Misleading "Neutral" Languages

Clark   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 00:32 GMT
A lot of people say that Esperanto is the best choice for an International Language (IL) because it is "neutral." I think this is wrong because the language was made up from other languages spoken by people in Europe. Essentially, the only language that could be termed "neutral" would be a language that has had no influences from other languages. And since Esperanto has taken from the Romance and Germanic languages and English, it is hardly "neutral." What do you think?
Kabam   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 01:05 GMT
If Esperanto was a mix of languages from each continent, I would agree to call it a neutral language. But this language is actually very European.
I think a mix of languages from all over the world would be easier to learn (and more motivating) than a completely made-up language.
But a made-up language could be more beautiful if created properly.
Clark   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 01:24 GMT
I just think that an IL should not be made up from existing languages. ILs should be made up purely from one's imagination.
Kabam   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 01:37 GMT
Well, one's imagination is necessarily rooted in one's language and culture. However, I see what you mean. A language in which you'd make up completely new words could be great. We would necessarily use some already existing grammar rules from other languages, though.
Jim   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 01:43 GMT
Then it's the product of some person's (or people's) imagination and therefore hardly neutral. What are you saying "purely"? How could this even be conceivable? Remove yourself from the linguistic influences gained through your life, are you kidding?

A "mix of languages from all over the world" ... how do you mix them? There's no way that I can imagine to produce an artificial language that could truely be called "neutral" this way.

I agree the Esperanto is no neutral language but I don't think a neutral language (if even possible) is the best choice for an international language. A natural language is by far a better choice. Why go for a language that a very few know? That's just silly.
Kabam   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 01:56 GMT
As I said, I think we can't remove our language infuences, particulary the grammar. But inventing new words is easy. Like evfamn (not sure of the spelling) or Clark, I can write "Al geofarl bizem orikal" and decide it means "I speak a new language" and, from this point, create some rules and make this language up.

A mix of language, that's what Esperanto is. So why it wouldn't be possible to create a language with more influences?

Rememeber that English was unknown before it's become widespread. So a new language could become known, if we really wanted it to be.
dal   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 02:06 GMT

You should be worried. I have been watching this forum, thinking about participating. You are an idiot. Please tell me one intelligent thing that you have said in this forum. Can anyone here help me? I DON"T UNDERSTAND THE LOGIC OF KABAM. WHERE IS TOM? CAN YOU PLEASE REMOVE THE DUMB ASS FROM THIS FORUM? IF YOU REMOVE KABAM I WILL JOIN>
Kabam   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 02:09 GMT
I'll let Tom answer to this. Good bye Georgey aka Dal aka Crab Bloke. :p
to all the unhappy people   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 03:04 GMT
Stop picking on people
It's not fun
If you have something to say, say it
Everybody can express their ideas here
No matter if they are not to your liking
Go and drink a glass of fresh water
That will make you feel much better
Jim   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 03:29 GMT
Great, let's remove Kabam so Dal can join. We're all so looking forward to having you with us Dal, we just love to be insulted. Please join us. I'll kill Kabam myself if only you promise to be here. Of course, you're no idiot like Kabam, you could tell us a few intelligent things that you have written in this forum, couldn't you, Dal? Please stay, don't let this be your one and only post. We need more bigotted arse-holes like you around.

And Georgey, what a pleasure it is having you around too to tell Kabam what to do with his/her life. It's good to see that you have nothing better to do than write stupid shit in forums either. It's so nice that you two (Or is it just one?) came to visit today. Come back soon.


I hadn't seen your second post before I replied. That's why it looks as if I hadn't read what you'd written: I hadn't. When I wrote "Then it's the product of some person's (or people's) imagination ... are you kidding?" I'd been directing my comments to Clark.

I envisage a language "made up purely from one's imagination" as having originality in all of its aspects. Not only would its vocabulary be original but its grammar would be too. Would this be possible?

Like you say "one's imagination is necessarily rooted in one's language and culture." We cannot escape the linguistic influences gained through our lives. It's impossible to create purely original grammar. It's just as impossible to make up completely new words.

The only option would be to take some people who have not had this influence and let them come up with their completely new language but for what?

Like it or lump it, the international language is English. English didn't come to be the international language because someone thought it should be. I was not the product of a campaign to make it a well known language. Nobody set out with a plan to make English the international language. Natural forces made it so.

Natural forces will keep artificial languages at bay forever. Neither Esperanto nor any such language will ever ride the success of its native speakers to become the international language. There are no native speaker nor will there ever be (save perhaps a very few children of enthusiasts).
Jack   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 03:49 GMT
Hey Kabam are you sure you are from France. It seems to me like you are from Morroco. Kabam sounds like an arab-african name.
Clark   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 05:00 GMT
No, Jim, I am not kidding!!!!!

Yes, Jim, we know that the only IL will be chosen from natural selection. We (the people of the world) are not going to say tomorrow, "all right, let's make Afrikaans the IL."

To get back to the topic; yes, I had thought about the grammar of an IL that had no vocabulary inspiration from other languages. If you read some linguistics books, a lot of linguists think that there is a "universal grammar." With that, a language that had no vocabulary from the languages of the world would only have one common characteristis with every language on earth; grammar rules. Every language, no matter how "primitive" or complex, has grammr rules. So Jim, it is very possible to have a neutral language.
Jim   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 06:44 GMT
Possible to have one, maybe, but is it possible to create one given the influences you've had from other languages in your life? I'm not saying that the existence of such a language is impossible. All I'm asking is how someone, who knows anything of any other language, could make it up and not be influenced (knowingly or otherwise) by that language.

A lot of linguists may think that there exists a universal grammar but I'm sure that a lot of liguists would disagree. This universal grammar is a hypothetical entity, some linguists theorise that it exists but let us not simply take their word for it. How could this universal grammar be discovered? Could you invent your neutral language without it? If there is no such universal grammar then what?

Assuming that you had this universal grammar all mapped out nicely and all you needed was to create some words to fill it in, would it be possible to make your neutral language? I doubt that you'd even be able to come up with a truely neutral set of phonemes. In English /r/ and /l/ are distinct. These don't exist in Japanese but there is a consonant which is somewhere in between (sort of). We have seven short vowels in English in Japanese there are five.

I'm not convinced that "it is very possible to have a neutral language." I wouldn't say that I'm convinced that it is even slightly possible.
Clark   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 07:23 GMT
That is just it! The universal grammar is not set in stone. Maybe I have read it wrong, but what I take away from the unversal grammar discussion is that each language on this earth has its own peculiarities, but since all languages have grammar, than there are bound to be similarities.

Now about the neutral language. Yes, I am sure my culture and language have an impact on this language that I have created; but, you are thinking too deep into this. For all intents and purposes, this language that I have created is unrelated to any other language in vocabulary. Sentence structure is just like English, but since there are declensions for nouns, the word order can be changed without changing the meaning of the sentence.
mee   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 08:30 GMT
according to ethnologue (catalogue of the world known languages), there are some native speakers of esperanto*. it's also interesting to notice that some of the strongest movements of this language are in asia. however, i don't think esperanto is a real neutral language either.

i reckon jim's argument about english versus japanese is very plausible.

i don't believe a mix of languages all over the world would be necessarily the easiest to learn, kabam. it could certainly be the most fun, but i think a properly made artificial language would be easier, if there was someone capable of creating such a thing.

natural languages differ to much from each other, and i guess mixing them altoghether would probably result in a very thick product, too difficult for most people to diggest.