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collaborators sought to give birth to living artlang

From:Brett Williams <mungojelly@...>
Date:Friday, January 30, 2009, 3:03
     Saluton, toki, coi, hello, etc., O conlangers of the world!
I am seeking collaborators for a new conlang I'm working on.  The
working name of my new language is qww'xzx.  It is intended as a
living artlang, so who I am looking for is people interested in
seeing their creation take life as something unexpected.
     In my vision, qww'xzx is a language created and learned one
letter at a time.  It is laid out on the Qwerty keyboard:
     After " ' " (apostrophe), which shows the joints where words
are made from roots, and " ; " (semicolon), which is the main
punctuation mark, the first words are made from "l", then "k".
     Next, words which use "j" are added, then "h", etc, across
the home row.  This forms nine lessons or levels, -l through -a,
which are the foundation of the language.
     After the home row is completed, there is a schism.  One
group goes on to develop the bottom row, beginning with "m" and
heading across to "z".  (I intend to join this group myself.)
The other group develops the top row, beginning with "p" and
finally reaching "q".
     The name I have created for the language, qww'xzx, is
formed from a root "xzx" which will be invented by the bottom
row group, and a root "qww" which will be invented by the
group which does the top row.  Only once both groups have made
it to their last level and reunited (like an Exquisite Corpse)
will the language's name be given its full sound and meaning.
     I have thought of a few jobs for which I humbly hope to
find conlangers with more experience, skill and/or talent than
myself, to help develop my vision:

     A sound for the language.  Because of how the language
progresses across the Qwerty home row letter by letter, the
sounds of the letters could perhaps be taught one by one in
each level, but they can't have the ordinary sounds, of course,
as there aren't any vowels (except perhaps "l") until you get
to the -a level.  (A more complicated or irregular system than
just one letter one sound would be fine with me too.)
     I'm not very expert at phonetics, but I'll be happy to
study carefully whatever you come up with, make recordings for
you to criticize and then correct myself, etc.  However, in the
long run, because this is meant to be a living language, you
should accept that how it is eventually spoken may be different
than exactly how you imagined it.  IOW I want people who will
teach, not preach, please. :)

     A script for the language.  I would like to write to
myself in a paper journal, and perhaps someday to write
letters.  A beautiful script would also help with artistic
applications of the language.  One request I have is that I'd
like it to be possible to write the script both left-to-right
and right-to-left, so you can go back and forth.  I've always
wanted to write like that.

     A grammar for the language.  I'd be happy to do my best at
any sort of grammar you'd like to come up with.  I've been
intentionally staying away from thinking about the grammar of
the language, so that you have a clean canvas.  I came up with
there being roots that are connected with apostrophes, but I
haven't been thinking specifically yet about whether those are
affixes or compound words or what, and even that is up for
debate if you'd like.
     Unlike the sounds and script, the grammar of the language
isn't automatically tied to the letter-by-letter progression
people go through learning qww'xzx, so we'll have to think
about how and when to teach what concepts.  It's possible you
could organize the basic grammar into levels corresponding with
the nine home row levels -l through -a, or we could teach it
in a different parallel track.
     And again, while I'm willing to study and correct myself,
you shouldn't expect that the grammar that emerges will be
exactly the one that you invented.  I'd like for this to be a
low-stress conlang, where people don't feel inhibited to speak.
But you can always keep directing gently, and I'll help bend
the language toward the new ways that you invent.

     If you're interested in taking on any of those three
tasks, or if you have an idea for another perspective or
project (intonation? gestures?), I welcome you to a seed group
which I have created:

     Even if you'd just like to learn the language, you are
welcome, although there might not be much to learn at first,
until it gets put together. :)
     There will also be plenty of work for everyone in
inventing, clarifying and deepening the meanings of the roots.

     My vision is that qww'xzx will be easy to learn and teach
because of the way it is structured, and also that it will be
open enough to various perspectives and ideas that it can fold
into itself the wrinkles of a living language's history.
     Thank you for your time and attention.  Even if you
don't join more actively in this project, I hope that it will
inspire you in your own conlanging work, by adding another
voice to our unfolding symphony of unique diverse explorations
of human language.

     I'll try to answer any questions here, or you can write to
me privately at: