Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Conlang fluency survey

From:Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 22, 2008, 10:50
On 19.1.2008 Jim Henry wrote:
 > == Part A: Personal and demographic data. ==
 > 01. a. What is your name (or online handle)?

Benct Philip Jonsson (Melroch)

 >     b. May I quote you by name or handle in an article or
 >        talk about conlang fluency?

Sure. The milk is already spilled anyway!

 >     c. If not, may I quote you anonymously?
 > 02. a. What is your preferred email address (if not the
 > address you are sending the survey response from)?
 >     b. May I contact you with follow-up questions?


 > 03. Do you have a website relating to your constructed
 >     language(s)? If so, what is its URL?


<> (still very fragmentary)

 > 04. a. How old are you?

41 (already?)

 >     b. How old were you when you first started creating
 >        languages?

10, but then only a naming language. 16, first lang with
grammar, but then an Euroclone.

 >     c. How old were you when you first attained
 >        significant fluency in (one of) your constructed
 >        language(s)?


 > 05. Are you male or female?


 > 06. a. What is your nationality?

Swedish, rhough nationality matters little to me.

 >     b. Where do you live now?

Gothenburg, Sweden.

 >     c. Where were your ancestors from?

Sweden, Norway, Pomerania (Germany/Poland), Ukraine.

 > 07. What is/are your native language(s)?

Swedish and German. Not very good at writing German.

 > 08. What natural languages other than your native one(s)
 >     have you studied? What degree of fluency have you
 >     attained in them?

Speaking/reading/writing fluency: English, formerly

Speaking/reading fluency: Icelandic.

Hearing/reading fluency: Norwegian, Danish.

Reasonable reading fluency: Latin, French, Faroese, Italian.

Some reading fluency: Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese.

Formerly some reading fluency: Sanskrit, Classical
Tibetan, Ancient Greek (to the extent that these are not
conlangs! :-)

 > 09. What constructed languages created by other people
 >     have you studied? What degree of fluency have you
 >     attained in them?

Formerly reading fluency in Esperanto, Ido. Would probably
still read Novial, Occidental, Interlingua with some fluency
(Hey, they're all bastardized Latin! :-)

 > 10. What is your level of education? What is/was/will be
 >     your major or specialization?

University drop out for health reasons, recently re-entered,
extensive self-education, linguistics, mainly historical,
comparative philology.

 > 11. What is (was/probably will be) your trade or
 > profession?

Translator (German, English, Danish, Norwegian > Swedish,
Swedish > English)

 > 12. Do you work part time? full time? Are you a student or
 >     retired?

PT, PT student, have PT disability pension. Fortunately it
is legal to study at university in my 'free' time.

 > 13. a. What is your (approximate) income?


 >     b. What was your family's approximate income when you
 >        were a child?

Unknown to me. Regular middle class. (For then and there)

 > 14. Are you single, married, divorced, widowed,
 >     remarried...?

Longtime relationship with female with children, one
mutual child.

 > 15. a. What is your religion, if any?


 >     b. What was your religious upbringing, if any?

Mother Christian, father atheist (assertively so)

 > 16. Are there other facts about yourself that you think
 >     might be relevant?

I have dyscalculia, so science was never really an option.

 > == Part B: The nature of your conlang. ==
 > If you have devised more than one conlang, please focus in
 > these questions on those you are most (nearly) fluent in.
 > 17. What is the name of your primary conlang (the one you
 >                           have
 >    invested the most effort in or are most fluent in)?

I invested a lot of energy into an Euroclone IAL project
in my teens, which I also attained some fluency in. It's
long dead.

I regard Sohlob (with Kijeb) as my main conlang, but I've
certainly put as much effort into Slvanjek. I'm currently
putting quite most of the effort I put into conlanging into
Rhodrese and Burgendish, which is not much... I can write in
Rhodrese, in as much as I have a grasp on the sound changes
and it derives from Latin.

Maerik received a lot of effort for a short time, and is the
most finished of my languages, more or less designed to be
used in Conlang relay games. I can write it with reference
to the vocabulary list.

My other conlangs are mere sketches (well, so is Burgendish
too, but still growing; Knoschke and Bâzrâmani show signs
of moving sometimes too.)

 > 18. What are the basic purpose(s) and design goals of your
 >     conlang?

To explore language structure and evolution, and to create
aesthetically pleasing language structures and evolutionary
models, as well as aesthetically pleasing transcriptions
and/or orthographies, and yes I do feel that such things
have aesthetic value.

 >     it associated with an imagined world or culture? If
 >     so, are the speakers human?

Yes. Sohlob/Kijeb speakers may be non-human. Have had now
defunct non-human langs, but there was nothing structurally
inhuman about them, except that eight-fingered aliens had an
octal numeric system.

 > 19. Is your conlang a priori (devised from scratch) or a
 > posteriori (based on a specific natural language or
 > language family), or a mix of a priori and a posteriori
 > elements?

All three in differing degrees.

 > 20. Describe the typology of your conlang - what is its
 >     primary word order (SVO, SOV, VSO...; pre- or
 >     postpositional; etc.)? Is it isolating, agglutinating,
 >     fusional, polysynthetic? Is its case or word order
 >     system primarily accusative, ergative, active,
 >     other...?

Kijeb is agglutinating with some fusion. Sohlob is fusional,
as are most of the others. Kijeb has verb-first free word
order and hierarchical alignment, Sohlob is Verb-Patient(-
Agent), ergative.

 > 21. a. How extensive or complete do you consider your
 >     conlang to be (in grammar and vocabulary)?

Not very, except for Maerik. 'Completeness' however
defined is not a goal. A 'complete' conlang is a dead
conlang AFAIAC.

 >     b. If you are not yet fluent in it, do you consider
 >        the language complete enough for fluency to be
 >        attainable, or would it need considerably more
 >        development for that to be possible?

Maerik is fluency-attainable. The various Romlangs
potentially so. Kijeb-Sohlob needs a lot more work.

 >22. Does your conlang have features that might be expected
 >                          to make it
 >       especially difficult for speakers of your native
 >                           language?

Kijeb-Sohlob does.

 >23. Does your conlang have possibly unnatural features that
 >                           might be
 >     expected to make fluency difficult or impossible for
 >                            humans?

Not that I can think of.

 > == Part C: Fluency in your conlang. ==
 > 24. a. Do you intend to become fluent in your conlang, or
 >     did you when you started creating it?

When creating Euroclones in my teens I did.

 >     b. If not, did you find yourself becoming fluent as an
 >        unexpected result of developing and using it?

That has happened, yes.

 > 25. If you intend to become fluent in your conlang, what
 >     are your goals or purposes for learning it?
 > 26. What do you use (or intend to use) your conlang for?

 >     g. Writing poetry or other literature?

 >     i. Writing the grammar or lexicon of the conlang
 >        itself?
 >     j. Pretending in public that you are a native speaker
 >        of your conlang?
 >     k. Anything else?

Writing the history of my conlangs.

Use them as naming and ambience languages in fiction, as
Tolkien did.

 > 27. Can you write original text in your conlang, at least
 >     on some subjects, without looking up words or
 >     grammatical structures?

Not without looking up/inventing words.

 > 28. Can you compose well-formed sentences in your conlang
 >     about as fast as you can handwrite or type?

yes, when word look-up time is deduced.

 > 29. Can you read text you wrote some time ago in your
 >     conlang without looking up words in the lexicon or
 >     pausing to consciously parse or translate it?

yes, for the Romlangs

 > 30. a. Do you find yourself thinking spontaneously in your
 >     conlang?


 >     b. Are such thoughts often full sentences rather than
 >        single words or short phrases?


 >     c. Are they usually grammatical (as you intend your
 >     conlang to work)?


 > 31. a. Can you think in your conlang, without deliberately
 >     constructing sentences word by word?

For the romlangs, yes

 >     b. Are such thoughts usually grammatical (as you
 >     intend your conlang to work)?


 > 32. a. Have you ever dreamed in your conlang?
 >     b. Did the speech or writing in your conlang from the
 >        dream turn out, when remembered on waking, to be
 >        grammatical and/or meaningful?

Maerik was the result of a dream, with much invention added.

 > 33. Can you read aloud at conversational speed from text
 >     written in your conlang?


 > 34. Can you speak spontaneously in your conlang at
 >     conversational speed?


  If native speakers of your conlang existed, could they
 >     understand your pronunciation?

yes. I tend to avoid features I couldn't master myself.

 > 35. If you have recorded speech in your conlang, have
 >     you been able to understand it in real time when
 >     played back a considerable time after you spoke and
 >     recorded it?


 > 36. If you are fluent in your conlang only when speaking
 >     or writing about certain subjects, what are those
 >     subjects?

I can swear in Rhodrese with some fluency! ;-)

 > 37. Have you found anyone willing to learn your conlang
 >     and speak it with you, or correspond with you in it?
 >     If so, please describe the experience.

I and Jan van Steenbergen corresponded about Slvanjek and
Wenedyk in an effort to coordinate their prehistory. In the
course of that we exchanged some sentences.

 > 38. a. What methods have you used to study your conlang
 >     and improve your fluency in it?

Writing texts, grammars and dictionaries

 >     b. Which have you found most effective?

writing texts (that goes for language learning
generally for me)

 > 39. How do you do most of the primary work on your
 >     conlang? In your head, writing stuff down later if at
 >     all, or on paper with pencil/pen, or with a voice
 >     recording/playback system, or at a computer, or...?

There is a progression from head to notepad to computer to
internet, with the three later stages variously omitted.
Sometimes FrathWiki *is* my notepad. As notepads tend to get
mixed up and lost I've started a blog for doing their job,
but I guess they'll never wholly disappear. I often use my
mobile phone as an electronic notepad, later transferring
the material to the computer.

 > 40. Have you made significant changes in your conlang due
 >     to your experience using it? In what way?

yes. Grammatical and morphological features have arisen from
use. Since the sound is very important to me pronouncing
words and sentences may lead to revision of the phonology.

 > 41. Has your more or less fluent use of the language
 >     changed its phonology, grammar or semantics in ways
 >     you did not consciously intend? Have you, for
 >     instance, changed the description of the language's
 >     grammar based on the way you've noticed that you
 >     actually use it, or changed a word's lexicon entry
 >     when you realized you were using it in a different
 >     sense than the way you originally defined it?


 > 42. Has your developing fluency in your conlang slowed
 >     down its rate of change? Have you refrained from
 >     making changes in the language that you would
 >     otherwise make because they would require re-learning
 >     words or structures you already use fluently?


 > 43. Has your handwriting in your conlang changed as you
 >     became more fluent in it? In what way?

I did become very fluent in a conscript at one time, and it
changed substqantially as a result thereof. I mostly wrote
natlangs in it, though.

 >44. Has your fluency in your conlang influenced the way you
 >                          speak your
 >    native language, or other languages you are fluent in?

don't know. I hope not, actually.

 > 45. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Fluency in my conlangs is not a goal anymore than
'completion' is.

/BP 8^)>
Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
   "C'est en vain que nos Josués littéraires crient
   à la langue de s'arrêter; les langues ni le soleil
   ne s'arrêtent plus. Le jour où elles se *fixent*,
   c'est qu'elles meurent."           (Victor Hugo)