Re: languages with soul
|From:||Sally Caves <scaves@...>|
|Date:||Friday, March 26, 1999, 8:00|
Edward Heil wrote:
> Hrum. What I wrote struck Bryan as "stupid" (and my bud Pat jumped to my
> defense) and Sally, to whom I was replying, as completely offbases. Let me
> try to explain.
Oh... I jumped to your defense, too. I felt that Bryan's response was
out-of-lineand WAY over the top... and when I reread what I thought he might have
reacting to, I turned Devil's Advocate a bit. There are so many of us on the list
who enjoy the nuts and bolts and theory of conlanging. I guess it was the
> If I seemed to champion the touchy-feely over the theoretical, it's not
> because I'm anti-intellectual but too intellectual; prone to analyze rather
> than *do*, to agonize over whether what I'm doing is technically right rather
> than learn by doing what actually works and what doesn't.
> I'm prone to spend an hour boning up on my linguistics for fear of doing
> something "wrong" for every five minutes I spend using what I've learned to
> make up anything either beautiful or interesting.
> I'm prone to detatchment and conservatism and rules-following over immersion
> and experimentation and invention. To theory over practice. Not prone enough
> to go my own way and trust my own intuition.
> Constructing a language to pray in seemed to me to be something which was
> gorgeous and was exactly what I by following these unfortunate tendencies in
> my nature would never have done -- because I was too busy trying to learn from
> others the Right Way to make a language.
> These are tendencies I have struggled with in other creative endeavors in my
> life, such as in my drawing and in the writing of my master's thesis in Latin
> Literature, and they have raised their ugly heads in this hobby I am newly
> attracted to -- conlanging.
> So, Bryan, if I was attacking anyone, it was supposed to be myself.
> And, Sally, there's a difference between actually accomplishing the building
> of a language with an ergative, and working out the details of how that works
> in the life of the language, than a merely theoretical preoccupation with fun
> options like ergativity; and it was the latter that I was pooh-poohing (and
> even then it was only supposed to be pooh-poohed if it was carried too far).
Yes, I realize this, Edward; it's just that we had a *terrible* brouhaha not
toomany months ago about whether you could call the projects some of us were
only exploring "languages." I don't want to revisit that site of contest again,
let's not anybody pursue it. The thing we shouldn't do on this list is pooh-pooh
anything anybody does or takes joy in. Or if we do, choose our words carefully,
and not (as in my case) a migrainous haze.
> I've seen the Teonaht pages and I'm under no illusions that you would ever
> accept an anti-intellectualism in your conlanging. (How could
> anti-intellectualism and conlanging ever really survive together for long?)
> But Teonaht has what I meant by soul, in a big way.
Gosh, that's one of the nicest compliments anyone has ever given me. Teonahtis
oooooold. It goes back to my grammar school days, and I've given it a chance
to percolate. Edward, keep pursuing that other side of you that you want to
emerge. I'm sure it has, and you haven't given it credit yet. Tell me about