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From:Mathias M. Lassailly <lassailly@...>
Date:Thursday, October 1, 1998, 9:48
This is a long post : I explain the reasons for it first and second suggest issues
on which I would really like a reply from you. Would anybody be interested in
collecting more individual information on conlangers' motives ?

I read last Matt Pearson's post replying to Pablo's post 'Another Survey' (which
by the way I misread and to which I replied beside the point.) I find his few
lines of first conlanging memories very interesting. Forgive me my
indiscretion, but I would really like to know whether the young conlangers you
all were were more absorbed in naming than in making sentences. I would also
like to know whether the meaning or the images that were prompted to you by the
words you made up influenced the syntactic use of these words. To make it
clearer : I remember that for the many first months I had no concern about
conlang syntax because sentences would just come up to my mind without having
designed their structure first. I never related the French grammar classes I
loathed to my own conlang. Words were very few, sentences were very short with
only one connective word, the word order was different depending on which words
were used, nouns would be used as verbs and reversely. To make i!
t !
short : the grammar was messy, simplistic and 'unimaginative' I think partly because
I must admit I've no strong interest in either arts or sciences whereas I can
feel from reading the FML that many of you are at the same time 'instinctive'
scientists and artists, I mean : strongly logics- and aesthetics-aware. However
I realize now that even in my otherwise insipid production some agents or
patients were in front, others after the verb depending on the noun, the verb
and other arguments in the sentence, that some words had a 'past' form, etc.,
not quite like in the languages I was then eagerly learning at school (German
and Greek). I suspect that I made up these features spontaneously inspired by
the images the words and their context were suggesting. I believe your
production may help me understand that issue. Can you remember your first
phrases or phrase structures ? I mean genuine, intact phrases you can remember.
Could you post or mail them to me with explanation, comme!
s and situative information you think useful to comprehend them, such as your
age at that time, what are the deep reasons why you think you made the first
word of your first conlang, what feelings or images your first conwords
conjured up, whether you have a visual or listening memory, whether you had
favorite words, whether you would then like to write or rather pronounce these
words, what color suggests to you each vowel, whether you have subsequently
changed the vocabulary or the basic syntax since, etc. ? I KNOW THAT YOU MAY BE
VERY WARY OF LISTS AND DATABASES (not like the French I am who just doesn't
PURPOSE WITHOUT YOUR WRITTEN ASSENT. I'm not a linguist (I think you have
realized that much :-), not even a scientist and I'm hopeless at math and
computers. I'm just as much interested in conlangers' motives as in their
subsequent works. Many very good pages introduce the latter, but I would l!
e to develop the former. I would be glad to associate with someone else
interested in asking questions and collecting answers from conlangers (as are
Pablo and Sally) to peruse, classify and share that information when allowed
to. I would also appreciate your advice and experience as to how carrying
surveys like that successfully. I think that a little bit of organization,
friendly coordination and trust may help some of us take the time to answer to
surveys like Sally's which are more personal than technical surveys like

PS : you can tell from these lines that I'm not a native speaker and I've
experienced that my posts may sometime look awkward and even offensive to some
: thank you for considering this one with indulgence and forgive blunders.

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