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Re: What is needed in an conlang classificatory system?

From:And Rosta <a.rosta@...>
Date:Saturday, February 3, 2001, 18:24
Joerg Rhiemeier:
> I think a conlang classification scheme should start with the purpose > for which the language is created. Most conlangs are euther auxlangs > (languages invented for the purpose of facilitating international > communication) or artlangs (languages invented for "artistic" > purposes). A possible scheme could look like this: > > A. Languages for practical communication > A1. Auxiliary languages > A1a. International auxlangs > A1b. Regional auxlangs > A1c. CETI languages (for communication with extraterrestrials) > A2. Secret languages > A3. Other (e.g. controlled languages in totalitarian states: > "Newspeak") > B. Languages for scientific, educational or similar purposes > B1. Model languages for psycholinguistic and similar experiments > B1a. Test cases for the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis > B1b. Language acquisition research > etc. > B2. Demonstration languages (languages designed to demonstrate > linguistic > concepts in linguistic education) > B3. Philosophical languages > B4. Magical languages > B5. Reconstructed proto-languages > C. Languages for artistic purposes > C1. Languages spoken in fictional worlds > C2. Personal languages
> C1a. Fictional human natlangs > C1aa. Alternative history > C1ab. Future > C1ac. Fictional past > C1ad. Present* > C1ae. Fantasy (not related to the real world) > C1b. Fictional non-human natlangs that could be spoken by humans > C1ba. Spoken by fantasy races > C1bb. Spoken by space aliens > C1bc. Spoken by other kinds of beings > C1c. Fictional non-human natlangs that could not be spoken by humans > C1ca. Spoken by fantasy races > C1cb. Spoken by space aliens > C1cc. Spoken by other kinds of beings > C1d. Fictional conlangs. Apply the conlang classification scheme once > again, from the viewpoint of the fictional world. > > *This is for languages which are assumed by the author to "exist in the > real world, but are yet undiscovered" or something like that.
This classification is good. Let me suggest some additional elements. I. For C1aa-d: Is the conlang related genetically or through contact to natlangs? e.g. Shemspreg is IE. Brithenig is Romance with Brythonic substrate and English neighbour. Tepa (in its recorded form) has a Shoshone- influenced phonology. II. For C1aa: What degree of deviation is there from Real World, historically and geologically? The parameters here seem to be: * geologically { identical | different } * historically { unrelated | related but substantially different | minimally different } e.g. Tokana's world is geologically identical but historically unrelated to RW. Brithenig's is geologically identical, and historically related to but substantially different from RW. Tepa's world is geologically identical to RW and historically different from RW only by virtue of Tepa's existence. Livagian, Boreanesian, Nowan and Tsxaah's worlds differ geologically and historically from RW only by virtue of Livagia, Boreanesia, Scungria and Nowapan's existence. III. For B1-4, C1a-b: What degree of typological similarity to natlangs does the conlang have? I.e. how natlangy is it? How likely is it that it could be taken for a natlang? IV. Also, while Joerg's classification addresses the purposes of the language -- why it was created -- another important factor is whether there are additional purposes behind its linguistic properties -- i.e. why it was made the way it is. For example, a number of conlangs aim to be grammatically unambiguous, and Lin aims for maximal conciseness. For me personally, 'objectively assessable' design goals like these are among the most interesting aspects of conlanging. V. One could classify by a criterion of what the overriding design goal is. Auxlangs' overriding design goal is for them to be optimally suited to their IAL purpose. Brithenig's is to be linguistically plausible. Tokana's is to be a plausible simulacrum of a natlang that is aesthetically appealing to its creator. Drhaqa's is (I surmise) to whorfianly reconceptualize the world in a manner more congenial to its creator. Livagian's is to be the ideal language (by the sundry criteria of its creator) -- a linguistic equivalent of a domestic architect's Dream House. VI. 1. How elaborate is the conlang (qua creative project, not qua language)? 2a. How much has been done in absolute terms? (e.g. Does it remain a sketch?) 2b. How complete is it? (How much work remains to be done on it?) 3a. How much documentation is there? 3b. How complete is the documentation? --And.