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Re: Conlang fluency survey

From:Geoff Horswood <geoffhorswood@...>
Date:Wednesday, January 23, 2008, 0:31
--- Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...> sekrivut:
> == Part A: Personal and demographic data. == > > 01. a. What is your name (or online handle)?
Geoff Horswood
> b. May I quote you by name or handle in an > article or talk about > conlang fluency?
I'd prefer it if you ask first, but basically yes.
> 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)?
This one
> 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?
Not at this time.
> 04. a. How old are you?
> b. How old were you when you first started > creating languages?
Don't know. Late 20s, maybe?
> c. How old were you when you first attained > significant fluency > in (one of) your constructed language(s)?
A couple of years ago, I suppose
> 05. Are you male or female?
> 06. a. What is your nationality?
> b. Where do you live now?
> c. Where were your ancestors from?
English; some Irish; Huguenot French if you go back far enough.
> > 07. What is/are your native language(s)?
> > 08. What natural languages other than your native > one(s) have you > studied? What degree of fluency have you > attained in them?
French (dreadfully rusty, but I can still cobble together bits and pieces) German (better, but marginally so) Russian (picked this up through listening & immersion, so my grammar is awful, but I can make myself understood) Kazakh (pretty good, but used to be much better)
> > 09. What constructed languages created by other > people have you > studied? What degree of fluency have you > attained in them?
I haven't really made any dedicated studies of any particular conlangs, other than trawling for good ideas and inspiration.
> 10. What is your level of education? What > is/was/will be your major > or specialization?
BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences
> > 11. What is (was/probably will be) your trade or > profession?
Community development, currently on hiatus doing construction work.
> 12. Do you work part time? full time? Are you a > student or retired?
full time
> 13. a. What is your (approximate) income? > b. What was your family's approximate income > when you were a > child?
Bah! Irrelevant
> 14. Are you single, married, divorced, widowed, > remarried...?
> 15. a. What is your religion, if any?
> b. What was your religious upbringing, if any?
> 16. Are there other facts about yourself that you > think might be > relevant?
> == 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)?
> 18. What are the basic purpose(s) and design goals > of your conlang? Is > it associated with an imagined world or culture? > If so, are the > speakers human?
It's a language from an alternate earth, derived from both Old French and Turkic origins, because I wanted to see what it would be like. The speakers are human.
> 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?
It's a posteriori, but some of its typology mutated into something resembling neither Romance or Turkic languages. Guess that means it evolved...
> 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...?
Franj is inflecting with agglutinative traces, primarily VSO (though this is somewhat variable), head-first, prepositional (with one or two postpositional exceptions), and accusative, with grammatical gender and fairly rigid vowel harmony.
> 21. a. How extensive or complete do you consider > your conlang to be (in > grammar and vocabulary)?
I'm up to just over 3800 words now, but there are probably a load of holes which I don't have any words for; other areas are over-developed, and I seem to have generated 3 slightly different words for "to be"... Grammar is pretty complete, AFAICT.
> 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?
> 22. Does your conlang have features that might be > expected to make it > especially difficult for speakers of your native > language?
Given that my L1 is English, you might say that it's a different language :)
> 23. Does your conlang have possibly unnatural > features that might be > expected to make fluency difficult or impossible > for humans?
Not to my knowledge.
> > == 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?
Not especially. I never expected that Franj would take such a dominant place in my conlanging.
> b. If not, did you find yourself becoming fluent > as an unexpected > result of developing and using it?
It kind of took over, and now it's in my head to a degree that would have been astounding when I created it.
> > 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? > a. Prayer? > b. Meditation? > c. Thinking? > d. Taking notes in the course of study? > e. Writing notes to yourself (grocery lists, > etc.)? > f. Writing a diary? > g. Writing poetry or other literature? > h. Singing? > 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?
Probably most of the above, except d and j.
> 27. Can you write original text in your conlang, at > least on some > subjects, without looking up words or > grammatical structures?
Yes. I'm much more fluent in written Franj than spoken.
> 28. Can you compose well-formed sentences in your > conlang about as > fast as you can handwrite or type?
My typing is appalling. I can compose much faster than that, but I probably handwrite only marginally faster than my composition speed.
> 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?
Most of the time. I have to look up about every 10th word.
> 30. a. Do you find yourself thinking spontaneously > in your conlang?
Very occasionally
> b. Are such thoughts often full sentences rather > than single > words or short phrases?
I suppose. Haven't really stoppped to analyse.
> c. Are they usually grammatical (as you intend > your conlang to > work)?
Yes, for the most part.
> 31. a. Can you think in your conlang, without > deliberately constructing > sentences word by word?
Unless I'm trying to say something which needs unfamiliar words.
> 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?
To my knowledge, I've never dreamed in my conlang, but I rarely if ever remember dreams, so who knows?
> 33. Can you read aloud at conversational speed from > text written in > your conlang?
I can read aloud at public reading speed. Conversation is usually quicker than that.
> 34. Can you speak spontaneously in your conlang at > conversational > speed? If native speakers of your conlang > existed, could they > understand your pronunciation?
I'd probably have a French accent; I tend to forget and "Frenchify" the pronunciations of the nasal vowels in certain short words. But I'd be understandable, certainly.
> > 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?
I've never recorded anything in Franj.
> 36. If you are fluent in your conlang only when > speaking or writing > about certain subjects, what are those subjects?
> 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.
> 38. a. What methods have you used to study your > conlang and improve your > fluency in it?
No formal methods. Fluency is a useful by-product, not an end in itself.
> b. Which have you found most effective?
> 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...?
I carry a small notebook and a pen everywhere, then upload stuff into the master files on my computer.
> 40. Have you made significant changes in your > conlang due to your > experience using it? In what way?
The VSO word order came about because that's how I ended up primarily using the language; originally it was going to be a mostly-acceptable informal usage only. Several words have had their meaning revised considerably through usage. I added a genitive case ending because I found it too annoying to have to keep circumlocuting around the lack of one. The conditional and "let X" (name of mood?) moods also got modified by the way I use them.
> 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?
Yes. All of the above (except the genitive) were not intentional, and I'm repeatedly adding or changing meanings based on the way I use words, sometimes relegating the original definition to the "archaic usage" category.
> 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?
Yes. And I still have to go back and revise almost all of my translation of St. Luke's Gospel (so far). Arrgh!
> 43. Has your handwriting in your conlang changed as > you became more > fluent in it? In what way?
No. I've just got faster.
> 44. Has your fluency in your conlang influenced the > way you speak your > native language, or other languages you are > fluent in?
Not that I'm aware of.
> 45. Is there anything else you would like to add?
I did revise the look of one of the Franj letters to bring it more in line with its Greek alphabet ancestor and to make it less Cyrillic-looking. This change still escapes me sometimes, but it was worth it. ===== Lost in thought - please send out search party ___________________________________________________________ Support the World Aids Awareness campaign this month with Yahoo! For Good