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Exolangs (was Re: [relay] Planing)

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Saturday, November 4, 2006, 22:51

On Sat, 4 Nov 2006 10:39, Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:

> Jörg Rhiemeier skrev: > > To which extent are Tolkien's Elves non-human, do Quenya > > or Sindarin count as exolangs? > > I'd say not at all:
I'd say so, too.
> Tolkien specifically said that > > # I am historically minded. Middle-earth is not an imaginary > # world. The name is the modern form (appearing in the 13th > # century and still in use) of midden-erd # middel-erd, an > # ancient name for the oikoumene, the abiding place of Men, > # the objectively real world, in use specifically opposed to > # imaginary worlds (as Fairyland) or unseen worlds (as > # Heaven or Hell). The theatre of my tale is this earth, the > # one in which we now live, but the historical period is > # imaginary. The essentials of that abiding place are all > # there (at any rate for inhabitants of N.W. Europe), so > # naturally it feels familiar, even if a little glorified by > # the enchantment of distance in time. > ("The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien" #183) > > and > > # Elves and Men are evidently in biological terms one race, > # or they could not breed and produce fertile offspring - > # even as a rare event[...] > ("The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien" #153) > > The difference (including Elvish 'immortality') was intended > by him to be only 'subspecial'. How plausible these > differences are is another matter.
Exactly. Tolkien's Elves are certainly within _Homo sapiens_, at most a subspecies. *And* his Elvish languages look so much like human languages, they certainly *aren't* exolangs!
> Tolkien also addressed the question of how and why the > language of the immortal Elves changed over time similarly > to that of mortal Men ("Dangweth Pengoloþ", published in > "The Peoples of Middle-earth") > > [lengthy Tolkien quote snup] > > (Sorry about these long quotes,but the matter really > interests me! Perhaps we should take this discussion > to Conlang?)
> Christian Thalmann skrev: > > As for exolangs, I'd describe those as languages > > specifically made to feel non-human. Thus Quenya wouldn't > > qualify, but Klingon would. > > I agree that an exolang should be intentionally designed to > be 'non-human', as in violating human linguistic universals > (probably including violation of human articulatory > anatomy).
Yes, that's also my idea of an "exolang".
> Another matter is that Okrand perhaps didn't > succeed all that well. IME there will be ANADEWs for > practically anything 'novel' one may come up with as a > conlanger.
Likely. We are, after all, *humans*, and breaking out of the mold of the human mind is difficult. There are of course obvious ways of creating something outside the range of human languages, such as Jeffrey Henning's stack-based Fith, or languages which don't use the vocal-auditory channel. Yet, such languages will still have features that betray their human origins. I, for that matter, restrict myself on making fictional human languages. But this discussion ought to be taken to the CONLANG list. I have CC'ed it there.
> BPJ: > >> What about realia in the text that are incompatible with > >> one's conculture's technical development level? Is it OK > >> to alter the text to make it fit? > > JR: > > I'd say it is; we have done so in earlier relays. > > Consider the bus in Relay #13 mutating into various > > other conveyances, including such fantastic ones as the > > Ship of Ice. Such mutations are part of the fun in a > > translation relay. > > Ah, a space ship turning into a camel (or analogue) and a > blaster into a dagger. How gratifying! Hmm, what would be > the 'technological inverse' of a lightsaber, really?
A "glistening sword", or something like that. Greetings, Jörg.


Amanda Babcock Furrow <langs@...>