Eftoihs: Was LeGuin
|From:||Sally Caves <scaves@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, January 11, 2003, 17:03|
----- Original Message -----
From: "Sally Caves" <scaves@...>
> I believe that Amman-Iar boasts something
> like ten thousand words, and David Bell has the glossary to prove it. If
> it's not David Bell, then I can't remember who it is with such a developed
> conlang (John Fisher's Elet Anta?). Tokana (also invented for aconculture
> that takes place in an alternate world located somewhere on the Pacific
> Coast) comes with an admirably detailed grammar, and another extensive
> vocabulary, and whose author, Professor Matt Pearson, has devoted years to
> its making.
Okay, I've slept on this. If I have given anyone the impression that
certain conlangs are "better" than others because they are more "developed,"
then please accept my apologies. There was no qualitative assessment
intended here. Only a philosophical one. Nor is there any shame in making
a conlang for a book and then stopping it, or trying out many different
structures that you don't go on to develop into gigantic proportions. So
before anybody else calls me a "classist," <G> bear in mind that my 1998
"Lunatic Survey" had a question I didn't word in quite the same way in this
package: "Do you prefer to stick with one conlang for a long time or do you
try on different conlangs like different clothes?" I think the clothes
metaphor was in there; I rather liked the idea of "wearing" a conlang for a
while, like building a little house around yourself. I also think I got
trounced for the comparison (shedding clothes and putting on new ones), but
this different approach fascinates me. There is, I feel, a fundamental (not
qualitative!) difference between the conlanger who works on one conlang for
a long time, and the conlanger who makes grammatical structures and
vocabularies for many different conlangs. I think it has to do with how one
plays with this experiment, what one's goals are, and curiosities--and
personality. It still remains mysterious. I can identify more, however,
with the one-conlang band. We've had many debates about what the word
"conlang" means, and it seems to encompass any aspect of constructed
In the meantime, there are so many newcomers, many of you the age when I was
really trying out my conlang wings (teens, early twenties). Things have
changed so much. I didn't have anything like this. I have to wonder how I
would have been influenced, encouraged, or intimidated by a list like this.
When I was putting T. together, the personal computer was completely new,
almost inaccessible, horrendously expensive, and there was of course no
Internet. I was alone.
I need, now, to listen to you guys, instead of posting, and to read through
all of your responses. I've read through some of them, and you've written
some amazing comments and insights. I might contact some of you privately
for more information. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this
with me and the rest of the list. Since you asked, Padraic, in your survey
response, my goal is to be able to say something at a conference in April on
Celtic literature and language (Berkeley) about how Celtic languages have
influenced the construction of some conlangs. Since I can't be Ursula Le
Guin (I always had hopes to be a novelist, and her work impressed me the
most), I must turn these creative forces in me to some academic use. That's
my specialty, my gift, the road I have chosen.
Sarah "Sally Caves"
Li takrem celil aippara tenuoid nomai edrim.
"The world sleeps in the bed of winter."