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Re: Calling all Conlangers!

From:Chris Palmer <cecibean@...>
Date:Sunday, January 20, 2002, 7:48
On 19 Jan, Padraic Brown wrote:

> Note that the matter isn't over whether Klingon is natural or > artificial - but that it "lacks depth". Hell, there are loads of > natural languages you can study that "lack depth" (Gaulish, Hittite, > et.c.)
I don't mean to offend the creators and users of Klingon--Marc is a highly valued member of this community--but Klingon *does* lack depth, even compared to dead natural languages, and even though it is one of the most developed of conlangs. It will never have native speakers and will never have a large body of native literature. Academic inquiry into Klingon, if there is any, will always rightly be sociological or meta-linguistic. Without native speakers, you don't have a naturally-occuring object to study. Consider the academic study of programming languages: it's an engineering discipline, not a natural science.
> Following this logic, universities should never teach courses in > modern dance - they're made up and lack the "depth" of actual > (natural, or folk) dances.
Dance is not purported to be a natural science, so your analogy is bad. Even as an art, conlanging is not ready for establishment in academia. The aesthetics are so personal and so inaccessible to a general audience that it would be very hard, if not impossible, to formulate them into a tradition that could be taught and analyzed in the way other art forms are now. Furthermore, the recognized canon is so miniscule as to be nonexistent (Tolkien's languages, Klingon, Esperanto and loglan/lojban--the latter two aren't even specifically artlangs (although lojban is especially beautiful)). I love conlangs and conlanging, but it will always be "the secret vice". Maybe I love it for that reason. -- Chris


Tristan Alexander McLeay <anstouh@...>
Padraic Brown <agricola@...>
Michael Poxon <m.poxon@...>