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Conlang meetings during Worldcon

From:Jim Henry <jimhenry@...>
Date:Thursday, September 9, 2004, 16:29
The panel on "Really Alien Languages" (with Tim Smith, Laurence Schoen of the KLI,
Mark Mandel, Nomi Burstein and a couple of others) was fairly interesting,
including comments on center-embedding, alternate media for language such
as scent and skin color alteration, phonemes impossible for humans, and so
forth.  I recorded it for the SF Oral History Association; you can order a copy
from them (after giving them time to catalog all the tapes made at the con).

I met with Sylvia Sotomayor, Tim Smith and Carol Ann Buckley for lunch Sunday
during Worldcon.  Jeffrey Henning wasn't able to come, unfortunately.
Ms. Buckley is a Polynesianist and sf writer interested in sf'nal linguistics
who expressed some interest in subscribing to CONLANG-L.

Sylvia reported that the panel on the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis got
off-topic quickly and was not very interesting, unfortunately.

We talked some about trying to do a more formal conlang get-together, maybe a
room party, during some future con.  The Glasgow Worldcon next August, or the Seattle
NASFiC in September, are good possibilites.  Sylvia also mentioned Norwescon 28,
next March in Seattle, whose theme is to be "The Language of Fantasy and Science Fiction".
Suzette Haden Elgin (creator of Laadan) will be one of the guests of honor.

After Tim Smith's presentation on auxlangs Monday morning, several of us
moved to the consuite to continue the conversation, which centered on
center-embedding in Ian Watson's _The Embedding_, the evolution of a
colloquial dialect of Lojban, ape sign language, and other such topics.  I
unfortunately did not note the names of most of the people involved.
I gave information on CONLANG-L and AUXLANG-L to a couple of people
who were still present when our group broke up after about an hour and
fifteen minutes.  I recorded Tim Smith's talk and the first twenty minutes or
so of the conversation.

Someone had placed a sign stating "This is Not A Door" over a forbidden door
in the Sheraton Hotel.  SF fans being what they are, it quickly accumulated
annotations such as "Ceci n'est pas une porte", "No, it's ink on on a sign on a door",
"It's a butterfly dreaming it's a door" and comments or translations in several
other languages including Japanese, Chinese, Klingon, Toki Pona and Esperanto.

- Jim Henry


Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...>
Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...>Suzette Haden Elgin online (was Re: Conlang meetings during Worldcon)