Re: Calling all Conlangers!
|From:||Bob Greenwade <bob.greenwade@...>|
|Date:||Monday, January 21, 2002, 23:36|
At 09:15 PM 1/20/02 -0500, John Cowan wrote:
>Why study natlangs, other than for severely practical reasons, after
>all? (Why study Latin nowadays, e.g., when it can neither help you buy
>cattle in Rome nor get you into the civil service?) For two reasons, I
>believe: to gain access to a literature, and to learn something about a
>people, specifically about the way they saw themselves and their environment.
>Now the second consideration can hardly apply to any conlang, art- or
>aux-, and the first can apply only to a tiny minority.
I was just going to lurk over this subject, but I do feel a strong
desire to voice disagreement over one point made here.
Every conlang provides some insight to the view of self and environment
for at least one person -- the conlang's creator. Whether the creator
creates and blurs linguistic distinctions from a personal perspective or a
"what if?" mentality, each such distinction shows a thought process that is
specific to that language, and thus to its creator or creators.
Since I saw this subject come up over the weekend, it's occurred to me
that a study of conlangery would be a great point of interest for a
cognitive psychologist. For example, would anyone care to take a stab as
to why, in Rav Zarruvo, "vo" (steady low tone) is the first/second person
pronoun for sentients, but also acts as the prefix for the accusative form
of a verb? I don't know, and maybe it's just an accident (I didn't recall
the one when I established the other), but maybe there's some other line of
logic that I'm just not conscious of.
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