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Esperanto academy and language change?

başlangıç wsprague, 3 Eylül 2006

Mesajlar: 8

Dil: English

wsprague (Profili görüntüle) 3 Eylül 2006 15:59:16

Could someone give me a sense of the process by which the official language is changed/added to?

For instance, how does a new word get addded to the lexicon, possibly while deciding that an alternative will be officially mal-recommended?

Or, as a more grandiose example, what if language users want to develop and add a system of interjections (see my other post...) -- is there a process for something like that?

If anybody is familiar with the development of the open source computer language Python, they have a very interesting system for concensus additions and changes to the language (www.python.org/dev/peps/).

I am not proposing any changes (I have to learn the language first!), I am just curious. I think it is especially interesting as standardization is so important to an auxillary language.

(And the NEXT post will be bilingual...)

awake (Profili görüntüle) 5 Eylül 2006 17:47:52

Esperanto, like all other living languages, evolves over time by the way its speakers use it. Esperanto does have more internal pressure on it to maintain standards than most languages (since the aim of the language is to facilitate learning by being easy to learn and use). Official recognition of new words and useages can be quite slow. The real way that change comes is simply by people trying new things...they'll either be adopted into common useage, or they wont. Often they spark heated debates within "the esperanto community" (though I hate that phrase).

For example, some feel that having an explicitly female suffix, -ino is inherently sexist. So some people try to eliminate its usage. Because of these arguments, the -ino suffix is probably used less than it was a few decades ago...though it's still used in some words or when one wants to explicitly mark something or someone as female.

Another example is the proposed prepozition na. In esperanto, one adds an -n to mark something as a direct object (or sometimes an -on in the case of proper names). Some feel this is awkward for some proper names, so they have proposed and started using a new preposition, na, to mark things as direct object when putting an -n or -on at the end of the word would be awkward. So far this hasn't really caught on (and has met with much resistance) but it's (as far as I know) fairly new, so maybe in time it will.

But in general, There is a great resistance to massive changes in the language, at least until it becomes vastly more widespread.

Michael

wsprague:Could someone give me a sense of the
process by which the official language is changed/added to?

For instance, how does a new word get addded to the lexicon, possibly while deciding that an alternative will be officially mal-recommended?

Or, as a more grandiose example, what if language users want to develop and add a system of interjections (see my other post...) -- is there a process for something like that?

If anybody is familiar with the development of the open source computer language Python, they have a very interesting system for concensus additions and changes to the language (www.python.org/dev/peps/).

I am not proposing any changes (I have to learn the language first!), I am just curious. I think it is especially interesting as standardization is so important to an auxillary language.

(And the NEXT post will be bilingual...)

T0dd (Profili görüntüle) 8 Eylül 2006 03:01:18

The process of "officialization" is very very slow. The most comprehensive Esperanto dictionary, the Plena Ilustrita Vortaro, is itself not "official." It is published by the Sennacieca Asocio Tutmonda, which is independent of the Akademio and the UEA. PIV may be considered authoritative, but it's not official. When the Akademio publishes, from time to time (infrequently) a "nova radikaro," *that's* official. As a general thing, the Akademio takes a *descriptive* posture, and waits until a given word is rooted in usage before canonizing it. New words come and go, and the Akademio doesn't pounce on them to either make them official or reject them. On the contrary, it waits and watches, and then makes official what by then pretty much everybody already knows.

An excellent recent example of this would be the word "komputilo".

erinja (Profili görüntüle) 8 Eylül 2006 12:23:31

Another interesting aspect of officialization is that the Akademio not only says "ok, we're going to make 'komputilo' official" but they have to come up with an official definition of it. This sounds simple for words like "komputilo". But for things like foods, where people in different countries may have a different idea of what that food is (this happens in English too - what British people call a "pudding" can be very different from what Americans would consider a "pudding"), so the Akademio has to somehow come up with a definition. There are also words that have been around forever that no one ever bothered making official for one reason or another, and the Akademio makes official definitions for those too. I spoke with a member of the Akademio about this a couple years back; she told me that it was only recently that the Esperanto word for "penis" was made official. She said that "peniso" has been around pretty much forever but the early Esperanto speakers were too prudish to make it official and have an official definition, so it was only within the last few years that the Akademio got around to taking a whole chunk of these "sensitive" words and made them official.

The Akademio also releases documents giving their official position on various language issues. Anyone interested in language in general (and who has a pretty good reading ability in Esperanto) might enjoy reading these documents; I find them fascinating. These kinds of documents can be found at http://www.akademio-de-esperanto.org/

jean-luc (Profili görüntüle) 4 Ekim 2006 12:04:08

T0dd:The process of "officialization" is very very slow.
This may be a problem. By example, the PIV word for dyslexia is disleksio which is a completely new root, on this page [1] they propose mislegemo which comes from mis-, leg- and em-.

Which one is the good one ? Which word I will choose if I need to write dyslexia ?

[1]http://vortareto.free.fr/grammaire/scvortfarado.ht...
The website it self propose a glossary of medicine in esperanto (with french translations)
This specific page (in french) deal with the problem of neologism.

Kwekubo (Profili görüntüle) 4 Ekim 2006 18:30:02

The current stance of the Academy is that if some aspect of the language - grammar, vocabulary or otherwise - is accepted and used by the majority of Esperanto speakers, then it's good Esperanto. In other words, you don't introduce a new word etc into the language by making it official; rather, official words are ones that are already in extensive use.

To take your example of dyslexia, jean-luc: both disleksio and mislegemo are fine. I can't think of any everyday circumstance where you couldn't use both of those words. From searching on Google it seems that disleksio is by far more common in practice. But if I was having a conversation and someone didn't understand what I meant by disleksio, I'd just say, "Tio signifas mislegemo". The best of both worlds!

jean-luc (Profili görüntüle) 8 Ekim 2006 16:40:43

Kwekubo:The best of both worlds!
I don't really agree with you :

1) mislegemo is not a definition but a word (I agree though, mislegemo is self-explicative)

2) We have at least two word with the same meaning, I think that's not the best of both worlds but the beginning of the problems : I have two words to learn (one easy for everyone, the second easy for western languages speaker only), it is one too many.

I understand the need to have some synonym for some common words, in order to avoid monotony. By example, it may be interesting to have synonymss for malricxa, malgranda, etc.

After all, we can consider nokto as a synonym of "maltago" - even though the latter one does not exist, I think. I understand the need to have synonym for long common words as for gay and lesbian (by the way I saw translation as gejo and lesbo : why not choose one and add -ino or vir- when needed ?) but I don't see the need to complexify the language with synonyms for words like dyslexia.

3) you say that «you don't introduce a new word etc into the language by making it official; rather, official words are ones that are already in extensive use».

All right, but esperanto is a constructed language : if it should evolve as every another language, in my humble opinion (after all, i'm only able to understand short text), and at the difference of the other languages, its evolution should be drived carefully, otherwise it will lost one of its two major interest/advantages over natural tongues : its simplicity and its easiness to be learn (the second one is its neutrality).

And this simplicity is mainly due to its internal coherence which is lost if there is no formal or informal structure to drive the evolution of Eo.

What will happen if non-western speakers start to bring their own word to esperanto when Eo-words exist ? Just an example with disleksio (again ridulo.gif), in french with have dyslexique which is the adjectival form of dyslexy and have the meaning of "someone which is dyslexic", so if I can expect to have the words : disleksia/disleksika/mislegema and disleksiulo/disleksiko/mislegemo.

PS : otherwise, is it possible to have a french forum ? I have a couple of questions (by example on the use of kio/kiu) for which I will be more confident to use my mother tongue.

Kwekubo (Profili görüntüle) 11 Ekim 2006 17:01:03

Je suis d'avis avec vous, je pense qu'un forum en français serait utile pour des étudiants francophones. Envoyez un message à l'équipe de lernu!. (I agree, I think a French forum would be useful for French-speaking learners. Send a message to the lernu! team about it.)

As regards your comments about synonyms/new words: Esperanto is mainly used for international communication when people don't share a common language.

Bringing in unnecessary duplicated words (such as your "disleksika" example) would make it less likely that the person you are talking to will understand you, and international communication would become harder; therefore, to make yourself understood you would have to abandon this new word and go back to using good, classical Esperanto.

Your example of disleksio/mislegemo, however, is a little different. As I said before, in everyday conversation you could use either of the two words with roughly the same effect, eg: "Pro mia mislegemo/disleksio mi miskomprenis la vorton."

However, there is a significant difference between "mislegemo" and "disleksio" - "mislegemo" could apply to anyone who tends to misread things for whatever reason, such as a person with poor eyesight. "Disleksio", on the other hand, is a specific type of medical condition, which affects your ability to write as well as to read, and has other effects. So, if I was writing an article in a medical journal about dyslexsia I would certainly use "disleksio", but in everyday use it might depend on the situation.

I take on board your point that having a central authority that decides what words everyone should use would make unifying the language easier, but in practice, as I explained above, the language tends to keep itself in check. People can ask the Academy's advice, though, if they have a question on some uncertain aspect of the language.

Plus, chances are it just wouldn't work. This was one of the things that contributed to the fall of Volapük, the predecessor of Esperanto - its initiator insisted that he retain full control over the language's development, leading to schisms and stagnation. By contrast, Esperanto's future is in the hands of the people who speak it - hence why we have the Fundamento, to give everyone the freedom to make full use of Esperanto in whatever field they're involved in.

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