Levente wrote:Why is it a terrible method?
If they can translate than they can also understand.
Countless generations of Latin pupils are laughing at your from beyond the grave right now.
I can substitute one cognate for another using a few simple transformations, e.g. neinteligibil
. I don't have to understand what either word means in order to do this.
Levente wrote:And why would the results tell me nothing?
It would most probably show that Romanian is miles away from being an Italian dialect.
And if we did it with Aromanian and Romanian it will show that the intelligibility is higher
then when compared to Italian.
What it would show would depend completely on how you structured your trials.
For one thing, using written texts means you'll be studying their written
intelligibility. But that's not the same as general intelligibility--especially considering that writing is subordinate to speaking.
Levente wrote:I wouldn't give a text about politics or poetry.
Why not? Those are both pretty subjects; you'd expect any educated adult to understand them.
Levente wrote:Maybe some text presenting an invented fairy-tale story, so it would contain general vocab.
So then you'd have an idea of how difficult it is to understand invented fairy stories. Not seeing a whole lot of real-life applications for those findings (unless you actually do live in an enchanted forest).
You still haven't asked the most fundamental question of all: What am I doing this for? What is my ultimate purpose in trying to decided whether two varieties are "different languages" or not? Because the whole design of the experiment will follow from that.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons