Re: SemiOT: Revealing your conlanger status, personal experiences of reactions to conlanging from non-conlangers
|From:||Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, June 16, 2004, 19:14|
On Tue, 15 Jun 2004 21:36:17 -0400,
Trebor Jung <treborjung@...> wrote:
> I like to read through the archives sometimes - I just pick a random week -
I also like to dig in the archives, though I don't pick a random week,
but feed all sorts of things into the search engine and read what
> and I ended up reading posts from March 2003. In the thread "My girlfriend
> is a conlanger!" (my wholehearted - altho extremely belated -
> congratulations to Daniel!), Tristan wrote: "Why would you be a closet
> conlanger? That implies you hide the fact that you do it and if someone
> asked you, you would either deny it or try and avoid answering the question.
> (Simply doing it only at home doesn't count as closet, because it's not
> exactly the kind of thing that lends itself to being obviously done on
> (e.g.) PT.)"
> Myself, when I discuss my hobbies or what I'm doing at the time, I don't
> deny it. I just tell the person, "I construct languages!" or "I'm working on
> my language at the moment" [speaking of which... I should stop being lazy
> and get working... haven't done any work on my languages lately...] (or "I'm
> researching the [orthography] of Irish Gaelic - I heard it's pretty
> difficult, and wanted to see what all the fuss was about", for that matter).
> I'm proud to be a conlanger! :))) What about you guys? Do you hide the fact
> that you're a conlanger?
No, at least not to my friends. I haven't yet mentioned it towards
my parents. Their reactions on my hobbies have always been somewhere
between disinterest and disapproval, so I stopped talking about my
hobbies to them more than I can avoid years ago.
> And another question: What sort of reactions do you get when you inform
> people that you're a conlanger?
In most cases, curious amusement. My friends know that I am
a conlanger, but take little interest in it. However, I rarely
talk about conlanging to them. My brother, in contrast, disapproves
of conlanging. When I mentioned it in his presence, he said that
what I am doing was meaningless because Wittgenstein said that
"private languages are impossible". I am not an expert on
Wittgenstein's philosophy, but I think my brother has interpreted
Wittgenstein's words wrongly. What Wittgenstein meant was, I think,
that a language can never be private in the sense that no-one else
can learn it. Conlangs thus *aren't* "private languages".
> Myself, my grandmother, unsurprisingly (she has no interest in languages -
> she only speaks English), reacted negatively (indirect quote here): "To me,
> it's just a waste of time... But it doesn't hurt anyone, so it's OK." My
> mother, who was present, jumped to my defense, saying something like, "You
> learn from conlanging - it gives you hands-on experience with language."
Few people are as insightful as that. But indeed, it is a good way
to learn about how languages work.