Esperanto (estis: [OT] Close to latin)

Date: Wed Jan 03 2001 - 04:31:24 EST

Antoine Leca skribis:

> Esperanto
> showed us that a fossilized language cannot aim at being lingua franca
> (at least, this is what I learnt from the linguists I read; I welcome
> counter arguments).

Several errors here:

First of all, a fossilized language can indeed be the lingua franca of an epoch,
as the example of latin in europe for a long time shows.

Second, there is an error on the nature of esperanto: Allthough it started as
a planned and designed language, it shows now all features of language evolution:
Innovation on vacabulary and grammar (e.g. the male moving suffix -icho), some
vocabulary and some grammatical features become obsolete and sound archaic.

Esperanto surely can _aim at being lingua franca_, however I doubt that it will
succeed in this aim. It has its merits, however, and will survive as the
communication language of its own tribe.

There is another point: All languages have a certain degree of planedness.
A rough ordering may look like:

Loglan -- Esperanto -- Ivrith -- Slovak, Estonian -- French -- German -- ...

Becoming on-topic again:

There seems to be a strong analogy between languages and character sets. Any
character to be encoded is a human invention. There are no 'natural' characters
at all. For some characters, it is no longer known, who invented them when
and why; for others we know these facts quite exactly (e. g. latin letter j
with circumflex). The fact, that a character (or a complete script) is 'made up'
or invented by someone, give no argument (neither pro nor contra) for its
inclusion in UNicode.

The need to put text containing a certain character or script onto the
computer, and ongoing publication activity are arguments. Character worth
encoding are like living languages in this respect. They need to have at
least some market share (which may be small compared to the 'big players').

--J"org Knappen

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