Aroven, and survey responses
|From:||Joshua Shinavier <jshinavi@...>|
|Date:||Monday, October 12, 1998, 17:21|
(Lets out a loud sigh by way of greeting). Ah, fortunate I am; I wrote a h=
letter and attempted to post it CONLANG, whereupon the computer proceeded t=
eat it alive, freeze up each window one after another, and then crash and d=
completely. Luckily I found a backup copy in a hidden file somewhere in th=
server's innards, so I'll give it a second try...
I'm back after a few months of interrupted Net access. Seeing that I've=20
posted barely anything in that time, I intend to make up for it by writing
an annoyingly long post now upon my return :)
Ah well, reading it all is, of course, entirely optional. In it I introduc=
a new form of my language called Arov=EBn and reply to all those surveys an=
such which have been going around lately.
First a couple of notes: my language makes frequent use of the dieresis, wh=
won't show up correctly unless your mail viewer is set to the Western
European alphabet (=EB should be an e with two dots over it; if not, the te=
is not going to look right). You might also want to widen your e-mail wind=
as I'm writing this in a text editor with no wraparound function.
> ...and how would you characterize it in fifty words more or less? You've =been
> overwhelming me with wonderful revelations. For those of you who have ans=wered
> at length but not divulged, it would help me to know:
> 11) what your conlang is called,Danov=EBn (which means "language of logic"). However, in the last couple o=
months=0D I have been working on a new "dialect" (for lack of a better word=
the=0Dlanguage called Arov=EBn ("language of thought"/"conceptual language"=
which is meant to be a less rigid, more free and flexible form of Danov=EBn=
speech and informal writings. There is a little list I have written up
below (under "the forms of lor") which gives a rough idea of the grammar
(of either of the two forms of the language; they are very, very similar).
> 12) what are its unique features, and* logical unambiguity (the original goal of the language, but having=20
reached that goal (it really isn't a very hard thing to do; the trickiest
part (which is probably the least important part as well) is getting rid
of ambiguous references), these days the name Arov=EBn is the more approp=
Danov=EBn will remain Danov=EBn because it is meant to return to *complet=
logical unambiguity (as it was last year, but I didn't like it as it was =
aesthetic than it had been; now it may become again as stiff and formal a=
neccessary, as Arov=EBn is to be the actually spoken form of the language=
which is both aesthetic and powerful at once))
* free use of any semantic word in any position (i.e. noun, verb, etc.)
* thousands of basic concepts (represented by root words) for clear
expression of both thought and feeling
* free word order, relatively simple pronunciation, much allowance made for
partially-formed ideas and afterthought in speech, posing little hindranc=
to communication of *any* thought at all. While the langauge itself is
quite complex, the individual patterns used are simple (much as a tree,
taken as a whole, is complex -- it would take a lot of information to
describe the exact form of the tree -- but the structure is a simple
branching one, with each branch separate from the others. Compare this
to something like a neural net -- there may be a limited number of elemen=
and connections, but the nature of those connections are very complex).
Arov=EBn's job is to disassemble and then rebuild a complicated structure=
a relatively simple set of rules. The language as a whole is very, very
complex and interconnecting (just consider the vocabulary, where each wor=
is phonologically bound up with a number of similar concepts, which
themselves are bound up with others...), but you don't need to understand
these connections at all to speak the language; the intuition picks up on
them, udaided by reason, anyway).
* a vocabulary built such that any given topic of conversation has its own
acoustic "character"; sounds and sound combinations tend to be associated
with certain "moods" in speech, so that a conversation about music will
sound drastically different than a conversation, by the same speakers in
the same tone of voice, about, say, the evening news, or even, to a lesse=
degree, about visual art. In other words, the sound changes to fit the
topic of conversation. Even if you couldn't make out the words, when
listening to a faint conversation you could usually still divine more or
less what it is about by the sound, or at the very least the general mood=
Another related consequence is a constantly shifting illiteration -- but
seldom rhyme (rhyming words intentionally have widely differing meanings
to keep them from being confused with one another) -- during any conversa=
at all. Awkward sounds there are none (there are still final -b's and -p=
which I am getting rid of; that is the worst of it), and the connecting
words are chosen such that they blend in easily with any sound on either
side of them. An objection might be made that there are an excessive lot
of vowels in places, but these are easily gotten used to, and contribute =
the flowing sound of the language.
* a network structure which parallels that of human thoughts and memories
> 13) whether you have a website.Yes, though it's not much yet, compared to what I want to make out of it.
The URL is:
> 14) Also: Mikhail Bakhtin wrote (in _Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics_):
> The life of the word is contained in its transfer from
> one mouth to another, from one context to another context,
> from one social collective to another, from one generation
> to another generation.
> Of course this is precisely what we CAN'T say about "private languages." =Does
> that bother you that your language has a speaker of one? Some of you get
> together and learn each other's languages. I'm thinking in particular of
> Brithenig and Kernu (whose inventors have remained notably silent!) Is on=e of
> the appeals of a private invented language that you alone know its secret=s
> and control its development?As long as I'm still working on the language it doesn't bother me that no-o=
else really speaks it yet -- it saves me a lot of apologies for going and
changing things when someone else has already learned them differently ;-)
Now that most of the changes are over with, though, I'd very much like to b=
able to train a small speakership in Arov=EBn; it needn't be many, but
Dan-/Arov=EBn was built for the speaking, and I'd like to at least carry on=
sort of e-mail correspondence in it. Yes, I'd even be willing to learn
someone else's conlang also -- Brithenig was a well-chosen example, as I li=
it very much (from what I've seen of it, anyway).
> What would happen if someone got hold of your conlang and
> vast numbers began using it and speaking it and changing it?
> Remember the "No Rich Aunt" scenario? What if she made you
> a village?I would lie awake at night in a cold sweat wondering what awful things some
ignorant, unscrupulous language-mangling barbarians might be doing to my
beautiful creation... I wouldn't rest easy until there were someone compete=
enough in Arov=EBn to know what they were doing if they were to change
*anything*; I'd be very worried that the "villiagers" would degrade the qua=
of the language before they fully understood *why* it is the way it is, and
would much prefer to go live among them until I were sure they did. It wou=
all in all be a rather stressful experience -- I like the idea of teaching
people myself better :-)
> I'm starting a new conlang and I was curious:
> what are your first words in these cases? Do you have a special "test bed=" for
> your conlangs, such as a text to be translated? Where do your words come =from?
I'm afraid I can't be of much help here; I neither remember many of my firs=
words nor do I know just where my new words come from -- one thing I know I=
is to get a whole set of related concepts in my head before I try to create
the new word, and sooner or later the "correct" word jumps out at me and ma=
too much sense to be doubted (often taking the spot of an older, more
arbitrarily-named concept, which must then be reassigned...). I only have =
language, which I've had... forever, so I don't know much about creating ne=
conlangs, either. My first invented words were usually little phrases; I d=
remember whether the individual words in them were supposed to mean anythin=
> I was curious: do you folks take dialects (or any kind of language variet=ies)
> into account?I call Arov=EBn a "dialect" of Danov=EBn as I don't know what else I should=
in English, but it's not really different enough to even be considered a
separate dialect -- it's more a different way of writing and speaking Danov=
with all the vocabulary and the vast majority of the grammar exactly the sa=
I figure Danov=EBn will become the "formal" version of the language, while =
books (hypothetically, of course!) and speech most people will use Arov=EBn=
English would probably call Danov=EBn something like "strict Arov=EBn" and =
it its own name. "V=EBn", however, is not the very same thing as "language=
means any mutually understood system of communication, even the most simple=
the signals a baseball pitcher gives to his catcher could be considered a
"v=EBn", as could a single sound used by an animal species to communicate d=
food or whatnot -- so the difference is enough to warrant a different name.
> I read last Matt Pearson's post replying to Pablo's post 'Another Survey'
> (which by the way I misread and to which I replied beside the point.) I f=ind
> his few lines of first conlanging memories very interesting. Forgive me m=y
> indiscretion, but I would really like to know whether the young conlanger=s
> you all were were more absorbed in naming than in making sentences.*Naming*, without even a stitch of original grammar to hold the vocabulary
together; in fact I developed in school such a thorough dislike of grammar
classes, and hence of grammar, that I didn't start building my own syntax u=
I was sixteen -- which happened more or less out of dislike of grammar as w=
the syntax of the languages I knew seemed a horrible mess -- but what might=
language be like which had no weak patterns, no ambiguity, no meaningless
(like masculine, feminine, etc.) or unneccessary (like nouns, verbs, etc.)
classes of words...
> This should have been on the survey as well. Mea maxima culpa... I don't =mean
> to tax your patience. But an obvious question to ask is whether your inte=rest
> in inventing languages has some congruence with your learning or having
> learned another natural language. As for me, I went into languages becaus=e of
> a secret need to fuel the invention engine for Teonaht. Other people may =have
> gone into conlanging because they are bilingual. Mia's remark stirred my
> curiosity as well. How many of you conlangers know other languages, and w=hat
> is the extent of that knowledge? SallyEnglish, German, Swedish (fluently)
French, Spanish (can read and understand them, in any case)
Latin, ancient Greek, Gothic (some knowledge)
Hindi (can't really speak it, but know a lot of words from childhood)
> This brings up another very rich question (I said this would be my last, =but
> oops I lied)... and that is: are almost all of us conlangers because we c=aught
> the virus independently, or are there a growing number of conlangers who =have
> been inspired to create because they joined the list?Nope, when I was two I didn't yet know about Conlang :-)
It has, however, made me more motivated to work on my language now that I k=
there are others out there interested in that same sort of thing.
> My other question: how much was Tolkien an influence on your decision to
> invent a language?Not the decision to invent it, but my first contact with Tolkien came with
"The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" when I was still only seven, and t=
certainly influenced me. A number of words I started using after I heard t=
in Tolkien (e.g. "gard" came to sound like a good word for "country" to me,
and I still use it; it wasn't taken from Gothic, it was taken from Tolkien,=
took it from Gothic. "=EBlv" ("star") came from the Elves, who loved the s=
"find" ("sky", "heavens") came from Tolkien somehow as well, though I don't
remember where. etc.)
Regarding that "Myer-Briggs" question, wherever it arose:
Temperament type (according to that Internet test Tom Wier linked to):
Your Temperament is Rational : NT
Your variant temperament is Architect : INTP
Attentive, Introspective, Tough-minded
(seems accurate, especially the "architect" analogy)
There, now I hope I'm up to date on some of the lunacy I missed out on
during the summer :)
Below is a list I'm going to put somewhere on my web page illustrating the =
of forms a semantic word can take in Arov=EBn (Danov=EBn as well, except sl=
hacked as Danav=EBn used to look, to disambiguate modified words. Arov=EBn=
remain the "prettier" form of the language). I put a much shorter list lik=
this on my very first post about Danov=EBn when I joined CONLANG last sprin=
this one is longer and more accurate, as many of you will also have already
read through that post and perhaps even remember some of it :-)
There are, as a reminder, no classes of words corresponging to noun, verb,
adjective, adverb, but a semantic word may be used in any of those position=
depending on the particular sentence. To avoid confusion, the "passive"=20
(which I'd rather call the "inversion" of a semantic word, allowing one of
the objects of a "verb" to be used as the subject) has changed -- it is now
indicated by a prefix of alen' for 1st, aler' for 2nd, and alem' for third
object (the object suffixes being -en, -er, -em).
THE FORMS OF "LOR" ########################################################=
lor =3D someone (maybe even something) which is speaking, saying, communica=
lore =3D speaking, communicating; e.g. "v=EBdel lore" =3D=3D a woman who is=
lin loro =3D to speak; this refers to the definition of the word "lor" itse=
lorau =3D the degree to which someone can be said to be speaking
me'lor =3D the conception a person has of "speaking"
ame'lor =3D specifically the logical, reasonable idea a person has of "spea=
ome'lor =3D the intuitive and/or emotional impression a person has of "spea=
ce'lor =3D the whole network of ideas tied up with "lor" (degree depends up=
closeness of the relation)
ace'lor, oce'lor : [analogous to ame'- and ome'lor]
aya'lor =3D something positively associated with the idea of speaking
ana'lor =3D something negatively associated with the idea of speaking
alen'lor =3D something which is said
aler'lor =3D someone to whom something is said
lin alen'loro =3D to be said
lin aler'loro =3D to be spoken to
lorya =3D said; lorw=EF =3D will say; etc.
loryan =3D I said; loryas =3D he said; loryavyn =3D she said; etc.
loryavel =3D someone who said; lorw=EFvel =3D someone who will say; etc.
loryanel =3D everyone who said; lorw=EFnel =3D everyone who will say; etc.
ve'lor =3D someone (or even -thing) who is causing someone else to speak
lin ve'loro =3D to cause someone else to speak
* (direct transations discontinued after this point)
anve'lor : to cause someone else not to speak
... (any degree marker may be prefixed to ve')
va'lor : to cause to speak "more" (doesn't refer to what is spoken, but rat=
to "lorau", the degree of speech)
=EFva'lor : to cause to speak "less"
... (further forms indicating duration, degree of change, etc.) =20
=EBelnilor : to speak beautifully (=EBeln =3D beautiful, in an abstract sen=
=EBelnelor : to speak of beautiful things
g=EBl(i)lor : to speak, as a beautiful person (g=EBl =3D physically beautif=
g=EBlrelor : to speak to someone (or thing) beautiful
lor=EFel =3D speaker; lor=EFas =3D (male) speaker; lorwyn =3D (female) spea=
loroel =3D person who is characterized by speaking;
loroas =3D (male) person who "..."; loroin =3D (female) person who "...";=
loring =3D "place of speaking"
lor=EFen =3D "time of speaking"
* just as any intransitive word in Arov=EBn refers not to the general conce=
definition itself but to the specific concept it is anchored to, so it is=
the case with transitive words. For example, consider the following tw=
fy=EBl : golden-colored (actually, this isn't intransitive; few Danov=
are, but pretend it is)
haym : facial expression and other nonverbal communication; put another=
to express  (some information) to  (usually a person) with
body-language. Haym can be thought of as a sort of "subset" of =
since lor doesn't neccessarily imply verbal communication.
Now, when the word "fy=EBl" comes up in a sentence, you will know that it
not to the color of gold, but to something which is golden-colored.
Analogously, "haym" would mean not "facial expression", etc., nor would i=
mean "to communicate nonverbally", but rather would stand for a *person=
is communicating in such a manner. That person is called the "root" of
haym, and haym is said to be "anchored" to him/her. It's an unusual
grammatical pattern, but very simple and reasonable once you get used t=
When reading a Danov=EBn/Arov=EBn definition you also have to be used t=
fact that the definition is about *relationship itself*, i.e. the color=
and body language, not about their roots, although in an actual sentenc=
is the root that is referred to. Here I'll indicate definitions with a=
and direct translations (i.e. as if the word or words were picked strai=
out of a passage of Arov=EBn text) with a "=3D".
ANATOMY AND PHONOLOGY #####################################################=
(i.e. a ridiculously detailed account of Arov=EBn's phonetics)
Now that I've finally gotten around to learning the ASCII version of the
International Phonetic Alphabet, a new pronunciation guide -- with the IP=
symbols -- might be in order. My diacritics have changed (again), so the=
you have another reason. For anyone who doesn't know IPA yet, there is a
good introduction at:
I'm pretty new to IPA myself, so any comments are welcome.
The ten vowels:
a: [A] as in "yard" or German "Faden"
NEVER as in "and" [&] or Cora [@]
=E4: [A.] as in the British pronunciation of "lot"
Not to be confused with the German "=E4", which is basically my "=EB"=
e: a simple [E] as the "e" in "met"
Never pronounced as the "long e" [e]
=EB: [e] the pure "long e" as in German "Tee"
Never rounded off like the vowel in English "lane" [leIn]
(unless followed by a "y")
i: a simple [I] like the "short i" in "fit"
Never pronounced like the "i" in French "Nice" or German "Licht"
Definitely never like the "long i" dipthong as in "might" [mait]
=EF: [i] the "ee" sound as in "street"
(sometimes bent to [ei])
o: [o] a pure "long o" as in German "Lot"; like the sound in English "do=
but without any rounding.
=F6: [W] the o-e ligature, in its pure form like the "=F6" in German "l=
not [Y] like the "=F6" in German "sch=F6n" (if you care to make the
distinction). However, this vowel tends to be bent and rounded quite
a lot depending on where it appears in a word. There are recordings =
all these vowels on my web page if you want to figure out how to writ=
this phonetically ;-)
u: [u] the pure "oo" sound as in "loon"
Never [U] like the "oo" in "good" (I recently tried this sound out in
the language and didn't like it -- no more [U])
NEVER like the "u" in "ugly" [@].
=FC: [y] like the German "=FC" as in "=FCber"
Never the short variety as in "m=FCssen" (it's a different sound, tho=
I haven't seen a symbol for it; it's sort of a cross between an [y]
and an [U])
No, the "secondary" vowels are not derived from the "primary" vowels vi=
one neat oral shift, but I like the homogeneity of this new arrangement=
and I happen like the dieresis as well :-)
Dipthongs (and the ONLY dipthongs; all other combinations of vowels are
au: [au] like the "ow" in "how". This is the only dipthong formed only =
vowels (y isn't a "true" vowel because it can also be used as a conson=
at the beginning of a word)
ay: [ai] like the vowel sound in "fly"
ey and =EBy: [ei] like the "ay" in "may"; =EBy is drawn out a little lon=
oy: like the "oy" in "boy". Oi is not a dipthong.
Now for the twenty consonants, in the order in which they appear in my ne=
base-30 number system (the reasons for this order are explained in
excessive detail on my web page):
w: [w] the usual English approximant "w" as in "width"
l: [l] the alveolar approximant "l" as in "line"
y: [j] the velar approximant "y" as in "yellow"
r: in most positions a trilled [r] as in Spanish "rio" (however,
palato-alveolar rather than alveolar; a bit farther back in the mouth=
but in the following positions a velar fricative "r" (I don't know th=
proper symbol) like the one in German "tragen":
* after the alveolars d, t, and s, after c and after p
* whenever it is at the end of a word following a true vowel
(-yr is untrilled but not velar; a "fake r" :)
n: [n] like the "n" in "nitwit", but before a k it is pronounced
[N] (the "ng" nasal, like the one in "thing"; the digraph ng is also
m: [m] the usual "m" like the one in "Marvin"
v: [v] the ordinary "v" as in "very"
Never pronounced [f] as the "v" in German "vermissen"
z: [z] like the "z" in "zebra"
Never the [ts] affricate like the German "z" in "zerfleischen"
j: [dZ] like the "j" in "Jill" when it begins a word,
[dZ] or just [Z] (like the "z" in "azure" or the French "j" as in "je"=
when it follows a vowel.
b: [b] a commonplace "b" like the one in "bee"
Never pronounced as a bilabial fricative as in Spanish.
d: [d] like the "d" in "day", except when followed by -yl, when it goes =
[*] (the flapped "fish-hook r" like the one in Spanish "pero")
g: [g] always a hard "g" as in "garden"
Never pronounced [dZ] as the "g" in "carnage"
f: [f] an "f" like all others, as the "f" in "fort"
s: ALWAYS [s] like the "ss" in "mass", never [z] as in "bags"
x: [C] soft German "ch" as in "ich"; if you're in a bad mood you can eve=
pronounce final x's like the palatal "ch" in "Loch" [x]
c: [S], the English "sh" sound as in "shore"
Never as a [k] like the "k" in "kid" or the "ch" digraph [tS] as in
p: [p] an unremarkable "p" as in "park"
No fricatives allowed.
t: [t] the standard issue "t" as in "tear"
k: [k] the everyday "k" as in "kettle". Never silent, of course.
h: [h] the aspirate "h" as in "hair"
After a vowel it used to be pronounced like the x ([C] or [x]),
but the creation of that 30th letter has made this unneccessary.
*Now* a final h after a vowel is silent, and is used for foreign word=
ending in a vowel, such as "Seana --> Seanah or (Arov=EBnized) Canah"
and "Lene --> Leneh or L=EBneh" (ending vowels are taboo in Danov=EBn=
they interfere with the vowel syntactical labels and a few special ve=
So there you have it; I hope this last part didn't put you all to sleep (as=
nearly did me :)
Comments, and especially questions, are welcome as always.
_/_/ _/_/ _/_/_/_/ Joshua Shinavier =20
_/ _/ _/ Loorenstrasse 74, Zimmer B321=20
_/ _/ _/_/_/_/ CH-8053 Z=FCrich =20
_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ Switzerland =20
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