How do diacronic conlangers work?
|From:||Benct Philip Jonsson <conlang@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, May 8, 2007, 10:15|
- I have been thinking lately about how 'historical
conlangers' go about their work, and am thinking of
eventually turning the thoughts into some kind of essay. I
would appreciate what others who are into that line of
conlanging think of what I've come up with so far.
- People usually have one language or dialect which was
there first in real time, and which often remains central
to the whole edifice, from which various imaginary
ancestors, daughters and siblings (what I call "stages" or
- It is notably often *not* the protolanguage (the highest
node in the linguistic family tree) which was there
first in real time, but some later form which gets
labeled "classical" or some variety thereof.
- I make a terminological distinction between 'versions' in
real time and 'stages' in imaginary time meant to provide
orientation when exploring the development through real
time of the imaginary history of imaginary languages,
where one has to deal with two dimensions of time:
- Effectively any piece of linguistic creation by an
historical conlanger has to be placed on a coordinatde
system where one axis is the conlanger's lifetime and
the other axis the history of the imaginary universe
where the stages are spoken.
- It is not necessarily or usually the case that what I
call a later version of one language represents a break
or fresh start relative to any or all earlier versions.
A new version need not be a rewrite, but probably a
conscious revision as opposed to a tweak or a bug fix.
:-) Changes and differences may be gradual, cumulative,
abrupt or whatever.
- "Stages" may go through various "versions" or
"revisions", often without all the stages being
revised at the same time, although a revision in some
place in the family tree -- especially a major one --
may of course have larger or smaller repercussions
throughout the tree.
- Some stages are revised more often and/or more
extensively than others.
- The "central" stage tends to undergo less revision
than other stages.
- Changes to the "central" stage are likely to have more
and heavier repercussions on other stages.
- The protolanguage, being primary in imagined time but
secondary in real time actually tends to get revised
more, usually with a view to make it more plausible as
a common ancestor of sibling nodes lower in the tree.
- Unlike real language history the protolanguage is a
secondary product made to fit its daughters.
- Should I use the term "node", as on an imaginary family
tree, throughout instead of "stage". What do native
English speakers think of these terms (stage, node,
version) as I use them?
Thanks in advance for your comments!
B.Philip Jonsson mailto:melrochX@melroch.se (delete X)
"Truth, Sir, is a cow which will give [skeptics] no more milk,
and so they are gone to milk the bull."
-- Sam. Johnson (no rel. ;)