Newbie says hi
|From:||Mat McVeagh <matmcv@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, October 30, 2002, 23:17|
Hi - name's Mat, I rediscovered conlangs about a week ago from Mark
Rosenfelder's website (zompist.com) and have been amazed to find this huge
Net community of conlangers. I say REdiscovered because I invented several
languages in my early teenage years. I recorded it all in several exercise
books, often among school work and BASIC programming plans. I drifted away
from it after a few years and mostly forgot about it. Now, having read about
all these amazing languages everybody's being creating, I have been inspired
to get involved again.
Here is what I can find from my school-time notebooks:
1) Modified Esperanto, or an "Esperclone" as I now feel like calling this
category. At first it seems not to have had a name, and only involved a few
alterations to Zamenhof's 'masterpiece' (!), then as I began to experiment
it drifted further away and took on independent names... #1 being "Langvaje"
or "LaNvaje" (with the 'eng' symbol), then "Lingwajo". Hmmmm. I guess I
wasn't always too original with names. I have just discovered I filled
almost an entire exercise book with vocab and even a very neatly drawn
handbook introduction, which is a lot further than I thought I'd got.
2) "Anathusia", a very similar language, but having about 15 cases like
Finnish, formed from neat agglutinated /VC/ suffixes.
3) Unnamed, I referred to the various versions of it as "Language 5, 6, 7"
etc. It was similar to the above two, but was basically just a means to play
around with different ways of morphologically representing case, number,
gender, verb tenses. There was an element of a loglang type of concern
getting involved here.
In all three of the above the vocab was based on Esperanto and Latin and
similar sources. The exercise was not in creating a workable language from
the point of view of being able to speak it soon, with handy vocab, but
rather workability in terms of grammatical structure and some phonological
4) "Ruman", probably the one I am going to have most fun reviving. It is a
fictional Romance language, on the "what would have happened if there had
been another country which developed an X type of language" principle, which
I see many people have followed with their ficlangs. I imagined a small
central European country called Talina that spoke Ruman, and that I was
going to write a story about it (including interacting with other European
countries and languages). Never got round to it of course... probably won't
now, but it might be nice to revamp Ruman to a workable level on the Net,
including some minor "pretend history" background. It was good with Ruman to
get away from the common IAL obsession with regularity, and to have fun with
artificial 'naturalistic' irregularity in imitation of French, Spanish,
Italian etc. :) N.B. Ruman, being a fictional language, is not to be
confused with any of the auxlang projects that involve reviving Latin or
interrelating Romance languages (Interlingua, LSF etc.)
5) A Germanic equivalent to Ruman, don't think I ever named it, it didn't
get much further than working out articles, adjective endings etc.
6) "Tipikyero" - so-called because it was going to be a 'typical' East Asian
language. There is no such thing of course; what I wanted was a break away
from European styles of language towards a Malayo-Polynesian type like
Indonesian, which I had been looking at at that time. It was to be on a
fictional island somewhere near the Philippines. I think I was going to
design a syllabary or something.
That was then; besides that, I have had various ideas since which I have
never committed to paper or text:
7) Similarly to Tipikyero, I have had a sense of a language very Sinitic in
phonology and some aspects of syntax (extremely isolating, etc.) Again, the
idea here was a story involving a new language - this one would be science
fiction and set in the future.
8) Years before I came across the idea of a 'logical language', I came up
with the idea that what is needed in logical thinking inquiry like
philosophy is a kind of 'concept theory', a way of mapping out the concepts
we use, other than natural language, in order to get round its defects. It
could use natural language (like English) to frame the terms of description
and reference; I am quite interested by this WordNet
(http://www.cogsci.princeton.edu/~wn/) that purports to map out a lot of
English lexical references according to an ordered hierarchical structure.
Or, which I would ultimately prefer, it could frame 'concepts' in a new,
independent linguistic base.
It's been done of course... many times, and starting a long time ago with
e.g. Leibnitz. But maybe I will come up with some novel take on this.
9) But reviewing the loglangs got me thinking. Loglangs are intended to
represent the logical aspects of language and the communication purpose very
clearly, sometimes to the exclusion or reduction of everything else.
Sometimes it seems as tho loglang proponents believe there is nothing else
involved in linguistic expression than conveyance of propositional content,
or that they WISH there was, and that's why they are trying to create a
language in which logical structure is so prominent. My studies in both
Linguistics and Philosophy, as well as esoteric areas, have taught me very
clearly that language involves expression of a whole load of other things -
emotion? will? bias? experience? spirit? Can you really express emotion thru
any loglang for instance, and if you can't, why should we (only) want to use
So I would like to design a language that expresses other areas of life
better - your feelings, purpose, experience of life - rather than
concentrating on how to best represent 'objective' truth, logical structure,
10) Similarly, on a grammatical level, I would like to design one that broke
out of a few common constraints of both natural and artificial languages.
Something that broke down the verb/noun/adjective etc. hegemony, or
isolating/inflecting/agglutinative. How about this for a suggestion: a
language that doesn't clearly have the categories "word", "phrase",
"sentence". Instead it has other levels of grammatical scale and structure,
which don't match up to those three. Imagine what that would do to the
morphology/syntax division, or the three typological categories. I am very
interested in Eskimo actually.
That's all I can think of at the mo, except that of course in my early days
I also did other things like devise alternative spelling systems for
English. I apparently came up with one for Latin too, and even made Latin
regular again. I have none of this on the web, so I will have to begin a
website for it. It will take AGES to copy some of that data out of my
notebooks, and I don't know how much I can be bothered. But I'd like to get
some picture of them all up so people can see for themselves.
I think I am going to enjoy being on this list, :)
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