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Unnatural auxlangs (was Re: Fictional auxlangs as artlangs (was Re: Poll))

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Tuesday, December 16, 2008, 19:51

On Tue, 16 Dec 2008 12:31:13 +0000, R A Brown wrote:

> Philip Newton wrote: > [...] > > Heh. Wasn't Klingon even specifically designed to be "unnatural" from > > the point of view of "common" Earth languages? (For example, in having > > odd gaps in its phoneme grid, and an unusual word order; possibly > > other things, too.)
Exactly. The result is, in my opinion, just a batch of ugly hackwork and not a believable alien language. The camel-caps orthography doesn't really make it much worse than it already is :)
> So was Loglan and, hence, Lojban :) > > James Cooke Brown's wanted to create a language that would be > _different_ from "common" earth languages! The idea was to see if a > language with a different structure from normal natlangs would influence > thought (which is what the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis says it should do) - > so he choose clausal form logic as a model.
Indeed. In a post to the Zompist Bulletin Board in a thread about "most difficult languages" I mentioned this unnaturalness of Loglan/Lojban causing difficulty of learning it, and even questioned its languagehood :) I mean, language and formal logic do not serve the same purpose - language is not about making propositions which can be proven or disproven by formal means, it is about communicating ideas in the broadest sense. And what regards the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, how does one test it even with a bizarre unnatural language like Loglan? Have children grow up in a Loglan-only environment? Hardly practical, and don't even begin with the ethical problems such an experiment entails. (I don't believe in the Sapir- Whorf hypothesis, anyway.) Transhumanists, however, have no such ethical qualms, and many of them actually support Lojban, I have heard.
> Nevertheless, despite its 'innaturalness' many people do seriously > propose Lojban as an auxlang. It seems unnaturalness is not per_se a > hindrance to the advocacy of a language as an auxlang. Indeed, SolReSol, > which had quite a vogue at one time, doesn't exactly conform to the > 'natural' mold :)
Also the 17th-century (and later) "philosophical" taxonomic conlangs, which were blatantly unnaturalistic and nevertheless intended as auxlangs. Some people just desperately try to fix "bugs" of language that actually are features and aren't broken at all. ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf