Re: LUNATIC again
|From:||Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>|
|Date:||Monday, November 9, 1998, 2:30|
At 07:25 08/11/98 -0500, you wrote:
>>> On Wed, 4 Nov 1998, Logical Language Group wrote:
>>> > But of course the question is whether an "artificial language"
>>> > is a "language" at all.
>>I don't understand why it wouldn't be. Chemicals created in the lab are
>>just as real as chemicals created in nature, to use an analogy.
>Briefly summarizing my argument, which people have refuted at length based
>on other assumptions (showing that assumptions are all-important to this
>Linguistics is defined as the (scientific) study of languages. Linguists
>reject conlangs as objects of study. Therefore, since conlangs are not
>studied under the study of languages, they are not languages. QED.
Until now, I didn't adress this thread, but I read each post of the
subject. But here I can't accept this argument as most linguists I read
books from wouldn't do. When you say "linguists reject conlangs as objects
of study", you're totally wrong, as I know linguists that DON'T reject them.
You should say "some linguists reject..." or "the linguists I know
reject...", and then your definition cannot stand. If I and every other
member of the conlang list decided that apples were not fruit, should
everyone accept that apples are not fruit?
I also heard from you that pidgins were not considered as languages
and not sudied as languages. But I know at least one French linguist, Claude
Hagege, that considers pidgins as languages like any other, and considers
the process of pidginisation and creolisation as an important object of
study from linguistics. And his position is not seen as marginal in France.
You're just making over-generalisations with incomplete data. Why do you
think the position of the linguists you know has the majority? With such a
narrow definition, I think the linguists you know are more plausibly in
minority. Your arguments cannot therefore stand.
>The argument has weaknesses, but it is the level of argument that would
>typically fuel prejudice. We who conlang have to deal with such prejudice,
>so one way to cut down on such prejudice is to find ways to get conlangs
>accepted as objects of study by linguists. Among other things, this means
>careful use of jargon when talking to linguists (something we of Loglan/
>Lojban have learned the hard way).
>More sophisticated definitions of language can be created that includeconlangs.
>But then the argument is: why then don't linguists study them? We can say= that
>linguists don't properly do linguistics if they refuse to study languages
>that are not part of there more narrow view - they are in effect misusing= the
>name of their field to limit it so.
Here again you must say "some linguists", and then you have the
answer to your question.
>>> > I most often recognize a code by the fact that the lexicon
>>> > is presented with single word English definitions.
>>Natural languages are often listed with such one-to-one definitions,
>>regardless of what the words really mean.
>And such lists are usually garbage. Anyone who has looked at the typical
>book of words in 26 languages that i am sure most people have seen, knows= this.
>Words are listed as equivalents because someone found them in a 2= directional
>list between English and language X. So we get the implication that word A
>in language X and word B in language Y mean the same thing because both= were
>glossed in different places to mean the same English word. (26 language
>dictionaries make even worse errors at times, of course).
I totally agree. Often such one-to-one lists cannot be done even
between dialects of the same language.
>>> 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
>>And of course, early projects are frequently truely codes. As you
>>practice, you learn to de-anglicize your creations.
>Fine, but as I conlcuded my last exchange with Sally. When in the process= of
>"inventing" a language is it appropriate to call the language "invented"
>rather than "in progress" or some similar term that conveys the= incompleteness
>as "invented" does not.
Well, grammar is just a finite set of rules, so it can be "complete"
after a while (and not necessarily years) even if it can change over the
years. Changing it doesn't mean that it was "incomplete", as changing the
shape of a car doesn't mean that its previous shape made it impossible to
move. Moreover, most people speak natlangs knowing only 2000 or less words
(I read a study that said that an educated French person knows approximately
only 5000 words -compare to the 1,200,000 words of French-). So a conlang
with a vocabulary of 1000 words or so can be considered as "complete" as it
CAN carry basic information (as natlangs are generally used to -is a natlang
incomplete because it has no native words to speak of Quantum Mechanics?-).
Of course, it won't be as "complete" as a natlang, but it doesn't mean it's
"incomplete". As someone already said it, you judge everything with a
black-and-white scale, and forget everything of the infinite shades of gray
you can find between them.
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