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Results of Poll by Email No. 6

From:Peter Clark <pc451@...>
Date:Sunday, April 14, 2002, 2:00
Hash: SHA1

        We had 27 responses to the question, "Do people of your surrounding other
than conlangers know about your hobby/art/whatever-you-call-it, in short
about your conlanging?" The results were:
        A. Yes, I'm quite public with my conlanging. (4 responses, 15%)
        B. A few friends/family members know, but I don't advertise it. (19
responses, 70%)
        C. I don't think anyone knows that I conlang. (3 responses, 11%)
        D. I am deeply hidden within the conlang closet; no one knows, and I don't
know what "they" would think if I told them. (1 responses, 4%)
        E. Other. (0 responses, 0%)

        I'm afraid that this is going to be a rather uninteresting report. But for
the record, here are some of your responses:

        I guess by nature conlangers are a modest bunch, as only four answered (A).
David (DigitalScream@aol) proves that conlanging might even be profitable: "I
bring it up with anyone and everyone--oftentimes with professors just to see
the look on their faces.  I remember my Creoles professor, John McWhorter.
He smiled and laughed and said, "Have you been fooling around with
Esperanto?"  Hee, hee...  Advertise...?  Well, I did kind of, with this
website I had (and still have, come to think of it) advertising the fact that
I'll create languages for me.  Thus far, only one taker.  Got me a whopping
$35.  I think I spent it on CD's..."
        CDs? Really, shouldn't that have been spent on linguistic books or grammar
descriptions? ;> In any case, Jesse Bangs answered so: "I don't go around
talking about my hobby with just anyone--like a lot of non-mainstream
hobbies, uninitiates tend to be baffled/put off by it. At the same time, I
make no attempt to hide it, and if it comes up somehow, I'll gladly explain
what it is. This happens more often than you'd think, especially since I'm
prone to scribbling bits of Yivríndil in the margins of my tests and on
notebooks, etc."

        The overwhelming majority of you answered (B). As a representative sample,
Jan van Steenbergen answered: "My girl friend knows that I am doing it, but
she doesn't know any details about it (and she doesn't care much, I think).
It might be that I have mentioned it once to a friend, but I can't imagine he
remembers.  It's definitely not a secret; it just never comes up in a
        Bob Greenwade answered, "My wife and best friend know that I conlang, but
listen with polite disinterest when I discuss it.  When I try to demonstrate
by giving them a little sample of spoken Rav Zarruvo, they look at me as
though I'm from another planet.  (There are a lot of things I do to get that
same look, but nothing else is quite as effective.)  As for anyone else, I
doubt that they'd understand the concepts behind conlanging, so I take care
who I mention it to -- not so much to avoid looks askance, but to avoid
having to give fifteen-minute explanations of what the whole thing is about."

        Of the three people who answered (C), only Keith Gaughan said much about his
conlang condition: "A few people have found out from peeking at my website,
but I don't really proclaim it to the world. A few people who have discovered
tend to be a bit ignorant and pass it off as just being something weird, not
understanding that what's weird to one person is perfectly normal to
another." (NB: Perhaps this should have been filed as (B), considering it is
similar to what some other (B) people said, but then again, I never made any
claims to accuracy with these polls! :)

        The lone (D) was Andreas Johansson, who stepped bravely out of the closet to
announce, "AFAIK nobody around me knows that I conlang, and I'm pretty
secretive about it." Apparently, any other (D) people were to far back in
their Conlang Closet to answer. :)

        Well, there you have it. Stay tuned for Poll by Email No. 7!
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