Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

For the new Sarah: New Survey: Celtic Conlangs (and other lunatic pursuits)

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Friday, January 10, 2003, 18:33
Sarah, parts II, IV, and V might appeal to you best.

Sally Caves
Eskkoat ol ai sendran, rohsan nuehra celyil takrem bomai nakuo.
"My shadow follows me, putting strange, new roses into the world."

----- Original Message -----
From: "Sally Caves" <scaves@...>
To: <CONLANG@...>
Sent: Sunday, January 05, 2003 3:10 PM
Subject: New Survey: Celtic Conlangs (and other lunatic pursuits)

> Vyko! My apologies for imposing another survey on you! It comes in five > parts, and repeats some of the questions I aired in my original "Lunatic > Survey" in 1998. I'm posting it again, though, given all the newcomers,
> because I have continuous new uses for it. In the first three parts of
> survey, I'm interested in gauging the degree to which Celtic languages
> been popular models among us language cobblers. Or unpopular models.
> questions, then, are designed not just for Celtic conlang buffs but for > those who avoid the "Celtic." Part of the reason I'm posting this survey
> that I'm talking at several conferences in the Spring about the influence
> Celtic on some language inventors (among other things about invented > languages). Given their difficulties, Celtic languages (along with > countless other languages!) are not often the models for IALs. These > features that make them difficult or unusual, though, may appeal
> to conlangers, not to mention their associations with a long-standing > British Isles/Northwestern European mythology that Tolkien drew upon > (Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian included), and which have so engaged > contemporary High Fantasy. So what feels like an arbitrary question has a > focus for me, and I would so appreciate your taking the time to answer
> or all of these questions. You can send your answers to me privately or > post them to the list. > > A REQUEST: IF YOU ARE NOT ANSWERING THE QUESTIONS OF THE SURVEY, BUT > RESPONDING INCIDENTALLY TO SOMETHING SOMEONE SAID, PLEASE RETITLE THE > SUBJECT HEADER! Firrimby! <G> You also don't have to answer all of these > questions. Answer the ones that are relevant or important to you. > > > PART I. FOR CELTIC CONLANGERS: > > Have you based your conlang(s) wholly or partially on a Celtic language? > If so, on which? or combined with which? > > What is your name and what do you call your conlang(s)? > > When did you start it/them? > > Are you still working with it/them or have you abandoned it or them? > > What Celtic features have you borrowed? What is the structure of your > language? Be specific. > > What innovations did you introduce? (new constructions, perhaps a new > script, etc.) > > What features of Celtic languages (or a particular Celtic language) > initially inspired or intrigued you? For example, Tolkien, as he
> it in "Welsh and English" was impressed by the beauty of a Welsh
> he saw on a building: Adeiladwyd 1887 ('built 1887'). He loved words like > wybren, so much more "mellifluous" than our borrowed word "sky." He was > likewise enthralled by Finnish and Hebrew. So he deliberately set out to > make his Elvish languages beautiful. Was this a draw for you as well in > choosing Celtic as a model? (I understand that T's Elvish languages are
> exclusively "Celtic." He has described them, however, as being > "European-like.") > > On the other hand, perhaps the Celtic structures, their VSO, their > paraphrastics, their initial mutations, their spelling conventions, their > general strangeness caught your fancy, not necessarily their "beauty" or > "romance." Comment? > > How many of you are also scholars of Celtic languages? Scholars of other > languages? > > How were you introduced to them? > > > PART II: INSPIRATION BY TOLKIEN (tangential to the questions on
> by Celtic languages): > > How many of you were inspired to invent a language because of your
> to Tolkien? > > How many of you based your conlang on one of Tolkien's languages, or your > conculture in Middle Earth? > > How many of you have a constructed world, and, if so, does it include some > of the races we associate with Celtic or Scandinavian mythology? (Elves, > Dwarves, medieval societies of humans, Faeries or Fays? Selkies?
> > How many of you were inspired to examine Welsh, Hebrew, or Finnish because > of your examination of Tolkien? > > How many of you were inspired to invent a conlang or a conculture because
> some influence OTHER than Tolkien? > > How many of you were inspired to invent a language because you engage in > Roll-Playing Games? > > How many of you were inspired to invent a language because you heard of
> listserv? > > How many of you are members of the Mythopoeic Society, or the Society for > Creative Anachronism, or other High Fantasy Groups? > > > PART III: NON-CELTIC CONLANGERS: > > In the discussions I've witnessed on Conlang in almost five years, I've > observed that many conlangers have deliberately avoided "Tolkienesque" > languages, and even Indo-European languages as models for conlangs, and > especially the "Celtic." Why? Boring? Overdone? Trite? Too pretty? > Too Western? Or none of the above--just more interested in something
> <G> I don't want to give the impression that I think we conlang only > because of Tolkien, and that anything we invent has to be INSPIRED BY or a > DEPARTURE from the "Great One"; but in this question I'm eager to see some > eschewal of or at least indifference towards the Tolkien, the "Celtic," > and/or even the Indo-European model. > > What is your name and what do you call your conlang? > > So what is unappealing about the Indo-European model for conlanging? Or > Tolkien's Elvish? > > How did you start conlanging? What was your initial inspiration? > > Did you know about Tolkien's inventions? Read the books, the appendices? > etc. Or not? > > What language types have you modeled your language(s) after? > > What features of these languages or language types appeal to you? > > Some of you, and I'm thinking in particular of a conversation I had with
> Rosta, are not interested in producing a language that is > "mellifluous"--that "mellifluousness" is a thing to be avoided in your > conlang and especially as it is associated with Tolkien's Elvish or
> of Elvish. Is this so? Why? > > For how many of you, though, is beauty and/or efficiency a factor in your > language? Or elegance? How would you define these terms? > > For how many of you is the "exotic" a desired feature of your invented > language? > > How many of you invent a non-human language? And if so, how alien are its > sounds and constructions? > > Do you prefer inventing an a posteriori language or an a priori language? > In other words, how many of you invent a language wherein you base it > closely on a natural language (Arabic, Tagalog) or a combination of > languages, and how many others of you invent a language from, well,
> (if that can be done.) > > How many of you invent a language based on a particular type (Ergative, > Accusative, Trigger, etc.)? > > To what degree is difficulty and irregularity of language important to you > in your conlang? what natural language eccentricities (or efficiencies)
> you like and try to reproduce? > > To what degree is accessibility, efficiency, and regularity important to > your conlang? What natural language "faults" are you correcting? > > How many of you invent logical languages? > > How many of you invent IALs? > > How many of you have invented non-Tolkienesque or non European concultures > and what are they like? > > How many of you started out by pulling words out of the air, originally? > How many of you have chosen a more methodic form of vocabulary building? > I.e., how have you gone about setting up the framework for your words and > your grammar? > (I started out pulling words out of the air.) > > > PART IV: THE LUNATIC SURVEY REVISITED (because we are all "fous du > langage," according to Yaguello and other French critics. > > Why do you conlang? Who will speak it? Read it? What's the point?
> the beauty? what's the intellectual draw? > > To what would you compare a conlang? Is it a miniature? Is it a model?
> it a tapestry? Is it an act of obsession and madness? <G> Or is it a > communicable language? > > If it is a communicable language, to whom do you speak it? > > To what extent is the opacity or "alterity" of your language something
> pleases you? In other words, the sounds and the script have, even for
> a quality of being foreign, and this delights. > Comment? (I know that when I make maps of cities, and imagine myself in > them, they delight me because they are both familiar and foreign at the
> time.) > > This is a difficult question: how is it that a word sounds "right" to
> We recently discussed this. To what extent are you finding righter,
> words for the world in your conlang? (Perhaps unanswerable). > > How many of you are fictive map-makers, designers of fictive floor plans, > fictive yachts, fictive star-ships, world-builders, calligraphers, > cartoonists, etc.? (These pursuits have been associated with conlanging.
> 've done most of them.) > > How many of you have a special script in your conlang? > > If you use Roman script, how recognizably "phonetic" is your writing
> In other words, do you use unconventional letters to represent sounds? > Why? > > This is a question Heather asked, but I also asked it four years ago: how > many of you write in your language? What do you write? > > How many of you sing in your language and have invented songs for that > purpose? > > How many of you started conlanging when you were a teenager and have stuck > to the same language over many years? Why? > > How many of you change conlangs regularly, developing structures for many > languages but not sticking with any one for very long? Why? > > For how many of you does your language function as a spiritual instrument? > This is a deeply personal question--let me give you an example. When I > first started inventing "Tayonian" in my early teens, what I wrote were > spells and prayers. They had a talismanic quality. Does that ring a bell > for anybody? > > For how many of you was your language at least at one stage of its making > meant to fool others, or to write secret diaries? (Me, waving my hand). > > How many of you can speak your language, at least to yourself and your
> child? spouse? <G> To what extent? > > How many of you have put up websites where your language can be showcased? > If so, what is the website address? > > How many of you have made soundbytes of your language so the rest of us
> hear it? If so, give the site. > > How many of you are comfortable talking to your boss, your professors,
> family members about this pursuit? How many of you have received > condescending or other negative responses to your disclosure? (I have.)
> even been called "pathological"? > > If this attitude is changing, to what do you attribute the change? (On
> Year's Eve, a delightful, elderly gentleman could not understand why I
> be interested in this pursuit. What purpose could it serve?) > > For how many of you is the damning statement "better to learn real
> than invent private ones" a criticism you have encountered? What would be > your response to such a remark? > > > PART V: GENERAL DEMOGRAPHICS: > > What is your age (optional--and can be general: 30-40, for instance). > > What is your profession or your station in life (i.e., if you are a
> what is your MAJOR; if a middle or high-school student, what is your > intended major)? > > What is your gender? > > What is your nationality and your native language? > > What natural languages do you speak or have studied? > > How many of you have chosen a profession in linguistics because of your > interest in inventing languages? Or plan a profession in linguistics? > > What have you learned from conlanging? > > What texts on language and linguistics have you consulted to help invent > your language? > > Do you know of anyone who has not connected with the Internet or the List > who has invented a language? (I'm firmly convinced that "conlanging" has > been a private pursuit for many people long before the list started, but > that the list has increased its visibility as an art). > > Can you give me a short sample of your language with interlinear
> and translation? > > Would you object to my mentioning your conlang/and or your name in my
> I will be discreet about some of the more personal questions you answered. > > > Ev send poto, yry poy poy firrimby! > > Sally Caves > > Eskkoat ol ai sendran, rohsan nuehra celyil takrem bomai nakuo. > "My shadow follows me, putting strange, new roses into the world." > > > >


Sylvia Sotomayor <kelen@...>New Survey: Celtic Conlangs (and other lunatic pursuits)