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Re: Of artlangs & engelangs (was: what is a loglang?)

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Monday, May 10, 2004, 19:42

On Sun, 9 May 2004 16:30:29 +0100,
Ray Brown <ray.brown@...> wrote:

> On Saturday, May 8, 2004, at 03:33 PM, Jörg Rhiemeier wrote: > > [snip] > >> Engelang IMO is a wider & vaguer term, but is useful in distinguishing > >> one > >> set of conlangs; altho, e.g. Tolkien worked on Quenya & Sindarin over > >> many > >> decades, we would not, I think, class them as engelangs but rather as > >> artlangs. > > > > They are certainly artlangs. > > We agree :) > > > I wouldn't even classify a language like > > Brithenig, which, in its design, is guided by a well-defined programme > > (in this example, a Romance language that has undergone Welsh-like > > changes), as an engelang, as the whole project is rather artistic in > > nature. > > I don't think we can draw hard & fast boundaries; there are fuzzy areas.
> No one would dispute that Paris is French & Berlin is German. But > Strasbourg is another matter.
Don't tell that to the French ;-) But I understand what you mean.
> It has changed hands many times and > historically claims can be made either way (no matter where the > contemporary border happens to be). Similarly, we unhesitatingly put > Quenya in the artlang camp & Livagian in the engelang camp. Brithening, > maybe, is in such a 'borderlanf'. > > Brithenig certainly has strong claims to be an engelang. It was certainly > engineered to meet criteria that can (largely) be measured. If you also > find Brithenig artistic, then that is a bonus. > > What Andrew Smith did was rather more than merely playing around with the > (almost inevitable) Romance conlang as very many of us have done at some > time or another and, in his case, 'Welshifying' it. No, it was an attempt > to _reconstruct_ what the current language of Britain might be like if the > Vulgar Latin of urban Romano-Britain had not collapse under the influx of > Saxon & other Germanic settlers from the 6th cent. onwards. There was > considerable research mae by Andrew & nothing was introduced unless it > could be justified. It was Andrew's care & research that attracted me to > the project and led me to collaborate with Andrew in the final stages. It > was certainly engineered and it would be possible to measure the degree of > success Brithenig achieves in meeting its objectives.
Yes. Being a regular correspondent of Andrew, I am quite informed about the way he constructed Brithenig. It is certainly less driven by such hazy subjective notions like personal taste than was, for example, Quenya. It is the product of careful research and what can indeed be called engineering. Everything in Brithenig is the way it is because the sound changes from Old British to Welsh, applied to Vulgar Latin, produce it that way. This can indeed be viewed as a kind of engineering, but I still won't say that Brithenig is an "engelang" the same way Classical Yiklamu or Lojban are. This kind of "engineering" - applying sound laws to a language in order to create a new language - was also used by Tolkien in creating Quenya and Sindarin, and yet few people would classify those as "engelangs". Brithenig, like Quenya or Sindarin, doesn't aim at such "engelangy" goals as unambiguity, implementation of formal logic, utility as an intermediate language for automatic translation, or whatever. What Brithenig aims (and succeeds) at is demonstrating a language that could have been. It is a naturalist artlang, much like Quenya, only that it starts with a historical language and applies historical sound changes, albeit from the history of another language, to it. Anyway, "art" and "engineering" are in no way mutually exclusive categories, and the ancient Greeks had one word for both: _technê_. Any conlang, whether artlang or engelang, is an example of linguistic _technê_. Greetings, Jörg.