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Titolo:International Planned Languages
Subtitolo:Essays on Interlinguistics and Esperantology
Aŭtoro(j): BLANKE, Detlev
FIEDLER, Sabine (edit.)
TONKIN, Humphrey (edit.)
Eldonejo:MONDIAL, 2018
Tipo(j):eseo - studoj
Nivelo:B2, C1, C2
Aĉeteblo:UEA: 18,90 EUR (sen varimposto)
Nia opinio:Ses anglalingvaj eseoj de unu el niaj ĉefaj interlingvistoj.
La libro aĉeteblas ankaŭ ĉe la eldonejo MONDIAL, kontraŭ 22 eŭroj, inklude la sendokostojn.

Anglalingva antaŭparolo de Sabine Fiedler:


The author of this book, the German interlinguist and Esperanto researcher Detlev Blanke (1941-2016), has influenced the study of planned languages like no one else. It is to a large extent due to his lifelong scholarly devotion to this area of research that Interlinguistics and Esperanto Studies (Esperantology) have become serious subjects of study in the academic world. In his seminal monograph on international planned languages published in 1985 and numerous other publications, Blanke gives an overview of the history of language creation. He describes the most important planned language systems, their conceptual frameworks, features and the motives of their creators, presents various systems of classification and completes these with a typology of his own. A special focus is put on Esperanto initiated by L.L. Zamenhof in 1887.

Detlev Blanke was strongly influenced by Eugen Wüster, the father of terminology science. He once went so far as to say that no matter what topic in interlinguistics he delved into, he ended up back at Wüster. It is therefore no surprise that Eugen Wüster takes centre stage in one of the articles in this collection. It was he who introduced the term Plansprache (planned language), using it as a translation of Jespersen’s constructed language in his 1931 dissertation on terminology standardisation. Following Wüster, Blanke defines a planned language as ‘a language consciously created by an individual or group of people, in accordance with defined criteria, with the goal of facilitating international linguistic communication’. This definition serves as a starting point for the serious study of the phenomenon and has become even more important of late with the advent of another burgeoning group of artificial languages, those created for fantasy and science-fiction literature or films (e.g. Klingon). These languages are constructed to render pseudo-authenticity to fictitious characters or ethnic groups, but they are not planned languages according to Wüster’s definition, as they do not aim to facilitate international communication.

Detlev Blanke’s body of work in interlinguistics includes works on a wide variety of topics, such as word-formation in various planned language systems, the peculiarities of translations from and into planned languages, the use of Esperanto as a language for special purposes, the relationship between language planning and planned languages, and the potential role of Esperanto in solving problems in international communication, to name but a few. To me, his most significant contribution however, was the classification of planned language projects according to the real role of communication that they played or play. This accords with the view that languages are social phenomena and cannot be reduced to structural elements. Indeed, the majority of deliberately created languages have not grown beyond publication; only a small group of systems have found real-life applications and can be considered semi-languages. This is true for Volapük, Occidental-Interlingue, Novial, Interlingua, Ido, Latino sine flexione, Basic English and some others. However, after having begun to take shape as languages, the majority of them ceased to develop and eventually fell out of use altogether; the only planned language that has remained in use up to the present is Esperanto. In an indirect way, by means of this classification, Blanke also answers the question of whether it is possible to invent a language: a language cannot truly be created. A language project can be initiated, but it needs a speech community to turn it into a language.

In this volume, the most important ideas from Detlev Blanke’s research are collected in English translation, thus making them available to a larger readership. In a number of studies, Blanke bemoaned the fact that the specialised literature on interlinguistics had not attracted sufficient scholarly attention. He attributed this to a certain extent to the language of publication, i.e. to the fact that interlinguistic literature is mainly written in planned languages, above all in Esperanto. Today, in interlinguistics as in other fields, authors must publish their research in English for it to reach an international readership. Detlev Blanke did not content himself with criticising the insufficient access to interlinguistic research, but took efforts to contribute to a change. This book is a result of just that endeavour. The seven collected contributions address terminology, the development and classification of planned languages, and the use of Esperanto – the planned language that has been most successful thus far – in various domains, with a focus on its use as a language for special purposes.

Chapters One and Two should familiarise the reader with the most crucial concepts in interlinguistics. Blanke presents his definition of planned languages, discusses the authors’ motives for publishing their language projects and describes the most important planned language systems. He presents the common typology of planned language systems based on linguo-structural features, i.e. the distinction between a-priori and a-posteriori projects, and he describes Esperanto’s transition from a language project to a fully-fledged language, introducing a framework consisting of a series of developmental steps, such as the use of the language for the creation of literature, in oral communication, in radio programs and as a family language.

Chapters Three and Four are devoted to Esperanto as a scholarly language (or language for special purposes, LSP), a research interest that Detlev Blanke shared with his wife, Wera Blanke. They discuss the use of Esperanto in specialised organisations and journals, the development of specialised dictionaries and principles of terminology planning. In Chapter Four, Blanke sheds light on Eugen Wüster’s intensive preoccupation with Esperanto and other planned language systems and argues that this was a decisive influence on Wüster’s future work in terminology standardisation. This is only one of many examples where Esperanto, over the course of its 130 years of existence, has had an impact on the work of eminent scholars, philosophers and writers. Blanke calls this ‘the heuristic aspect of the value of planned languages’ (p. 15).

Chapters Five and Six focus on future research in interlinguistics. Blanke gives a comprehensive overview of available literature on planned languages. These include specialised libraries and archives, bibliographies, university studies and dissertations, periodicals, handbooks, monographs and anthologies, conference proceedings and Internet materials. As Chapter Five is an updated version of Blanke’s previous work on the topic, it represents the state of the art in interlinguistics and I recommend it as a starting point for other scientists in the field.

At the end of the book, in Chapter Six, Blanke examines the reasons for Esperanto’s relative success. Against the backdrop of our globalised world where English is the dominant means of communication, it does not seem appropriate to mention Esperanto and ‘success’ in the same breath. The planned language has not become a means of international communication widely used by people alongside their respective mother tongues as Zamenhof had hoped. Nevertheless, it has proven that a language project can become a fully-fledged language; it has won out over linguistic rivals and outlived the more than one thousand other deliberately created languages, so that today the phenomenon of planned languages is generally synonymous with Esperanto. Therefore, Blanke speaks of a ‘relative success’, supplying both intra- and extralinguistic arguments for his case.

As such, Esperanto offers an alternative in an increasingly monolingual and monocultural world, and is a serious and intriguing research topic. The reader will find that in some of his articles Blanke developed his ideas further, and that this collection therefore also reflects the advancement of the discipline over time. I am delighted that it has become possible to realise Detlev Blanke’s plan to publish this book and hope that it fulfils the author’s intention to extend the audience of interlinguistic studies beyond the Esperanto community. As it focuses on the most fundamental knowledge on planned languages and provides insights into key sources of interlinguistic research I can also imagine Detlev Blanke’s book being used in university lectures and seminars – a matter close to his heart.

Kreodato:2018-11-19 10:55:31
Lasta redakto:2020-12-30 08:59:27
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