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conlangs and finishedness (was: RE: [CONLANG] Lighting Some Flames: Towards conlang artistry

From:And Rosta <a-rosta@...>
Date:Monday, May 6, 2002, 14:46
John Cowan:
> Arnt Richard Johansen scripsit: > > > Now, criticising an unfinished work of art is an entirely different matter > > than criticising a finished work of art. If one were to write a critique > > of an unfinished work of art, saying that this and that should have been > > done different, one is in a sense interfering with the artist's right to > > perform his art the way he or she sees fit. > > IMHO there is no such thing as a "finished" work of art, merely > works that their creators have ceased to work on. To the creator, > there is always room for improvement, unless he/she is a Mozart.
[I can't remember whether I've posted this response previously...] It is useful to separate "finished" into "polished" and "functionally complete". A rough cut of a film is unpolished but functionally complete; a film of which only half the scenes have been shot is functionally incomplete. The distinction is useful too with conlangs, since any conlang like any work of art will always be susceptible to further polishing, while conlangs differ in how functionally complete they are, which can be gauged by how easy it is to translate into or compose in the conlang -- how straitened one feels by the existing resources of the conlang, and the extent to which those strictures would be ameliorated by further work on developing the conlang. On which point, I would be interested to hear which *a priori* conlangs out there are functionally complete, ss functionally complete as a natlang. (Maybe Peter could construct one of his surveys around this question -- shall I formulate one?) --And.