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
> 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;
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
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
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
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?