Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

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 been 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 "googly" word! <G>
> 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, so 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 your inventions. Sally