Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: conlangs as art (was: Re: Wikipedia:Verifiability - Mailing lists as sour...

From:Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>
Date:Friday, February 29, 2008, 19:49
On Fri, Feb 29, 2008 at 2:28 PM,  <MorphemeAddict@...> wrote:
> Someone recently mentioned how much Quenya and Galadriel's Song meant to him. > I wish to point out that a work *in* a conlang has a different artistic > merit from that of the conlang itself. They should not be confused.
In theory. But given that most works in conlangs[1] are written by the creators of conlangs, and are in some sense part of the overall work-of-art that is the conlang itself, it's hard to tease apart our appreciation of one from our appreciation of the other. How can we come to any just aesthetic judgement of a conlang when we haven't read any text in it? And how can we fully apreciate a text in a conlang without studying the phonology, grammar and semantics?
> I think the artistic merit of a conlang is given in its phonetics, lexicon, > morphology, syntax, and semantics. These are hard (if not impossible) to > appreciate from a short text, even a poem, in the language.
Indeed, and hard to compare with works of art in any other medium, since the criteria by which we judge them are so different (though perhaps pretty similar at a higher level of abstraction). At a high level, we can say that we like poems, pieces of music, and conlangs that "sound good" -- but what exactly we mean by "sounding good" is different for each medium. Or that we like novels, films, and conlang semantics, which are surprising and insightful, showing us connections and distinctions we hadn't before noticed; but the way narrative art vs. conlang lexica accomplish those tasks and the way we encounter the art and discover those qualities are very different. [1] -- Or maybe not; the zillions of words written in Esperanto and the at least hundreds of thousands of words written in the various other semisuccessful auxlangs probably outnumber the total corpora of all the one-person artlangs ever. But you know what I mean. -- Jim Henry