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Re: CHAT: Profile of a Conlanger

From:David G. Durand <dgd@...>
Date:Friday, May 14, 1999, 14:52
>> >I'm wondering how many people here started conlanging spontaneously, and >> >how >> >many got the idea from existing conlangers, like me (whether those were >> >conlangers here on the web, or well-known ones like Tolkien and Okrand). > >As far as I can remember, when I started putting Jameld together in >September 1982, I hadn't come across any conlangs at all. I was 12, and I >had just started learning German at school. I recall how the umlauts and >scharfes-esses gave me a thrill - it always seemed fun somehow to write >using symbols I'd never used before. I can't remember getting that feeling >from the accents in French though, which I started at school at age 6. That >probably explains why Jameld has more diacritical marks than would otherwise >be attractive.<G>
This reminds me a bit of my ealiest conlanging (mostly forgotten as such, until right now). Dr. Seuss (american writer of funny, neat children's books) did a book called "On Beyond Zebra" with new letters made up mostly out of pieces of roman letters. For each letter, there was a fantastic animal, with a silly name that used the letter in some way. I spent quite some time making up weird letters after that. But I'll never know how "independent" I was, as my exposure to Tolkien was very early. Hobbit at 6, LotR @ 10-12 or so. Pretty obsessively, too: I remember reading it all the way through twice in a single month. But I always had the desire to rearrange thinge whenever I read about langauges. It was the Handbook of American Indian Languages that really got me going, though... and the Viking reprint of Linguistic Structures of Native America. And now, partly because of a pirate interest, I've already got my daughter (who turns 6 next month) involved in inventing and drawing maps for fun. Whether she ever takes it up remains to be seem, but she's growing up in a house where that's just one of the things her father does, other than spend too much time on the computer. Of course we have other children of listmembers in the same situation. Will that slowly grow the "Clan Conlang?" -- David -- David _________________________________________ David Durand \ Boston University Computer Science \ Sr. Analyst \ Dynamic Diagrams --------------------------------------------\ MAPA: mapping for the WWW \__________________________