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Re: Conlanging with constraints

From:R A Brown <ray@...>
Date:Monday, February 18, 2008, 10:48
Sai Emrys wrote:
> Some further questions for musing-in-principle or specific examples: > > What makes a constraint "arbitrary"?
I guess if there is no clear reason for the constraint other than the apparent whim of the language constructor, one might term it 'arbitrary'. Or if there are two or more plausible ways in which a particular problem could be solved and the constructor picks one of them, offering no cogent reason why s/he chose that one instead of other possibilities.
> To what degree have you used > arbitrary constraints,
Arguably the constraints imposed on TAKE are somewhat arbitrary. Who knows how an alternate history might really work out in some parallel universe?
> why,
To give some sort of plausible scenario in which an auxlang which was "Greek without inflexions" might have been devised - but also to keep the alternate history not too far removed from that of our world (simply to make life easier!).
> and with what results?
The main one is that anythings which is Latin or Romance derived has to be ignored.
> Is imposing > arbitrary constraints on your conlanging helpful, temporarily helpful, > or just a hindrance?
I felt some sort of pseudo-historic constraints were necessary to give a plausible scenario. They are helpful in that the scenario is established. They have not IMO proved a hindrance. I do not consider the constraints on Piashi to be arbitrary as IMO they follow from the basic objectives of the language. The constraints on my experimental loglang are inherited from Jeff Prothero's 'Plan B' (whether the restraints he imposed are arbitrary or not is another matter).
> What might be some interesting constraints to use? E.g. for a novice > conlanger, for instructional purposes, or for creating something new?
I'll pass on this one - I have no doubt others will make suggestions :)
> What constraints would be *over*constraining? E.g. resulting in a lack > of area remaining within which to be creative; resulting in something > that violates "actual" universals of language hard enough to not be > usable by humans; etc?
Quite possibly - and to create a language to test the violation of some actual 'universals' is one good reason IMO to create a language. But I see no evidence that such constraints result in a lack of creativity. For example, to make a language stack-based is clearly a restraint and is likely to produce something not (easily) usable by humans; however, it did not stop Jeffrey Henning showing creativity with Fith.
> - Sai > > P.S. On Feb 17, 2008 11:54 AM, R A Brown <ray@...> wrote: > (sig) >> Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitudinem. > > Any reason for this not being 'necessitatem'?
Answered in a separate email. -- Ray ================================== ==================================