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Interlinguistics and Spaka

From:David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...>
Date:Thursday, May 12, 2005, 9:51
I just recently finished the final draft of my COMPs paper
(equivalent to a master's thesis), and I was looking through the
copy of Language I checked out for advice on how exactly to
arrange an acknowledgements page, a references page, and an
appendix (I got none), and I flipped through no fewer than
two articles related to language creation.  A brief summary:

(1) Jewish Interlinguistics: This is a huge article by Paul Wexler
that traces the effects of "Jewish Languages"--e.g., Yiddish and
Ladino.  The theory is that the original Jews from Palestine
have created a language wherever they've gone, not learning
the language of the area they lived in, but also not speaking
the Hebrew of Palestine, or Hebrew-Aramaic.  [I don't know
much about this history, and haven't read the article--no time.]
Anyway, it sounds a lot more like contact language phenomena,
but this was 1981.  Anyway, a question is embedded in this.
I've heard of interlinguistics (from this list, I believe), but I've
never understood what *exactly* it is, and how it's related to
the field, and how it doesn't admit conlanging as we know it.
Any ideas?

(2) Spaka: A Private Language: Twin languages have had a
place in linguistics for a long time.  This, however, is not a
twin language.  It was invented by two sisters while one was
seven and the other eleven.  It apparently started as a language
game, where they placed [Vm] at the end of every syllable.
Then, however, it says, "Katherine then began experimenting
with new types of sound and word change, eventually dropping
the original rule altogether and replacing it with an increasingly
elaborate set of rules."  It goes on to say that Spaka developed
over two years, and that the other sister, Sarah, "also" mastered

So, here's my question: In what way is this *not* simply a
conlang (and one based entirely on English), and how on Earth
does this become an article in Language, while conlangers
today are tolerated, at best, and ridiculed, at worst, within the
linguistics community?  [Note: One of the authors *is* Katherine.
Has anyone heard of her?]

Anyway, the references are as follows:

Diehl, Randy L. and Katherine F. Kolodzey.  (1981)  Spaka: A
Private Language.  In Language, 57:2, pp. 406-424.

Wexler, Paul.  (1981) Jewish Interlinguistics.  In Language, 57:1,
pp. 99-149.

"sunly eleSkarez ygralleryf ydZZixelje je ox2mejze."
"No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn."

-Jim Morrison