|From:||Mark Jones <markjjones@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, November 16, 2006, 8:22|
Subject: Re: Diachronic conlanging; linguistics forums
On Tue, 14 Nov 2006 18:24:33 -0600, Eric Christopherson <rakko@...>
>Actually, I think it'd be really cool to "reverse engineer" a natlang
>(or natural protolang) to create a conlang which could be its
>parent. Has anyone attempted that?
Many times by many famous people. For instance, what else do you
think "Proto-Indo-European" is?
Eldin is quite right that Proto-Indo-European (and any other Proto Language,
for that matter) is essentially a bit of reverse engineering, via the
techniques of comparative and internal reconstruction, though with a Conlang
you would have complete control over the extent and quality of the data, so
the challenges would be similiar in kind, but not in degree. And you don't
have esteemed colleagues telling you you're wrong for perfectly good (but
differently weighted) reasons.
I think it's true to say that Tolkien's Sindarin was both constructed at
least partly by deriving roots from 'Quenya' originals, though there were a
number of other Gnomish languages in the mix (like Noldorin), and it
probably wasn't a one way street, so that 'derived' Sindarin words may have
caused occasional revision of the original root, and hence of any Quenya
cognates. No doubt someone better versed in Tolkien lore than I am can put
us right on that.
If only comparative and internal reconstruction were as straightforward!
Mark J. Jones
Department of Linguistics
University of Cambridge
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