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Re: Digest Number 61

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  • Jonathan North Washington
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    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 1, 2000
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      > "Bil" is the normal word in Swedish, Danish and Norwegian. "Auto" is the
      > normal word in German. But then, "car" is normal in English, not
      > "Automobile".
      > /Thomas

      We're not necessarily going for normal words. We're going for recognition
      in any of the languages.

      > Hooray! Someone on the list who is familiar with the parent languages! AND
      > gives feedback! I'm sorry to say that I'm monolingual English myself, with
      > only a passing familiarity with a number of other languages. My sources
      > my Folkspraak database are a 1960's paperback, "The Concise Dictionary of
      > Languages"

      My grandfather has the electronic and paperback versions of that.

      >and a multi-lingual electronic translator. Oh, and 'A Dictionary
      > of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages'. These
      > are basically wordlists, and only have one synonym for each English word,
      > don't indicate parts of speech or idiomatic usages (The IE Synonym Dict.
      > offers some etymology at least). I've tried using some of the online
      > translating dictionaries - same problem. I was pretty sure that the '60s
      > had a lot of now-obsolete words, and that's part of the reason that in an
      > earlier post I made a fictional history of Folkspraak as developing in the
      > '60s and '70s.

      I'm not srue that you're the right person to be doing this, though we all
      appreciate the time that you're putting in. You seem to be combining
      spellings and occasionally sounds, but you aren't doing a good job in making
      words that would be recognizable in all languages. And you're also getting
      alternate words - words with the same meaning as other words in the same
      language, but with different roots - and trying to throw those into the
      jumble. We also don't even have a phonology developed. It's a bad idea (as
      Pablo <http://go.to/pablo-david/> says) to develop words or texts in a
      language until you have a fixed set of sounds because, if you put off the
      phonology until after you have some words, you'll end up going back and
      changing most of the words to fit the phonology. This project is developing
      some problems.


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    • BriBri56@aol.com
      Jonathan, those of us who subscribe to the Langmaker and Langmaker Cafe groups and have ploughed/plowed through/thru your many posts/postings/e-mails know that
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 2, 2000
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        Jonathan, those of us who subscribe to the Langmaker and Langmaker Cafe
        groups and have ploughed/plowed through/thru your many posts/postings/e-mails
        know that you are very detail oriented, and thrive on disputing minor points
        with others on the lists, especially those who are less perfect than you
        think you are. I'm no longer an adolescent, so I tend to think hard before
        criticizing others I hardly know (I plan to live to a ripe old age). Look, I
        already admitted that my word lists are built from imperfect sources, but I
        think of them as the raw material from which Folkspraak is developing. As far
        as coming up with Folkspraak words that exist with other definitions in other
        languages, such 'false friends' are a well-known and probably unavoidable
        problem in any constructed language. Anybody who learns a 2nd language has to
        deal with this issue, and all English speakers have to deal with its many
        homonyms. I don't agree that you need to have the phonology worked out before
        the vocabulary can be developed. Besides, we already have Folkspraak "Spellng
        and Pronunciation" guidelines in Dan Dawes' Grammar of Folkspraak, reproduced
        in the Charter (Roman alphabet, no accents/diacritics, and 'classical'
        pronunciation). As you know, there are many ways to pronounce a given word,
        depending on your regional accent. None is 'correct', though one may be more

        Language usage, and that includes spelling and pronunciation, is imprecise in
        the real world. English didn't emerge full grown from within the covers of a
        dictionary, and we normally comprehend when we encounter a spelling error or
        mispronunciation. There is no universal authority on pronunciation or
        spelling of any living language. Set several dictionaries' pronunciation
        guides side by side, and you'll see the lack of agreement. There's even
        disagreement within the IPA. I know that you know this already. But maybe you
        don't like it. Benjamin Franklin once said something like, "Anybody who only
        knows one way to spell a word has a pretty limited imagination". I personally
        don't have any problem with going through/thru several/various
        iterations/versions of a word until a consensus spelling and pronunciation is
        reached. Self-correcting dynamic systems survive better in the real world.

        Living language is too dynamic and flexible to be constrained to rigid rules.
        Esperanto currently has several dialects around the world, and a friend of
        mine who goes to Esperanto conferences (a great way to meet "open-minded"
        young women, he claims) says that the accent and dialect differences of
        Esperantists from around the world are as great as between the varieties of
        Italian and of Spanish that he's familiar with.

        In looking at a number of Platt Deutsch web pages over the last few months,
        I'm struck by the variety in spelling and pronunciation, but they are all
        clearly closely related. Norwegians have two (or is it three) versions of
        their language, each with its own role to play. In conclusion, Jonathan,
        lighten up and contribute some vocabulary (don't forget to cite the other
        languages your words derive from) and just have a good time with this
        problematic project of ours.
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