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Re: Aesthetics

From:Petr Mejzlík <imploder@...>
Date:Friday, October 26, 2007, 15:41
Dne Tue, 23 Oct 2007 02:58:03 +0200 John Quijada <jq_ithkuil@...>

> Petr Mejzlík wrote: > >> ...The perhaps most famous experimental >> conlang, Ithkuil, sounds beautiful according to its creator JQP. I quite >> don't understand how someone can like making all those subtle >> distinctions >> combined with a kitchen-sinky grammar ... > ========================================= > > If you wish to conclude that Ithkuil is "kitchen-sinky" despite the > painstaking detail presented on the Ithkuil site explaining the rationale > behind the grammar, that is your business. But I don't ever recall > saying > to anyone at any time, either publicly or privately, whether in-person or > online, that Ithkuil "sounds beautiful", especially considering that I > most > certainly do NOT believe such a characterization to be true. Due to the > fact that Ithkuil phonology is the primary means by which the language > accomplishes its morpho-syntactic "efficiency", I long ago had to give up > any hope of giving it a "pleasing" phonaesthetics. > > So if you want to state your opinion about its grammar, go ahead, but > don't > assign quotes to me that I neither made nor whose content I support. > > --John Quijada >
I meant it was annoying for any potential speaker to have to distinguish all 65 consonants and 17 vowels with often subtle differences in quality and arrangement with minimal space for redundancy in the grammar. I thought the sounds were one of the main issues to learners and things Iláksh was made to improve. However I understand it is an experimental language and practicality and ease of learning is not a goal. I recalled that you had wrote that you like the sound of Ithkuil somewhere in the website, particularly in the page about Iláksh' forthcoming ( There you say Iláksh is not going to be a replacement for Ithkuil and that you want to keep the original Ithkuil as your personal version of the languages. On the same page there is also a statement that you "like exotic phoneme inventories" related to the fact that Ithkuil has so many consonants. All in all it somehow gave me the impression that you want to preserve the original version since you like it also for its sounds. If you didn't like it why would you call it your "own personal version" and want to preserve it? Maybe I got this impresion also somewhere else. I see though now that there is nowhere explicitly said that you like the sound of Ithkuil. Sorry for saying that. Why did I say the grammar of Ithkuil is kitchen-sinky? It's because it has so much of everything - 89 cases, many moods, conflations etc., and all is organized so that nearly all possible forms of various affixes are used so that there's much less redundancy than there usually is in other languages. It's not my own idea to call such conlangs "kitchen-sinky", but a stereotypical complaint of artlangers on such languages. Just look at any such discussion on the ZBB. It is not commonly considered a good style of an artlang. I'll not defend this. Even though Ithkuil has an extreme amount of inflectional grammar, it's a system that makes sense and works very efficiently, which is the point. It's very complex but regular and IMO complex systems are more interesting than primitive irregularities some people like to put in their conlangs. It's not a requirement to simulate natural evolution especially when the conlang is experimental and is meant to be something that wouldn't arise natural way, which is the case of Ithkuil. I like that Ithkuil is, unlike other "logical" and "philosophical" languages, not made narrow-mindedly on predicate calculus but done with respect to linguistic theories for real languages. It's surely a great work. Although I'm not sure if the positive qualities make it any less kitchen-sinky. It is not kitchen-sinky if we understand a kitchen-sink not simply a language very loaded with various grammatical and phonological features but only a language where they are only for their own sake and don't make a functional system together. In Ithkuil they do and thus it doesn't fall into this definition of "kitchen sink". ---- Petr


David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...>
David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...>