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Re: Conlang fluency survey

From:David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...>
Date:Saturday, January 19, 2008, 22:06
> == Part A: Personal and demographic data. == > > 01. a. What is your name (or online handle)?
David J. Peterson
> 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?
Additionally, yes. (Maybe you don't want to use my name!)
> > 02. a. What is your preferred email address (if not the address you > are sending the survey response from)?
The one I'm sending from is fine.
> 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?
27 on Jan. 20
> 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)?
N/A (not significantly fluent in any)
> > 05. Are you male or female?
> > 06. a. What is your nationality?
US citizen
> b. Where do you live now?
Southern California
> c. Where were your ancestors from?
Mexico (and before that, Spain)
> > 07. What is/are your native language(s)?
English and Spanish
> > 08. What natural languages other than your native one(s) have you > studied? What degree of fluency have you attained in them?
French (read well; speak so-so); German (read poorly; speak poorly); ASL (can get by); Russian (read poorly; speak poorly); Middle Egyptian (read poorly); Latin (read poorly); Arabic (read poorly; speak poorlier); Esperanto (read well; speak poorly); Moro (speak poorly). English and Spanish are native or near-native.
> > 09. What constructed languages created by other people have you > studied? What degree of fluency have you attained in them?
Aside from Esperanto, the language I know best is Skerre, by Doug Ball. I'm familiar with it; not fluent.
> > 10. What is your level of education? What is/was/will be your major > or specialization?
BA English and Linguistics; MA Linguistics.
> > 11. What is (was/probably will be) your trade or profession?
Education (English professor).
> > 12. Do you work part time? full time? Are you a student or retired?
Part time.
> > 13. a. What is your (approximate) income?
I'll send this to you privately.
> b. What was your family's approximate income when you were a > child?
Child? $30,000?
> > 14. Are you single, married, divorced, widowed, remarried...?
Affianced. (Marrying in June.)
> > 15. a. What is your religion, if any?
I'll send this to you privately.
> b. What was your religious upbringing, if any?
Christian (protestant).
> > 16. Are there other facts about yourself that you think might be > relevant?
I'm a very slow reader.
> > == 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?
The speakers are human, but are themselves poorly supposed. It's intended to be a realistic language.
> > 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?
A priori (with borrowings from other a priori conlangs).
> > 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...?
VSO, prepositional, semi-inflectional, though tending towards isolating, accusative, "has" "case", adjectives follow the noun, relative clauses follow the noun they modify--generally, specifiers precede heads.
> > 21. a. How extensive or complete do you consider your conlang to be > (in > grammar and vocabulary)?
The grammar is complete enough to write in; informal conversational elements (or just dialog) are not complete. The vocabulary is large, though not complete.
> 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?
This depends more on the definition of "fluent". I'm fluent in NFL penalty signals, but it's not a language, and not very large, so it's not that difficult. It's possible to be fluent in what I've got in Kamakawi. Whether *that* is sufficient enough to do X task depends on the task. For translation of a complex text? Probably not; probably not enough specialized vocabulary. For conversation? Probably not; I haven't done enough with conversation. For simple texts? Yes.
> > 22. Does your conlang have features that might be expected to make it > especially difficult for speakers of your native language?
No. (Or, not to my knowledge.)
> > 23. Does your conlang have possibly unnatural features that might be > expected to make fluency difficult or impossible for humans?
The human mind is capable of quite a bit. I doubt there's much it can't handle.
> > > == 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 I started, no. I think I might like to be some day.
> b. If not, did you find yourself becoming fluent as an unexpected > result of developing and using it?
Familiar is the word I would prefer. I'm as familiar with Kamakawi as I am with my respiratory system. Can I explain how my respiratory system works, though, or know exactly what to do to fix it at all times? No. It's kind of similar with Kamakawi.
> > 25. If you intend to become fluent in your conlang, what are your > goals or purposes for learning it?
I'd like to be able to write in 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.)?
Maybe (though then I'd have to learn the writing system!).
> f. Writing a diary?
> g. Writing poetry or other literature?
> h. Singing?
> i. Writing the grammar or lexicon of the conlang itself?
That might be fun.
> j. Pretending in public that you are a native speaker > of your conlang?
> k. Anything else?
It would make the things I do *in* or *for* the conlang a lot easier. I wouldn't have to hunt for words when coming up with examples on my website, for example. When I'm creating an image in the script, I wouldn't have to look up which symbol stood for what. This is primarily how becoming fluent would be useful to me.
> > 27. Can you write original text in your conlang, at least on some > subjects, without looking up words or grammatical structures?
It's the nouns and verbs. I can't write at length because I don't have an inventory of enough nouns and verbs. If I were allowed to use variables, I could write at some length, because the grammar is second- nature.
> > 28. Can you compose well-formed sentences in your conlang about as > fast as you can handwrite or type?
Oh, yes, provided I can think of the nouns and verbs...
> > 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 may not remember the nouns and verbs. (See the pattern?)
> > 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?
> b. Are such thoughts usually grammatical (as you intend your > conlang to work)?
> > 32. a. Have you ever dreamed in your conlang?
Not in it, but about it (and featuring it).
> 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 couldn't remember it. :(
> > 33. Can you read aloud at conversational speed from text written in > your conlang?
Absolutely not. Just this one, though. I can read other languages of mine very, very quickly--many with non-English phones and which are far, far less complete. It's just this particular one I have a very hard time with.
> > 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?
N/A (I think)
> > 36. If you are fluent in your conlang only when speaking or writing > about certain subjects, what are those subjects?
Heh, heh... I can talk about eating fish, and about language! Ka mata ei i nawa poke kala tou! (= I saw a fish that can talk!)
> > 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.
Yes, but it didn't last. (Things get busy, you know.) I was grateful for it, though, because I was able to spot a bit of grammar that I'd just never thought of.
> > 38. a. What methods have you used to study your conlang and improve > your > fluency in it?
I have a TY Hawaiian book, and what I do is do the exercises in Hawaiian, and then in Kamakawi. I stopped because the book is TERRIBLE, and I just couldn't continue (I mean, this book doesn't see it as important to mark the long vowels in Hawaiian! I mean, come on!)
> b. Which have you found most effective?
When I was doing this with a Turkish book and Zhyler, I found it very effective. (That was a good Turkish book, though.)
> > 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'd usually start it in class, and then I'd start sketching out the phonology, and then I'd think of a word, and try to put it in sentences. Once I get back home, it's all on computer. I use the Mac equivalent of a Word document (different program), and start writing up a dictionary. Most of the grammar is in my end, and doesn't end up on paper (which is not ideal, I recognize). A lot of the details get hammered out when I add sections to my website.
> > 40. Have you made significant changes in your conlang due to your > experience using it? In what way?
In this case, yes--especially when I found that bit of grammar I'd forgotten to touch.
> > 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. I changed the relative clauses significantly. I had to. I also came up with a phonological rule that I never myself use... Not sure if that means I should change it, though.
> > 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?
No. If it needs changing, I change it.
> > 43. Has your handwriting in your conlang changed as you became more > fluent in it? In what way?
Not really applicable for this language. Of interest to this question, though, is my extensive use of my first orthography to write English. As I used it, I found it necessary to change it a LOT. It was inspired by Arabic's orthography, and some of the letters are created weren't practical when written at speed, because of how I had to go back and add dots, etc., and failure to do so made the word illegible. Through writing, I streamlined the system, and changed many of the characters to work better.
> > 44. Has your fluency in your conlang influenced the way you speak your > native language, or other languages you are fluent in?
I hope not, or I'll never be fluent in Hawaiian!
> > 45. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Nothing I can think of. -David ******************************************************************* "sunly eleSkarez ygralleryf ydZZixelje je ox2mejze." "No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." -Jim Morrison