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Re: Conlang fluency survey

From:Rik Roots <rik@...>
Date:Wednesday, February 13, 2008, 20:35
Here goes ...

 > == Part A: Personal and demographic data.  ==

 > 01. a. What is your name (or online handle)?

Rik Roots

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


 >     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)?

rik at rikweb dot co dot uk

 >     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?

 > 04. a. How old are you?


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


 >     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?


 >     b. Where do you live now?


 >     c. Where were your ancestors from?


 > 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 (5 years) - minimal fluency
German (1 year) - almost no fluency
Spanish (various courses) - slight fluency

My ability to learn foreign languages is not good.

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

Studied? I've looked at a number of other conlang grammars, but never
attempted to learn them.

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

Currently doing an Open University degree in computer studies.

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

Civil servant. Writer.

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

Took redundancy, hence the studying and writing.

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

n/a - was just above the average wage.

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

Manual labour wages.

 > 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?

Fun, but also part of my constructed world and now part of my
book-writing plans.

 > 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?

Entirely a priori

 > 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...?

Um ... agglutinating, word order is fluid in terms of SVO
classification, but is not free - word order is used to determine
comment, topic and focus elements of a clause. The system is
superficially accusative, head initial, tense marked on verbs while
aspect/mood on varbal articles. Has a number of unique/rare features ...

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

Lexicon consists of over 1,200 words with a well developed system for
deriving new words form existing words and compounds. The grammar is

 >     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?

Within the constraints of ongoing lexical development, people could
learn it to sufficient standard to hold conversations and discussions in

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

The intonation system is grammatically driven, rather than contour
driven. The syllabic structure favours CCV formations over CVC
formations. opposed to this, the phonology itself is closely based on RP
English, with a few variations and additions.

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


 > == 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?

No and no.

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

I learned over 200 separate words as I developed some online lessons,
but this was a byproduct of the process.

 > 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?


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


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


 > 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?

No. But I can parse it grammatically without having to check things.

 > 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?

No. I can count in my conlang.

 >     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?


 > 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?


 > 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?

Yes, but only because of the work I put in on the online lessons - a
surprise new text would flummox me.

 > 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?

The online lessons included a number of interactive tests (currently
offline) which inadvertantly helped me memorise some of the lexicon.

 >     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...?

On a computer. In the early years it was mostly pen and paper, with some
grammatical issues slowly worked through in my head.

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

Yes. Many times.

 > 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?


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

Developing Gevey taught me almost everything I know about English
grammar and syntax.

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