The Debate page.





A lot of the arguments that have been made on the subject of International Auxiliary Languages (IALs) relate to features of one or another, especially Esperanto. And the same questions have been taken up over and over again. So this page has been set up so that you can read the debates and judge for yourselves.

On this page, you will be able to see:

  • The Great Debate on the Esperanto Accusative and
  • The Debate on Ido's founding.
  • The words will not be just my own. Instead, I provide linkage to people who are experts in interlinguistics, or are considered so by their supporters. They include:

  • Henry Jacob, who wrote a 1948 book comparing the most important IALs to date and expressing opinions on how well each fits the desired goals. While his opinions may not totally agree with mine, he appears to have gone about his investigations with a great degree of impartiality.
  • Otto Jespersen (1860-1943), one of the greatest experts on linguistics of all time. Besides being an expert on the structure of the English language, he was from 1903 an advocate of the IAL idea, and in 1907 he was on the Delegation Committee that recommended Ido, while in 1928 he revealed to the world his own Novial.
  • Gaston Waringhien, about whom I admit I know very little. However, Esperantists appear to consider Waringhien a capable defender of their language, and so I provide links to his arguments. If anyone knows information about Waringhien that might be useful in this description, please send me e-mail.




  • The Great Debate on the Esperanto Accusative


    Esperantists defend their language's use of a special form for the accusative case of nouns (and, since in Esperanto, there is adjective- noun concord, adjectives as well). In a book by Gaston Waringhien, a
    whole chapter was devoted to a defense of this feature. The great linguist Otto Jespersen looked at the use of case inflections in modern languages, and in his book An International Language devoted a chapter to case. You are invited to read both, and make up your mind which makes more sense.



    The Debate on Ido's founding

    One of the things that Esperantists seem to put forth in defense of their language is their resentment of the move in 1907 to improve it. The history of this event was put down in a pamphlet,
    "A History of Our Language (Ido)," by Otto Jespersen, who served as vice-president of the Delegation Committee. Another person who wrote a summary of what happened was Leopold Leau, who served as Secretary to the Delegation Committee. Although Jespersen and Leau were there, Esperantists seem to have constructed their own histories, painting pictures of betrayal and deception. These of course are prepared by people who were not there and have an axe to grind, and clearly are designed to defame the character of de Beaufront and Couturat, who were the main promulgators of Ido. More impartial histories, such as Henry Jacob's posted on the Web, contradict the Esperantists' histories. I invite you to read, and compare.



    If you want to comment, send me e-mail.



    This page was originally a part of my site on Geocities, maintained until 1998. The last edit on the Geocities page was made on Nov. 16, 1997. The pages on Geocities could not be edited between 1998 and 2009, and were preserved as they were, until download in preparation for migration to this site took place on May 22, 2009.
    Please inform me of dead links and any other problems.



    Last modified by B. R. Gilson (brg1942@gmail.com) June 15, 2009.
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