Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Bootstrapping a cooperative conlang

From:Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>
Date:Friday, November 16, 2007, 22:03
---QUOTH Mia---

People using the language to communicate with others
seems like a good method for growing the language organically, and I'd
think it would encourage more fluency among the collaborators, leading
to more and better progress, overall. It would prevent people from
influencing the language without seeing how their ideas play out in
actual use.

I have been entertaining thoughts of a collaborative conlang for about a
year now. My thought was to create a basic grammar and base vocabulary,
and then see what happens to it when it is released into the wild. The
sticking point was finding incentive for people to come play with it. My
friends are tolerant, but there are limits to their tolerance for my
conlang craziness.




You bring up an important issue, motivating people to participate. One benefit
of using the language for discussions pertaining to the language is that in
order to contribute to the language people must understand the language well
enough to discuss their contribution, which sort of entails them knowing the
language well enough to make "compatible" contributions. I imagine that some
people might be more interested in talking IN a new conlang than in talking
ABOUT a new conlang, although such a project might appeal to both types. In
either case, being invested in the creation of the language would, it seems,
encourage more participation. (I'm reminded of Larry Sulky's Elomi project from
a few years back.)

I was thinking of starting out at an even more basic level, with NO defined
grammar or phonology, and allowing both to evolve in the wild. This would be
more likely, in my opinion, of resulting in a more naturalistic language which
might have some features of an isolating language and some features of an
inflected language, all sort of mixed up and jumbled together the way it is in
such natural languages as English, which declines some pronouns (he, him, his;
thou, thee, thy), but few if any nouns, and includes peculiar non-conforming
plurals like "children", "cattle", "geese", "deer". Defining the grammar in
advance might discourage this kind of naturalistic hodge-podge, and might be
off-putting to anyone who didn't agree completely with the a priori structure
of the language.

---QUOTH: David---

For more ideas, you can check out the list I use for Kelenala:






Thanks for those lists. I will examine them carefully.

Another thought that occurred to me was to combine the 200+ word Swadesh list
with whichever NSM semantic primes are not already in that list, and for each
natlang, have an introductory page that gives translations into the new conlang
from that natlang.

In fact, that introductory page might even leave the translations into the
conlang blank initially and allow contributors to suggest new conlang words
which could then be voted upon by the whole community of participants.



Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>