Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

has anyone made a real conlang

From:Markus Miekk-oja <fam.miekk-oja@...>
Date:Saturday, April 26, 2003, 18:12
>There are computer programs which make music, so I will not be >surprised if a computer program makes grammar and vocabulary >of a language. I could not distinguish such a computer-generated >language from a language made by a human artist. The only >exception are philosophical languages. The compound words of >these languages are descriptions, so the language-making >computer would have to know as much about the world as we do.
There are programs which indeed write music that to most sounds reasonably ok. However, these programs only run on theory of harmony and similar theory. You can only come this far with that (and all music theory has to be derived from the actual listening experience of human beings). This is what makes the masters of classical music different from any application - they knew where they could bend the rules or even outright break them in order to achieve beauty. The giants have something computers won't have - intuition and a truly subjective - yet surprisingly "universal" - sense of beauty and the ability to do a mistake and realize "hey, wow! that sounds great! let's keep it", or even the ability to improvise their way out of a bad mistake (like Jimmy Page). If we had computers compose all our music, we'd only have soft easily listened sweet music, no Schostakovich encoding his anger at the soviet system behind layers of soviet propaganda. No Schoenberg breaking his own rules of serialism, even inventing serialism at all. No Schoenberg to emulate quartertone music in a twelvetone system (as has been proposed that he did). We'd have no Finale to Beethoven's 9th incorporating a choir - a choir! - into the well established symphonic formula that very clearly excluded such ideas. We'd probably not even have tritonus utilized as a "harmonic engine" behind our most important chord sequences. We'd probably never had heard the blues shuffle rhythm - for which engine is probably to come up with the idea to use such a simple yet quirky figure as the basis of thousands of songs? Provided the tritonus ever got to be the harmonic engine, would we have the I7 IV7 V7 chord sequence? And what about jazz? Hard rock? I think not. Computers cannot invent new music and assess its quality like men can. It required a visionary like Link Wray to realize that the fuzzy noise that guitar amplifiers cause when played at high volumes for a long time could be utilized as a timbre of its own. A computer would merely have proceeded to fix the problem, without thinking twice about it. I suspect the reason you'd be unable to distinguish a computer-made language from a man-made, is that you don't enjoy quirkiness, you don't enjoy irregularities, so you don't search them out. Is this true? It is in the irregularities you can find the marks of human hands. You probably don't know what a wealth of options that semantics provide us with. Consider the great puns any human can create into the language on purpose, which in a computer would only arise so-and-so often as a result of chance. Today I saw this old coca-cola commercial, "Coca-cola - the beverage for discriminating people" - without any knowledge of old cocacolian company culture, you'd probably not get that pun - which probably wasn't intended a pun back when it was coined. Such puns won't ever be an integral part of a computer-generated conlang. And, as for papers and pens, a second benefit of using them, is that you can write with any new-invented character or any alfabet, without having to create a new font or track it through internet. You can apply any weird triple-dot diacritic or squiggly descender or barred ascender to any letter you want, and change between hundreds of alfabets on one page without having to press any odd key-combination or look down "unicode tamil 98" in some menu that your computer just decided not to let you open. You can write with any slant you want, and even with bent lines, you can make text crossing text to save paper and get a nice look. All those require extra job on a computer. With all due respect, Markus Miekk-oja


Andrew Nowicki <andrew@...>