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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. --- Bob's Original Hero Stuff Page! [Circle of HEROS member] Music from Bob's Computer! (CD now available!) Want more hits to your web page?