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Re: CHAT: Coming out of the conlang closet

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Saturday, June 1, 2002, 3:33
Quoting Andreas Johansson <and_yo@...>:

> What nice people you're surrounded by. I've been declared insane by > classmates bescause I willingly read books in my spare times. And what I > was reading back then was mostly Biggles books etc (plus of course > history and popular books on quantum mechanics - I never claimed I > was average).
I find that even in the department, where one might expect people to be broad-minded, people find it really, really odd that I read books not about linguistics. But, I happen to find Hong Xiuquan and Antigonos Monophthalmos fascinating characters, so I never let them bother me.
> And even at Uni (where I study Technical Physics and Electrotechnics with > some German courses) I've got some really strange looks for saying that > I've learnt some phonology at home for my own entertainment. Telling > people that I invent languages does not, on the whole, seem to be a > course of action that would enhance my social status.
I just had another "Conlanging moment" today. I was driving with my professor Gunnar Hansson, his wife, and some classmates up to Northwestern University to hear a talk on Iterativity and Optionality in Optimality Theory (it turned out to be an hour-and-a-half long diatribe against OT). A fellow student complained light-heartedly that I never check out the links she sends me, and I retorted that with 50 some-odd emails a day, at least, I don't usually have the time to check all sites all the time. This, naturally, required me to explain what the Conlang list is, and who posts to it. It was met mostly with silence, but more in the sense that they were faced with something they had rarely or never contemplated before. Others in the department, though, definitely see Conlanging as odd or a waste of time, perhaps because it's a threat to their view of languages as objects purely of study and of contemplation, not as tools of creativity as we here mostly do. ===================================================================== Thomas Wier "...koruphàs hetéras hetére:isi prosápto:n / Dept. of Linguistics mú:tho:n mè: teléein atrapòn mían..." University of Chicago "To join together diverse peaks of thought / 1010 E. 59th Street and not complete one road that has no turn" Chicago, IL 60637 Empedocles, _On Nature_, on speculative thinkers


BP Jonsson <bpj@...>