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Re: Calling all Conlangers!

From:Bob Greenwade <bob.greenwade@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 22, 2002, 17:23
At 11:17 PM 1/21/02 -0500, Josh Roth wrote:
>I was going to lurk as well ... but I don't quite agree with you. How much >can a conlang represent its creator's thought processes, when a single >creator can make a dozen languages, all vastly different? Eloshtan, for >example, treats all nouns as equal, not dividing them into classes. So we >might surmise that I have a very balanced worldview. But Kar Marinam has >nouns divided into animate and inanimate, with some mixed nouns even. So >does that negate the previous conclusion? Eloshtan distinguishes present >and future tenses, but KM doesn't. Does that mean I don't distinguish >between past and future actions, or I do?
The conclusions to be drawn are much more subtle than that. Each of the decisions you make would reflect not your own world view directly, but your interest at looking at the world in these ways. The example you give shows that you can categorize the world in different ways, *or* look at all things equally. AFMC, Rav Zarruvo divides noun gender in two different ways: pronouns are person (sentient), animal (mobile), plant (fluid), or object (inanimate). Other nouns can be male, female, non-gendered, indeterminate, or spirit, and the suffixes that apply these genders may be applied to the pronouns if necessary. Does this reflect how I look at the world? Not necessarily; they do reflect how I supposed someone from the hypothetical culture that spawned the language might look at the world, and some ideas I have on how the world could be divided.
>I'm not sure how much we can learn from these things. Perhaps only that >they're thoughts that have crossed my mind.
Precisely! :-]
>Now, that's not to say that you *couldn't* create a language that reflects >your worldview - but it's not always the case, and it would be difficult >to measure the extent if it did - it's not something a psychologist could >assume. A language could also reflect the worldview of its imaginary >community of speakers, or no one's particular worldview at all.
And somewhere in there the language's creator had that thought process before it could be put into the language. Remember, I'm talking about *cognitive* psychology here: how one processes information. Any conlang will reflect some aspect of the logical processes of its creator -- not the whole of same, but at least some aspect. For another example regarding Rav Zarruvo, I determined early on that the speakers of the language would emphasize action in their thought processes. How would that be reflected in the language? Verbs are the most significant part of most sentences, so they come first. There is a line between adjectives and verbs, but it is blurred. Any quality that makes sense as a verb is treated as one. The natural form of any verb is present tense, imperfect, imperative. Why were these decisions made? Not because that's how I look at the world, but because these are things that, to my mind, would reflect an action-oriented mindset. Exactly what that would mean regarding my own cognitive abilities would have to be determined by an actual cognitive psychologist (I only dabble, being a writer), but that's the level that one would look at. --- 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?