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juvenalia (was: Fictional auxlangs as artlangs)

From:R A Brown <ray@...>
Date:Tuesday, December 16, 2008, 7:35
deinx nxtxr wrote:
>> [] On Behalf Of R A Brown > >>> .... was never codified on paper. >> All mine were :) > > My interest in conlanging started when I first encountered Esperanto > back around 1980-1981.
My first attempt was way back in 1949. I had found two French text books with _loads_ of grammar in them (they had belonged to my mother when she was at school - I still have them), and I had discovered an etymological dictionary of English. The result was IIRC basically Saxon root words with frenchified endings. I have no idea what the orthography or phonology was like and I think any chance of my finding my notes from way back then is well nigh zilch.
> The idea of constructing a language appealed > to me and I immediately came up with "improvements" to E-o that > could be considered my first attempts to make a language though it > was little more than a relexified and rephonemized E-o.
It was about a year later that I discovered Esperanto & it did tend to color my earlier conlangs from then on. But I've found in a 1952 diary that for a week in March I made entries in some strange conlang who name has a horrible ink-blot over it :( (In those days I used a fountain pen, not a ball-point). But about the only concession I see to e-o is that 'the' = _la_ and a lot of words ending in -o. The rest is quite different. There is definitely no accusative case (Why did I bring it back in 1953!), and the past tense of verbs seems to made in -ado. Altho some of it is not entirely comprehensible (I provided no documentation of the language), it is clear that: yez vahado = I went; yez vedado = I saw (It might, of course, be that _yez_ is an auxiliary verb and that the -ado words are past participles). I see that by that time I had picked up s-cedilla from Turkish to represent /S/, as 'television' is _televişono_. It also has _ç_ which I assume is /tS/ in _açavo_ = eighth. But _c_ appears to be /k/ rather than /ts/ as 'choir' is definitely _coro_. [snip] [Re Voldapeko - conlang of January 1953]
>> The improvements? I got rid of the nasty /x/ sound, and gave the >> language the 'nice easy' English sounds of /T/, /D/ and /3/ - > written >> |þ, ð, ö| respectively. Oh, the folly of youth! > > Interesting because my first changes to E-o were similar. I never > removed any phonemes so I kept the /x/
It wasn't in English, so it must be a difficult sound and had to go ;)
> but it was orthographically > changed to <c>. < c c g j h s u > became < ts tš dž ž c š w >.
Kept most of the E-o orthography, with the addition of the above three letters, but /j/ was written _y_ and /Z/ as _ŷ_ ! I did not retain E-o's u-breve, but I do not appear to have substituted _w_ for it (tho I suspect I merely forgot to record that).
> added /T/ and /D/ using edh and thorn as you did. I took it furhter > into a Germanic direction with the addition of front vowels like / { > y 9 / which were spelled < æ/ä y œ/ö >.
Not English sounds - so Voldapeko didn't have them! My _ö_ was decidedly _unrounded_, lie the way we non-rhotics say the _ur_ in _hurt_.
> I also loaded the lexicon > with a lot of Low-Germanic words
The name 'Voldapeko' would suggest some Germanic influence, but little vocabulary I seem to have recorded, the vocab seems fairly eclectic. The numbers 1 to 10 were: ayn, du, tri, tar, pen, hekþ, hep, ok, nuv, dek (some Greek influence creeping in, methinks); 100 = ek; 1000 = duzen (vaguely Germanic); 1 000 000 = milyon. What an ugly duckling!
> and changed most of the suffixes > likewise so that adjectives were marked with <-ik> rather than <-a>,
I remained faithful to Zamenhof's -a :) [snip] I've found some entries in January 1954 in a distinctly different conlang. This one is clearly influenced by Novial, e.g. passive is formed with _bli_ (bli vince = was conquered), and infinitives are made with _tu_ (e.g. tu vide = to see), the definite article is _el_ (Now what gave me that idea :) The vocabulary seems to decidedly Romanic with the odd bit of Greek, e.g. _kon pan di el korde_ = with all of the heart (Ach y fi! - fancy imitating that peculiar English use of a 'partitive' with _all_ !!). [snip]
>>> Sure, it isn't always easy. Often you have things in >>> your project where you don't know whether you should >>> change them or not. >> Very true - and asking other conlangers doesn't always help as > advice >> from different individuals tend to be contradictory - but that's > the fun >> of conlanging. Heck - if it was easy, it would be boring, wouldn't > it! > > Which is why I like to make auxlangs. There's a challenge to making > something that has to fit within the mold of being useful rather > than just making up *whatever*.
Surely properly crafted artlangs are not "just making up *whatever*" - and my juvenile _auxlangs_ indeed seem more "just making up *whatever*". Surely Tolkien's many notes make it clear that there are just as many problems in properly crafting an artlang. It is because I admire craftsmanship that....... [snip]
>> I remember several years back some auxlanger asked on *this* list > for >> our top three (or was 10?) conlang candidates to serve as a global > >> auxlang. The request annoyed me, as I thought it inappropriate for > this >> list, and made sure none of my candidates were any of those that > had >> actually been designed by their authors as auxlangs. IIRC my >> top three were: Quenya, Tepa, Kinya :)
It seems to me that the authors of these languages did _not_ 'just make up whatever', but did work away at problems in order to produce a coherent, consistent and well-crafted artlang. There are many other examples one could give (e.g. Tokana, Teonaht, Kelen come to mind). -- Ray ================================== ================================== Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora. [William of Ockham]


Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>juvenalia