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Results of Poll by Email No. 28

From:Peter Clark <peter-clark@...>
Date:Sunday, April 13, 2003, 19:24
        Last week's poll was especially popular, with 30 responses. Even more amazing
was the close margins of opinion. When asked what was more important, the
look or sound of your languages:

        A. The look of your language (10 responses, 33%)
        B. The sound of your language (9 responses, 30%)
        C. Both are equally important (11 responses, 37%)
        D. None. My languages consists solely of touches with my tentacles. (0
responses, 0%--what ever happened to Ritchik?)

        Mau Rauszer, in answering "A," said: "I usually want my languages
to look like a natlang in orthography but sound like their own. Thus I care a
lot about the orthography and the words itself. For example, I use the thorn
and eth for one of my newborn languages to indicate [T] and [D] and I use the
y for [y] etc. to look like Old English. Or Meyadhew has a Zulu-esque
orthography and phonology with as many  consonants as I can pronounce.  But
how will it finally sound - the language decides, I just try to follow its
feel and characteristics when they are finally evolved and I am on the last
word building phase."
        Jan van Steenbergen had an interesting response: "Most definitely A, to such
an extreme degree that until recently I never even thought about
pronunciation. To me, language was merely a mixture of grammar and
orthography. Phonology, stress, and pronunciation were the among last
things I would ever think of, and in many cases I simply forgot to, which is
odd, because otherwise I am an extremely auditive person."

        I had to wonder to whom João Ricardo Oliveira was referring to when he wrote:
"Looks don't mean that much, although people should think seriously of
avoiding using weird characters! There are so much letters to put together!"
Several suspects come to mind, so perhaps João can clarify himself...
        Danny Wier got all technical with his comment: "B. A language was originally
meant to be heard and not seen. Writing is just a convenient form of
recording speech." And Rosta's responsed bordered on a Zen koan in terms of
it's ability to boggle the mind, especially considering that he voted for
"B": "The sound is determined independently of the look, but the sound
determines the look. But I take great delight in the look thus determined. So
as a source of pleasure, the look is as important as the sound." Right.

        Tristan McLeay, perhaps hoping that I would be as generous as I was with the
last poll, tried to submit a fifth answer: "E. Both are equally unimportant.
It's more important to have discongruity between the two." Too bad, Tristan,
but no Mr Nice Guy this time. If they are equally unimportant, then their
level of equality is equal. Enjoy watching you answer get pegged at C!
Muhahaha! *cough* Sometimes I enjoy doing this poll too much. ;>
        Likewise, Teoh got his answer "E. The aesthetic beauty of its grammatical
structures" pounded unmercifully into "C." Although I did appreciate his
comment on "A": "As far as looks are concerned... the ASCII Ebisedian
orthography. 'Nuff said. :-)" Indeed. Perhaps you and João should have a
little conversation...

        Thanks to all who responsed, and stay tuned for next week's Poll by Email!

Oh what a tangled web they weave who try a new word to conceive!