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Re: Lighting Some Flames: Towards conlang artistry

From:Dirk Elzinga <dirk_elzinga@...>
Date:Tuesday, March 12, 2002, 17:47

Jesse's comments were certainly provocative, as were the responses
(Patrick in particular seemed unhappy with the idea, to put it
mildly). I thank Jesse for raising the issue of the lack of critical
responses to each other's efforts, though I disagree with the method
he proposes.

I think we have already separated ourselves into "schools". For
example, there seem to be lots of Celtic/Romance conlangs around
here. Now I don't care for Celtic/Romance conlangs, however ingenious
their construction or comprehensive their documentation. So I already
acknowledge such a "school". I don't need a "Celtic/Romance Conlang
Manifesto" to define it for me to know that I'm just not interested.

There also seems to be a "Native American Conlang School". I suppose
I belong to this one. I'm not interested in publishing a list of
principles for my "school" or try to define my own language
construction aesthetic, and I certainly won't feel bound by anyone's
critiques of my project. While it hasn't been my personal experience,
it's clear to me that such critiques could be hurtful and engender
hard feelings (especially if you want to tell me why
Tepa/Miapimoquitch "sucks").

If conlanging is an art (a proposition which I really doubt), the
worth of its individual works will become obvious in the coming
generations with or without our critiques of them. There is no phrase
which inspires more cynicism in me than "instant classic"; let the
ravages of time and a fickle public decide what becomes a classic --
in music, literature, the visual arts, and yes, in constructed

Dirk Elzinga        

Man deth swa he byth thonne he mot swa he wile.
'A man does as he is when he can do what he wants.'

- Old English Proverb