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Re: CHAT: Hello

From:Muke Tever <alrivera@...>
Date:Wednesday, May 2, 2001, 5:06
From: "David Peterson" <DigitalScream@...>
> In a message dated 5/1/01 7:10:21 PM, tb0pwd1@CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU writes: > << I think it's a matter of working styles. I do not approach my languages > logically, but by emotional response. The phonological shape arises from > intuition before it is codified, and I see the entire language as a whole > existing in harmony. This is why I rarely finish a language; I often lose > the thread, the emotional tone, of the language before finishing it. > > If, I've discovered, I translate a text inconsistant with the emotional > tone of the language too early, I lose the thread earlier. > > Now, once a language is more or less solidly in mind, like, say, Hatasoe, > I can translate anything I like into it and not be the least bit troubled. > I've translated bits of the bible itno Hatasoe without any difficulty. > > But not Hrondu. I can translate Buddhist things into Hrondu, because > that's consistant with the flavor, but not Christian, not yet. >> > > Now this, to me, makes sense. I don't operate along the same principles, > exactly, but I can definitely see where you're coming from, Pat. As for the > other...
It also has something to do with the problem that happens when the translator is the conlanger. A native speaker can't *invent* words[1] when translating to his language. But the conlanger is almost always inventing. And it's a challenge [a very difficult one, sometimes] to discern whether a word-concept that appears in a 'foreign' work *would have been* in the native culture already [and would deserve a word] or not [and would have some other manifestation, such as a short description] [2]. To take a quasi-real-world example: the reconstructed ancestor of most European languages, Proto-Indo-European, didn't [AFAIK] have a common word for 'lion'.[3] Therefore the linguist working with PIE would (and should) have difficulty in 'translating' a lionned document into that language. If a word for 'lion' is discovered [through the relevant cognate action, etc.] then he can do it. My dilemma--and I speak here about my method personally, as I tend to be strict with myself over these things--my dilemma as a conlanger is, not knowing the whole of the conculture and -lang at once, being that I have to be in charge of saying, ex cathedra, whether the word absolutely did or did not exist. And as a conlanger being a conlanger I would probably be more inclined to inventing a word that may not 'actually' have justification for its existence. That's my take, anyway. Or not. *Muke! [1] Well, there's 'inventing' words by derivation/compounding/blends/whatever and by phonaesthemes/onomatopoeia, but you can't just generally invent a new root truly ex nihilo and expect clender use. [2] A native speaker would, however, plausibly be able to borrow the word for a foreign concept from the original. This is possible in many conlangs also but not, of course, all of them. [3] I may be wrong and it may have had. In such case, substitute this example for a parallel one that would be true.