Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Conlanging contest / awards

From:Sai Emrys <sai@...>
Date:Saturday, January 26, 2008, 22:28
On Jan 26, 2008 9:47 AM, Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...> wrote:
> If the LCS establishes a set of annual conlang awards > (probably voted on in the early part of the year and > awarded/announced at the LCC, like the Hugo Awards > at Worldcon) then the winners of the award would > have a strong notability argument. > > I don't think the conlang awards should be focused > on works published in the last calendar year like the > Hugos, however. Most conlangs that were first made > public in the last year aren't complete enough to be > award-worthy yet; it usually takes several years > for a conlang to develop enough to be worthy of > admiration and imitation, and these days most > conlangers publish their work incrementally rather > than waiting until the conlang is "complete" to publish > anything. > > I would tentatively propose that any conlang be eligible > for the award(s), no matter when it was first published > or when the last updates to it were published, > unless it has already won an award. > > Or maybe there could be separate categories for > conlangs still under active development > and older conlangs that haven't been changed recently? > (The latter including conlangs by dead people, maybe.)
This has been proposed before, and personally I think it's a great idea (and fully agree with what you wrote - except that IMO only living conlangers should be eligible for awards, as our mission is to promote conlang*ing* primarily and so awards should be for people still able to do so; but here I am speaking just as another equal-power vote). It could be merged with another idea that's been proposed a couple times before: a conlanging contest. Suppose we do something like this: Once a year (at the LCC if possible, otherwise ad hoc), we announce a contest to do something conlangy. This could be any of a number of things; for example: * make a conlang according to specified criteria; * write a chapter or essay about conlanging; * write a large piece of work *in* a conlang you made; * make a novel writing system; etc. These would need to be submitted by some pre-LCC deadine (or if we skip a year with LCC, about 10 months after the contest is published). Entries would be judged based on specific criteria rubrics set out at the beginning of the contest by a predetermined panel of judges - with point scores e.g. for originality, depth/thoroughness, clarity of presentation, etc. For the 'make a conlang' contest, it would set out specific goals / framing to meet, e.g. concultural context, intended 'feel', necessary specs, etc as appropriate. There could of course be multiple contests per year - for example, an artlang, engelang, and weird-creole lang (which I see as one step meta to 'auxlang'), plus one of the more meta ones. The only concern on numbers is to have few enough to not take people from each others' potential contestants, and to do them slowly enough to have people fresh and ready to take on the next year's challenges. Simultaneously, we can have two conlanging awards as per your proposal (with votes and explanations for them written in by all community members, and carrying over to the next year) - one for "new" conlangs (with more emphasis on creativity & originality) and one for "old" ones (with more emphasis on depth, breadth, impact on / inspiration to others, etc). And possibly some surprise ad hoc awards for eg community service, best recent community project, etc. Eligibility would be any living conlanger who had not won that prize before and who is not directly participating in the awards process (to avoid COI). Prize would be announcement at the next LCC, a fancy certificate or plaque from the LCS explaining the award, publication if relevant, and any donations that people have sent it (eg books) for that purpose. One idea that has been floated as an extension of this is that we could attempt to enter into agreements with commercial companies needing original conlangs - primarily that means games, movies, novels, etc - to sponsor an extra category. Requirements would probably be more strict (e.g. be able to translate a set of relevant phrases; create a novel writing system to go with it; have a very specific feel; have backwards compatibility with previous work; etc) and judging would be done cooperatively by the company and LCS / conlang-community reps. Prize is the same (though it'd probably be a separate ad hoc category unto itself), plus a likely contract with the company to get the work actually used in commercial production. The benefits would be that conlangs seen publicly would be more likely to be well-done and fleshed out; conlangers could have at least one avenue by which to have their work very public (and profitable to boot); and the media companies would have at least one aspect of their product far more well developed than they could do in-house for relatively cheap, with the kind of depth that attracts and holds obsessive fans (which translates to sales). I think any media company would drool at the idea of having the next Klingon. (Suppose e.g. Starcraft had an all-Protoss-language interface, with a tutorial on the language in English (or whatever) to familiarize players? Sure, that'd appeal only to 1% of players, but they'd be a rabid 1%... plus consider the extra media coverage they'd get from just that. Compare to eg the worldwide media coverage given to schools and such that by accident solicited a Klingon translator...) What do y'all think? Ideas for what the thing should be called (nth Annual LCS Conlanging Competition?), and for what the first open contest should be for? Thanks, - Sai