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Constructive linguistics--Sally's questions

From:Jim Grossmann <jimg4732@...>
Date:Tuesday, February 22, 2005, 5:56
Hi, Sally,

1.	I only have time to check up on the conlanging list once in a great
while.  I've been sick for a week, but getting better, so I've spent part of
my time revisiting this list.

My first "Constructive Linguistics" post was in response to a message I
blundered into this message--, Thomas
Wier, posted on 2-1-05.  I thought it was a nice thread so I decided to pick
it up.

2.	I mentioned the fact that conlangs can't be used to test the Whorf-Sapir
hypothesis, not because the latter has any importance, but because "testing
the Whorf-Sapir hypothesis" has, alas, been cited as a practical application
of conlanging in some of the essays & blurbs on conlanging that I've read.
>sigh< I don't remember which ones...maybe that's just as well.
I hope you post more about the interest that philosophers and psychologists have developed in conlangs. If you've done so already, I'll try to catch up. 3. Books like "Search for the Perfect Language" don't just have small audiences; they also represent a number of titles that can be counted on the fingers. These were counterexamples to my claim, yes, but too rare to demolish my claim. However, the fact that conlangers do reach each other's stuff after all *does* demolish my claim, so it doesn't matter. 4. Virtual interlocutors for promoting fluency in one's own conlang. That vision knocks my socks off. Really. Can't wait. 5. You're right--certain conlangers do produce languages that are as strictly naturalistic as their authors in general. But conlanging *as a whole* is not constrained in this way. Naturalism is an option, not a requirement, across the community as a whole. At the time I pointed this out, I was under the impression that model railroads were constrained by tradition to being naturalistic depictions of railroads. I thought that this was relevant to the disanalogy between model languages and model railroads--that the con-railways *had to* be made naturalistically. That was before Dave pointed out that some model railroaders do without the scenary and detailing. I wonder if enough people do that to demolish the generalization entirely. 6. Maybe I should re-appraise conlanging. I've been thinking of it as a craft, but if analogies like painting fit better than analogies like model railroad building, well... * * * I'll probably stick with this thread for as long as it lasts, but after that, I'll have to return to the world of working, loving my partner, writing, and doing my own conlanging, so I'll disappear again for a while. Will check to see if Lunatic Survey 2005 appears in the coming weeks, though. Jim


Sally Caves <scaves@...>Constructive: Jim and David, and date of survey