Interlingua - does anyone know much of this constructed language?
Thread poster: kazee
kazee
English to Japanese
Jul 18, 2007

Does anyone know much of this con-lang?
I know I should be concentrating on improving what languages I do have or if I must learn new ones learning ones people actually speak but what I've read of this intruiges me.
Apparently its a conlang mainly drawing from romance languages and in Sweden it was taught in schools as a easy shortcut towards learning French or Spanish.
Now my French is terrible and has been for years- its the hardest language on the planet (yeah yeah I know there's worse, its exageration for effect) though I would like to speak it...I'm also interested in learning Italian in the future.

Does anyone know of what happened in Sweden? Does anyone think this really would be a good way of expanding my languages into romance tongues?

[Edited at 2007-07-18 19:20]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-07-19 18:03]


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:53
Swedish to English
+ ...
Never heard of it in Sweden Jul 18, 2007

kazee wrote:

Does anyone know of what happened in Sweden? Does anyone think this really would be a good way of expanding my languages into romance tongues?

[Edited at 2007-07-18 19:20]


I went to school in Sweden during the late 60s and the 70s and never ever came across anything called Interlingua.

We studied languages in the "normal" way. Swedes are often perceived as being good at languages (i.e. English). I think there are three reasons for this:

1. English studies start early (when I was young - 9-10 , now 6-7)
2. All TV programmes and films are subtitled rather than dubbed
3. Swedish and English are very closely related, which is not the case for Japanese and French

[Edited at 2007-07-18 21:37]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:53
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Only vocabulary Jul 19, 2007

kazee wrote:
Does anyone know much of this con-lang? Apparently its a conlang mainly drawing from romance languages and ... a easy shortcut towards learning French or Spanish.


I'm no expert on Interlingua, but I'm under the impression that although it was designed to have recognisable vocabulary, it was never intended as a language learning tool. You might learn a lot of French or Spanish words if you learn Interlingua, but a language is more than vocabulary.


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Chiara Righele  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 18:53
English to Italian
+ ...
Survey about artificial languages Jul 19, 2007

A thread was recently opened, inviting to take part in a survey about artificial languages (see http://www.proz.com/topic/78515 )
Try and contact the starter of the thread: maybe s/he knows something more about Interlingua...

Chiara


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Colin Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:53
Italian to English
+ ...
Interlingua Jul 19, 2007

Read all about it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interlingua

Interlingua even has its own wikipedia!!!

http://ia.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frontispicio

I quite like the idea of Interlingua, as it is more closely related to "real" languages than other artificial languages are. And it's easier than Klingon...


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 12:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
The 'other' Interlingua Jul 19, 2007

I assume - as have other contributors to this thread - that kazee is referring to the Interlingua developed by the IALA starting in the 1930s or thereabouts (see the wiki link in rynacolm's post).

However there was another Interlingua several decades before that, developed by an Italian mathematician by the name of Giuseppe Peano. His approach to 'language planning' started with classical Latin, from which he retained what was still 'alive', i.e. the vocabulary, and discarded what was long-since dead, i.e. the grammar. He originally called it Latino sin Flexione and it became known as Interlingua. He started publishing his linguistic research in 1903 and on 3 January 1908 he gave a read a famous paper to the Academia delle Scienze di Torino. It began in conventional Latin and as he discussed and justified each of the innovations he advocated - aimed basically at eliminating the superfluities of the classical language - so he incorporated them into his discourse forthwith, ending his presentation entirely in Interlingua.

An account of the theory behind Peano's Interlingua (and a review of some of its shortcomings as a language for international mass communication) can be found in "The Loom of Language" (Frederick Bodmer, ed. Lancelot Hogben, George Allen & Unwin, London, 1943). There is information about Peano (concentrating on his work as a mathematician) here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peano

Here's an example of Peano's Interlingua, from "The Loom of Language" (referring, coincidentally, to one of my own specialist topics):

Televisione, aut transmissione de imagenes ad distantia; es ultimo applicatione de undas electrico. In die 8 februario 1928, imagenes de tres homine in Long Acre apud London es transmisso ad Hartsdale apud New York, et es recepto super uno plano, de 5 per 8 centimetro, ubi assistentes facies in London ad move, aperi ore, etc.

Coming back to kazee's question, I very much doubt that the study of any artificial language will help much when trying to learn the romance languages. They all have a grammar (albeit a minimalistic one, like Peano's Interlingua), and that must be learnt. And the vocabulary, which - in 'official' Interlingua for example - draws on many source languages, must be mastered 'as is' in just the same way as the vocabulary of French, Spanish or whatever. And knowing Interlingua won't help you learn French at all! - you won't know which words in your newly-acquired Interlingua vocabulary are drawn from French and can (perhaps) be used 'as is' in a Paris bistrot, and which are drawn from, say, Rumanian, and will illicit only blank stares from the pretty serveuse. And the simplified (if not simplistic) grammar of artificial languages will do precious little to help you understand the niceties of the Spanish subjunctive...

Based on my own experience, I venture to suggest that a better solution would be to learn one romance language 'properly' (i.e. by study, total immersion, or whatever other method you prefer or have access to), and then learn something of how each of the the romance languages has evolved from classical Latin in the past 2000 or so years, each going its own (slightly) different way in terms of flexions, spelling, social, cultural and industrial influence, etc.

I did that, starting with French. Spanish then came easily. Reading every-day or technical Italian and Portuguese is no real problem - to the point that I can and do translate from those languages, although I have never actually studied them or lived in countries where they are used. The only thing I would do differently, if I were starting again with just my English mother-tongue and a fair grounding in Latin from my years at an English grammar school, is that I would start with Spanish rather than French. That's simply because (IMHO...) it is much more regular in terms of spelling, grammar and pronunciation than French.

MediaMatrix


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esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:53
Member (2006)
English to Russian
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I'm afraid, this is not right, Jul 24, 2007

mediamatrix wrote:

Coming back to kazee's question, I very much doubt that the study of any artificial language will help much when trying to learn the romance languages.


There are some evidence contradicting this point.

A year or so ago, I came across the following information: the Minsitry of Education of Italy have conducted a study, which showed that Italians, who preliminarily learned a planned language (I guess, it was Esperanto, but am not 100% sure), laterr learned French much quicker than those who aprroached French directly. And this is notwithstanding the fact that French is very close to Italian! Unfortunately, I haven't kept the source of this information.

As for Interlingua/Interlingue, it's up to you. I'd only mention, that Esperanto supercedes all other planned languages by the number of speakers and generally by extent of its use.

To me, Interlingua just seemed a mess of bad Spanish with bad Italian, and I obviously was not impressed much.


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 12:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
And it's not 'wrong' either... Jul 24, 2007

esperantisto wrote:

I'm afraid, this is not right,

mediamatrix wrote:

Coming back to kazee's question, I very much doubt that the study of any artificial language will help much when trying to learn the romance languages.


There are some evidence contradicting this point.

A year or so ago, I came across the following information: the Minsitry of Education of Italy have conducted a study, which showed that Italians, who preliminarily learned a planned language (I guess, it was Esperanto, but am not 100% sure), laterr learned French much quicker than those who aprroached French directly. And this is notwithstanding the fact that French is very close to Italian!


Without the benefit of examining the research behind this 'information', we can only speculate on the reasons for the claimed result. My guess would be that the faster uptake of French may have been attributable to the student's fundamental interest in languages per se, as exemplified by their having taken the trouble to learn some Esperanto, rather than the value of Esperanto as a 'lead language' for learning French as a foreign language.

kazee's original question was:

Does anyone think this really would be a good way of expanding my languages into romance tongues?


... and, bearing in mind the information we have about kazee's background (in the question and in kazee's profile), I answered 'no'.

kazee's main languages are English and Japanese, neither of which is a romance language (although some would argue that English is, at least in part), I maintain my view that the learning of any constructed language - whether or not it is based on romance roots - will not help kazee's French or Spanish. What's more, there's nothing here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaedeutic_value_of_Esperanto to suggest otherwise. The studies summarised there suggest there might be some benefit for people who learn some Esperanto before learning their first foreign language, implying that it serves as a refresher on the theory of grammar and structure (i.e. 'how language works'), rather than as the basis for building vocabulary ('what it says'). This view is supported by the many teachers of foreign languages in English secondary schools who complain that they are severely hampered in their work by their pupil's poor understanding of English grammar.

kazee is already well past that stage in language-learning and would do better to move straight on to sorting out the French - or starting with Spanish. And, as an accomplished language-user already, kazee will, I'm sure, derive more benefit (and pleasure...) from a comparative study of the romance languages than from learning any constructed 'hotchpotch' language.

Were I feeling quarrelsome (and I'm not in the mood...) I might take issue also with esperantisto's claim that


... Esperanto supercedes all other planned languages by the number of speakers and generally by extent of its use.


Well over a century since it came into being, Esperanto still only claims between 100,000 and 2 million "users" - and strangely enough) 1000 "native speakers" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanto ).

Although international English has not been 'planned' or 'constructed' in the same formal fashion as Interlingua or Esperanto have been, it is nonetheless a widely recognised, artificial variant of the language, which:

- has been 'constructed' for the sole purpose of facilitating international communication;
- respects a certain number of rules that are not found in the source language;
- is spoken, written and read daily by far more than 2 million people.

MediaMatrix


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