Why Spanish deserves the support of the average International Auxiliary Language user

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Hispanophone world; the dark blue indicates where it is the official language, and the light blue indicates where it is used as a second language.

Users of languages like Ido, Interlingua, Occidental, etc., that is. Even the people at dnghu.org should have a vested interest in a situation where English does not end up becoming the world's second language. Here's what I wrote on Auxlang:
Back to the original subject: I've decided that the natural language that deserves the most support of the average Euroclone-using IALer is Spanish, for the following reasons:
-It's the only language that has enough clout to even come close to contending with English, and is also in a geographical area that encroaches on English as well;
-Being closer to Latin and thus Ido/Occidental/LsF/LFN and all the rest means that with more people knowing Spanish IALs will become that much easier to read at first sight.

The ideal situation I'm hoping for in a decade or so is one in which English is still the predominant language but not really making much headway into certain key areas, Spanish and Portuguese have increased a lot, other key regional languages like Chinese and Turkish/Turkic languages have made their mark and editorials are starting to appear along the lines of "damn, we thought English was going to make it to the finish line near the beginning of the 21st century, now what's the world supposed to do communicationwise?" And that's where we come in.
Later on Dana wrote the following:
There is a certain amount of mutual intelligibility between Romance languages, especially closely related ones like Spanish and Portuguese. The combined populations are very large too. I really don't think any would make a really good auxlang. I wouldn't expect them to give English any competition either though I do predict that Latin America will likely be the slowest to absorb English.
I don't agree with the idea that Latin America will ever absorb English. Here is my view on how languages affect each other:
I don't see that happening. The view that bigger languages will always end up gobbling up smaller ones is a simplistic view, and only based on what's happening in the world with really small languages up to those with a few million or so.

A more accurate view of the situation IMO is that a language needs to reach a certain critical mass, after which it has no danger whatsoever of being swallowed up. There are certain things that a language needs to have this:

-A large enough geographical area that people are able to entertain themselves for their whole lives within this area if they don't feel like learning another language. Spanish has this.
-Enough economic power that a person can do almost whatever they want professionally without having to learn another language. Spanish has this too.
-Enough material in higher education that people don't need another language to learn whatever they want. Spanish has this too. You'll notice that languages like Norwegian and Swedish are a bit lacking in this area, and this is where they feel the pull of other languages.

It's similar to the way cities work in this way. Small towns and cities are always in danger of something happening to their primary industry, a brain drain if they don't have enough post-secondary education and places to use it afterwards. Once a city has reached a certain point however it becomes self-sustaining, and there is only movement between the cities when people decide for personal reasons that they want to switch to another one. Just as it would be silly to
claim that Calgary is in danger from New York, English is not going to swallow up languages like Japanese, Chinese or Spanish.


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