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Q's Re: A conlang idea rolling around in my head

From:David Peterson <thatbluecat@...>
Date:Wednesday, December 3, 2003, 7:39
Okay, I have to speak.   I read this e-mail, and, admittedly, deleted it,
after thinking about mentioning something about Egyptian (I was greatly
discouraged by the "burned up in the fire" aspect of the language, and that was
probably the main prompter of the deletion).   But ever since that time, my mind has
thought about nothing else--NOTHING--but creating a pictograph language.
It's driven me wild.   I want to do nothing else.   All other desires and
obligations have been shelved.   I MUST do this, or my skeleton will leap out of my
body through my mouth and go running through the hills.   I have a million
ideas, but don't know exactly what to do.   I think I originally got the glimpse
of this kind of idea when I discovered that Egyptian determinatives could be
used to perform derivations that could never be realized phonologically.   I
found it delightful that the writing system could encode meaning that the spoken
language could not (aside from punctuation, and differentiation of homonyms,
e.g., "there", "their", "they're").   Still, I never once ever even dreamt of
such a language like this--even though (and this is what's even more maddening
to me) I've SEEN one--those Bliss pictowhateverographs in an elementary
linguistics text book, in the section on writing system.

Anyway, so this is my new project.   I have others, but I'll be doing this
till I get tired of it or go blind.

With that said, I have a few questions:

Teoh wrote about and posted a link to a gif of one of his pictograph
languages: <<snip>>

I, too, Teoh, noticed that the language seemed very script-y.   This led me
to one of my first questions.   In a pictograph language, should you try to
keep it all pictures, or all abstracts?   By that, I mean if you want to say "I
like dogs", you can make up any symbol(s) you want to represent "I", "present",
"like", "dog", "plural", etc.--anything you want--but those symbols could
very well be A, D, H, X, or even "I", "present", "like", "dog", "plural".   If
you want to do pictures though, should you try to represent tenses graphically
rather than making up a symbol?   I have no instincts for what is natural for
this type of a language, because I don't know any sign language.   But let's
say that my goal is to create a language that is a language on its own (not a
re-lex), but I want to avoid totally abstract symbols for everything (i.e., I'd
want my picture of a dog to look like a dog).

Q to Gary: What was your language like, with respect to the models outlined
above?   I'm eager to devour any info you can remember.

Q to John: Where'd you find this Rikchik language?   This would be a "totally
abstract symbols for everything" pictograph language, I assume (unless things
work differently on this alien planet, such that when the tentacled aliens
see a circle, they immediately think, "Oh, inanimate noun!"), but it's sooooooo

All right, those are my questions.   Anyone with any idea, no matter how
slight, please allow it to come forth!   I'm on a mission!   I NEED a pictograph
language!   I need it like I've never needed another language in my life--not
English, not French, not Spanish, not even (dare I say?) Hawaiian.   I'll bust
down walls to create this language.   I'll accept transformational grammar.
I'll vote Republi--well, maybe not that.

All right, I'll send this.   Now I'm off to work frantically in the 23
minutes I have before sleep.   Good day to all!



Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>
Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>
dansulani <dansulani@...>