Can Ido appeal to the Latin revival crowd?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

That's something I've thought about before. There are groups here and there that promote a revival of Latin as opposed to an IAL like Ido, and most of them are interested in classical Latin as-is, no changes whatsoever. That's something I'd like to see too, though of course it's a bit of a hard sell considering the complete lack of native speakers at present.

It could also be possible however to appeal to the Latin revival movement with an IAL that is at least closer to Latin than English is. To a Latin revivalist I can only assume that an IAL closer to Latin than English is would at least be preferable to the status quo. And with this knowledge of an IAL, Latin texts would be that much easier to decipher, the language itself would be easier to learn, and a revival of the language would be that much easier as well.

So that being said, how much closer to Latin is Ido than English? Let's take a look. We'll look at this sample text available on James Chandler's Ido page.

I believe that we are subject to the law of habit in consequence of the fact that we have bodies. The plasticity of the living matter of our nervous system, in short, is the reason why we do a thing with difficulty the first time, but soon do it more and more easily, and finally, with sufficient practice, do it semi-mechanically, or with hardly any consciousness at all. Our nervous systems have (in Dr Carpenter's words) grown to the way in which they have been exercised, just as a sheet of paper or a coat, once creased or folded, tends to fall for ever afterward into the same identical folds.

Me kredas, ke ni esas submisata a la lego di la kustumo per konsequo di la fakto, ke ni havas korpi. La plastikeso di la vivanta materio di nia nervala sistemo, esas, abreviite, la kauzo ke ni facas un kozo desfacile la unesma foyo, ma balde plu e plu facile, e fine, kun suficanta praktiko, ni facas ol mi-mekanike, o kun preske nula koncio. Nia nervala sistemi kreskis (segun la vorti di Dr Carpenter) en la voyo en qua li esas exercita, exakte quale folio di papero, o vesto unfoye faldita o shifonigita, tendencas falar sempre pose en la sama identa falduri.

Okay, now we'll compare the texts word by word and give them a "Latin score". Each time a language has a word similar to Latin it gets a point. I'm not going to include pronouns or articles because the first change too much and the second don't exist in Latin anyway.

Also note that I'm just comparing similarities, not strict linguistic geneaology. In other words, I'm going by the criterion "does this help the speaker understand Latin or not?"

(English - Ido - Latin)
  1. believe - kredar - credere - Ido+1
  2. that - ke - que - Ido+2
  3. are (be) - esar - esse - Ido+3
  4. subject - submisar - submito - Ido+3
  5. to - a - ad - Ido+4
  6. law - lego - lex - Ido+4
  7. habit - kustumo - consuetudo - Ido+4
  8. consequence - konsequo - consequens - Ido+4
  9. fact - fakto - factum - Ido+4
  10. have - havar - habeo - Ido+4
  11. body - korpo - corpus - Ido+5
  12. plastic - plastiko - plasticus - Ido+5
  13. live - vivar - vivo - Ido+6
  14. material - materio - materia - Ido+6
  15. nerve - nervo - nervus - Ido+6
  16. system - sistemo - systema - Ido+6
  17. reason - kauzo - causa - Ido+7
  18. do - facar - facio - Ido+8
  19. thing - kozo - res - Ido+8
  20. difficult - desfacila - difficilis - Ido+7
  21. one - un - uno - Ido+8
  22. time - foyo - occasio(?) - Ido+8
  23. but - ma - sed - Ido+8
  24. soon - balde - postmodo - Ido+8
  25. more - plu - plus - Ido+9
  26. and - e - et - Ido+10
  27. final - fina - ultimus - Ido+11
  28. with - kun - cum - Ido+12
  29. sufficient - suficanta - sufficiens - Ido+12
  30. practice - praktiko - exercitatio - Ido+12
  31. mechanical - mekanika - mechanicus - Ido+12
  32. hardly (almost) - preske - paene - Ido+12
  33. none - nula - nullus - Ido+13
  34. consciousness - koncio - conscientia - Ido+13
  35. grow - kreskar - cresco - Ido+14
  36. way - voyo - via - Ido+14 (close, but not quite close enough, and English uses via sometimes too so this one's a draw)
  37. which - qua - quae, etc. - Ido+1
  38. (exakte won't be featured because it's just like the word exactly, so a draw here as well)
  39. sheet - folio - folium (leaf) - Ido+15
  40. coat - vesto - vestis - Ido+16
  41. crease - faldar - corrugo - Ido+16
  42. fold - shifono - ruga - Ido+16
  43. tend - tendencar - tendo - Ido+16
  44. fall - falar - cado - Ido+16
  45. always - sempre - semper - Ido+17
  46. same - sama - idem - Ido+17
  47. identical - identa - idem - Ido+17

So there you go, an incomplete and unscientific look at the three languages. 47 chosen words gives English a Latin score of about 18/47, and Ido 35/47. It's not an exact number since there are indirect cognates (English vital for example) to factor in, but I think it's safe to say that Ido is almost twice as 'Latiny' as English.

So in conclusion, Ido probably isn't able to appeal to strict Latin revivalists, but I've shown here that for a Latin revivalist, the more Ido the better. That means that if you're a Latin revivalist you might be interested in writing a quick post on your blog about the language, or whatever else. In any case, be nice to Ido and it'll help you out ever so slightly.


Bryce Wesley Merkl said...

That was a very interesting comparison, I'd like to see more in the future. You might find this to be a great site for Ido:

Ido wiki browser

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