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model lgs (was Re: LUNATIC again]

From:And Rosta <a.rosta@...>
Date:Tuesday, November 24, 1998, 17:26
John Jovanovich:
> Mattathias Persona scripsit: > > > Here I find the term "model language" useful and appropriate. A model > > language is and is not a language in the same way that a model airplane > > is and is not an airplane. > > Hmm, I'm not sure what a model airplane is. Does it necessarily fly? > All the ones I know of (see in the park, etc.) actually do fly, but is > that a *necessary* property of the class? > > It seems to me that a non-flying model airplane would be as much an > airplane as a teddy bear is a real bear, whereas an airplane that actually > flies is a real airplane whether small or not. > > > Many artlangers have drawn an analogy between > > what they do and what model railroaders do [...]. > > There is no problem here, since model railroads definitely do roll.
I first heard the "model language" idea from Jeffrey Henning. I agree that it is apt. To me, it is certainly unimportant whether the model language/aeroplane *does* fly, and it is hard to ascertain whether it *can* fly. My meaning is unclear: I mean that it doesn't matter whether one's conlang is used, and it is difficult or meaningless to seek to establish whether it could be used. What is important is the beauty, elegance, imaginativeness, flair, vision of its design, along with the attention to detail. Think of the model ships one sees (or used to see) in museums: what mattered was not whether they would or could float, but the intricacy of the rigging, the clinkering of the lifeboats, & so on.
> > Unfortunately, many formalists [...] do not > > make use of actual examples of spontaneous language use, but base > > their theories entirely around elicited data and speaker > > judgements. > > More's the pity. Who could possibly believe, without the hard > evidence, that errors like "Rosa always date shranks" (for "Rosa > always dated shrinks") could possibly exist? Mixing up Tuesday and > February is trivial by comparison.
I personally follow Chomsky 1957 in supposing our initial data to be a list of all the sentences of the language. Hence spontaneity is wholly irrelevant. Hence also, FWIW & IMO -- from a Pure Linguistics perspective -- the ONLY difference between an invented language and a natural language is that the one is invented and the other isn't. Yours quasinoamitically, --And.