OT: auxlangers vs. artlangers (was OT: lingua fracas)
|From:||Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, June 19, 2003, 11:53|
Mia Soderquist <mia@...> writes:
> Can you imagine how much fun it was before The Great Split, when we were all
> playing in the same sandbox?
I wasn't on the list back then, but I can imagine. Rivaling fractions of auxlangers
bashing each other's proposals, probably with occasional collateral damage
when someone bashed an artlang he mistook for an auxlang, etc.
The Great Split was certainly a good thing; imagine having all that auxlang
advocacy *here*, besides all that other off-topic stuff that weighs down
this list and causes so many people (including me) to go nomail.
> I was on both lists for quite a long while after
> the split, but I really doubt the need and desire for any sort of IAL, so
> Ieft Auxlang for lack of anything to contribute.
I only cursorily observe the AUXLANG archives and am not subscribed to it,
as I have nothing of value to contribute. I am not a disciple of any auxlang
proposal (I was actually quite fond of Esperanto in my youth, but it has
worn off long ago), and am mildly sceptical about the whole idea of an artificial
international auxiliary language; however, I am interested in the history
of conlanging in general, and this of course includes IALs.
> Besides, artlangers hardly ever break out into fits of "My artlang is
> superior because it has these features and your artlang sucks because it has
> those features." That sort of argument wouldn't even make sense, except
> possibly as a joke between friends.
Very true. Auxlangs are subject to what I call the "Highlander condition":
there can be only one. The goal of an IAL is to establish *one single*
language for everyone to learn as a second language, such that anyone
can talk to anyone. Thus, any new auxlang proposal implicitly infers a rejection
of every previous proposal. After all, if one was of the opinion that any existing
auxlang proposal was fit to do the job, one would not take the trouble
of inventing a new language for the same purpose.
Artlangs, in contrast, usually have no such absolutist aspirations.
They are created as part of a fictional world background, as an exercise of
someone's personal opinion on linguistic beauty, or just for fun; creating a new
artlang in no way infers the rejection of any other artlang.
In fact, most artlangers appreciate the works of their collegues.
I have also gained the subjective impression that artlangers tend to be
better linguists than auxlangers, in such details as the fact that most auxlangers
describe their languages in terms of letters rather than phonemes,
and take idiosyncrasies of western European languages for granted.
One frequently finds statements such as "the conditional is expressed
by suffixing the letter |u| to the verb", with no explanation what exactly
*is* the conditional. In contrast, I have seen many artlang sketches
that tell of a linguistic knowledge rarely found in auxlang proposals.
Many auxlangers also have strange ideas about how language works or
should work, and tend to fix "bugs" of language that are actually features.
This is especially apparent in "philosophical" language schemes auch
as Ygyde (to give a recent example that shows that philosophical languages
are *not* a 17th-century matter that is now entirely discarded).
The result are bizarre, unworkable proposals with a streak of madness
running straight through them.
This of course raises the question, why is auxlanger linguistics so doggy?
I don't know. Perhaps it is that someone who understands the way
languages work realizes that the whole enterprise of creating an artificial
international auxiliary language is a hunting of a snark, so the good
linguists abandon the auxlang quest (if they ever embarked in it)
and the bad linguists stay on. But that's only my personal impression,
and not all auxlangers are bad linguists, and not all artlangers are
good linguists. There is the whole range from complete dorks to
brilliant scholars on both sides of the fence.
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