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DECAL: Research questions #1

From:Sai Emrys <saizai@...>
Date:Thursday, January 13, 2005, 22:00
So. While sitting down with my books, writing outlines and figuring
out what to do with various classes, I came up with a bunch of
questions I need to answer.

These are pretty wide range. If you know answers - or links to answers
- for any of them, please tell me (offlist or on). I'll research it
myself, of course, if necessary, but I figure that some of you are
likely to have bookmarks or offhand knowledge for at least some of
these questions.

Anything to help me research these, or come up with better ideas for
how to run the class (in general or specific) would be appreciated.

 - Sai


* Types of learners / how to balance for that - e.g., repetition,
modes, concrete vs. theory, etc

* general ideas about how to structure the class, do activities, be an
effective teacher

Translations / well-known conlangs:

* "Hello, and welcome to the first constructed languages class." -
Klingon, Lojban, Quenya, Esperanto.

* phonetic inventories of Klingon, Quenya, Lojban, Esperanto

Intarweb stuff:

* phonetics FAQ w/ full feature descriptions, pref. including good
sound examples, for all them weird sounds ;-) (e.g. clicks, ejectives,
aspiration, murmur, etc.) - i.e., a guide for the phonetically
uninformed to understand & use the full range of sounds

* Latex / metafont / etc FAQ - how to make fonts, possibilities,
limitations of available software (e.g., do they just make
serial-discrete type fonts? extensive / multilayer diacritics OK?
complex-character [a la Chinese]? ...)

Conlangs general:

* timeline of conlang development - dates of major events, language births, etc.
* rough timeline of conlang development by type of language (auxlang,
loglang, etc.) (to give an idea of the overall trends)
* timeline of natural-language reforms (Korean, Hebrew, Turkish, etc.)
that could be called conlang-like

* list of goals/criteria by which to design a language - something
like this essay - -
does for IALs, but for other prototypes, e.g., artlangs, MTIs, etc.
Essentially, overall top-down guiding ideas to keep in mind, and pref.
some elaboration of application. Also pref. ones that take into
account conlficting viewpoints (a la auxlang).

* list of unusual or otherwise unique conlangs, or attempts at them
(e.g. Laadan viz. "women's language")

* introductions (e.g., the intro chapter in the Laadan book), "how I
became a conlanger" stories, manifestos (a la "a conlanger's
manifesto" ?), position papers, etc. - anything in this vein, really,
to give an idea of the range of personal experience, reasons to be
doing this, things gotten out of it, opinions on conlanging in
general, opinions (ranty or not) on what constitutes a worthy project
and how to go about it, etc. (Already-written and public-domain essays
only, please, for that last one - no desire to start more flamewars.)

Natlang/Conlang Universals:

* page with list of universals, pref. by category and including the
relative percentage likelihood of occurance; also incl. absolute vs
probable vs implicative universals. (= Greenberg's list?)

* corollary: can we apply the above to make a sort of "naturalness
index" of how far a particular conlang is from "universal normal"?
(It'd probably be in std. dev.s, and natlangs wouldn't be at 0 s.d.
either.) Might be useful to make a "prototypically natural" language,
or gauge how unusual one is.

* sign language - list of possible MOV / POS / OR / HC types, or at
least some idea for this. An explanation of alternate description
systems would be good (heard something about a "mov/hold" system, but
know nothing about it). To be used analagously to IPA chart for giving
an idea of sign cheremes.

* range of # of phonemes (C / V)

* range of onset/coda clusters allowable

* example list of possible sound changes by context (e.g. equal
voicing in clusters)


* phonetics & phonology

* context change - examples before and after application of //->[]
rules (assignment - to guess what the rules were inbetween the two
forms given; range of difficulty from simple one-step to
three-plus-step [pref. with the sub-steps attested in previous

* writing systems homework?

* signing systems homework?

* linguistic typology readings / homework?


* Permission to copy into reader (if any of the authors of these are
here): Laadan introduction; Omniglot (intros, selections, or whole
site); the IPA+CXS .pdf chart (the one with blue markup); the
"conlanger's manifesto" I lost track of.


H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>