Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Universal grammar

From:James Worlton <jamesworlton@...>
Date:Saturday, June 7, 2003, 5:39
JW - me; SC - Sally Caves

JW> :))) Composers like it when they get positive
> comments.
SC> So do writers, artists, and conlangers. I've
> bookmarked your page, I so > liked "Through the Edge." It was performed and > recorded, wasn't it?
Yes, the sample is from a live performance. SC> Do you
> have a CD of your music?
A home-grown one, containing imperfect performances (not studio editing-to-perfection) JW> I am a person who loves (make that LOVES)
> structure.
SC> You're a composer. LOL. Although as a teacher of composers at the University, I cringed at the lack of structure that I frequently saw. :) JW> So it would be natural to believe that grammar and
> > syntax creation would be no problem for me, right? > > Wrong.
SC> This is not surprising to me. Because you are a
> person who greatly loves > structure, your structure has to suit you, first of > all, before you can > commit to it. But you're in a bind. Because you > can't commit to its > structure, as you write below, you can't commit to > working further on > Oreelyna.
Amazingly perceptive and accurate. I feel the same way while composing sometimes. SC> Maybe you should commit to getting a rudimentary
> lexicon, first of all--what > And Rosta calls phonaesthesia--before you work on > the structure. It's like > you have to have notes and sounds first of all > before you know you want to > do with them.
Interesting idea. I'll have to try it. SC> I
> would skip the Mornau and > look at the Thomas Payne, as Dirk and Amanda > suggest. And just plunge in.
Just ordered a copy! SC> Draw on that sense for [MELODY] and rhythm that
> makes your music so > beautiful. You remember when you first started > composing, don't you? If > you worried as much about getting your structure > right, back then, you would > never have touched finger to key. Right? :)
Probably not. Of course, my music was at least as structureless as the aforementioned student works up until just a few years ago. I still struggle with it, for the reasons mentioned above -- perfectionism and hesitancy to commit. SC> You would need to showcase Oreelynna for us more, so
> that we could see what > it is you think is inconsistent in its grammar. I > would need to see what > you mean by "consistency." I imagine that it is > something other than > "irregularity." Natural languages have grammatical > irregularities galore. > Don't they also have grammatical inconsistencies? I > was somewhat concerned > about the hodge-podge quality of Teonaht, but > because Teonaht was such a > part of me well before I knew anything about > linguistics, I could "rewrite" > some of it as it grew, and I was already committed > to its words and its > private "history." Also, I value some of its > grammatical "inconsistencies" > and attribute them to archaisms that have remained > intact.
I'll try to get something coherent together over the weekend. I like the idea of irregularities, but at the same time I want it to be able to communicate without ambiguity. This is where I lack knowledge/experience in linguistics. (Soon to be on the road to a better understanding after the Payne arrives. JW> James -- looking for the easy ( easier) way
> out.
SC> Sorry, no easy ways out! Same for me and music.
> (Can't I just get a > program that will let me off the hook? You mean I > have to put it through a > midi? Can't I just... can't I just... I HATE > performing! Can't I just have > my cakewalk and eat it?)
Ha Ha! (Except that I have never used Cakewalk!) SC> Me, I'm interested in the
> philosophy and > psychology of conlanging, so I guess my next > question for you would be... > since you are a composer, why *conlang* as well? > Did the two urges > coincide? What do you want out of conlanging that > is akin to (or not akin > to) [COMPOSING MUSIC]?
The creation of an ordered series of sounds that has the potential to be expressive. I have been interested in languages for as long as I can remember. I have often thought that if I had not become a composer I would have gone into linguistics (assuming that I had still ditched my original idea of Electrical Engineering). My idea for Oreelynna is to use it for the creation of texts to set to music. When I listen to a vocal piece, I have mixed feelings about the division of mental processes. On the one hand, I want to comprehend the text and the music together to see how the composer has enlightened the text. On the other hand, part of me wants to just forget that the sounds from the singer have meaning, and listen to them as purely sounds along with whatever instrumental accompaniment exists. So now, perhaps, I am imposing the second view on my listeners. (Of course, normally texts in a foreign language are provided to the audience in translation :( . Got to figure a way around that ;)).) BTW, do you know the poet Alice Fulton? She is now at Cornell. I am currently working on a setting of three of her poems for soprano and chamber ensemble, to be premiered in the fall of 2004 hopefully. ===== James Worlton ----------------- Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. -Unknown __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Calendar - Free online calendar with sync to Outlook(TM).