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The prodigal returns!

From:Tim Smith <timsmith@...>
Date:Saturday, March 11, 2000, 22:57
Hello, everybody!  I'm back, after a much longer absence than I anticipated
when I reluctantly sent my "set conlang nomail" message last summer.  At
that time, I was much too busy to deal with the volume of mail that was
coming in every day from the list.  (Each decision to delete a message
unread was painful; somehow it seemed easier to just stop getting them at
all.)  I'm still busy, but not quite as much so, and I found that I was
starting to miss the constant intellectual stimulation, not to mention the
sense of being in touch with a community of kindred spirits.  (And the
volume seems to have reverted to a more manageable level.)

I haven't gotten away from conlanging in the interim.  I have several
conlang ideas that I'm more or less actively working on, and lots more in
the background.  I keep thinking that I'd like to choose one and develop it
enough to put a reference grammar on the web, but I can't decide which one.
 I'll fall in love with one for about a week, and then lose interest when
some new idea (or, more often, some new variation on an old idea, or some
new way to combine two old ideas) suddenly strikes me as utterly

However, I do seem to be moving in certain general directions rather than
just running in circles.  For one thing, I find myself increasingly
thinking about what a given language is going to _sound_ like, where I used
to be almost exclusively interested in abstract grammars.  I also seem to
be getting more into world-building in general -- something that I used to
be heavily into when I was younger, but gradually I became more focused on
languages and less on other aspects of imagined cultures.  With a couple of
exceptions, my conlangs don't have concultures to go with them; I have no
idea who their speakers might be.  But now I also have two concultures that
I'd like to provide with languages.  But none of my existing conlang ideas
strikes me as "obviously" the "right" language for either of these
cultures.  This is complicated by the fact that I see both cultures as
diglossic, each with a "high" literary/ritual language and an everyday
vernacular coexisting in a more or less stable equilibrium.  (In fact, one
of them is really triglossic, with a "high" language used by the ruling
class, a lot of mutually incomprehensible vernaculars used by the ordinary
people, and a lingua franca (probably a creole whose lexical source is the
high language) used by everybody for intergroup communication -- more or
less like the situation in Papua New Guinea, where those roles are filled
respectively by English, a thousand or so indigenous languages, and Tok

Anyway, enough rambling for now.  It's good to be back!

- Tim