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Re: Bootstrapping a cooperative conlang

From:Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>
Date:Sunday, November 18, 2007, 2:56
--- Michael Poxon <mike@...> wrote:

> Yes, but that's because you already come to the project with an existing > cultural image of "mouse". > And I have a feeling that's why a conlang without a culture is not a conlang > at all. > In the real world, language and culture are inseparable. So surely the same > for conlangs? > Mike > > While reading Wierzbicka's definition of "mouse" at some point I gathered > > enough information to conclude which "thing-I-already-know" is being > > described. > > From that point on, the rest of the definition is irrelevant, and I can > > safely > > ignore it. The rest of the definition may, indeed, tell me things about > > what a > > mouse IS, but I already know those things. > >
Good point. My unspoken assumption was that the conlang was for present-day human inhabitants of this planet living in climate zones that support mice. :) If I were to launch a new conlang based in some alien, or fantasy environment and culture (say, for example, the language of the lost continent of Atlantis) then the ability to assume shared experiences would go right out the window, and I'd be back to square one. On the other hand, my original idea as to set up a collaborative environment within which people (native to Earth) who do not necessarily share the same (human) language or culture could collaborate on a (present-day, earth-centric, human) conlang project. Given that original purpose I think it is relatively safe to assume that speakers of French, Japanese, and Bengali have almost all had exposure to a mouse. Under these conditions, even a culture that worships and reveres mice would recognize the image of a mouse, such an image being necessarily free of cultural bias. (Unless, of course, the mouse worshiping culture has only ever seen mice dressed in silk robes, in which case the Mousarian priests and their followers would be excused from participating in the project. ;) At any rate, I have a couple of Wierzbicka's books on order and I will refrain from coming to any hard-and-fast conclusions until after I've learned more about what she has to say on the subject. --gary


Mia Soderquist <happycritter@...>Mousarians Unite! Was:Re: Bootstrapping a cooperative conlang