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Re: Tell your conlang story!

From:Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>
Date:Wednesday, March 1, 2006, 14:04
On 2/28/06, James Worlton. <emindahken@...> wrote:

> I had read Tolkien as a youth, and was aware of his languages, but it was > Esperanto that got me really interested in creating languages. Once I > started > my own first language, I left Esperanto behind.
Interesting. Although I started doing a little bit of lexicon-only conlanging in 1989, after reading Tolkien's _Book of Lost Tales_, I didn't really get into developing full-fledged languages until mid-1996, simultaneously with beginning to learn Esperanto; these two interests (along with increasing interest in linguistics in general) fed into each other, and Esperanto (and Claude Piron's theories about good Esperanto usage) was an important influence on gjâ-zym-byn's word formation system, although it doesn't *look* much like Esperanto. A friend of mine told me that, before he first heard about Esperanto, he had started creating a conIAL of his own, but abandoned it when he discovered Esperanto and realized it was better designed/more usable than his project. I don't know how unusual that is -- maybe there are a lot of other people like that whom we don't hear about -- but it seems to suggest a humility unusual among auxlangers and a pragmatism unusual among conlangers in general. On 3/1/06, Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...> wrote:
> Hanuman Zhang wrote:
> > At first I got into auxlangs like Glosa, but I am too much of a pragmaticist > > and creative "rogue" to fit in with the auxlang crowd (who seem to lack the > > depth of linguistic knowledge of the conlanging crowd as well as a tolerance > > for humour and wackiness).
> Very true; I have made the same observation. Most auxlangers only know a handful > of western and central European languages, and take "typically European" linguistic > features for granted;
This is less true than it used to be. Most of the newer auxlang projects I'm aware of have an isolating grammar, and many of them have a smaller phoneme inventory and more restrictive phonotactics than the old-style auxlangs more heavily influenced by western Indo-European languages.
>most auxlang descriptions I have seen are linguisticaly naive, > for example, describing the language in terms of letters rather than phonemes.
In some cases, this is because the auxlang descriptions have (by intention, anyway) a broader target audience than the typical artlang description -- they are not addressing only their fellow linguistically sophisticated conlangers, but, ideally, a broader public. I agree the best auxlang presentation would include both levels of description.
> And then the auxlangers are dead serious about their proposals, and are in a state > of constant trench warfare about which proposal is best. Sigh. Artlangers are sooooo > much more humourous and tolerant.
This might be true if you qualified it with "most" or "many" as you did the earlier statements. A couple of admirable counterexamples are, or have been, active in this group as well as AUXLANG: Rex May and Larry Sulky. -- Jim Henry