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I have been trying to minimize contact with my own blogs, due to the huge amount of projects that I had – online as well as offline -, and the time-wasting nature of the dozen blogs I installed back in 2006-2009. They were (like this one) little more than dialectic in nature, with no particular aim.

Right now I am tired of developing new ideas without publicizing them. I think I have information on some fields where other people might be interested in, and projects whose development could be interesting to share.

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A simple FAQ about the “advantages” of Esperanto and other conlang religions: “easy”, “neutral” and “number of speakers”

This is, as requested by a reader of the Association’s website, a concise FAQ about Esperanto’s supposed advantages:

Note: Information and questions are being added to the FAQ thanks to the comments made by visitors.

1. Esperanto has an existing community of speakers, it is used in daily life, it has native speakers…

Sorry, I don’t know any native speaker of Esperanto, that has Esperanto as mother tongue – Only this Wikipedia article and the Ethnologue “estimations” without references apart from the UEA website. In fact, the only people that are said to be “native Esperanto speakers” are those 4 or 5 famous people who assert they were educated in Esperanto as second language by their parents. Is it enough to assert “I was taught Volapük as mother tongue by my parents” or “I taught my children Esperanto as mother tongue” to believe it, and report “native speaker” numbers? Do, in any case, those dozens of (in this Esperantist sense) native speakers of Klingon or Quenya that have been reported in the press represent something more than a bad joke of their parents?

Furthermore, there is no single community of speakers that use Esperanto in daily life, I just know some yearly so-called World Congresses where Esperantists use some Esperanto words with each other, just like Trekkies use Klingon words in their Congresses, or LOTR fans use Quenya words. Figures about ‘Esperanto speakers’ – and speakers of Interlingua, Ido, Lingua Franca Nova, Lojban or any other conlang – are unproven (there is no independent, trustworthy research) and numbers are usually given by their supporters using rough and simple numbers and estimations, when not completely invented. Studies have been prepared, explained, financed and directed by national or international associations like the “Universala Esperanto-Asocio”, sometimes through some of its members from different universities, which doesn’t turn those informal studies into “University research”. The answer is not: “let’s learn creationism until evolution is proven”, but the other way round, because the burden of proof is on the least explained reason: If you want people to learn a one-man-made code to substitute their natural languages, then first bring the research and then talk about its proven advantages. Esperantists and other conlangers make the opposite, just like proposers of “altenative” medicines, “alternative” history or “alternative” science, and therefore any outputs are corrupted since its start by their false expectatives, facts being blurred, figures overestimated and findings biased in the best case.

2. But people use it in Skype, Firefox, Facebook,… and there are a lot of Google hits for “Esperanto”. And the Wikipedia in Esperanto has a lot of articles!

So what? The Internet is not the real world. If you look for “herbal medicine”, “creationism” or “penis enlargement”, you’ll find a thousand times more information and websites (“Google hits”) than when looking for serious knowledge, say “surgery”. Likewise, you can find more websites in Esperanto than in Modern Hebrew, but Hebrew has already a strong community of (at least) some millions of third-generation native speakers who use Hebrew in daily life, while Esperanto – which had the broadest potential community – has just some hundreds of fans who play with new technologies, having begun both language projects at the same time back in the 19th century.

Also, is the Wikipedia not a language-popularity contest? A competition between conlangers, like Volapükist vs. Esperantists, Ido-ists against Interlingua-ists, Latinists against Anglo-Saxonists, etc. to see which “community” is able to sleep less and do nothing else than “translate” articles to their most spoken “languages”? How many articles have been written in Esperanto or Volapük, or in Anglo-Saxon or Latin, and how many of them have been consulted thereafter, and by how many people? In fact, Volapük wins now in number of articles, so we should all speak Volapük? No, Esperanto is better than Volapük, of course, because of bla bla…
I guess everyone wins here: Wikipedia has more visitors, more people involved and ready to donate, while those language fans have something more to say when discussing the advantages: hey, we have X million articles in the almighty Wikipedia, while your language has less! Esperanto/Volapük/Ido/… is so cool, we have so many “speakers”! Then, congratulations to all of you Wikipedian conlangers; but, if I were you, I wouldn’t think the real world revolves around the Wikipedia, Google or any other (past or future) website popularity.

3. Esperanto is far easier than what you are suggesting. I am fluent in Esperanto, and I only studied 3 hours! And so did my Esperantist friends!

Do you mean something like saying “me spikas lo esperanto linguo” – with that horrible native accent that only your countrymen understand – and then being able to tell anyone “I speak Esperanto fluently after 3 hours of study”? And then speak about two or three sentences made up of a mix of European words more once a year with your Esperantist friends in an international “Congress”, and then switch to English or to your mother tongue to really explain what you wanted to say? Well then yes, to say “I speak Esperanto fluently” or “I learned Esperanto in 2 days” is really really easy – hey, I’ve just discovered I am a fluent speaker of Esperanto, too! Esperanto is so cool…
But, talking about easiness…Have you conlangers noticed it’s “easy” just for (some) Western Europeans, because those “languages” you are using are made of a mix of the most common and simplest vocabulary of some Western European languages, whereas other speakers think it is as difficult as any Western European language? Do you really really think it is easier than English for a Chinese speaker? I guess good old Mr. Zamenhof didn’t realize that English, French, Latin, Italian, German and Polish wouldn’t be the only international languages today as it was back then in the 19th century, when European countries made up almost the whole international community…
Furthermore, do you really really think that supposed ease of use, which is actually because of the lack of elaborated grammatical and syntactical structures, hasn’t got a compensation in culture, communication and even reasoning?

4. But I’ve been told that Esperanto is successful because it has a (mostly) European vocabulary that makes it easy for Europeans, an agglutinative structure that makes it especially fit for Africans and Asians, and some other features that make it better than every other language for everyone…
I won’t be extending into linguistic details, because those assertions are obviously completely arbitrary and untrustworthy. Not only Esperantism has failed to prove such claims, but also some people have dedicated extensive linguistic studies and thoughts to see if that was right – Esperantism has obtained independent criticism by insiders and outsiders alike, and still they claim the same falsenesses again and again. You have e.g. the thorough article “Learn not to speak Esperanto” which, from a conlanger’s point of view, discusses every supposed advantage of this Polish ophthalmologist’s conlang. Also, it is interesting that some researchers have noted the condition of Esperanto for most speakers as an anti-language, as they use the same grammar and words as the main speech community, but in a different way so that they can only be understood by “insiders”. That can indeed be the key to the perceived advantages of Esperanto by Esperantists of different generations and places, just like anti-social people like slang words to communicate with members of their community and to hide from outsiders, and it is especially interesting in light of the condition of Esperantism as an anti-social movement more than a promotion of a language, representing Esperanto with flags, slogans (“democracy”, “rights”, “freedom”,…), international consultative organizations and congresses…

5. You talk about real cultural neutrality for the European Union; but, since there are several non Indo-European languages inside the EU, Proto-Indo-European does not solve that issue either.

In fact, the European Union is made up of a great majority of Indo-European speakers (more than 97% falling short), and the rest – i.e. Hungarians, Finnish, Maltese, Basque speakers – have a great knowledge (and speaking tradition) of other IE languages of Europe, viz. Latin, French, English, Swedish, Spanish. So, we are proposing to adopt a natural language common to the GREAT majority of the European Union citizens (just like Latin is common to the vast majority of Romance-speaking countries), instead of the current official situation(s) of the EU, like English, or English+French, or English+French+German… To say that Indo-European is not neutral as the European Union’s language, because not all languages spoken in the EU are Indo-European, is a weak argument; to say exactly that, and then to propose English, or English+French, or even a two-day-of-work invention (a vocabulary mix of 4 Western European languages) by a Polish ophthalmologist, that’s a big fallacy.

6. So why are you proposing Indo-European? Why do you bother?

Because we want to. Because we like Europe’s Indo-European and the other Proto-Indo-European dialects, just like people who want to study and speak Latin, Greek, or Sanskrit do it. Have you noticed the difference in culture, tradition, history, vocabulary, etc. between what you are suggesting (artificial one-man-made inventions) and real world historical languages? Hint: that’s why many universities offer courses in or about Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, Proto-Indo-European, etc. while Esperanto is still (after more than a century) another conlanging experiment for those who want to travel abroad once a year to meet other conlang fans.
We propose it because we believe this language could be one practical answer (maybe the only real one) for the communication problems that a unified European Union poses. Because we don’t believe that any “Toki Pona” language invented by one enlightened individual can solve any communication or cultural problem at all in the real world. Because historical, natural languages like Hebrew, or Cornish, or Manx, or Basque, are interesting and valuable for people; whereas “languages” like Esperanto, Interlingua, Ido, Lojban or Klingon aren’t. You cannot change how people think, but you can learn from their interests and customs and behave accordingly: if, knowing how people reacted to Esperanto and Hebrew revival proposals after a century, you decide to keep trying to change people (so that they accept inventions) instead of changing your ideas (so that you accept natural languages), maybe you lack the necessary adaptation, a common essential resource in natural selection, appliable to psychology too.

7. Why don’t you explain this when talking about Proto-Indo-European advantages in the Dnghu Association’s website?

Because if you make a website about science, and you include a reference like: “Why you shouldn’t believe in Islamic creationism?” you are in fact saying Islamic creationism is so important that you have to mention it when talking about science… It’s like creating a website about Internal Medicine, and trying to answer in your FAQ why Homeopathy is not the answer for your problems: it’s just not worth it, if you want to keep a serious appearance. We are not the anti-Esperanto league or something, but the Indo-European Language Association.
Apart from this, proto-languages are indeed difficult to promote as ‘real’ languages, because there is no inscription of them, so they remain ‘hypothetical’, however well they might be reconstructed, like Europe’s Indo-European, or Proto-Germanic – see Five lines of ancient script on a shard of pottery could be the longest proto-Canaanite text for a curious example of a proto-language becoming a natural dead one. For many people, Proto-Basque (for example) seems exactly as hypothetical as Proto-Indo-European, when it indeed isn’t. If we also mixed Esperanto within a serious explanation of our project as a real alternative, that would be another reason for readers to dismiss the project as “another conlanging joke”. No, thanks.

8. Esperanto has its advantages and disadvantages. You just don’t talk from an objective (or “neutral”) point of view: most linguists (of any opinion) are – like Esperantists – biased, so there is no single truth, but opinions.

Yes, indeed. Many Esperantists, as any supporter of pseudosciences, conclude that people might be for or against their theory, and that therefore both positions are equally valid and should be taken with a grain of salt. For this question, I think it’s interesting, for those who think in terms of “equal validity” of their minority views when confronted to what is generally accepted, to take a quick look at Wikipedia’s Neutral Poin of View – equal validity statement, because they’ve had a lot of problems with that issue. To sum up, it says that if you talk about biology, you cannot consequently demand that evolution and creationism be placed as equally valid theories, only because some people (are willing to) assume they are; if you talk about the holocaust, or medicine, you don’t place revisionism or alternative medicines as equally valid theories or sciences: there are academic and scientific criteria that help classify knowledge into scientific and pseudoscientific. Most (if not all) Esperantist claims are at best pseudoscientific, and when they claim real advantages of their conlang, those are just as well (often better) applied to other conlangs or even to any language.

9. Then why do the “Universala Esperanto-Asocio” enjoys consultave relations with both UNESCO and the United Nations? Why is Esperantism described as “democracy”, “education”, “rights”, “emancipation”,… Why do still Esperantists support Esperanto, when it hasn’t got any advantages at all, and they know it?
The only conclusion possible is that Esperantism (and some other fanatic conlangism) is actually a religion, because it’s based on faith alone: faith on believed “easiness”, on believed “neutrality”, on believed “number of speakers”, without any facts, numbers or studies to support it; on the belief that languages can be “better” and “worse” than others. And it’s obviously nonsense to discuss faith and beliefs, as useless as a discussion about Buddha, Muhammad or Jesus. But, trying to disguise those beliefs as facts helps nobody, not even Esperantism, as it can only attract those very people that see creationism and alternative medicines as real alternatives to raw scientifical knowledge. Esperanto is the god, Zamenhof the messiah and the UEA its church.

How many words do we use in daily speech? A new study from the Royal Spanish Academy on language acquisition

According to the members of the Royal Spanish Academy (the Real Academia Española), humanities have experienced a decrease in importance for younger generations, English is becoming predominant, language in general is poorer in the Media and in all public speeches, classical languages disappear, people play less attention to reading, and computer terms are invading everything.

All involved in the research agree that language cannot be confined to any artificial limits, that it is mutable, it evolves and changes. However, they warn: it can also get sick and degrade. The mean Spaniard uses generally no more than 1000 words, and only the most educated individuals reach 5000 common words. Some young people use only 240 words daily.

Linguists, paedagogues and psychologists say those who write correctly demonstrate they’ve had an adecuate education, they’ve read books and they’ve exercized their minds. Thanks to that mental exercise we can achieve more elevated stages of reasoning and culture. Those who cannot understand something as basic as his own natural language will not achieve a big progress in his intellectual life, they assure.

Now, regarding those numbers and the concept behind the output of that study: would you say learning mixed conlangs like Esperanto – whose supposed benefits are precisely the ease of use, by taking the most common and simplest European vocabulary – could improve that worsening situation? Or do you think it’s better for European culture‘s sake to learn the ancient language from which Old Latin, Gaulish, Old Norse or Old Slavonic derived? It is probably not the main reason to adopt Europe’s Indo-European as the official language of the European Union, but it is certainly another great reason to learn it without being compelled to…

Source: Terra; read in Menéame

Five lines of ancient script on a shard of pottery could be the longest proto-Canaanite text ever found, archaeologists say

According to the BBC News ‘Oldest Hebrew script’ is found:

The shard was found by a teenage volunteer during a dig about 20km (12 miles) south-west of Jerusalem. Experts at Hebrew University said dating showed it was written 3,000 years ago – about 1,000 years earlier than the Dead Sea Scrolls. Other scientists cautioned that further study was needed to understand it.

Preliminary investigations since the shard was found in July have deciphered some words, including judge, slave and king. The characters are written in Proto-Canaanite, a precursor of the Hebrew alphabet.

I found it interesting because of the implications that these findings might have on classifications of dead languages into more natural or artificial regarding the knowledge we have of them, especially about proto-languages like Proto-Canaanite (or Europe’s Indo-European), which can easily move from category 9 (‘hypothetical language’) to category 8 or even 7 (‘dead language’).

As we have said before, this implies that, despite the efforts of some conlangers to make their newly created conlangs (look) the same as proto-languages like PIE – in the sense of ‘artificiality’, they obviously aren’t.

About the Extremaduran Wikipedia and possible Copyleft violations – La “Güiquipeya” en “estremeñu” y la falta de la más mínima etiqueta

I’m studying right now, so I’ll make the shortest comment possible, trying not to waste more time on this question. The story is more or less as follows:

1898José María Gabriel y Galán publishes his first work in Extremaduran, an Astur-Leonese dialect, a text called El Cristu Benditu, “The Blessed Christ”, written with a Spanish-like orthography. To simplify the orthographical proposals of Gabriel y Galán, we can say he wrote words like “jadel”, “zarzas”, “casas”, “arrejuntal”, “vientus”, “rosas”, “bajal”, “cabus” o “abogáu”. This is the style preferred by some regional poets, like Antonio Garrido Correas and his “Little Prince” translation, “El Prencipinu”.

1995 – After some individual efforts to achieve a more phonetic writing – to clearly distinguish it from the formal Spanish pronunciation -, a Primera Gramática Ehtremeña, “First Extremaduran Grammar” is written by Pablo Gonzálvez, offering a simplified orthography for High Extremaduran. You could read the above terms as “hadel”, “zarzah”, “casah”, “arrehuntal”, “bientuh”, “rosah”, “bahal”, “cabuh”, “abogáu”. That non-Spanish writing was a symbol for Extremaduran regionalism in the 90’s, with some texts published following similar trends, like El Ebanheliu sigún San Huan, Saint John’s Gospel, or the Spanish Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

2004 – I made a compilation of words (a dictionary called Izionariu) and of grammatical knowledge, Gramática brevi, in Extremaduran, and published it online (first in iventia.com) and for free download in the spring of 2004. It was mostly a compilation of the work of Extremaduran researchers on phonetics, morphology and syntax of over 100 years, with some grammatical rules from Old Leonese, but I also made some innovative proposals regarding the orthography. Unlike the Spanish-like style of Gabriel y Galán’s writings, and the phonetic style of Pablo Gonzálvez, I proposed to take the traditional style of Hispanic romance languages, taking Old Spanish (and the modern Eastern Asturian h.) and Portuguese as examples. Therefore, words could be read in the spring 2004 as “h.azel”, “çarças”, “casas”, “arrehuntal”, “vientus”, “rossas”, “bahal”, “cab.us”, “abogáu”, and in the summer 2004 as “h.azel”, “çarças”, “casas”, “arrehuntal”, “vientus”, “rossas”, “bahal”, “cabus”, “avogáu”.

2005-2006 – I revised the grammar some more times, according to its place among the Eastern Astur-Leonese dialect (or Cantabrian-Extremaduran), in a dialectal division stated by Menéndez Pidal, and licensed it CC-by-nd-nc [I know it’s a restrictive license, but given that I often revised my proposals, and that none got enough supporters, I wanted people interested in making changes to contact me to propose new orthographical solutions united, as I clearly stated in the licensing]. It was written down in a Wiki from some time on, and revised only twice or thrice thereafter – i.e., there are only two major versions of that grammar, the first of late 2005 with an orthographical solution (where words are read “hazer”, “çarças”, “casas”, “arrehuntar”, “vientus”, “rossas”, “bahar”, “cabus”, “avogáu”) and the second of 2006 with a slightly different one (“jazer”, “çarças”, “casas”, “arrejuntar”, “vientus”, “rossas”, “bajar”, “cabus”, “avogáu”), both published in the CC-licensed Wiki, with no PDFs. Even after changing the database in september 2006, I wrote both different versions, and they can be looked at using the MediaWiki edition “history” section.

To put it simple, the first revision is a whole improvement of the first version of the grammar, and was online from march-september 2006, while the second revision is just a change in the writing of aspirates, from –h– to the more traditioal –j-]. If you look around in the net, you can see a lot of people using this traditional way of writing in forums and websites alike, and there are probably some poems written this way, either in Extremaduran or Cantabrian; but, as in both revisions of the grammar, depending on their will to follow a “more Spanish” or a “more phonetic” approach, writers choose among “j” or “h” for the aspirates.

TO SUM UP: There were, then, still in 2007, only three major, serious proposals – all with its minimum variants, of course – to write in Extremaduran: the Spanish-like one, the phonetic one, and the traditional one introduced by me.

There have been some other marginal and limited proposals, regarding Cantabrian as well as Extremaduran – especially referring to aspirates, and especially since 2004 -, but none has got any support, as far as I know. Some propose to write every aspirate with “x”, as “xacer”, “baxar”, etc. or with the Western Asturian solution, as “h.acer”, “bah.ar”, etc. But they are all either confusing or incorrect, in light of the historical (cultural) and phonetical values attributed by the different potential readers to those letters.

2007 – Some people (3 officially, although apparently 4 or more users) made some discussions in Meta to create an Extremaduran Wikipedia, appealing to some sense of victimism and “offenses” in light of the lack of an own Wiki, instead of rationally questioning the sense of a free encyclopedia in a language nobody was ready to write with unity. Well before getting the project approved, the main administrator – nicknamed “pateraggelos”, even when writing the personal mails – contacted me, in the summer of 2007, to collaborate with the Incubator, but I rejected it because there were (then and still now) no unified, consensuated orthographical criteria to begin such a project; instead of accepting my proposals to call for a consensus before launching the Wikipedia officially, he said they would continue to work on it, each one with his preferred orthography.

I found an article where the 3 “musketeers” of that project are referenced here, with Carmona supposedly as the ‘maker’ of a newly “unified Extremaduran”, when in fact that is the name I gave to the first grammar. The three apparently participate in independentist forums, promoting themselves, their websites, “their” orthographic proposals, and dismissing others’ works

Immediately after the tough answer I received from the user responsible of the Extremaduran Language Incubator, Pateraggelos, telling me they didn’t need to have a common, consensuated orthography to begin that Wiki, I decided to contact Bèrto ‘d Sèra the person responsible of that Wikipedia proposal, a member of the Wikimedia Language Subcommittee, to express my concerns about the will of those 2 or 3 friends to write a language in a Wikipedia without an orthographic consensus. It was obvious that they would knew who I was, as it was the same day I received the mail from the user Pateraggelos, and that it was therefore my reaction to their “no-need-for-consensus-to-create-a-wiki” answer. I considered advising anonymously the responsible of the Wikimedia Language Subcommittee the fairest move possible, given my concerns of letting 2 or 3 friends create a Wikipedia common to all Extremaduran speakers; but, apparently, the 2 or 3 friends considered my comment something personal, and decided that they would have “one of them preparing an orthography”. Perfect, more innovations, I thought; another reason for that Wikipedia to fail in getting new users…After my comment to Bèrto ‘d Sèra, I just left those 2 guys alone discussing with the whole world to get “their” Wiki, and didn’t lose more time. I was then preparing the printed edition of the Modern Indo-European Grammar, and for me that was far more important then than 2 friends trying to be the “saviors” of Extremaduran’s pride…

SO, all that happened until August 2007 was more or less known to me. It was OK. That’s how people work with regional dialects, with individualism, and it’s good if they obtain more prestige and attention for our linguistic richness. I won’t go against them on that, even if I disagree with their views.

Because – apparently – of the intervention of a newly created user (who could have been any of them), called “Better” – a user that curiously enough later collaborated in the Extremaduran Wikipedia, too, while other newly created users before him disappeared -, they eventually got the Wikipedia approved for that Astur-Leonese dialect. It got a huge attention from the printed and online media, but – given that I wasn’t interested in a project of 2 or 3 selfish friends, even if called “Wikipedia” – I preferred not to read anything about it at the time, and concentrate on my career and other projects. Just had some fun with my friends, laughing at such a project being made by 3 guys trying to write a full Encyclopedia alone. I really believed they were going to retake Pablo Gonzalvez’ phonetic style, because some main articles had been written that way in the Incubator.

What wasn’t known to me until three days ago is that:

1) One of them, that supposed “guru” of the project, a certain Ismael Carmona, wrote an orthography, Ortugrafía, and a dictionary, Izionariu, and published it one year after my last revision of my grammar and more than 3 years after my last edition of my dictionary. It was, according to the introduction of those PDFs, on September 2007, approximately one month after my intervention in Bèrto ‘d Sèra’s user page, at the Incubator. Again, to simplify it, he “proposes a new orthography”, writing words like “hazel”, “çarças”, “casas”, “arrehuntal”, “vientus”, “rossas”, “avogáu”. Not only quite similar to mine; almost identical, but for two minor changes.

2) That both works were then based on my original proposals – the Extremaduran orthography of the first version of 2004, with the improvements of the first revision of the Cantabrian-Extremaduran grammar of 2005 and 2006; the dictionary obviously on my Izionariu; on my few innovative (personal, original) proposals, and on my compilation of grammatical features, but without giving me any credit at all, just one mention in the preface of the orthography, among Gabriel y Galán, Pablo Gonzálvez and some poets friends of him who have never proposed any serious alternative orthographical solution, as if he had just read all our works by chance – as if mine were just “another try”, completely different from his work. There is no direct plagiarism of my books: he just made a different work with my proposals, taking the essential bases and ideas I gave years earlier. Still it’s not that bad, just some selfish guy playing around, it’s OK; there are thousands like him with a personal blog, they appear and disappear from time to time.

3) That, instead of just writing “his” reference-lacking orthography and dictionary for the Public Domain in the Wikipedia – which would have been equally wrong, but still acceptable, because anyone could have linked back to me and my works -, he writes copyrighted PDFs to be linked to from everywhere (including the Wikipedia), and recreates himself in repeating in the preface that his work offers “new”, (original, then) solutions and proposals for orthography and grammar, that his is “the first proposal” – he emphasizes that “first” more than ten times, only in the introduction – of a common orthography for Extremaduran, etc., and promotes it everywhere as such. In fact, even the two links he had on his personal blogs to Dnghu.org and Iventia.com since 2005-2007 (i.e. any connection with me or my works) disappeared by that time, the summer of 2007 – I’d have to look at the Apache logs, but I guess all those links disappeared more or less when he published “his” works… But it’s still OK; just another guy reinventing the wheel and don’t giving any credit or reference at all.

I won’t link to his blog, but it’s called “cuyupaneharras” and “lasbegasbahas” at blogspot.com

4) And, what is the real bothering thing here, that the rest of them Extremaduran Wikipedians (the administrator and the 2 or 3 other users) knew all that – because a) mine was the only serious orthographical and grammatical traditional-style proposals available at the time, b) they had linked to my sites and works before, and c) they even CONTACTED me to participate in their Incubator thing. But instead – possibly because of my NO to participate in “their” Wikipedia and my comment to the member of the Wikimedia Language Subcommittee -, they dedicated themselves to covertly advertise and promote the work and proposals of their “guru” as ‘unique’, ‘first’, etc., and to promote each other personally, as well as their websites, writing individual articles about their lives and works, and linking to their personal blogs again and again, in what is in fact supposed to be a compendium of relevant encyclopedical knowledge, and which currently has some 300 ‘articles’…

Now, it’s not that I care too much about this socially accepted violation of licenses and minimum social rules: I am sure time puts people where they deserve, and there have been some hundreds of thousands of readers and prints of my PDFs and online work in the period of 2004-2008; also, such a Wikipedia is doomed to fail as a collaborative project, lacking consensus or any agreement apart from the 3 friends sharing an enthusiastic view on the character of “language” of a dialectal speech linguistically and historically almost identical to Cantabrian, and obviously part of a wider Astur-Leonese language or diasystem. However, it bothers me to see my own works and proposals reused and appropriated this way, for political or personal reasons – they seem to be regionalists, I am not -, and seeing people of my region collaborate to make such a dirty little – and obviously absurd – conspiracy. But it’s specially frightening to see how a solid trademark like Wikipedia can be used by 3 or 4 friends to play and make everything they want with it, including the violation of the very spirit of the Free Encyclopedia:

1) Why isn’t there anyone monitoring such tiny, regional Wikipedias? Why are they just “given” to some user/s, and left by the Foundation alone? So, because one man requested it a year ago, he is like the owner of that Wiki today? Only if I complain to the Wikimedia Foundation will they (re)act? I think they have a lot of money, paid workers and free helpers; me (and the rest of us authors) don’t: so they should do the job of revising their contents and the proper compliance of their own policies on copyright and copyleft, not me, or any other one. And if they can’t afford to supervise it, they just shouldn’t approve more Wikis lead by 2 or 3 users. What if I weren’t connected anymore to the Interent, if I were dead? What if I didn’t care anymore about my old website, about those works I did? Anyone could then use the name of Wikipedia to promote my work as his own, without having any control at all?

2) Also, apart from the Wikipedia question…What happens when there is no direct violation of copyright? I mean, there has been no plagiarism, as said, just an ecclectical work, based mainly on my proposals as written and published online, lacking any citation or reference at all, and with a clear attitude of deleting every possible reference to my works from everywhere, apart from that mention in the Preface – about that mention, I guess he felt obliged to cite me somehow, and preferred to blur my name with others that didn’t contribute to any ortographical proposal at all, instead of making a proper reference that could undermine his “being the first”. Is there an obligation under the Creative Commons license to make proper references? Because if those works had been traditionally (i.e. fully proprietary) printed works, I am sure any editor would have phoned that “guru” to revise his work and reference it accordingly, and even he himself would have never dared to hide his references. What else is needed for people to fear Copyleft just like they fear Copyright?

I’ve taken a look at possible Creative Commons registries for future works, because just writing your ideas in a Wiki and saying it’s licensed under X is obviously not enough to later claim ownership – unless you are backed by the Wikimedia Foundation, of course. If you are interested, here is the list of (apparently non-official) Registries for Creative Commons.

The question is: regarding Indo-European revival, for example, what if somebody takes every new proposal (or added value) made in our online or printed Grammar, and doesn’t cite the work at all, just says “after the proposals of Lehman, John Smith, Bla Blu and Carlos Quiles, I want now to firstly propose the first orthography of the use of a Modern Indo-European (the first to do it) as a modern language in Europe, and here are the first (first, first, first, first) innovative and original proposals made by me first” and copies those proposals from our book, like writing “q”, or the classification of noun or verb inflection… Can you imagine then the English Wikipedia promoting such a work, making dedicated articles about it’s author, his life and works, etc.? Neither do I; I can’t even understand yet why our tiny revival project has an encyclopedic article, but trust how that encyclopedic community arrange itself… So – for me – it’s just a problem of (certain) regional Wikipedias.

I don’t know. At least until all those copyleft questions are clear, I’ll rely for important works on traditionally copyrighted and printed books: obviously a grammar and a dictionary about Extremaduran weren’t (possibly aren’t) worth it, but probably in the future I will be tempted to publish some scientifical paper with free licenses, and I’ll probably not do it. Not yet.

Here is the angry mail (the third) I sent to this “Extremaduran Wikipedia guru”, in Spanish, just in case somebody wants to know more about the case, or to comment something – you can also read the first two mails here, to see how stupid I was when contacting him for the first time, and even for the second one. I’m obviously not sure about my (legal) right to be cited or referenced in this case, and – again – I don’t see direct plagiarism; but I criticize him fiercely though, because of the above data I have of him and his friends, about their efforts a) to promote my proposals as his own, and b) to hide any reference to me. One thing is not being able to legally enforce any correction on his behaviour, and other not having freedom to tell him directly that I know what he did…last summer.

3rd MAIL:

Hola de nuevo.

Empecé este mail para irte diciendo algunas opciones claramente erróneas de tu “ortugrafía” (como “pas-pazis”, “nues-nuezis”, etc., o “osté”, o “tuvió”, o “stati”, la vulgarización extrema de los términos, etc.), pero he acabado por cabrearme al ver una y otra vez las mismas sandeces y comprobar que no me engañaban los ojos al leerlas. Me parece curioso el “asombroso parecido” de las propuestas con las de mi gramática, de la estructura con un libro de ortografía de la RAE, y del izionariu con el mío, además de los párrafos introductorios donde te calificabas de ser “pionero” y demás: leerlo para creerlo.

Esta es la enésima decepción con el comportamiento de otro extremeñista. Parece mentira que con tanto buen extremeño suelto, no acabe de acercarse ninguno al tema lingüístico. Peor aún que en otros casos, pues en éste además he tenido la mala suerte de ilusionarme yo sólo, y crearme falsas ideas sobre una norma consensuada fuera de individualismos, por lo que además de decepcionado me siento estúpido. Suerte estar de exámenes para no pensar mucho más sobre este tema, y dejarlo zanjado ya con este mail.

Para poner en claro los tiempos, que revelan mi estupidez:

1. Anteayer navegué un poco por Internet en busca de nuevas cosillas sobre o en extremeño, por aquello del libro sobre el extremeño que prometí publicar. Me topé con tu blog, me dió pena ver que os dolían las críticas de los medios, y pensé en escribirte un mail de agradecimiento, en nombre de aquellos que nunca os agradecerán el esfuerzo hecho. De paso aproveché para criticar la forma de escribir en la “Güíquipeya” y comentarte algunas cosillas más.

2. Ayer, en otro descanso de mi estudio, encontré buscando en Google una referencia a mí en tu blog, donde calificabas mi gramática como “asturiano-arcaizante” (sin más detalles), y después me descargué y abrí por una página el PDF de tu “ortugrafía” de a saber qué web. De lo que leí (creo que era la página del uso de la “b”), me pareció muy correcta, y de ahí que te escribiera, ingenuo de mí, pensando que habíamos llegado a conclusiones simplemente ‘semejantes’. Con la idea de releerlo cuando tuviera tiempo, te escribí felicitándote y proponiéndote colaboración.

3. Hoy, por desgracia, he dedicado algo de tiempo a revisarla, después del “aviso”, pero aún con la idea de ver si podíamos ir buscando puntos de acuerdo y de desacuerdo desde ya, para irlos discutiendo. Y después de leerlo algo más detenidamente (varias veces la introducción), sinceramente me ha dado un tufo enorme a A) simple copia barata y – lo que es mucho peor – b) vanidad y falta de dignidad. Para que quede más o menos claro el asunto, he aquí la cronología de mi trabajo, omitiendo lo que no es sobre el extremeño:

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2003-2004 – me curro (casi de 0) la primera versión de la “gramática brevi” y el “izionariu”, que – a pesar de las horas y horas y horas (y horas y horas y horas…) de trabajo, recopilando todo lo escrito sobre el extremeño hasta entonces, artículos, trabajos de campo, manuales de filología, etc., – califico como simple “recopilación del trabajo de otros” (a los que por supuesto menciono), recopilación a la que obviamente pretendo aplicar mis ideas, para el uso y disfrute gratuito y libre del personal. Me gasto un dinero para que todos puedan leer mis trabajos online, descargárselos, imprimírselos, etc. De siempre me ha gustado la distribución libre y gratuita del conocimiento. Creo que es la base de la futura evolución del mismo.

2006 – publico la segunda versión de la gramática, ahora ya del leonés oriental o “cántabro-extremeño” (es decir, extremeño sin -l final, básicamente), aunque como la someto a revisión cuando me parece, no la paso a PDF ni le doy bombo: quiero seguir trabajando sobre ella, y que los demás también lo hagan si les parece. De nuevo uso licencias libres, CC-by-sa (como se establece claramente en FAQ: Derechos de Autor). No es pública la base de datos inicial de la Wiki, de principios de 2006 (aunque lógicamente la conservo como casi todo lo que hago), porque la lié modificando cosas, pero en la nueva base de datos de la Wiki, que instalé en septiembre de 2006, todavía usaba la solución ortográfica h/s, que luego cambié por j/s, como te dije, para contentar a algunos cántabros. Como sabrás, las Wikis son excelentes entre otras cosas porque se quedan grabados los cambios, así que aún se puede visitar la versión antigua de esa segunda versión, que supongo (por tus enlaces, cuyas entradas también conservo en los logs) leíste en su día: http://iventia.com/wiki/index.php?title=Puertal:Gram%C3%A1tica – sólo tienes que pinchar en “historial” para ver la versión que te digo; en realidad, esa segunda versión de la gramática brevi sólo tiene dos formatos, las dos grabadas en el historial de la Wiki, las dos de septiembre de 2006: una con “h/s” y la otra con “j/s”.

2007 – escribes una “ortugrafía” (y un “izionariu” aparentemente inventado de 0 por ti) donde me mencionas de pasada igual que a otros, como si lo que tomaras de mis propuestas fuera equiparable a las “propuestas” (¡¿cuáles?!) de Javier Feijóo, o Juan José Camisón, o siquiera cercano a la “Primera Gramática Ehtremeña”, donde Pablo Gonzálvez prácticamente se dedica a sustituir g/j/s del castellano por h y ya está; y no sólo equiparas nuestras “propuestas”, sino que a tenor del texto literal, parece como si fueran cosa de otro mundo y otro tiempo, como si no tuvieran nada que ver con lo que propones; y lo peor de todo, yo me lo creo sin más al leerlo en tu blog, que simplemente le has echado un vistazo a mi trabajo, pero que lo tuyo es una propuesta concienzuda, original y distinta.

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Ahora, sobre los dos aspectos que caracterizan esa “ortugrafía”, el “izionariu”, y que – me temo – atufa desde ya (para mí y cualquiera que conozca mi trabajo y esfuerzo) todas tus obras pasadas, presentes y futuras: Copia y Vanidad:

A) COPIA. No me malinterpretes, creo en la libre copia, modificación y redistribución. Pero también en el copyright y en las referencias. Libre copia no es libre plagio, ni libre copia es atribuirse el trabajo de otros. Aprovecharé lo que tú mismo afirmas que “propones” como “novedad” en tu “ortugrafía” para mostrarte los detalles que me irritan:

– Afirmas que escoges la opción “h/s”, porque “De esta suerte, la escritura no se plaga ni de j ni de h ni de g, dándole una legibilidad que nunca antes había alcanzado el texto extremeño”. ¿Nunca antes? ¿En serio? ¿Ni con mi gramática breve, que conoces a la perfección, como demuestran tus enlaces? No sé yo.

– Afirmas “se ha considerado prudente retomar, en este aspecto, la distinción medieval entre c-ç y z, tal como se conserva en portugués
o francés”. ¿”Se ha considerado”? ¿en serio? ¿Quién? Parece como si lo “hubieras considerado” tú. Si mal no recuerdo, fui yo también.

– Afirmas que “la sabia evolución de las lenguas nos ha demostrado que un cambio radical en la escritura según su pronunciación no resulta del todo apropiada, por lo que en esta Ortografía se tiene presente la evolución y etimología de las palabras (…) no se atenta contra el bagaje latino del extremeño”. Con lo que (parece) quieres enfrentarte a la grafía castellana, y propones un uso de b-v más a la portuguesa o catalana – es decir, más “arcaizante”, usando tus palabras sobre mis propuestas; de nuevo, como yo. Aunque omites la pronunciación de los dos pueblos cacereños, a saber por qué.

– Pero, eso que afirmas que es otra “innovación” de “tu” ortografía, a la hora de escribir la “g” latina no sigues esas mismas razones que das (“no atentar contra el bagaje latino”), y propones innovar todo lo posible, para eliminar la “g” (debe de ser muy difícil para los extremeños recordar qué palabras la llevan) y dejar una simple “h” en todo caso. Por lo que deduzco que primero tienes ganas de escribir como te parece el extremeño, como te gusta más, y luego piensas las razones que lo justifican, y no al contrario como una persona racional haría.

Los otros párrafos (sobre “acentuación” y uso de “de/d’/e”) son ya el colmo del despropósito. Y mejor no entro en detalles que tomas de mi gramática, porque me pongo enfermo sólo de encontrar párrafos y ejemplos similares a los dados por mí, y no ver ni una maldita referencia a lo que hice. Por supuesto que para mí era (y es) una simple afición, pero una que lleva horas como sabrás, y hay una cierta linea que separa el despiste en las referencias de la pura y simple omisión deliberada – y tú estás bastante lejos de esa línea.

2) VANIDAD. No me malinterpretes, a todos nos gusta el reconocimiento. De hecho, mi molestia en buena parte viene de que uses mis trabajos y no se me mencione. Puedo soportar hacer una gramática en 2003-2004, cuando el extremeño era un habla de paletos más (al estilo “panocho” o “andalú”)*, y aguantar las críticas de todos los antiextremeñistas, que me tachen de chalao, porque yo sé que hago lo que creo más corecto. Y puedo aguantar el chaparrón extremeñista cuando me dedico a mejorar la misma gramática dos años después, orientándola hacia el leonés oriental, en lugar de buscar el aislamiento del habla extremeña. Y no me importa con todo eso allanar el camino a otros para que luego mi trabajo se quede muerto y sin reconocimiento, que no valga para prácticamente nada. Pero que venga, después de los chaparrones, alguien y se atribuya TODO el mérito de MIS propuestas, cuando además está claro que las conocías, mencionando mi trabajo de pasada como aquel que quiere hacerme un favor por el esfuercito, junto a Feijóo y Gonzálvez…no sé cómo lo verías tú si te pasara, pero a mí me toca los cojones.

No contento con aprovechar el trabajo de otros y atribuirtelo sin más:

– Afirmas: “De ahí que el sentido de esta Ortografía sea, por decirlo de alguna manera, el servir de comienzo para la normalización de nuestras hablas empezando desde lo más esencial: su escritura. Será el primer paso para asentar las bases de nuestra lengua y para usarla con propiedad y difundirla dentro y fuera de nuestros pueblos. Y ese primer paso de una homogeneización lingüística ha de ser firme y sustancial, sin contrariedades, pero sobre todo sencillo y útil.”

– Afirmas también: “Con todo, la Ortografía aquí propuesta no quiere decir que sea, ni mucho menos, definitiva. Una de sus intenciones es que se vaya generalizando el uso aquí propuesto, de manera que, con el tiempo, salgan a flote los posibles errores latentes que albergan estas páginas. Por ello quedará sujeta a cambios y más aún siendo ésta la primera ortografía (!?) que se crea para la escritura del extremeño.”

Ante esas dos afirmaciones narcisistas y vanidosas, sólo me queda decirte, de nuevo: mis cojones.

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En resumidas cuentas: en lugar de tomar mi trabajo, modificarlo en lo que te pareciera – que para eso estaba con licencias libres, joder cojonesya, es que no lo puedo entender -, y simplemente afirmar que has intentado mejorarlo; vas y decides tomar mis propuestas, conseguir una estructura bonita de algún libro o de varios – supongo que alguno de castellano, paso de perder tiempo buscando de dónde has copiado la estructura -, para incorporar lo que has querido de mi trabajo, añadir o quitar cuatro cosas, y atribuirte todo el mérito. Y por lo que veo ya tienes un club de 3 ó 4 fans, entre los que os animáis, escribís sobre vosotros y “vuestras” obras en la “Güiquipeya” – que, dicho sea de paso, se supone que es de conocimiento enciclopédico, no una web para ensalzarse uno mismo – véase http://ext.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ismael_Carmona_Garcia , donde además ponéis artículos a “tus” obras (ortografía, izionariu) y enlaces a páginas web personales…

Pues nada majo, tú verás lo que haces. Que te vaya bien en la vida con esa actitud, a ver si te hacen una estatua por ser el gran pionero salvador del extremeño. Luego dirás que haces este tipo de cosas  “por el bien del extremeño”. Los huevos tuyos. No hay nada que corroa más al extremeño que ese eterno egoísmo pueril, como el que inunda esos textos supuestamente “originales” y “pioneros” que has publicado.

* A partir de un comentario recibido, quiero matizar que la frase “habla de paletos” hace referencia a lo que suele decir la gente, no a mi opinión. Mi familia paterna es de la huerta murciana (panocho), y la de mi madre y yo mismo del sur de Extremadura, así que obviamente no es un comentario despectivo mío hacia esas hablas, que yo uso.

Bronze Age “German Stonehenge” of Saxony-Anhalt unearthed, maybe related to Europe’s Indo-European speakers

Some years after the discovery of the Nebra Sky disc and observatory (dated ca. 1600 BC), near what was then called the “German Stonehenge” (see Deutsche Welle news), archaeologists from the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg have unearthed another similar structure, but this time probably related to the Indo-European settlers who still spoke Europe’s (or Northwestern) Proto-Indo-European, if the timeline and space have been correctly set by linguists and archaeologists.

Goseck Observatory While the Goseck observatory (reconstructed in the picture) was dated between 5000 and 4800 BC, this wooden construction – termed again “German Stonehenge” -, found not too far from the river Elbe in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt, near the village of Pömmelte-Zackmünde, is supposed was used for worship between 2300 and 2100 BC, and was later covered by another “wooden pagan structure”. Which of those structures (if any) might be linked to the community of Europe’s Indo-European speakers, is yet unknown.

From the weekly Der Spiegel news, later copied by international news agencies worldwide:

Still, the scale of the site must have been impressive. Archaeologists have already discovered six rings of wooden pillars — the biggest of which has a diameter of 115 meters. In one of the structure’s outer areas there was also a circular ditch with a diameter of 90 meters. By analysing ceramic vessels found at the site, the researchers have worked out the place of worship dates back to the 23rd century before Christ and was used until the 21st century BC.

“We don’t know of any other structure like this on the European mainland from this time,” Spatzier said. It was, in fact, an exciting time in Europe: trade networks for ores, amber and salt were rapidly developing. Mankind’s knowledge was also growing by leaps and bounds, as not only goods but ideas were travelling across the continent. Around 2,500 years earlier at the very end of the Stone Age, Neolithic people had already constructed the nearby Goseck Circle — a wooden ring 70 meters across considered the oldest solar observatory in Europe. In the Bronze Age, some 500 years after the Pömmelte site was built, the famous Nebra sky disc was made. The circular bronze object likewise depicts the heavens.

First observed from an airplane in 1991, researchers are now trying to figure out how exactly the new site — dubbed by the media as the “German Stonehenge” — was used. They believe the place must have been a site for celebrations and ritual acts, as the earthen walls could not have offered defensive protection against attackers. Animal bones and vessels found at the site also point to it being a cult site. And human skeletal remains — not unlike findings at the original Stonehenge — have also been dug up. The researchers are especially intrigued by the graves of a child, aged between five and 10, who was buried in a fetus-like position, and that of a higher ranking dignitary.

On top of that, another wooden pagan structure, which probably came into use directly after the one being dug up, has been found nearby. So far, archaeologists have undertaken only a small exploratory excavation. “We might start a bigger excavation there next year,” Spatzier said — in the hopes of completely uncovering the mysteries of the German Stonehenge.

Every time such findings are made I whonder why a period of history so meaningful for the western world hasn’t yet served as scenario of an important historical novel, like Quo Vadis, or Pharaoh, or The Clan of the Cave Bear, or Aztec, etc. Any reader interested in beginning a historical fiction (blog) novel? I can help with the original language of characters 😉