Sunday, February 20, 2011

Inlis: The Rationale

I admit I'm surprised. I hadn't meant to dump Inlis in your collective lap and run off giggling maniacally, but that's roughly what I accomplished. So I was expecting the Spanish Inquisition when I checked in again. (I know: "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!" So I'm a nobody. This is news?)

There should have been a comment explaining that regular English is bad enough without caricaturing it as a kind of creole.

Simply put, the rationale for Inlis derives from the following premises:

1. Most of the people in the auxlang target demographic know English.

2. They don't know it well enough to feel comfortable in it.

3. English as such is too complicated in sounds, vocabulary, and idioms for most learners to achieve effectively native fluency in it.

4. As with most natlangs, the gulf between native and non-native speakers will intimidate learners.

5. In only another generation or so, most people will speak Bad English. It will be bad either because they aren't native speakers; because they natively speak a non-prestige dialect developed almost from a pidgin (Hinglish, Ebonics, whatever); or because they grew up in North America, Britain, or Australia and are out to sabotage English from within.

6. On the other hand, some will speak Funny English, though that's subjective: Brits in the US, Americans in Britain, Australians pretty much anywhere. Funny English can be fun, even cool--useful traits for an auxlang.

Question: What if there were an artificial Funny English that would make us all sound not just like L2 English-speakers but fun/cool ones? Non-native English-speakers wouldn't sound any sillier than natives, and we could all have a good laugh, loosen up, and get on with life.

This is the goal of Inlis. It's meant to be easier and more predictable than English, intelligible to those who already know English to any extent (the investment in learning English isn't wasted), not the property of any group (native English-speakers won't have any real advantage), and about as extensible as English proper.

Next up, I'll explain the history of the project

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