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Word order in the diachrony of Esperanto: A corpus-based study of noun-adjective collocation

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Talk given in the meeting at the University of Amsterdam of the international network on The Structure, Emergence and Evolution of Pidgin and Creole Languages (SEEPiCLa), Monday the 14th of December, 2015.

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Word order in the diachrony of Esperanto: A corpus-based study of noun-adjective collocation

  1. 1. Word order in the diachrony of Esperanto A corpus-based study of noun-adjective collocation Federico Gobbo F.Gobbo@uva.nl SEEPiCLa meeting, University of Amsterdam, 14 december 2015 1 of 62
  2. 2. A caveat. . . Konstruata esplorado
  3. 3. Introduction: what is Esperanto? 3 of 62
  4. 4. The priority of orality in natural languages [although] no human society [has been] known to exist or to have existed at any time in the past without capacity of speech [. . . ] the vast majority of societies have, until recently, been either totally or very largely illiterate. Lyons (1981:12-13) This universal property of natural languages has two exceptions: sign languages and planned languages. 4 of 62
  5. 5. What is a planned language? Languages can be planned from scratch if someone decided to do so, writing the (normative) grammar, setting up the (basic) lexicon and giving some texts in the language. You can always identify double articulation (phonetic space + morphosyntactic level) in a planned language – they are languages for human beings. Often the language planner acts alone, rarely in committees or groups – but always with a clear leader, that is called the language planner. 5 of 62
  6. 6. For planned languages orality is a challenge .. graphisation . natural languages . orality . planned languages Few planned languages are used orally by a community of practice 6 of 62
  7. 7. Community of practice: a sociolinguistic definition The value of the notion ‘communities of practice’ to Sociolinguistics and Linguistic Anthropology lies in the fact that it identifies a social grouping not in virtue of shared abstract characteristics (e.g. class, gender) or simple co-presence (e.g. neighborhood, workplace), but in virtue of shared practice. In the course of regular joint activity, a community of practice develops ways of doing things, views, values, power relations, ways of talking. And the participants engage with these practices in virtue of their place in the community of practice, and of the place of the community of practice in the larger social order. Penelope Eckert (2006) 7 of 62
  8. 8. Why planning languages from scratch? Languages can be planned for different purposes. The language can be secret (esoteric) if the grammar is known only by initiates; otherwise it is public (exoteric). Languages planned with a public in mind can be: 1. auxiliary, if their purpose is to facilitate the communication among people from different nations; 2. non-auxiliary, when languages are planned for other purposes, often for art, literature, especially fiction. 8 of 62
  9. 9. .. aux . non-aux . pub.secr . Esperanto . Latino sine Flexione . Ido . Basic English . Novial . Volap¨uk (19th c.) . Interlingua . etc. . International Auxiliary Languages . Dothraki . Klingon . Tolkien (21st c.) . Volap¨uk (20th c. . Na’vi . etc. . Hollywood languages . Tolkien’s (20th) . Bˆal-A I-Balan . Tokipona . Europanto
  10. 10. Finally, what is Esperanto (ans what is not)? ■ pars construens: 10 of 62
  11. 11. Finally, what is Esperanto (ans what is not)? ■ pars construens: ■ Esperanto is a planned language; 10 of 62
  12. 12. Finally, what is Esperanto (ans what is not)? ■ pars construens: ■ Esperanto is a planned language; ■ Esperanto is an International Auxiliary Language; 10 of 62
  13. 13. Finally, what is Esperanto (ans what is not)? ■ pars construens: ■ Esperanto is a planned language; ■ Esperanto is an International Auxiliary Language; ■ Esperanto is used by a community of practice, orally; 10 of 62
  14. 14. Finally, what is Esperanto (ans what is not)? ■ pars construens: ■ Esperanto is a planned language; ■ Esperanto is an International Auxiliary Language; ■ Esperanto is used by a community of practice, orally; ■ pars destruens: 10 of 62
  15. 15. Finally, what is Esperanto (ans what is not)? ■ pars construens: ■ Esperanto is a planned language; ■ Esperanto is an International Auxiliary Language; ■ Esperanto is used by a community of practice, orally; ■ pars destruens: ■ Esperanto is not artificial (in the sense first-order logic and other formal languages); 10 of 62
  16. 16. Finally, what is Esperanto (ans what is not)? ■ pars construens: ■ Esperanto is a planned language; ■ Esperanto is an International Auxiliary Language; ■ Esperanto is used by a community of practice, orally; ■ pars destruens: ■ Esperanto is not artificial (in the sense first-order logic and other formal languages); ■ Esperanto is not artificial (in the sense of computer programming languages). 10 of 62
  17. 17. Finally, what is Esperanto (ans what is not)? ■ pars construens: ■ Esperanto is a planned language; ■ Esperanto is an International Auxiliary Language; ■ Esperanto is used by a community of practice, orally; ■ pars destruens: ■ Esperanto is not artificial (in the sense first-order logic and other formal languages); ■ Esperanto is not artificial (in the sense of computer programming languages). ■ Esperanto is neither a pidgin nor a creole. 10 of 62
  18. 18. Finally, what is Esperanto (ans what is not)? ■ pars construens: ■ Esperanto is a planned language; ■ Esperanto is an International Auxiliary Language; ■ Esperanto is used by a community of practice, orally; ■ pars destruens: ■ Esperanto is not artificial (in the sense first-order logic and other formal languages); ■ Esperanto is not artificial (in the sense of computer programming languages). ■ Esperanto is neither a pidgin nor a creole. 10 of 62
  19. 19. Finally, what is Esperanto (ans what is not)? ■ pars construens: ■ Esperanto is a planned language; ■ Esperanto is an International Auxiliary Language; ■ Esperanto is used by a community of practice, orally; ■ pars destruens: ■ Esperanto is not artificial (in the sense first-order logic and other formal languages); ■ Esperanto is not artificial (in the sense of computer programming languages). ■ Esperanto is neither a pidgin nor a creole. That said, why Esperanto is interesting for SEEPiCLA? 10 of 62
  20. 20. Esperanto as a contact language 11 of 62
  21. 21. Esperanto is very regular on a morphological level Colour codes adopted here for the examples: 1. substantives (NP heads) are in blue; 2. adjectives, determiners, numerals (any NP tail) are in cyan; 3. verbs and predications (VP heads) are in red; 4. adverbs and the like (MAdv, V tails) are in orange; 5. affixes (prefixes and suffixes) are in gray; 6. accusative marker (ending in -n) is in green; 7. lexemes are left in black.
  22. 22. La viro salutas nin c⃝2014 Stanislavo Belov. Foto de si mem en Fejsbuko
  23. 23. Possible descriptions of the photo ■ La viro salutas la publikon. ■ La viro salutas vin . ■ La viro salutas vin afable. ■ La viro salutas vin per ⟨ desegno ⟩ . ■ La viro salutas vin per ⟨ desegno sur ⟨ la nigra tabulo ⟩⟩ . ■ La viro apogas la manon sur ⟨ la muro ⟩ . 14 of 62
  24. 24. Verbs have 6 possible endings. No exceptions 1. -as for present tense; 2. -is for past tense; 3. -os for future tense; 4. -us for conditional; 5. -u for imperative; 6. -i for infinitive. 15 of 62
  25. 25. Esperanto and its level of freedom in the word order ....La ..viro ..salutas ..vin ..afable ..the ..man ..greets ..you ..kindly . root . det . subj . dobj . advmod ....La ..viro ..afable ..salutas ..vin ..the ..man ..kindly ..greets ..you . root . det . subj . dobj . advmod
  26. 26. Just one morphological rule for nouns and adjectives Example Esperanto Italian English granda elefanto un grande elefante a big elephant malgranda elefanto un piccolo elefante a small elephant rapida ˆcevalo un cavallo veloce a fast horse malrapidaj ˆcevaloj dei cavalli lenti slow horses Adjectives end in -a, -aj, -ajn according to number a case, in agreement with nouns – respectively, -o, -on, -oj, -ojn. There is no explicit normative rule for noun-adjective collocation. 17 of 62
  27. 27. Compounds always follow the Germanic model
  28. 28. Diachrony of Esperanto in brief 19 of 62
  29. 29. Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof, the language planner Born in Bialystok, 1859, a town now in Poland – then under the Tsar – Zamenhof was a Jew (Litvak Ashkenazi), bilingual Yiddish (with his mother) and Russian (with his father). He had a twofold dream in his life: to set an ethnic-free bridge across the nations, beyond any kind of wall, through a neutral religion (Hillelism) and a neutral language (Esperanto). 20 of 62
  30. 30. The cover of the first book of Esperanto, 1887
  31. 31. The first sentence in Esperanto ever (Zamenhof 1887)
  32. 32. The first example has a marked word order! ....[main phrase] ..ˆcu ..vi ..ˆgin ..ne ..vidis ..□? .. ..Polar-Q ..you ..it ..not ..saw ..it . movement . root . question . (. . . ) . subj . dobj . advmod Zamenhof did not give clear cues for the word order in Esperanto. 23 of 62
  33. 33. French Esperantists come into the arena Source: Garv´ıa (2015:78)
  34. 34. Universala Kongreso, 1905 Esperantists from various countries met in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France 25 of 62
  35. 35. La bela sonˆgo de l’ homaro. . .
  36. 36. . . . ends with the Great War (1914-1918) c⃝ 1915 Louis Raemaekers satirieke kaart van Europa, Het gekkenhuis (oud liedje, nieuwe wijs)
  37. 37. Esperanto should reinvent itself after the Great War According to the demographic analysis by Roberto Garv´ıa (2015:100) summarizing the work by the pioneer Tanquist (1927), these are the main motivation in learning Esperanto (US, UK, Germany-Austria):
  38. 38. ‘Vestaˆȷoj malnovaj’, from: The Great Dictator, 1940 CC⃝ 2014 Vikimedio vestaˆȷoj malnovaj means ‘second-hand cloths’
  39. 39. The dangerous language: Hitler and Stalin against Esperanto c⃝ 2014 Dan Mazur. Esperantists After the end of the Second World War, Esperanto was forced to change his strategy so to propose
  40. 40. Since the 1950s, Esperanto is part of the linguistic rights ■ Unesco in 1954 (Montevideo, Uruguay) recognizes that the results attained by Esperanto correspond with the aims and ideals of Unesco ■ Unesco in 1985 (Sofia, Bulgary) “Invites the Member States to mark the centenary of Esperanto by suitable arrangements, declarations, issuing of special postal stamps, etc., and to promote the introduction of a study programme on the language problem and Esperanto in their schools and higher educational institutions”
  41. 41. The map of the future: TEJO Member Associations TEJO is the umbrella association of the young Esperantists
  42. 42. Major periods of the Esperanto language ■ Planning phase: 1978-1887: Zamenhof prepares the language; ■ Pioneers’ phase: 1887-1905: most Esperantists come from Russia; ■ French phase: 1905-1920: Geneva and Paris become the centres of innovation ■ European phase: 1921-1939: Esperanto mainly used between the East and the West sides of the continent; ■ Polycentric phase: 1945-1993: Esperanto gets the attention of the UN and Unesco, with many centres of innovation across the world. ■ Digital phase: 1993-now: after the fall of USSR and the spread of the World Wide Web, the Esperanto Movement is forced to renovate itself again. 33 of 62
  43. 43. The corpus-based study of noun-adjective collocation: preliminary observations 34 of 62
  44. 44. How diachrony affects the Esperanto word order? ■ Fact: from my participant observation (since 1997), noun-adj collocation is considered archaic or even wrong in contemporary Esperanto; ■ Hypothesis: the ‘superlect’ of Esperanto changes across time, and this partially affects the word order; 1. first, there was Russian (until 1905); 2. then, French (until 1945); 3. in the aftermath of the Second Word War, English. 35 of 62
  45. 45. Participant observation: pioneer’s collocation. . . La Espero Sur ⟨ ne˘utrala lingva fundamento ⟩ komprenante unu la alian, la popoloj faros en konsento unu ⟨ grandan rondon familian ⟩ Zamenhof (1891) On a neutral language basis, understanding one another, the people will make in agreement one great family circle. 36 of 62
  46. 46. . . . and the contemporary collocation Samideano samideano, ˆcu vi atendas ˆgis la ⟨ fina venko? ⟩ samideano, ni ˆciuj sidas sur ⟨ la sama benko ⟩ samideano, ˆcu vi laboras por ⟨ pli bona mondo? ⟩ , oh jes samideano, kion signifas ⟨ ‘familia rondo’? ⟩ Eterna Rima (2011) samideano, are you waiting for the final victory? samideano, we all sit on the same bank, samideano, are you working for a better world? samideano, what does ‘familia rondo’ mean? 37 of 62
  47. 47. Methodology of the study (currently undergoing) ■ The corpus-based analysis of frequent expressions in the common Esperanto discourse aims to test the hypothesis. The two tools used for the study are: 1. The digital online corpus http://www.tekstaro.com/ by Bertilo Wennergren; XML-encoding (TEI initiative), 4,675,412 words (Feb 2009; in particular Zamenhof’s texts can be selected as a distinct sub-corpus; 2. Frequency Dictionary Esperanto by Sabine Fiedler et al. (2014) at the University of Leipzig; it gives the most frequent words in real-world Esperanto discourse, so to choose meaningful noun-adj. 250,000 entries. ■ Nota Bene: my results are very preliminary! 38 of 62
  48. 48. Pilot study: ‘Esperanto’, ‘internacia’, ‘lingvo’ According to the Frequency Dictionary Esperanto: ■ Esperanto (67) is the most frequent noun; ■ internacia ‘international’ (277) is used together with lingvo with a symbolic significance (personal observation); ■ lingvo (92) is of course one of the most used words – with the other forms: lingvoj (195), lingvon (253), lingvojn (887), not to mention compounds like planlingvo (8298) 39 of 62
  49. 49. Zamenhof’s use of ‘international language’ 1/3
  50. 50. Zamenhof’s use of ‘international language’ 2/3
  51. 51. Zamenhof’s use of ‘international language’ 3/3 Note that there are only 4 entries with the adj-noun word order – zero entries for internaciaj lingvoj, internacian lingvon, internaciajn lingvojn.
  52. 52. Early use of ‘language’ with adjectives ■ Pioneers Vojaˆgimpresoj [Trip impressions, 1895] is a notebook published after a trip of two students of the University of Uppsala (Sweden) across Europe, members of the Upsala Klubo Esperantista. ■ (Early) French period selection of texts just after 1905 and before the Great War, the moment of enthusiasm – and fundings for publication. ■ European phase: □ use in Vivo de Zamenhof [Life of Zamenhof, 1920] by Edmond Privat, eminent figure of the Swiss Movement in Geneva. □ use in Zamenhof [1929] by Ernest Drezen, Soviet Esperantist, eminent interlinguist and Esperantologist. □ use in Vortoj de Kamarado E. Lanti [Words of Comrade E. Lanti, 1920-1929], the founder of the anationalist Esperanto Movement.
  53. 53. ‘language’ with adjectives in the French period 1/2
  54. 54. ‘language’ with adjectives in the French period 2/2
  55. 55. Use by Edmond Privat 1/2
  56. 56. Use by Edmond Privat 2/2
  57. 57. Use by Ernest Drezen 1/2
  58. 58. Use by Ernest Drezen 2/2
  59. 59. Use by E˘ugeno Lanti 1/2
  60. 60. Use by E˘ugeno Lanti 2/2
  61. 61. Modern use of ‘language’ with adjectives ■ Polycentric phase: □ use in Azia strategio [Asian strategy, 1963] by Victor Sadler, British esperantist living in the Netherlands, who played an important role in the international movement. □ use for literature (mainly short stories and poems) by Hungarian authors Kalocsay, Szil´agyi and Szathm´ari in the 1950-60s □ use in Tokio invitas vin [Tokio invites you, 1963] by Yagi, Japanese Esperantist □ use in Por pli efika informado [For a more effective information, 1974], by Ivo Lapenna, the most influent Esperantist in the 1950-1970s. ■ Digital phase: □ use in the articles of the monthly magazine Monato [Month], in the years 1997-2003 – 578,826 words.
  62. 62. ‘language’ used by Victor Sadler
  63. 63. How it is used by Hungarian authors
  64. 64. How it is used by a Japanese author
  65. 65. The use of ‘language’ by Ivo Lapenna 1/2
  66. 66. The use of ‘language’ by Ivo Lapenna 2/2
  67. 67. The use of ‘language’ in Monato 1/2
  68. 68. The use of ‘language’ in Monato 2/2
  69. 69. A lot of work still to be done. . . ■ There are almost no studies on the diachrony of Esperanto. Still to be explored. ■ In Russian ‘international language’ is mezhdunarodnyy yazyk, like English, but Zamenhof followed mainly the model of French (langue internationale). ■ Even if Zamenhof was naturally considered the first stylistic model of Esperanto, in truth his style – at least in the adj-noun collocation – was not followed by the Esperanto authors, even his contemporaries. ■ The expression lingvo internacia remains a pseudo-idiomatic form, referring to Zamenhof himself by other authors. 60 of 62
  70. 70. A “natural” equilibrium in the system? Corpus-based data do not corroborate fully the hypothesis. Perhaps the structure of Esperanto leads towards the adj-noun structure “naturally”, having seen that: 1. the compounds are borrowed from the Germanic Sprachbund (remember terpomo) 2. the pronominal system also tends to a similar form: nia lingvo is ‘our language’, while lingvo nia is ‘one of our languages’ – marked form, pertaining the prestigious, high register of the language use. 61 of 62
  71. 71. Thanks for your attention! Dankon por via atento! Questions? Comments? If not now, send afterwards to: ⟨F.Gobbo@uva.nl⟩ Download and share this presentation from here: http://federicogobbo.name/pub/ CC⃝ BY:⃝ $⃝ C ⃝ Federico Gobbo 2015 62 of 62

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