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Sally's Survey

From:Rachel Klippenstein <estel_telcontar@...>
Date:Friday, March 14, 2003, 4:34
 --- Sally Caves <scaves@...> wrote:

>A REQUEST: IF YOU ARE NOT ANSWERING THE QUESTIONS >OF THE SURVEY, BUT RESPONDING INCIDENTALLY TO >SOMETHING SOMEONE SAID, PLEASE RETITLE THE SUBJECT >HEADER! Firrimby! <G> You also don't have to >answer all of these questions. Answer the ones that >are relevant or important to you.
>PART I. FOR CELTIC CONLANGERS: > Have you based your conlang(s) wholly or partially > on a Celtic language?
No, I don't know enough of any Celtic languages to do so. I wish I did, though!
> What is your name and what do you call your > conlang(s)?
My name: Rachel Klippenstein My conlangs: "Old Starrish" and its relatives. pitaWiSa. Ikanirae Seru. These are the current ones. Nish is a dead conlang I recently named for convenience. I also have some vague plans and ideas that are constantly changing and nameless, as well as some long-lived nameless outlines for languages.
> When did you start it/them?
The (nameless) forerunner of Ikanirae Seru was started when I was around 10, but the its revival began this week. Nish started probably when I was about 13 or 14. "Old Starrish" was started when I was 16, and pitaWiSa was started about a month ago.
> Are you still working with it/them or have you > abandoned it or them?
I'm still working on the ones I called current above; I abandoned Nish several years ago.
> What Celtic features have you borrowed? What is the > structure of your > language? Be specific.
"Old Starrish": I think the fact that the fusion of proto-Starrish /h/ with a preceding consonant applied across word boundaries, "softening" the final consonant in a preceding word, owes something to a vague thought about Celtic initial consonant mutations. "Old Starrish" words as words consist of consonants only; the vowels just add "flavour". It is somewhere between synthetic and agglutinative; plurals and past tense are formed by "softening" of the last consonant in the stem. Ikanirae Seru: no borrowed Celtic features; (C)V syllable structure, no voiced obstruents; SVO order, adjectives precede nouns, has prepositions, no articles; very little inflection, if any; all sentences end in a sentence-categorizing word (extended from the concept of question marker) pitaWiSa: no borrowed Celtic features; C(C)V sylllable structure, has whistled phonemes; OSV order, adjectives follow nouns, postpositions, no articles; Very little inflection, all produced by reduplication.
> How many of you are also scholars of Celtic > languages? Scholars of other > languages?
Not properly a scholar of any language yet, only a linguistics undergraduate student with an interest in old Germanic languages, especially Old English (and a desire to study old Celtic languages; unfortunately, that's kind of tough on my own here). PART II: INSPIRATION BY TOLKIEN:
> How many of you were inspired to invent a language > because of your exposure > to Tolkien?
I began inventing my first language at around age 10, well before I first read any Tolkien at about age 13. I cannot remember if I first began creating my imaginary world just before or just after I read the Lord of the Rings, but the book definitely had a big impact on me and my world-creation, and also on my conlanging.
> How many of you based your conlang on one of > Tolkien's languages, or your > conculture in Middle Earth?
No conlangs based on Tolkien's; I DO have a conculture associated based on the idea that our modern world is a development of Middle Earth, and that a secret culture still remembers the connection, but I don't conlang for it. My other concultures are almost certainly Tolkien-influenced, but are not Tolkien-based .
> How many of you have a constructed world, and, if > so, does it include some > of the races we associate with Celtic or > Scandinavian mythology? (Elves, > Dwarves, medieval societies of humans, Faeries or > Fays? Selkies? Wizards?)
I have two significant conworlds. One contains many groups of non-technologized humans, "Great Eagles" which are hnau, and Fari, which are small people associated with trees (not quite fairies or tree spirits; they hatch from eggs); this conworld hosts "Old Starrish" and its relatives. The other contains non-technologized humans one one half, and in the other half, elves, dragons, probably dwarves, and something that I would like to call by the Old English cognate of Norse AEsir, if I could figure out what it would be. Oh, and in this world, the stars are hnau too. But I don't conlang for this world.
> How many of you were inspired to examine Welsh, > Hebrew, or Finnish because > of your examination of Tolkien?
I have interests in these languages, although they're not at the top of my list, but I don't think my interest is Tolkien-inspired.
> How many of you were inspired to invent a conlang or > a conculture because of > some influence OTHER than Tolkien?
No specific other influence that I can think of. Oh yes, my first concultures were indirectly inspired by the Swiss Family Robinson. Although there is no conculture in it, it inspired me to create a story about a shipwreck onto an inhabited island, which had about 6 different cultures on it. I never invented their languages, but one of them had a writing system where same-shaped characters had different meanings depending on their colour.
> How many of you were inspired to invent a language > because you engage in > Roll-Playing Games?
Never been involved in them.
> How many of you were inspired to invent a language > because you heard of this > listserv?
Yeah, I guess pitaWiSa was inspired in this way. Or more precisely, the list inspired me to actually make something out of one of the conlang ideas that are alwars bubbling up in my mind.
> How many of you are members of the Mythopoeic > Society, or the Society for > Creative Anachronism, or other High Fantasy Groups?
Not me. I have considered it, but what I'd really want to be involved in would be a group that went for a good deal of historical accuracy, preferably Anglo-Saxon. PART III: NON-CELTIC CONLANGERS:
>In the discussions I've witnessed on Conlang in >almost five years, I've observed that many >conlangers have deliberately avoided "Tolkienesque" >languages, and even Indo-European languages as >models for conlangs, and especially the "Celtic." >Why? Boring? Overdone? Trite? Too pretty? Too >Western? Or none of the above--just more interested >in something else? <G> I don't want to give the >impression that I think we conlang only because of >Tolkien, and that anything we invent has to be >INSPIRED BY or a DEPARTURE from the "Great One"; but >in this question I'm eager to see some eschewal of >or at least indifference towards the Tolkien, >the "Celtic," and/or even the Indo-European model.
I haven't specifically avoided Tolkienish or Celtic/Indo-European features for the most part, but neither have I strongly pursued them (although I am thinking of a somewhat Indo-European-type grammar for "Old Starrish"). I do like to have at least one "neat feature" in each of my conlangs, though.
>For how many of you, though, is beauty and/or >efficiency a factor in your language? Or elegance? >How would you define these terms?
I certainly hope "Old Starrish" will be beautiful, once I get more of it invented, by which I mean having a pleasing sound, or at least the capability of sounding beautiful, given the right vowel additions. I think sometimes I'm a bit afraid to start on it, because it's the language that matters most to me, and I want to get it right. I can just make stuff up for my other conlangs, because I don't care if it's just right or not.
>For how many of you is the "exotic" a desired >feature of your invented language?
"Exotic" is definitely a desired feature of pitaWiSa; but not totally and completely alien, since it has human speakers.
>How many of you invent a non-human language? And if >so, how alien are its sounds and constructions?
pitaWiSa is half-non-human (It's spoken both by humans and by WiSaWiSa, a species of hnau bird.) The whistles in it are not part of any natural human language that I know of, but are a contribution from WiSaWiSa phonology that is reproducible by humans, though whey are usually some of the last sounds acquired by human speakers of the language (For WiSaWiSa, in contrast, vowels are rather unnatural sounds to produce.) In addition, I think the OSV word order is largely a WiSaWiSa contribution; as far as I understand, most WiSaWiSa languages are object-initial, but only a small number of human natlangs are.
>Do you prefer inventing an a posteriori language or >an a priori language? In other words, how many of >you invent a language wherein you base it closely on >a natural language (Arabic, Tagalog) or a >combination of languages, and how many others of you >invent a language from, well, scratch? (if that can >be done.)
I prefer "inventing from scratch".
>How many of you invent a language based on a >particular type (Ergative, Accusative, Trigger, >etc.)?
I'm not sure I really understand the question.
>To what degree is difficulty and irregularity of >language important to you in your conlang? what >natural language eccentricities (or efficiencies) do >you like and try to reproduce?
I have difficulty with irregularities; I have a desire to make everything regular, although I know it's not realistic for a supposedly-natural language. I have an interest in different systems of "gender" (natural): In "Old Starrish", there are two parallel natural gender systems: nouns can be classified according to a masculine/feminine/neuter system, or according to an hnau/animate/inanimate system. In pitaWiSa, there is a human/WiSa/non-hnau natural gender system. In Ikanirae Seru, I think I will add a natural gender system with 4 categories: 1. human; 2. Animate(vertebrate); 3. Invertebrate animal/plant/food/plant-derived material (such as wood); 4. Non-living.
>How many of you started out by pulling words out of >the air, originally? How many of you have chosen a >more methodic form of vocabulary building? I.e., how >have you gone about setting up the framework for >your words and your grammar? (I started out pulling >words out of the air.)
I think I started pulling words out of the air for my first conlang; but they did have to fit my predetermined Japanese-inspired phonology. I was definitely pulling words out of the air for Nish, without even a predetermined phonology. How else does one create vocabluary, besides stealing it from elsewhere? PART IV: THE LUNATIC SURVEY REVISITED:
>Why do you conlang? Who will speak it? Read it? >What's the point? What's the beauty? what's the >intellectual draw?
Because languages are fun and humans are creative! And you can't have your characters in a fictional world speaking English, if you want to be realistic.
>To what would you compare a conlang? Is it a >miniature? Is it a model? Is it a tapestry? Is it >an act of obsession and madness? <G> Or is it a >communicable language?
Mine are definitely nowhere near communicable languages yet, although it sure would be neat if it were! Maybe they're a bit like paintings... or musical compositions? Symphonies that I'll never have the skill or time to complete!
>This is a difficult question: how is it that a word >sounds "right" to you? We recently discussed this. >To what extent are you finding righter, better >words for the world in your conlang? (Perhaps >unanswerable).
Definitely unanswerable to me.
>How many of you are fictive map-makers, designers of >fictive floor plans, fictive yachts, fictive star >ships, world-builders, calligraphers, cartoonists, >etc.? (These pursuits have been associated with >conlanging. I've done most of them.)
Mapmaker, floor-plan-maker, world-maker, calligrapher, number-system-maker, calendar-maker...
>How many of you have a special script in your >conlang?
pitaWiSa has a special script, based on WiSaWiSa footprints. I'm not sure what scripts Ikanirae Seru may use, besides Roman and Japanese. I highly suspect its speakers played around with several options before eventually arriving at one or several standards. "Old Starrish" will have a script of its own, bu I haven't invented it yet.
>If you use Roman script, how recognizably "phonetic" >is your writing system? In other words, do you use >unconventional letters to represent sounds? Why?
For the most part, I make my Roman spellings as recognizably phonetic as possible; they are usually best considered as a phonemic transcription of the language, not a transliteration of its own orthography, though the two may correspond.
>This is a question Heather asked, but I also asked >it four years ago: how many of you write in your >language? What do you write?
Alas! not yet.
>How many of you sing in your language and have >invented songs for that purpose?
Not yet.
>How many of you started conlanging when you were a >teenager and have stuck to the same language over >many years? Why?
As I mentioned above, I started conlanging when I was about 10, and recently returned to the language I was then working on after a break of probably about 8 years. I've been working on "Old Starrish" VERY SLOWLY since I was about 16.
>How many of you change conlangs regularly, >developing structures for many languages but not >sticking with any one for very long? Why?
Well, I have my long-lasting languages like "Old Starrish", and there are fleeting ones that hardly count as conlangs, more like conlanging-thought-experiments. I like to think of interesting features, and if I think of several interesting features that I can associate with one another or with one of my imaginary people groups, it might turn into a conlang.
>For how many of you does your language function as a >spiritual instrument? This is a deeply personal >question--let me give you an example. When I first >started inventing "Tayonian" in my early teens, what >I wrote were spells and prayers. They had a >talismanic quality. Does that ring a bell for >anybody?
Not at all.
>For how many of you was your language at least at >one stage of its making meant to fool others, or to >write secret diaries? (Me, waving my hand).
My first conlang, the forerunner of Ikanirae Seru, was originally intended for secret communication with my best friend, so that our siblings wouldn't understand us.
>How many of you can speak your language, at least to >yourself and your pet? child? spouse? <G> To what >extent?
None of my conlangs are at a speakable stage. I'm going to try to cultivate a speaking ability in Ikanirae Seru as it develops, though.
>How many of you have put up websites where your >language can be showcased? If so, what is the >website address? Currently there is information on my first conlang, on Nish (abandoned), on pitaWiSa (setting, phonology, orthography and a bit of morphology and short wordlist), and on a conlanging game/experiment I did with my siblings a few years ago.
>How many of you are comfortable talking to your >boss, your professors, your family members about >this pursuit? How many of you have received >condescending or other negative responses to your >disclosure? (I have.) Or even been >called "pathological"?
I don't tell everyone about it, but I do let it out to lots of people. I haven't had any strongly negative reactions, but I have had things like for instance (from a fellow linguistics student) "The problem for me about invented languages is that there are so may real languages out there already, that I don't see the point of making any new ones." PART V: GENERAL DEMOGRAPHICS:
>What is your age (optional--and can be general: 30 >40, for instance).
>What is your profession or your station in life >(i.e., if you are a student, what is your MAJOR; if >a middle or high-school student, what is your >intended major)?
In my third year of an Honours in Linguistics.
>What is your gender?
>What is your nationality and your native language?
Nationality: British and Canadian, but culturally I'm Canadian. Native language: Canadian English.
>What natural languages do you speak or have studied?
Speak: English (of course), a good deal of German Have studied: Swedish, Old English, Classical Greek, a touch of Latin; I've dabbled in other languages as well.
>How many of you have chosen a profession in >linguistics because of your interest in inventing >languages? Or plan a profession in linguistics?
I plan a profession in linguistics. I wouldn't say it's because of my interest in conlanging; I'd rather say that both are manifestations of my general fascination with language and languages.
>Do you know of anyone who has not connected with the >Internet or the List who has invented a language? >(I'm firmly convinced that "conlanging" has been a >private pursuit for many people long before the list >started, but that the list has increased its >visibility as an art).
I'm aware of someone in one of my linguistics classes who is also inventing a language; I don't think he's involved in the list. Also, my best friend does quite a bit of conculturing, and she's also dabbled a bit in conlanging.
>Can you give me a short sample of your language with >interlinear description and translation?
Ikanirae Seru: Otu tu siti-su i. you be teenager QUESTION. "Are you a teenager?" Kami, uti ka tu siti-su a. No, I not be teenager STATEMENT. "No, I am not a teenager." Otu teno uti taka, noti o. You give me pencil, please REQUEST. "Please give me a pencil." pitaWiSa: kwipakwipa kWu psiWu pitapita house-PL.REDUP in sleep human-PL.REDUP “humans sleep in houses” tWuksa kWu psiWu kwi sa tree in sleep not I “I do not sleep in a tree” "Old Starrish" Unfortunately, although this language has been in the works for 4 years, it has ZERO vocabulary! Rachel Klippenstein ______________________________________________________________________ Post your free ad now!