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CHAT: Sally's questionnaire

From:T. Leigh/M. Carchrie <callanish@...>
Date:Sunday, April 29, 2001, 16:40
Hi Sally! Lovely to see you again!

> I hope you haven't forgotten Teonaht!
As others have already said, how could we? It's still on my list of favorite conlang links!
> 1) How many of you old- and new-comers started inventing a language > in isolation from the list?
I did, well before my parents got our family's first computer (an IBM PC Junior, remember those?) and long before I'd ever heard of e-mail or the internet.
> 1a) If so, how old were you?
I was in 6th grade, so probably 12, but possibly 11 -- I don't recall if I started before or after my 12th birthday. But it was definitely in 6th grade, I remember that clearly.
> 1b) Was it a project with friends or a solitary project?
> 1b) Did your invented language have some kind of private purpose?
esoteric? erotic? religious or mystical? No, it was just for fun, and turned into something I ended up loving to do and doing all of my life since then. But I didn't have any secret or private purpose when I started doing it.
> Since the topic of my panel is "the language of mysticism," I'm
especially interested in this last. Sorry, but none of my languages have ever been "mystical" or "religious". That doesn't mean that one couldn't pray in them, or discuss theology, or whatever (assuming I create the vocabulary for such purposes), but I've never used them for that. And certainly I never created any for that express purpose.
> 2) How many of you newcomers heard of the list first and
thought--Wow! I think I'll try my hand at conlanging! I was quite the opposite -- By the time I discovered e-mail and the internet, I had already been conlanging for 12-13 years. I was just thrilled to finally get into contact with other people who also liked to do what I did.
> 3) How many of you, when you were starting out on this on your own,
did this kind of thing: you have a list of words you
> want to invent new ones for, so you drew di-and polysyllabic words out
of the air. With most of my languages, I made up necessary vocab as I went along. I'd be writing something, or about something, and as soon as I came upon a word or idea I needed an equivalent for, I made it up, wrote it down in my "dictionary" notebook, and kept going. So I did pull the words out of the air, but I wasn't usually going down a list.
> 4) If so, how important was it that the new word sound "exotic,"
"beautiful," or "suggestive" in some personal way of the
> word you wanted it to stand for?
In the beginning, this wasn't really a consideration for me. The visual appearance of the language (looking "cool" or "unusual") was, but the sound didn't come into play until much later. Now, sounding pleasing to my ear is of great importance to me, which ended up leading me to chucking out most if not all of the vocab for the languages I've kept and starting over to make them sound nicer.
> 5) How many of you invented words to express concepts that could not
be expressed in your native language? Not really. Not that I couldn't, or wouldn't, but I guess I just never really came across the need to do so.
> 6) How many of you used it for prayer? For secrecy?
> 7) For how many of you was it an intellectual exercise?
As someone else pointed out, it probably always was, though I didn't identify it as such until I'd been doing it for quite a while. The primary aspect of it was, and remains, simply "fun".
> 8) A language for a conculture?
I did a little bit of conculturing for one of my languages at one point, but not usually.
> 10) What is your definition of a mystical language? Would any of you
characterize your conlang as such? I suppose I'd define it as a language designed to be used for religious or mystical purposes, or at least designed to be particularly apt for such purposes though one could use them for other reasons as well. My languages have always been just the opposite: I have never created a language with such considerations in mind, though there is no reason why they couldn't be used for religious/mystical purposes as well. Nice to see you back! Thomas Leigh


Aidan Grey <frterminus@...>