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Humans & Humanoids [WAS: Back!]

From:Jim Grossmann <steven@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 21, 1999, 22:51
Hi, all,

Here's an issue that's been batted back and forth on this list for a while:

Can we devise a coherent conculture for a conlang that is speakable by
humans but unrelated to any known human languages?    This issue has come up
more than once, but by now, I think we all know that the answer is 'yes.'
Here are only some of the possible background premises for such a move.


The humanoids are from a parallel reality.

The humanoids live in my dreams, which are very vivid.   I think that the
humanoids are real, and I've even written a grammar for their language.   Am
I losing my mind?

I channelled the humanoids who speak the language I'm describing.

Vampires, werewolves, etc. have their own languages.


Long ago, (say 70,000 years) aliens transported a breeding population of
humans from Earth to another habitable planet, where the ancient tribe
founded a new civilization.

70,000 years ago, a mysterious tribe founded a secret society which has
endured to this day.   This tribe controls the world by controlling a
popular cereal company.   Their language, which they have preserved in
secret, contains words for things they put in our cereal--ingrediants that
only THEY know about.

70,000 years ago, a mysterious tribe developed a weird mutation:   chemical
anti-freeze in the blood.   They moved to the Himalayas, where they remain
hidden to this day.

70,000 years ago, a mysterious tribe LIVED.   With tens of thousands of
years of prehistory, why not just write a conlang for cave people?

Three words:    Atlantis, Lemuria, Mu.

Tens of thousands of years in the future, human languages will have no
discernable relationship to ours;   you can make anything up you want about


In addition to being a conlanger, I am also a billionaire who has illegally
raised stolen babies in a secret warehouse to speak only my invented

Our understanding of evolution is incomplete;   our current speculations
about extraterrestrials are wrong.   Just as the echidna (monotreme) can
resemble a hedgehog (placental), aliens could resemble US.

With the increasing availability of information on obscure natural
languages, a special group of spies has learned a conlang to use for

Some really weird toy manufacturer could devise a speakable language for
this line of furry funny stuffed toys.   (NAH, that could NEVER happen.


Other listers have already mentioned other possibilities, but I think you
get the idea.   If we can imagine a language, we can imagine many scenarios
that could give it human or humanoid speakers.   There's really no problem
with this.

I prefer making languages that are artificial in their fantasy contexts as
well as reality, but that's just my taste.

Maybe we should add something to the conlang code about degree of conculture