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Re: Invented (was and still is "lunatic")

From:Logical Language Group <lojbab@...>
Date:Sunday, November 15, 1998, 15:42
Sally:>(Is there a word I can use that conveys my
>> personal disapproval of such an idea while admitting that others might not >> have the same opinion or even the same standards and priorities? How is it >> possible to comment on someone's conlang, wherein they have made what appear >> to be an inelegant Anglicism, without bringing offense of the sort you seem >> to be expressing? > >Well I guess the best way is not to comment... what I was trying to say in >my remark, Lojbab, which you've excerpted as well (I think I went on to >say that we are all "groping towards different goals"), is that many many >people give advice or offer suggestions on this listserv that don't >offend, that take the efforts of a new conlanger seriously, and assume >that he or she can learn by example, and so many of us do!
I think if you look at my limited posts over the last few years before this thread, you will find that in general I take this approach. But I just got tired of those who would ban "completed" conlangs from the list to auxlang (even if they aren't auxlangs). If one kind of exclusion can be practiced on this list, a kind that has little basis in the word meanings, I at least pointed out a kind of discrimination that affects conlangers and which is tied to the experts' definitions. I also think that with some categorical areas such as what Lojbanists call "malglico", it is useful to point out the CATEGORY of criticism, rather than merely making lots oif individual suggestions without making the pattern clear. Now maybe I don't know how to make this particular pattern clear without seeming disparaging. It happens to have been the criticism made most often about Lojban usages and sometimes about the design as well (in most cases a complaint about malglico is indeed a usage and not a design complaint -transferring English idiom without realizing it is idiom usually is not built into a conlang structure). There is something to be said for "if you can't say anything good, then don't say anything at all". But I would like to think that mature people can make intellectual criticisms without giving or taking personal offense. And I have never intended to attack anyone personally even when I do criticize some aspect of their conlang.
>Let the efficiencies and >beauties of Lojban speak for themselves. Don't assume that everybody >wants to make a conlang with its principles.
I don't. Indeed I suspect few share our goals. But it is nice that we have stated goals and can therefore show how our goals justify our decisions.
>And don't use disparaging >language--that is, if you REALLY want to interact with the artlangers and >their artlangs on this listserv, which I suspect you don't.
For the most part I am uninterested in artlangs, but that is largely bvecause so few get to the stage where the interesting stuff starts to happen (coupled with a lack of time to spend getting to know things which are incomplete and ever-changing, and which may never be complete or stable). I mostly lurk here, like many others, so indeed it is safe to say that Idon't really want to "interact" that much. This again may be more a lack of time, since I have never considered doing otherwise %^).
>Speaking of which, sigh <GG>, you didn't comment on what I thought was the >substantive part of this posting--oh well, I'm used to that; it was very >much an ASMCL remark, in response to I think it was Hermann's comments, >but I think it went beyond the old "me too" to demonstrate how Teonaht's >system of invoking a kind-of-passive is just as ambiguous if not more so >than our English "invented." T's "subjected to inventing" could >conceivably have perfected or incomplete aspect: > > galleyla tsobhadha(rem) doesn't perfectly square with > "invented language." It means a language subject to > inventing, literally "under inventing." But it doesn't > necessarily mean "in the process of being invented either," > although I can see how someone might translate this as > "the language being invented." > > Perpwe tsobkwecy(rem), "the under-cooked fish" (ha ha!), >--More-- > meaning, the "cooked fish"; the
The reason I do not comment on most ASMCL comments is that I do not feel competent to comment. This again is part of my prejudice. To comment on someone elses conlang on the basis of a single feature taken out of context implies that it is possible to really discuss such a feature out of context. Maybe sometimes it can, but (again at least for Lojban) it seems that conlangs as with natlangs are complex things such that one feature could not be changed out of context. To properly comment on your example, I would need to look at how you handle a whole spectrum of activity/process concepts, and I would look at whether you do so in a manner that is self-consistent. If the patterns I saw looked too much like the English pattern, I would say something. Now I look closely at what youhave above, and I wonder whether the Teonaht carries the semantics of the English (or maybe I am misunderstanding your notation). Why do you translate one as "the under-cooked fish" and not the other as "the under-invented language" (a good shorthand for my reaction to a conlang project that is called complete in a few weeks)? But then I see another way of reading your text, where "under" does not imply "not sufficiently", so maybe I jumped to conclusions (under-contemplated your design?) But I really would need to look at the whole tense structure of your language in order to have any idea how you are handling past/present completive/incompletive etc. More importantly, I wonder whether I SHOULD comment without looking atr same (which you may never have written up in a manner I could understand and comment on without spending much time learning all your language). Maybe I just don't fit well in a conlang forum of the type you are asking for. It wiould take more time than I will ever have. So instead I tend to look at people's questions rather than their answers, and try to help them ask the right questions, presuming that plausible answers and designs will naturally flow from the right questions, more often than commenting on someone's answer.
>Whether or not this constitutes a weakness or a strength in Teonaht I am >still mulling over; whether or not the ambiguity should be ironed out is a >question that bears on this issue of "code" or "relex."
I see no basis for labelling this a "relex" - you certainly don't have a one word translation for your example %^). You have introduced the existence of an amniguitry that presumably is not found in English, though I didn't think about it long enough to look for parallels.
>What I wouldn't want you to say is that it is "ambiguous" because I >haven't "thought it out properly," or "sophisticatedly" or "thoroughly" >enough.
How could I make such a statement when you say that you have spent many years on this conlang? I have no idea how much time and effort you put into this concept. And my critique was not so much on the quality of the result, but on the amount of effort that went into the conlang. Now maybe a da Vinci can sketch out a work of art in a few minutes that would outshine what I could do in a lifetime of work. But my complaint was largely about the inherent comparison between (putting it most disparagingly for effect not as criticism) someones' spare time doodlings over 2 weeks, and the decades of work that you have put into Teonaht. To label both as "languages" seems to disparage the one while elevating the other. I think that those who reject the conlang enterprise as a whole similarly seem to disparage the "nerve" of someone conmparing a few years work by one person with the hallmark of a culture evolved over decades or centuries. Sure there is a spectrum here. Among conlangs Teonaht would seem to rank as high as any individually created conlang in terms of effort. I can't imagine that one could put even a significant fraction of effort into a conlang INVENTING, and still end up withan English relex. Similarly, I find it hard to imagine a very short duration conlang project being other than an English relex with a couple of interesting transformations, maybe with some odd semantic effects that could be the seeds of a "real conlang". English with a productive suffix for ordinals (like the "enough-th" example I mentioned the other day) is still English.
>I wouldn't mind suggestions from people who do what they usually do on >this list: comment or demonstrate without giving offense.
And in general if and when I comment on Teonaht, I willtry to do so. My comment however was not on any specific conlang except Glosa (which I disparage mightily mostlyt because of the big claims that are made for it that are simply hype -the language might actually be more interesting than the hype that supports it) I am not noted for tact. While I may try, after 45 years, tactlessness seems to be thoroughly a part of my nature. I apologize if my remarks offended throug being so tactless.
> In >Lojban, I guess I have gottenm used to being blunt - we >> use the term "malglico" which means more or less "$%&^# English (like)" for >> Lojban usages that copy English semantics inappropriately. > >You mean inappropriate to Lojban!
Yes., but also inappropriate to a "conlang" in a sense because unrecognized copying of semantics seems to me to deny the essence of "constructing" a language. Maybe not to others, but that is just my opinion, for which I make no apologies. I certainly do not demand that the world conform to my opinions %^). lojbab