Re: Conlang fluency survey
|From:||Herman Miller <hmiller@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, January 20, 2008, 4:05|
Jim Henry wrote:
> == Part A: Personal and demographic data. ==
> 01. a. What is your name (or online handle)?Herman Miller
> b. May I quote you by name or handle in an article or talk about
> conlang fluency?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)?
> b. May I contact you with follow-up questions?Yes
> 03. Do you have a website relating to your constructed language(s)?
> If so, what is its URL?http://www.io.com/~hmiller/lang/index.html
> 04. a. How old are you?43
> b. How old were you when you first started creating languages?Around 15
> c. How old were you when you first attained significant fluency
> in (one of) your constructed language(s)?I haven't really had any significant degree of fluency in any of my
languages, although I knew Olaetian reasonably well. I would have been
around 20 or so.
> 05. Are you male or female?Male
> 06. a. What is your nationality?US
> b. Where do you live now?Minnesota
> c. Where were your ancestors from?England, Ireland, Germany, and various other places.
> 07. What is/are your native language(s)?English
> 08. What natural languages other than your native one(s) have you
> studied? What degree of fluency have you attained in them?French - 2 years (can read some)
Spanish - 2 years (can read some)
German - 2 years (can read a little bit)
Russian - 2 years
Chinese - 1 term (1/3 of a year)
I've tried teaching myself various other languages, mainly Japanese, but
also Serbo-Croatian and Dutch. I haven't been fluent in any of them.
> 09. What constructed languages created by other people have you
> studied? What degree of fluency have you attained in them?I've learned enough Esperanto to read simple texts; I've also studied
Klingon and Lojban.
> 10. What is your level of education? What is/was/will be your major
> or specialization?Bachelor of science in computer science
> 11. What is (was/probably will be) your trade or profession?Software engineer in the computer/video game industry
> 12. Do you work part time? full time? Are you a student or retired?I work full time.
> 13. a. What is your (approximate) income?
> b. What was your family's approximate income when you were a
> 14. Are you single, married, divorced, widowed, remarried...?Single.
> 15. a. What is your religion, if any?None (agnostic).
> b. What was your religious upbringing, if any?Protestant (Methodist)
> 16. Are there other facts about yourself that you think might be
> == 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've had various primary conlangs over time. Minza, my current main
language, is not one that I ever intended to become fluent in. The
closest I've come to being fluent in a conlang was with Olaetian, when
that was one of a small number of fictional languages I had that was in
a reasonably advanced state of development.
> 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?Minza is atypical of my languages in general, which are mainly
associated with fictional cultures (mostly in a fictional world).
Olaetian and many of my earlier languages were spoken by humans, but
there are no humans in my most recent world (Azir).
> 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?My fictional languages (including Olaetian) are a priori, and Minza in
turn is based on those.
> 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...?Olaetian (as the language I came closest to being fluent in, although
I've forgotten most of it by now) is typically SVO, prepositional,
fusional, and accusative. Much like the languages I was studying at the
time (Spanish and French). Minza, on the other hand, is VOS,
prepositional, mildly agglutinative, and ergative.
> 21. a. How extensive or complete do you consider your conlang to be (in
> grammar and vocabulary)?Olaetian had a moderately extensive grammar (around 30 pages) and a
vocabulary of some 3,000 words.
> 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?None of my languages are really well enough documented for that.
> 22. Does your conlang have features that might be expected to make it
> especially difficult for speakers of your native language?Olaetian wasn't especially difficult, although it did have a few sounds
that would be unfamiliar to English speakers, including unrounded back
vowels and a distinction between apical and laminal fricatives.
> 23. Does your conlang have possibly unnatural features that might be
> expected to make fluency difficult or impossible for humans?No.
> == 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?Olaetian just grew from a small collection of words to a full-fledged
language; there wasn't any time when I set out to become fluent. I
haven't ever had fluency as a specific goal of my languages.
> b. If not, did you find yourself becoming fluent as an unexpected
> result of developing and using 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?Olaetian has been used for writing stories (of a sort -- a few
paragraphs at the most) and occasionally translations of things I'd
written in English (mostly relating to the world where Olaetian was
spoken). I've written grocery lists in Sarbleski, and I had a sort of
diary written in Iftinas for a while. Tirelat and Minza have been used
in translation relays.
> 27. Can you write original text in your conlang, at least on some
> subjects, without looking up words or grammatical structures?I could do that with Olaetian back when I was using it.
> 28. Can you compose well-formed sentences in your conlang about as
> fast as you can handwrite or type?I used to be able to do that with Olaetian.
> 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?I just looked at some old text in Olaetian that I haven't looked at for
years. I could still understand most of it, including some facts that
I'd forgotten (the world has changed quite a bit from when I wrote those
things). But there are parts I'd have to look up to be sure of.
The impression I get, after all these years, is that the way I was using
Olaetian in these oldest bits of text wasn't much different from
English, and the parts that were different are quite a bit like Spanish
> 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)?I don't think in any of my languages, unless you count Sarbleski (which
is more a set of words and phrases than a fully developed language).
> 31. a. Can you think in your conlang, without deliberately constructing
> sentences word by word?
> b. Are such thoughts usually grammatical (as you intend your
> conlang to work)?No.
> 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?I've had many conlang-related dreams, but not specifically with any of
the actual conlangs that I've worked on.
> 33. Can you read aloud at conversational speed from text written in
> your conlang?Yes.
> 34. Can you speak spontaneously in your conlang at conversational
> speed? If native speakers of your conlang existed, could they
> understand your pronunciation?I don't know any of my languages well enough to speak at conversational
speed. I try to be careful with my pronunciation, but I'm sure that I
speak with an accent.
> 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 recognize enough to know what text it is that I recorded. I can
recognize and understand many of the words, but it could be that I just
remember the text.
> 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?
> 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 did most of Olaetian, especially in the early days, with hand-written
notes, although some of it was typed. I started using the computer to
manage my dictionary when it got too cumbersome to update by hand. It
wasn't until the late 1980's - early 1990's that I switched to mainly
using the computer for developing languages.
> 40. Have you made significant changes in your conlang due to your
> experience using it? In what way?
> 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?
> 45. Is there anything else you would like to add?