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Origin of the term "engelang" (was: Re: LCC2: Meeting our Community

From:And Rosta <and.rosta@...>
Date:Friday, July 20, 2007, 0:41
I have for a while been meaning to write a lexicographical essaylet on the
origin of the word 'conlang', but since the term 'engelang' has lately been
under discussion, I will here offer a brief disquisition on its origin.

First of all, it is instructive to recall that in the early years of Conlang list,
say c1991--1993, the existence of artlanging was not commonly and consensually
recognized. (Is was when the web took off that more people were able to
searchengine their way to conlang and more conlangers were able to publish
their conlangs online and Conlang made a big lurch to being artlang-dominated.)
The (straightforward) creation of the term 'artlang' served to facilitate the
general recognition of the existence of the category 'artlang'. Similarly,
before the creation of the term 'engelang' in (as we shall see) 2001, the
category was little recognized. Up to that time we had the Gnoli triangle that
employed the (then-)standard terms 'auxlang', 'artlang' and 'loglang'.

"Loglang" had a (then) little-perceived ambiguity between 'logic conlang' and 'engelang'
(because the prime exemplar of the engelang, Loglan/Lojban, is also and more
ostensibly a 'logic conlang'). Etymology clearly favoured the 'logic conlang'
sense, but as a label for a vertex of the Gnoli triangle, 'engelang' was closer
to the relevant sense.

In c. 1999--2001 I strove to articulate the category 'engelang', then still
called 'loglang', often in terms of the art--engineering distinction, e.g.:
   "If I look at the range of conlangs out there in
   our community then from my persepective they primarily
   classify into artlangs and what I called loglangs. The
   artists versus the engineers. Those who compose a language
   like a work of art, and those who engineer and construct
   it like a machine."

Despite the way the term loglang had been used in the Gnoli triangle, in January 2001
Rick Harrison objected that 'loglang' should mean 'conlang based on formal
logic'. This spurred me, in the summer of 2001, to ask (in a forum not publicly
archived) for suggestions for an alternative term to 'loglang' for the
'engineered' type of conlang. And so, in my email archives I find the
following, in reply to John Cowan:

And Rosta, On 02/08/2001 12:44:
> John: >> And Rosta wrote: >> >>> The defining property of these [langs] is that they are not designed in >>> imitation of natural languages and that they are designed >>> according to rational principles. >> The term that now comes to my mind is "engineered languages", of >> which I suppose "engelang" /EndZl&N/ is a tolerable abbreviation. > > Is "engelang" better than "engilang" /'EndZIl&N/? It doesn't have the > ety(mo)morphological [apply hap(lo)logy to taste] transparency of > "artlang" but I do like very much indeed -- indeed am wholly seduced > by -- the way my principal interests would then be EngLang and Engelang.
The Engelang list (never very active and now moribund) was begun in December of 2001. So there you go: the term was created in mid 2001. I defined the sense, and John Cowan came up with the form (spelling & pronunciation). T. A. McLeay, On 17/07/2007 08:23:
> Rick Harrison wrote: >>>> And another thing... why do we write engelang instead of engilang? If it's a >> contraction of >>>> "engineered" shouldn't it be engi- rather than enge-? >>> AFAIK, it's because it's pronounced /endZl&N/ i.e. as two syllables,
Quite so -- all the X-lang words are disyllabic.
>> Actually a poll was taken at the end of the recent gathering and quite a few people >> reported using a 3-syllable pronunciation with a schwa in the middle. I don't recall the >> exact results. I've always pronounced it (in my mind) as a 3-syllable word; I've never had >> an opportunity to use it in conversation.
I missed the poll, but I suggested it after being taken aback by hearing John Clifford say /eNIlang/ (definitely with N; I can't now recall whether there was a medial vowel).
> Interesting. I did a quick google because I thought the word was coined > as quite definitely being two-syllables: And I found > > > Mike S: > I think lablang or engelang will have to be it. Can the latter > be enjlang? > > However, in a poll to decide whether lablang or engelang should be it: > > > Garret Jones: > 1. lablang = 17 points, 9 votes > 2. englang = 5 points, 3 votes > 3. eng(e/i)lang = 4 points, 3 votes > > (It's funny that lablang was the clear winner of the poll, but engelang > has been the clear winner of usage. So it seems that polls are > meaningless and I therefore will continue to pronounce it in my mind as > two syllables.)
Evidently I was slightly irked by that poll, for in my archives I find myself writing in May 2002 to Garret: Re: [CONLANG] POLL: lablang/engelang
> Prefer by which criteria? > > And what is the term supposed to mean? > > If you're defining a new category and seeking a name for it, then I > think you should remove "engelang" and "planlang", "engelang" > because it already exists with an established definition, and > "planlang" because it is so close to "planned language", which > is also an established term.