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Does the simplicity of Esperanto verb tenses make its verbs too imprecise?

başlangıç MarcDiaz, 6 Eylül 2016

Mesajlar: 88

Dil: English

MarcDiaz (Profili görüntüle) 11 Eylül 2016 20:22:39

bartlett22183,

You tell me that Esperanto verb tenses are precise enough. The only reason you give me is your experience with your languages and how in the texts you read you have not had any difficulty understanding the nuances.

The argument of the poster's own experience is one I have read quite often in this thread. But to me, this argument is not enough. I can't know how reliable it is, since your comprehension might not be perfect. You yourself claim not to be an expert on Esperanto, so I do not think your experience with language so far is an argument which is reliable enough to convince anyone of the precision of Esperanto verb tense system. You might have had misunderstandings without realising it. Or maybe a certain tense gives a certain nuance, which is general and good enough to understand the text, but maybe a more accurate system would enable the writer to express a nuance which is even more refined than the general one which has been used. When one understands the general idea of a text, one is usually content with it and rarely engages in a deep analysis of whether certain verb tenses could have been more precise, and therefore, express a certain degreee of precision which might help to understand it better.

I can put one example to show it better. It is going to be an exaggerated example, because exaggeration often helps to see things more easily, but I hope you can understand what I mean and apply it to my explanation:

Let's suppose that language A does not have any adjectives. A writer then uses this language to write a short text which looks like this: A man went to a shop and bought a sandwich.

Most people who speak this language which does not have any adjectives would not miss them at all, because during their whole life, they never had them, they never needed them, and so they are satisfied and do not feel an improvement is possible. Only few people, the most open-minded, like I am doing now, would go as far as to think whether maybe the language could be enriched by adding some subtleties that might exist somehow.

A sentence like "A tall good-looking man went to a shop nearby and bought a delicious cheap sandwich" is also a possibility. But someone who reads only "A man went to a shop and bought a sandwich" is usually satisfied with it because he understands it and rarely thinks whether he could have got more information. The information that my latter example conveys.

What I want to show you with this analogy is how understanding a text is not enough evidence that there is no greater degree of accuracy. It might show that it is enough to understand texts to a certain extent, but who knows if a higher degree of accuracy could be reached? I think it is possible. The more complex a verb tense system is, the more nuances it is able to express.

And that's it. I still have more thoughts on this subject, but I don't feel you deserve to know more about it. So I will stop here.

Vestitor (Profili görüntüle) 12 Eylül 2016 10:25:37

MarcDiaz:bartlett22183,

The argument of the poster's own experience is one I have read quite often in this thread. But to me, this argument is not enough. I can't know how reliable it is, since your comprehension might not be perfect. You yourself claim not to be an expert on Esperanto, so I do not think your experience with language so far is an argument which is reliable enough to convince anyone of the precision of Esperanto verb tense system. You might have had misunderstandings without realising it. Or maybe a certain tense gives a certain nuance, which is general and good enough to understand the text, but maybe a more accurate system would enable the writer to express a nuance which is even more refined than the general one which has been used. When one understands the general idea of a text, one is usually content with it and rarely engages in a deep analysis of whether certain verb tenses could have been more precise, and therefore, express a certain degreee of precision which might help to understand it better.
That is the most self-deluded paragraph you've written so far. I suppose you don't think it might also apply to you? That you might be misunderstanding things without realising it. Or are you suggesting that you are the only one here capable of enough clear thought to unravel something everyone else has missed?

What's grating with me at this point, is the mock academic journal tone and the ludicrous demand that list upon list of 'points' be answered to your satisfaction. Write your bloody book and get it out of your system. If it's a success I'll eat my hat and publicly apologise.

lagtendisto (Profili görüntüle) 12 Eylül 2016 10:34:49

opalo:Nearly everybody here is happy with Esperanto in its current form, and we are not all that interested in making big changes.
What let you be authorized to speak in name of others?

lagtendisto (Profili görüntüle) 12 Eylül 2016 10:59:04

MarcDiaz:It might seem easier not having to use to plural and accusative if the context gives enough information. But then one would have to ask oneself constantly whether the context gives enough information to skip the plural and accusative. I think that is actually more difficult and quite subjective.
Okay, I got the idea. You feel responsible that audience will got message exactly you intented to be understood. But I think its difficult to plant some part of someones own mindset into others mindset copy&paste-like.

If I got it right than you want to wipe off all of fuzziness within (spoken) human communication. It seems to be possible, yes. It depends on field. In wording of a law fuzziness isn't very useful. Contrary to find compromises, in my opinion, fuzziness gives space for creativity to find proper compromise.

MarcDiaz:I think it is better to have a clear rule that should always be applied.
In terms of word order: yes, I agree.

MarcDiaz:This way, by repeating this pattern over and over again, it becomes easily ingrained in your speech and you no longer have to think consciounsly when to use the plural and accusative, for example.
You seem to underrate what human brain is capable of.

MarcDiaz:Like I said before, deciding whether the context is enough or not can be subjective.
Does it really matter in spoken communication?

MarcDiaz:It also adds one step to your choice of words, which make it complex.
Sorry about, but for me it sounds like some fear of creativity.

MarcDiaz:1st) Does the contex give enough information? Then use the simple form.
It depends on situation. For sure, if there is some danger for life, someones will speak different than at some poetry slam session.

MarcDiaz:By using always a specific rule, we skip step 1, and we go straight to step 2, which, in my opinion, makes it simpler. That's the way Esperanto works.
Ehm. Sure?

opalo (Profili görüntüle) 13 Eylül 2016 10:50:01

Marc:

Some of the replies you are getting are very negative, so I'll try to give a broad but hopefully helpful answer. Your initial question was "Does the simplicity of Esperanto verb tenses make its verbs too imprecise?" The clarification this question needs is "Too imprecise for what?"

If you mean too imprecise to be used in conversation, the answer is no. If you mean too imprecise to be used to translate the Bible, Shakespeare, Goethe, etc, or books on technical subjects, the answer is also no.

If you mean too imprecise to be fully satisfying to a person who thinks about grammatical problems a lot, the answer is inevitably going to be yes.

During the 1890s, many proposals for reform of Esperanto were made. No agreement could be reached on those proposals, and in order to stabilize the language, the Fundamento was published. This was disappointing to reformers, and one consequence was the major and acrimonious schism which produced Ido. Furthermore, sometimes people who work on newer conlangs start to feel that their language is obviously better than Esperanto, and resent Esperanto for hogging the limelight (such as it is) which, they believe, only their project truly deserves. Much anti-Esperanto sentiment comes from that quarter. For these and other historical reasons, many Esperantists find it hard to feign enthusiasm when someone shares their ideas about how to "fix" or "improve" Esperanto.

In the future, Esperanto will develop, mostly along the lines of adding slang, and new words for new concepts and technologies. I do not think Esperanto more liable to acquire new temporal nuances than any random Romance language. If in the future the general public suddenly were to feel the need for an artificial language with much greater precision than the ones they have been using, they would probably seize upon Ithkuil or Lojban.

MarcDiaz (Profili görüntüle) 13 Eylül 2016 11:21:52

opalo:Marc:

Some of the replies you are getting are very negative
That is true, including most of your replies. Don't you agree?

I understand your post. Actually, I reached my own conclusions about the Esperanto verb tense system some time ago, but I do not want to post them here.

opalo (Profili görüntüle) 13 Eylül 2016 11:48:00

My replies were candid and skeptical. Perhaps I would get a low mark in a retail training course, but I'm not selling you anything.

All the best.

MarcDiaz (Profili görüntüle) 13 Eylül 2016 12:03:08

Since when are false generalisations, judging someone's level without knowing him, omitting information, provocations and suggestions that I do something that no one does, even yourself, candid replies?

It is not a matter of low ability to sell anything, it is a matter of obvious hostile attitude. I might even add arrogance and hypocrisy.

opalo (Profili görüntüle) 13 Eylül 2016 12:49:14

1) I didn't do anything like that. 2) I do read novels in Esperanto. 3) I don't really care any more.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have just completed a 50-page pamphlet on improvements that could be made to the hopelessly imprecise German language. I'm just off to mail copies to Angela Merkel and Duden Verlag. I can't wait to hear their detailed replies; hopefully, they won't arrogantly pick and choose which points they respond to.

MarcDiaz (Profili görüntüle) 13 Eylül 2016 12:58:19

opalo:1) I didn't do anything like that. 2) I do read novels in Esperanto. 3) I don't really care any more.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have just completed a 50-page pamphlet on improvements that could be made to the hopelessly imprecise German language. I'm just off to mail copies to Angela Merkel and Duden Verlag. I can't wait to hear their detailed replies; hopefully, they won't arrogantly pick and choose which points they respond to.
1) Do you need me to show you explicitely where you have done each one of those things?

2) That is not exactly what I was referring to.

3) Not really caring any more is the typical excuse someone makes when one runs out of arguments because he knows the other one is right. So I think that is what has happened. You realised I am right. You are just too proud to admit it.

The other paragraph you have written is a lie that is supposed to be funny. I do not believe it, I do not find it funny and I can't really see what relevance it has to what we were discussing before. So, again, quite pointless.

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