Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: LUNATIC again

From:Logical Language Group <lojbab@...>
Date:Sunday, November 8, 1998, 12:04
>> Note that you have two definitional clauses here joined by "and". A problem >> that remains is to come up for a term where only one of the two clauses is >> satisfied. You also need to be clear on the passive "meant". Is it the >> attitude of the language inventor that matters in deciding what a conlang is >> "meant" for? If so, then Loglan/Lojban clearly is not an auxlang, no matter >> who you consider the language inventor(s). Meant to be spoken seems to be >> a pretty much accepted goal, but not the facilitation of global communicatio >> > >I wasn't really thinking in terms of Lojban in particular, Bob. The >general discussion right now seems to be Auxlangs, and that's what I was >addressing.
I understood that. John Cowan noted that some see Lojban as a potential Auxlang, enough that we mention it as a plausible goal in our writings, although that was not the reason it was created, and I was pointing out therefore the slipperiness of the passive "meant" in your definition. You go on to mention that languages like Lojban need their own category, so I think you eventually understood my point here.
>I have made myself unclear by mixing my terms up. I'm sorry. I really >prefer to see "conlang" as a term that can be further divided into >artlangs and auxlangs. I believe that that was the original sense in >which it was used. What I do is make a model language, a *fictional* >language as you suggest below. You are doing something else. All of us >are "conlanging." The term "conlang," however, has acquired the meaning >at least on this listserv of one of its subsets, "artlang." From now on >I'll use "artlang" to mean what I do to distinguish what you do. Except >that Lojban is not really an auxiliary language. I forgot. A third >category is needed. But whatever that is, it's not exactly a >ficlang/artlang or what have you.
And that is all I could ever ask - that people make distinctions when appropriate, and we can try not to be exclusionaryt of each other when we write. I would not exclude artlangs from the concept of "conlanging" either, nor necessarily from the concept of "inventing a language", but the latter phrase is less suggestive to me of artlangs because of my personal history and exposure to the phrase and indeed the history of conlanging where artlangs per se are relatively new among recorded and well-known conlang projects. If it affects me this way, who is aware through conlang list of the concept of artlangs, the vast majority of the world is not aware of the concept of "artlang" and more strongly imbue the word "language" with their ideas of what a natural language is than even I do. And Bog knows howemotional people can get about the concpet of language.
> >Artlang is my term of choice. It seems that you and I are at odds here >only because of my clumsy misuse of "conlang."
Probably, though I started this thread talking more about the use of "language". It seems that both of us get upset over careless exclusion-by-implication %^)
>By labelling them as "fictional" we do >> not expect them to have all the features and details of natlangs. > >That depends, Bob. Some fiction writers develop believable, fleshed-out >characters.
Tolkien's Elvish are probably among the more fleshed out of fictional languages; I recognize this. I am saying that we don't *expect* or *require* that a fictional language be complete, and not that it is impossible for such a language to be complete.
>> Alas, most conlangs that are not artlangs or fictional languages seem to me >> to be "codes". > >I think you need to take more of an interest in them and really study them >to see that this is not true in many cases.
That could well be. I have not read conlang list too carefully since the artlang movement came to dominate. In the first few years of conlang list, when auxlangs were the primary topic, it seemed thatmost discussions (whether of auxlangs or any other kind of conlang) were limited to the phonology and the morphology and the word order (these of course are what you will largely see discussed by those who critique Esperanto, for example). People would spend weeks and months developing these 3 areas, and new conlangs that people described were largely limited in description to these areas. I was impoliticly vocal in those days about the lack of discussion of semantics, and the more esoteric features of language (mood, voice, etc.) As I look at a few of the recent postings by people about their conlangs, I see that this has changed, though semantics still seems to be underplayed, especially given the one-word gloss tendency which hides the "differentness" of a semantic system. Again my criticism is based on what I have seen and paid attention too. THings HAVE improved, and of course I have largely "shut up" in criticizing the "instant language inventor" at the same time. So we are all moving the right way, IMHO.
>What I understand of a >"code," as linguists use the term, is to do what Helene Smith did, who >claimed in the nineteenth century to be contacting Martians: basically >she took French and found new words for each French word, so that it would >at least not look as though it was structured after English. So her >"Martian" had pronouns like those in French, sentence structure like that >in French... etc. My Teonaht, when I was ten years old, was a code. It >structured itself rigidly after English, because I didn't know any better. >I even had the same homonyms in Teonaht that existed in English. Now >THAT's a code with a vengeance.
Lojban has been "afflicted" by proposals from people who like Lojban's "logical" elements interesting but find the vocabulary difficult to learn (it is indeed by farthe hardest part of the language to learn). These proposals havce acquired the generic name "Anglan" in contrast to "Loglan". The idea is simply to use Lojban grammr with English words or perhaps with English-only based roots rather than 6 or 8 language based roots. Wwe habve demonstrated that neither English words nor English-based roots gives a "loglan" any significant improvement in readability or understandability by presenting longer Lojban passages with such roots substituted for the Lojban words. But the side issue that came up here is that if you use English words or roots rather than "Chicken McNugget" roots as Loglan/Lojban uses, you end up with full transfer of English semantics. Some Anglan supporters seemed to actually want this semantics transfer for ease of learning, but even a language with the exotic grammar of Lojban's becomes merely a complicated code if "I see a fish" and "I see your point" use the same verb.
>My Teonaht, when I was ten years old, was a code. It >structured itself rigidly after English, because I didn't know any better. >I even had the same homonyms in Teonaht that existed in English. Now>THAT's a >code with a vengeance.
Exactly, and thus codelike properties in a conlang seem to be a mark of 10-year-old naivete about language. Most conlangers these days seem to learn without it being epxressly said, that codes are somewhat less than full conlangs. As you note, you and Matt have gone beyond this in your artlangs. But then you two are most excellent examples of NOT inventing several languages in a year %^). And thus, as you suggested in an earlier post, my disparagement was not intended to include languages like yours or Matt's. aAnd perhaps I would similarly exclude most of the artlangs posted about on conlang these days. Maybe my objection/argument is a fossil of the earlier days of conlang when the type of conlang I am criticizing was the norm among those discussed. But the warning against that kind of disparagable conlanging then should remain - not as a criticism of what is going on now among the sophisticated conlangers of this list, but as an example of what NOT to do for newcomers. At one time, someone was preparing a set of FAQ pages on conlanging, and he may have addressed these issues enough that I should lay them to rest.
>Marina Yaguello made this same mistake, caving in to the same old >stereotypes about invented languages. Only HER target was auxiliary >languages, which she attacks with a personal vengeance that is unsettling
Which just goes to show thatwhat the outside world knows about conlangs and conlanging is largely about auxlangs. Such people probably don't even think of languages of fiction such as Klingon and your languages as being "invented languages" because they have this single-minded stereotype based on the much more vociferous evangelism of the auxlangers. You-all have a BIG education job for the world to get them to understand the spectrum of conlanging. My prejudices, which have been tempered with time, are mild compared to Yaguello and most others who have never seen Conlang List.
>> This is fine among our 16-year old conlangers, since they don't teach >> linguistics below college level, nor write books that identify these complex >ies for pre college levels. >> > >Most of the people who invent more than one conlang, like Tim or Nik or >Hermann, have NEVER to my recollection spoken of any of their conlangs as >"complete." They have made forays into this idea, or experiments with >that. Or they have mounted webpages giving samples of this Mizarian >tongue, or that. I think the remark about the "sixteen year olds" is >uncalled for. There are some sixteen year olds on this listserv who are >aware of this problem as well. They read the list.
Again my tactlessness. It is NOT that a 16 year old cannot be aware of this problem. Those on this list are demonstrably far more linguistically mature than the average 16 year old. But it is understandable that a 16 year old whose education is incomplete might NOT recognize these issues WITHOUT disparaging the 16 year old, just asI would never criticize you as a 10 year old for your unsophisticated version of what has become far more. Ihave an 11 and a 12 year old, and one does not expect of that age the sophistication of college educated adults (one can be surprised on occasion of course %^).
> Your effort could still be a most reputable artlang, while >> not being an approprate subject for the scientific study of language. > >Which is of course your intent, but not mine. The creation is an end >in itself. And the appreciation of other people doing like projects. >Which in some way obviates any objection you make to them, I guess.
Right. My opinion hardly matters. Of course, I will go so far as to say that artlangs with as much effort behind them as you have put in serve as good examples for others, and I don't need to read your posts to support you on this basis alone.
>In my opinion, >> we should not call something a "language" unless it is a "real language" >> other than perhaps in metaphor or poetry - we now have perfectly good words >> like artlang and conlang for things that resemble languages but are not >> "real languages". > >Then what's the "lang" part doing in conlang and artlang, Bob?
The use of a root in a compound does not appropriate the full semantics of the root. Sign language is now accepted to be language even though there is no use of the tongue as implied by the Latinate root.
>> Well that certainly exempts you from the criticism that you thought the >> language was "done" after a couple of months and have therefore invented ove >> 2 dozen languages in your 45 years %^) >> > >I have never thought it was done. And it never will be. Nor are REAL >languages really "done."
"Invented" is a past tense with a sense of the perfective in it, though English does not have a good distinction between perfective and imperfective of such words. The word "invented" in itself implies the completion of the process of inventing. A conlang might be the first example in English of something that could be called "invented" that should not imply that the invention process is complete. (I note that in addition to perfective/imperfective issues here we also have the distinction between completion and ending of a process. Lojban can make all these distinctions with ease. English cannot.) Boy, I never thought we'd come up with such a good example of English that is subject to poor encoding by an unsophisticated conlanger. Anyone still reading this might look at their conlang to see whether they can distinguish between the possible senses of "invented" in ways that English cannot. Since English does not make the distinction, "invented" will usually be taken to mean "done".
>> >It's being used like a language. >> >> So it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck. Is it a >> duck? > >No. It looks like a LANGUAGE.
%^) So I was trying to make clear by implication. Misunderstood humor attempt.
> >As someone else has already said, your gripe is with them, and not us.
>One of the inspirations for the survey was to find out if others felt as I >did; that casual mention of con/artlanging outside this list was met with >a number of negative stereotypes.
I would certainly agree that this is the case.
> You are producing one right before my >eyes, without, you admit yourself, of checking your data. I mean you jump >to all sorts of stereotypes about T. and my intentions for it, admittingly >having never looked at my posts.
Most people of the world make assumptions and statements without checking to see if they are completely valid. Sometimes they do so on the basis of language traps. I, as described above, have succumbed to the trap of thinking that a Conlanger's use of "invented" means the same as other uses of "invented". i.e. perfective and completive. You claim legitimately that this is not the intent in using the word. But it is an example of the basis for the kind of stereotype you are trying to deal with. Other than this type of linguistic-based stereotyping, you are suffering from a sociological fact of modern America (and most other countries). Making money is our national pastime, and any activity that does not make money for someone is suspected of being impractical, which is probably the ultimate insult %^). We forgive the TV addict, or the football addict,because they have chosen avocations that someone is TRYING to get them to choose - they are succumbing to societal conformance. I'll stop here, as I would rather not go where this is leading, into a long sociological diatribe founded only on my in this case uneducated prejudices against modern societal norms. I am merely trying to get linguists to respect me. YOu are trying something harder - to get modern society to respect you %^).
>> I will addres your auxlang questions separately, though I second John Cowan' >> comment that there should not be an artlang/auxlang dichotomy - there are >> languages such as Lojban that do not fit in either category. But I suspect >at >> your questions indicate that you would be more prone to calling Lojban an >> auxlang than an artlang,and I CAN answer some if not all of your questions >> for auxlangers. > >Perusal of John's pages has made me understand that Lojban is not to be >considered an auxlang. I would appreciate a clearer understanding of how >it differs from an auxiliary language. Perhaps I don't understand what >is really meant by "auxiliary."
Having already gotten in trouble over defining "language" I should pass on this one, at least for this post %^). lojbab ---- lojbab Bob LeChevalier, President, The Logical Language Group, Inc. 2904 Beau Lane, Fairfax VA 22031-1303 USA 703-385-0273 Artificial language Loglan/Lojban: /pub/access/lojbab or see Lojban WWW Server: href="" Order _The Complete Lojban Language_ - see our Web pages or ask me.