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Re: CHAT: Conlanging has the Hacker nature? (was Re: CHAT: music // was Leaf script)

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Monday, August 30, 2004, 4:10
Paul Bennett wrote:
> On Sun, 29 Aug 2004 15:59:21 +0930, Adrian Morgan (aka Flesh-eating > Dragon) <dragon@...> wrote: > >> B. Garcia wrote: >> >>> I chose the lyrics in my sig because i thought they related well to >>> Conlanging and language in general :) >> >> >> I can well imagine that music might be a popular passtime among list >> members (simply because minds that are simultaneously creative and >> analytical are probably likely to be inclined that way).
There's also the connection with sound: most of the languages we're concerned with (with notable exceptions) are modeled after spoken languages, and music by definition is organized sound.
> Interestingly, you've nailed the much more verbose description by Eric S > Raymond of what makes a truly great computer programmer/hacker. Also > listed among the traits are a tendency to be more liberal in sexual > attitudes, a disregard for rules that get in the way of doing fun work, a > love of spicy food, an interest in the martial arts, an appreciation of > word-play, and a feeling that the line between work and play can be > blurry. There are more, here:
Hmm, sounds like a pretty exact description of a typical Zireen! That's an interesting way to put it: "a disregard for rules that get in the way of doing fun work". It's not the rules in general that are bad, just the pointless ones.
> > > I wonder how many of ESR's "hacker" traits tend to bleed over into > conlangers? I suspect there's a fair overlap (our own Master Of The > Instrumentality is a clear example of someone who is well established in > both camps). Perhaps conlangers can be described as hackers of the > linguistic realm? > > Hmmm. > > Pop quiz: Does the above-linked protrait of J Random Hacker strike very > many chords within you? Which ones?
Not surprisingly, since I'm a programmer in the game industry (which tends to attract a lot of hacker types), there's a pretty good degree of similarity with many of the comments. I do in fact subscribe to _Scientific American_, wear jeans and T-shirts, enjoy spicy food, and have shelves and shelves of books; I tend to think that I'm better at writing than speaking; I don't have much interest in sports, especially team sports; I let nature do the car washing for me. I could go on and on with the similiarities. But unlike a lot of people I've known, I don't hate Ewoks, possibly because I like listening to them speak their language (even if I can't understand a word of it). But now that I'm going over the hacker portrait in more detail, it looks more and more like a portrait of a typical Zireen, even down to the varied sexual habits and occasional use of psychedelic drugs. There are certainly some differences: Zireen eat large quantities of insects, and don't in general have any difficulty in person-to-person communication or the ability to identify emotionally with others. That's probably the biggest difference between Zireen and hackers; Zireen are especially skilled at reading the emotions of others (including animals). But the hacker personality (as described) does in general seem to be a good fit with the Zireen. They have a general fascination with martial arts and enjoy many of the same kinds of physical activities associated with hackers: caving, rock climbing, scuba diving, and other such things. Their politics tend to be anti-authoritarian and they don't have anything like organized religion. And I really ought to be writing more about their languages, but time has been in short supply lately. I haven't done anything new since that little bit of Yasaro back in June.