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A DISTURBING proposal! (was Re: Personal langs and converse ofaux)

From:J Matthew Pearson <pearson@...>
Date:Wednesday, February 7, 2001, 1:04
Jörg Rhiemeier wrote:

> Brian Phillips <deepbluehalo@...> writes: > > > The PPC to me would be a "anti-IAL" in that it would have similarities to > > natlangs, but it's designed not to be easy for native speakers of those > > languages to learn, but rather to include most or many of the common > > features of as many languages as possible so that the kids are familar with > > them. > > I seriously doubt that this would work out. This sounds like a *VERY* > dangerous and unethical experiment. > > > This way they won't be in the position of an English speaker trying > > to master use of tones found in the Asian langs when they try to learn a new > > language. > > Chances are rather that the lack of people other than their siblings or > parents to talk to will throw your children so badly off the track that > their talent for learning foreign languages (which is doubtful to > actually arise from such an experiment) won't help them. They will be > so thoroughly alienated from the world around them that they will be > unable to lead normal lives. They are likely do develop severe forms of > paranoia, "Caspar Hauser" syndrome, or whatever. A one-way ticket to > psychiatric ward, I'd call this. > > > The PPC would also be an "anti-IAL" in that it would (likely) be the exclusive > tongue > > of a family group (not even a micro-community!). > > What is your intention behind isolating your children from the rest of > humanity by having them grow up with a first language no-one else > speaks? > > > Similarly I would include Sign/gestural components into the PPC, > > infant-signing/gesture being one of those things that fascinate me, and it > > would prep them for mastering ASL. I would try to include as many > > "developmentally-enriching" traits as possible. Has anyone else thought > > about this sort of thing? > > Yes. The Nazis, Scientology, various "transhumanists"/"posthumanists" > and similar sociopaths that ought to be turned in, drugged silly and > safely stowed away from humanity. This is what forensic psychiatry is > for. > > If that boggard already has children, they should be taken away from him > and cleared for adoption, for the sake of the children. If he has none > yet, he ought to be castrated and NEVER ever allowed to adopt any! > > This is really disturbing. But even more disturbing to me is that I am > apparently the first on this list to point it out how monstrous it is, > while the rest of the list happily replies giving that monster ideas > what kinds of difficult sounds to build into his Mengelean experiment. > I am ALARMED by the apparent obliviousness of the conlang community > towards such wickedness. It was people like YOU, fellow conlangers, who > made Auschwitz possible! Sorry to offend you, but this must be said. > > That guy deserves to be locked away, sedated and securely strapped down.
I think you're misunderstanding his intentions. The author of the email you're quoting said *nothing* whatsoever about locking up his children and forbidding them from talking to anyone outside the family. Unless he were to physically isolate his children from their peers, and/or punish them for speaking anything other than his conlang (which *would* be child abuse), then I don't see how they could be adversely affected by his 'experiment'. If they are exposed to the language of the larger community, they will *inevitably* acquire it. It's completely unavoidable. The set-up he is proposing sounds a bit like the linguistic situation found in the households of recent immigrants: The children hear one language (his conlang) at home, and another language in the wider community (English). Probably what would happen in such a case is the children would acquire the ability to passively understand his conlang, but would not use it much (if at all), preferring English instead. This is generally what happens in families where the language used at home is different from the language used by the child's playmates and in the mass media. My opinion as a linguist is that his conlang experiment is doomed to failure: His children would probably resist speaking his conlang, and learning it would certainly not help them acquire other languages (better to expose them directly to those other languages instead). But as long as he does not propose to raise his children in a linguistic vacuum, I would hardly characterise his proposal as sociopathic. Matt.