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Re: OT: Realism? Re: Super OT: Re: CHAT: JRRT

From:Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>
Date:Sunday, March 7, 2004, 18:11
Caveat: I can only really read and respond to mail on Sundays these days,
and even then not as thoroughly as I would like.  Neither can I type as
fast as I can write shorthand, so please have forbearance with typos! :)

At 21:02 6.3.2004, David Peterson wrote:
>Ahh... I see, then, that we actually disagree on this point. Taking your three criteria... > >1.) Complexity >2.) Scale >3.) Completeness
>I still contend that >the spirit of the criteria is wholy different from a criteria I'd come up >with, which might be something like... > >1.) Does language X have an internal logic? >2.) Does language X follow this internal logic? >3.) Could language X plausibly exist on Earth?
I must say that between And's criteria and David's I definitely lean towards David's in the sense that a zillion vocabulary items(*) and umpteen cases do not make a good artlang! Neither does 'completeness' in the sense of "not being worked on or expanded any more"! If one means completeness in the sense of "containing a sufficient number and variety of features to look like an actually living language" it is of course another matter! However David's criterion (3) is hardly satisfactory, since an artlang might very well be intended as spoken by non-humans or aliens! :) Thus I would amend David's criterion (3) to "Is the language plausible in its supposed concultural setting?" (*)There is no doubt that a largeish vocabulary helps, but IMO that vocabulary might as well be computer generated or aposteriori. My work on my own langs in fact revolves around the quest to find and elaborate an internal logic, whatever that may be from case to case (and to find and elaborate the synchronic and diachronic phonology, which is a special interest of mine -- 'historical depth' adding much to the verisimilitude of an artlang IMHO -- although a phonology doth not a language make!) Having a conculture -- however vaguely or sketchily defined or worked out -- also helps a long way towards making an artlang realistic, although it is not necessary or sufficient in itself, and in that respect even Livagian is artlangy -- perhaps to the horror of And! :) & of course having its share of irregularities, quirks and ambiguity helps -- assuming that an engelang or loglang is characterized by lack of these (I'm on record as arguing that a lang totally devoid of the possibility of ambiguity is hardly usable by humans. I think ambiguity, or at least unspecificness, has a function to fulfill in human communication!) It is often alleged that Tolkien abhorred ambiguity -- especially homonymy -- in his Elvish, although his practice denies this assertion. IMO the absence of at least a modest degree of ambiguity and homonymy would greatly detract from realism -- unless of course the abhorrence of homonymy be ascribed to the taste of the elvish lang engineers and prescriptivists Tolkien tells us existed! :) /BP 8^) -- B.Philip Jonsson (delete X) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Truth, Sir, is a cow which will give [skeptics] no more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull." -- Sam. Johnson (no rel. ;)