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From:Boudewijn Rempt <bsarempt@...>
Date:Tuesday, October 5, 1999, 7:50
On Tue, 5 Oct 1999, Ed Heil wrote:

> Hey, I saw a copy of Yaguello's _Lunatic Lovers of Language_ at the > bookstore. I browsed it a little bit, and wondered how a book about > imaginary languages could be in the least credible if it doesn't > bother to mention Tolkien at all? (And it goes on and on about a > supposedly UFO-borne "Martian Language"...) > > Has anyone here read it? What did you think? (I gather Sally rather > dislikes it...) >
I've read it, in the original French, ten years ago, and all I really remember was my astonishment and disgust.. I don't know if there were any improvements made for the English translation, but the best improvement I can think of would be to refrain from translating. As far as I remember, Yaguello's basic thesis is that all people who invent languages are madmen (except for Hildegard, who is a woman and therefore sane), and that it's her right as a patently sane intellectual to make fun of them. A case of 'aapjes kijken', watching the monkeys do tricks. She's not too hot on facts or research, and big on cloth-headed rambling. But there's not much literature on invented languages, and in the land of the beheaded she was the blind king, when she wrote the book in 1984. I'd really like a good book on artificial languages that concentrates on languages made for art, with a foreword by some recognized conlanger (is professor Barker still alive?), a chapter on various kinds of invented languages (auxlang, artlang, personal languages, languages in fiction, ritual languages), a couple of case studies, discussion of the status of languages as art form, development of conlanging and its artistic direction, survey of resources. Or a book on the process of designing languages, what gets designed first, why and how - comparison between artlang development and pidgin development, of course complete with case studies and survey of existing artlangs. Enough material for a whole scholarly discipline! Boudewijn Rempt |