Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: CHAT: Profile of a Conlanger

From:James Campbell <james@...>
Date:Friday, May 14, 1999, 8:42
> >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> I suppose orthography always had a fascination for me; a friend tells me that the first time she met me (I must have been 6 or so), she'd come over to visit my Mum, and apparently I was sitting quietly copying the Greek alphabet out of a book. A few months after I started Jameld, I got stuck on "yellow", not having yet grasped the connexion between that and German "gelb". I mentioned this to my German teacher, and for some reason he suggested I write to the Esperanto Society in London, and gave me the address. That was the first inkling I had, I think, that others had trod the same path. The only other influence I remember from before I found this list was the language "Ro", or rather the fact that (according to my grandmother's 1949 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, in the "Artificial Languages" article, I think) the sum total of its literature was a translation of Chapter 1 of the Gospel of John. I thought, "I can do *that*," and did so. That was in about 1988. I had come across Tolkien briefly at primary school, but as far as I can tell I never saw any of the conlang stuff. I still have some of the imaginary maps I drew at the time though. I tend to think *natlangs* were my inspiration, rather than conlangs. So, I suppose, for once in my life, I did something spontaneously when I started conlanging. James ========================================================================= James Campbell "Love's the only country I know" - The Blue Nile =========================================================================