write
                  only about two of them. Neoslavonic has also very few writers (me plus
                  2-3 people in Facebook and e-mail). If people will not start writing and
                  speaking, these projects remain only a toy to use free time.

                  So, if You want really to make a quantum leap forward, start
                  communication in our conlangs together. This is the only way, how to
                  create a truly usable tool. Please, make and post our community a video
                  similar to this one about Neoslavonic:

                  https://sites.google.com/site/novoslovienskij/youtube

                  Moreover, I warmly invite You all to the summer meeting in Prague, where
                  we want to practically try our conlang. We already have a few of
                  registered people from different countries (PL, BG, SK, SLO, RUS) who
                  are interested in this project. If You arrive and will speak and write
                  in Slovianski or Slovio or whatever, You are very welcome.

                  http://ec.europa.eu/education/trainingdatabase/index.cfm?fuseaction=DisplayCourse&cid=26829

                  Remember the story of modern Slovak. This language has been artificially
                  constructed as a zonal conlang in 1840s from many dialects.
                  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%BDudov%C3%ADt_%C5%A0t%C3%BAr). Now it
                  is the strong native language for about 5.000.000 people. It is
                  definitely not the same language as from first books from 1840s.

                  the best regards

                  V.
                • Ph.D.
                  ... This thread is running close to prohibited territory. --Ph. D.
                  Message 8 of 16 , Dec 7, 2010
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                    Vojtech Merunka wrote:
                    >
                    > Of course, the second very important question is:
                    >
                    > What is the best interlanguage for non-slavic people
                    > (e.g. western Europe, America, ...) for their communication
                    > with Slavic people. Sure, a lot of people everywhere
                    > in the world speak some kind of English, but I think,
                    > that this idea may have its foundation in several practical
                    > reasons.

                    This thread is running close to prohibited territory.

                    --Ph. D.
                  • Jan van Steenbergen
                    ... Yeah, and the vocative isn t even a real case at all. It behaves way too different for that. BTW, Bulgarian and Macedonian do have some frozen leftovers of
                    Message 9 of 16 , Dec 7, 2010
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                      --- Vojtech Merunka skrzypszy:

                      > I believe, that in our conditions (of slavic speakers)
                      > drammatical reduction of grammar is not the good way. Sure I
                      > know, that one argument for this reduction is the Bulgarian
                      > language, which does not have noun cases except vocative.

                      Yeah, and the vocative isn't even a real case at all. It behaves way too different for that. BTW, Bulgarian and Macedonian do have some frozen leftovers of ancient cases.

                      But then, I've never bought the argument that cases are difficult. For people who are used to cases, a caseless language is equally difficult to handle.

                      > There is the language Slovio (www.slovio.com), which has
                      > structure very simple like Esperanto. This is one possible
                      > way, which has its supporters. Its creator Mark Hucko tried
                      > to create something like new Esperanto for everybody in the
                      > world: the similar easiness, but based on slavic-derived
                      > words. This is a very interesting idea, because it is some
                      > kind of combination two thing things in one: zonal conlang
                      > and very easy language for everybody including asian,
                      > african people etc.

                      The idea in itself is not bad. Although Slovio is hardly more understandable to Slavic speakers than f.ex. Ido is to Romance speakers. But yes, the idea is not even so bad. The problem with Slovio is only that Hucko wants too much at a time: a global language AND a zonal language in one. As a result, it doesn't work for either of them. A global language should not be based for 90% on one language (Russian in this case) and would require a phonology that would also work for non-Europeans, a zonal language doesn't need all the stuff taken from Esperanto and German, including several a priori words and forms.

                      > If we disregard the fact that this idea is much more fantasy than
                      > reality, it can work, because it was also the idea of L. L. Zamenhof:

                      Well, that's debatable, I think. Esperanto is undeniably the most successful auxlang ever, but as the most optimistic estimation give it some 2 mln. users worldwide, you can hardly say that it has become what it was meant for. Instead, it's pretty much a club language. Mind, that's not Zamenhof's fault, and I'm sure it is not because of Esperanto's imperfections either. It's just that the market for this kind of thing is too small. If an auxlang has more than ten users, it's a nice start; if it has over a hundred users, it's a success; if it has over a thousand users, it's a great success. But still nothing that would come near the reason why these languages were created in the first place.

                      > I absolutely agree. In my opinion, we do not need to remove
                      > almost all grammatical concepts to make better
                      > language.  The only thing we definitely need is to try
                      > to reduce the number of exceptions. Language may stay rich,
                      > yet easy to learn.

                      Not only to learn. My experience with Slovianski is that there are also people who use it without actually knowing it, i.e. with the help of the grammar, the dictionary and their own language.

                      Have you read "Uzajemni Slavjanski Pravopis" by Matija Majar-Ziljski? What he did was actually very similar to Slovianski. This project was also based on language comparison, but the most interesting is undoubtedly the learning traject he proposes: first start with adapting the orthography of your own language, then apply certain sound changes, and only after that start worrying about grammar.

                      > Are slavic conlangs only toys for their enthusiasts, but
                      > can they be practically used?

                      It depends. I am a language creator, because I enjoy it and I believe I am good at it. I also enjoy making online dictionaries, writing grammars and the like. That is more to me than just a toy, it's rather a passion, or even if calling if you like. And I do translations, because that's my job. But when it comes to actual implementation, then I have to say that I'm really not interested in coordinating communities, prosetylising it, etc. That's just not my thing, so let others take care of that if they like.

                      > Modern slavic conlang are created from 90s (Slovio and then
                      > Glagolica, Slovianski, ...). A lot of them is very similar and
                      > looks almost the same to external listeners or readers.

                      Yes, although I should add that of the ca. 30 projects I have gathered, there are only four that actually deserve to be taken seriously: Slovio, Slovianski, Slovioski and Novoslovienskij (chronologically). Other projects were not developed in much detail, and never had any actual users either. The only exception is Slovo, a pretty damned clever language based on Proto-Slavic, that holds the middle between Slovianski and Novoslovienskij.

                      > Why we write in English each other in the internet forums to discuss
                      > the grammar and vocabulary again and again? At least, we do have to
                      > talk and write in our conlangs. Jan writes that the total number of
                      > members of his community are a few dozen. That may be true, but in
                      > Slovianski write only about two of them.

                      Eh? You should really visit the Slovianski Forum more often! :) I'm not saying all the 107 members actually write in Slovianski, but on the Forum itself, there are at least some 25 people who write in Slovianski regularly. Okay, I admit, mostly just a few sentences, but then, the forum is there to develop Slovianski, not to write in it. There are people who use Slovianski, but are not interested in the development process. Sometimes I get e-mails with questions from people who use it for their private correspondence, for example. And of course, there's Steevens company with some 40-50 users.

                      > So, if You want really to make a quantum leap forward,
                      > start communication in our conlangs together. This is the
                      > only way, how to create a truly usable tool. Please, make
                      > and post our community a video similar to this one about
                      > Neoslavonic:
                      >
                      > https://sites.google.com/site/novoslovienskij/youtube

                      YouTube... Yes, that's another thing. I've noticed Mark Hucko is posting one film after another (under the name "Slovianski", BTW) in which he keeps attacking our projects and telling all kinds of things that are patent nonsense.

                      I know nothing about YouTube myself. Never used it, rarely watch it. But yes, it might not be a bad idea at all!

                      Cheers,
                      Jan
                    • Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
                      ... Well, if you look at how long it took me to reply to this post, this should give you an answer to you question :/ . Anyway, glad to see you around! I
                      Message 10 of 16 , Dec 12, 2010
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                        On 4 December 2010 01:02, Jan van Steenbergen <ijzeren_jan@...>wrote:

                        > Hi everybody, it's been a while! :)
                        >
                        > --- Adam Walker skrzypszy:
                        >
                        > > Is Jan really working with you on this project? I haven't seen him post
                        > for
                        > > some time. I wondered what he was up to.
                        >
                        > Yeah, I haven't posted much to the Conlang list lately. Lately, well, a
                        > couple
                        > of years actually. Christophe and I have actually one more thing in common
                        > than just conlanging: we both have made it our life's task to invent the
                        > 48-
                        > hour day. But I haven't succeeded yet (have you, Christophe?).


                        Well, if you look at how long it took me to reply to this post, this should
                        give you an answer to you question :/ . Anyway, glad to see you around!

                        I really could use a 48-hour day or two at the moment... if only to catch
                        some sleep...
                        --
                        Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets.

                        http://christophoronomicon.blogspot.com/
                        http://www.christophoronomicon.nl/
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