[Ltru] RE: Using the "eur" tag

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Wed Jan 30 20:22:38 CET 2008

Jukka K. Korpela scripsit:

> I tend to agree, on the grounds that "Europanto" is not a language under 
> any normal meaning for "language". It is just an idea rather than 
> consistent system in the sense that English, Swahili, or Esperanto is 
> consistent. There are languages that are now extinct, but can we call 
> something a language when it was never actually used for human 
> communication in any normal sense?

What do you mean, not used?  I addressed my blog post to the readers of
my blog, and the Europanto web site is addressed to all comers.  It may
not be used conversationally yet, but there definitely exists a body of
written works.

> A purely imaginary language, such as those created by Tolkien, is a 
> borderline case. It could exist as a mere joke. 

Quenya and Sindarin are far more than jokes: they are targets for
translation and the creation of original works of literature.  There exist
third-party grammars and dictionaries for both of them.

> It's just a worn-out joke at the level of a vague idea of mixing 
> different languages arbitrarily.

Macaronic composition, which does exactly that, has a long and
distinguished tradition going back to the Middle Ages.  Europanto
is just the latest outcrop of this perennial idea.
You can call it worn-out if you want, but the decisions of this
list ought not to depend on what sense of humor people have.

This isn't Europanto, but it's relevant:


By the side of a murmuring stream       Prope ripam fluvii solus
an elderly gentleman sat.               A senex silently sat;
On the top of his head was a wig,       Super capitum ecce his wig,
and a-top of his wig was his hat.       Et wig super, ecce his hat.

The wind it blew high and blew strong,  Blew Zephyrus alte, acerbus,
as the elderly gentleman sat;           Dum elderly gentleman sat;
And bore from his head in a trice,      Et a capite took up quite torve
and plunged in the river his hat.       Et in rivum projecit his hat.

The gentleman then took his cane        Tunc soft maledixit the old man,
which lay by his side as he sat;        Tunc stooped from the bank where he sat
And he dropped in the river his wig,    Et cum scipio poked in the water,
in attempting to get out his hat.       Conatus servare his hat.

His breast it grew cold with despair,   Blew Zephyrus alte, acerbus,
and full in his eye madness sat;        The moment it saw him at that;
So he flung in the river his cane       Et whisked his novum scratch wig
to swim with his wig, and his hat.      In flumen, along with his hat.

Cool reflection at last came across     Ab imo pectore damnavit
while this elderly gentleman sat;       In coeruleus eye dolor sat;
So he thought he would follow the stream Tunc despairingly threw in his cane
and look for his cane, wig, and hat.    Nare cum his wig and his hat.

His head being thicker than common,     Contra bonos mores, don't swear
o'er-balanced the rest of his fat;      It 'est wicked you know (verbum sat),
And in plumped this son of a woman      Si this tale habet no other moral
to follow his wig, cane, and hat.       Mehercle! You're gratus to that!

    --George Canning                        --James Appleton Morgan

John Cowan <cowan at ccil.org>             http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
It's like if you meet an really old, really rich guy covered in liver
spots and breathing with an oxygen tank, and you say, "I want to be
rich, too, so I'm going to start walking with a cane and I'm going to
act crotchety and I'm going to get liver disease. --Wil Shipley

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