|From:||H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, January 10, 2007, 20:43|
On Wed, Jan 10, 2007 at 11:09:28AM -0300, Antonielly Garcia Rodrigues wrote:
> On 1/10/07, Benct Philip Jonsson <conlang@...> wrote:
> >Sinceit was created only in the 1970's rather than by 'natural
> >evolution' it may qualify as a conscript! :-)
> There are of course naturally evolved languages. Are there naturally
> evolved scripts? I thought all existing human script systems were
Hmm. This is an interesting subject. Where does one draw the line
between a "natural" language/script/etc. as opposed to an "artificial"
There is an inherent human tendency to express things vocally, and where
one's acquired L1 does not adequately convey what one wishes to express,
new words or turns of phrases are invented to express it. In a sense,
one could say that all natlangs are "artificial", being the cumulative
contribution of countless generations of the speakers of that language
over a long period of time.
The history of writing shows a similar development: at a certain point
in history, the need for writing down speech was recognized, and various
methods were devised to do so. Since that time, people have
contributed, borrowed and improved, invented new writing based on the
same recognition---a good example is the English alphabet, which is
derived from Latin, which in turn is derived from Greek, etc., and can
be traced very far back.
One may argue that new scripts not directly based on any existing
scripts qualify as "artificial", but by that definition, the first
writings in antiquity must be "artificial" too, which then raises the
question, at what point in time did they become "natural"?
Or one may argue that the "naturalness" of a natural language is one
developed by a community over many generations, as opposed to, say, an
auxlang or an artificially imposed language created by one person or a
small group of persons in a short time. If we apply this to scripts,
then all scripts must be classified as "artificial". (Although, there
*have* been instances in history of languages being "semi-artificial" in
the sense of being the officially sanctioned national language, which
does not actually correspond to any of the various dialects in
existence, but rather a conglomeration of features from said dialects
added onto a particularly favored dialect. This seems to parallel the
borrowing and subsequent modification and extension of scripts in
It is widely believed that reinventing the wheel is a waste of time; but
I disagree: without wheel reinventers, we would be still be stuck with
wooden horse-cart wheels.