Thursday, 21 July 2011

Auxlangers Today

This is my second attempt at creating comic strips. This one is an adaptation of How Standards Proliferate on xkcd.

Here is the Esperanto version of the same strip:

NOTE: These are later additions. :)

Here is the Interlingua version, translated by Martijn! :)

Here is a version (corrected by Dimitrij) in Lingwa de Planeta (LdP):

I have dabbled in LdP for less than an hour and have translated this using a dictionary on the LdP's website. Therefore it may contain a few mistakes. Kindly let me know if you find any. I would be glad to make corrections. :)

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Subconscious affect of Mission Civilisatrice on the designing of IALs


Il es un commun conception inter creatores de linguas auxiliar que cambios minor o major in linguages west-european pote provider un lingua ideal pro tote le mundo. Le conception es basate sur le credentia erronee, subconsciente que le Mission Civilisatrice esseva un successo e multitudes jam cognosce le orthographia latin e paroles west-european e istes non es estranie a les.


The European colonisation was never a calm affair. It involved wars in which the Europeans were killed too. To convince their public at home why colonisation was necessary a theory was devised. They called it Mission Civilisatrice the Civilising Mission. On surface, it sounds good. The Europeans leaving the comfort of their home countries and wandering in the tropics to educate Asians and Africans and bringing prosperity to them. But that's not the true definition. According to this Wikipedia article, here 'to civilise' means to make the natives more "like" their Western masters. What has it to do with the attempts to create an IAL? Most creators of auxlangs subconsciously believe the Civilising Mission was a success.

Most of the IALs proposed so far use Roman characters, some with a few tweaks such as the use of diatrics or a couple of non-latin letters. I have no issue with the use of Roman characters. I find them beautiful, or I found them beautiful until I read somewhere that a Chinese views these alphabet the same way we view Morse code or Greek letters. Imagine what it would be like if we are told some day that the UN has decided to make Greek letters the official writing system for some IAL. I wonder if I would ever be able to relate to a language written like this:

Γενική επισκόπηση και ιστορία των μαθηματικών

Orthography aside, most of the grammars and vocabularies are modeled on West European languages. This is more of an inconvenience for the uneducated and poor masses in Asia and Africa whose knowledge of European languages is usually not more than being able to say 'Hello!' or 'Bonjour!. To justify this stand an argument is often made. It says that adding non-European features to an IAL would hardly increase its learnability for non-Europeans but it would make the language significantly out of reach of ordinary Europeans. I agree with the argument but at the same time I also think that a way out is possible if a team of renowned linguists is asked to work out a solution.
The Civilising Mission was not a big success anywhere so I think it would be great if auxlangers came up with languages which shattered old conceptions and made one rethink about the world around him. I may find nothing abnormal with this sentence but now I know to the eyes of most Chinese and Japanese it is at least as foreign as this font to us.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Watched Delhi Belly on Parmod's Birthday

It was Parmod's birthday on 7 July and we went to cinema to watch Delhi Belly. There were six of us - Parmod, Ravi, Ajey, Jasmeet, Mr. Chámpa (uninvited and unwanted) and I. I got a call from Parmod at around 11am telling me they were going out for a movie and wanted me to join them. We were outside Mini Tagore (the cinema hall) before noon but the show wouldn't began until 12:40pm.

Unlike most Indian movies, Delhi Belly winds up in a little over 90 minutes. The movie is about an incident in the usual-going lives of three friends - a journalist, his photographer and a cartoonist - which threatens to kill them. There are two actresses: one is engaged to the journalist and the other feels for him. I can't name any of them because the names have slipped out of my memory.

The film begins when the journalist's fiance hands him a parcel to deliver to some address. The parcel contains diamonds worth INR 18 million and neither the journalist nor his fiance are aware of this.

The journalist passes on the parcel to his photographer friend who then tells the cartoonist to take it to the mentioned address. The cartoonist accidentally mixes the parcel containing diamonds with the one containing the fecal matter of the photographer.

On receiving the wrong package, the villain is enraged and then follows the action. The bad guys kidnap the journalist's fiance. In the end, however, the three friends manage to save her. Then the journalist and his fiance break up and the movie ends with he kissing his fellow worker, the second actress.

After the movie ends, Mr. Chámpa, who was sitting in the seat next to mine, says, "One can't watch this movie in family. Such vulgar dialogues it has." I responded with a smile.

The movie is unorthodox in the sense that the good guys are shown using swear words and making love. A big controversy has erupted over both. My view is that an issue is being created for no reason because there is no one I know who doesn't use them and as far as making love is concerned, I think that's an expression of love. Anyways, I think the filmmakers tried to depict reality and I found it entertaining.

Moreover, the heroes don't have any supernatural powers nor do they profess to die or kill for a greater cause. This makes it easier for at least me to relate to them. They are just ordinary guys who, as luck would have it, are caught up in unusual circumstances.