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
> >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
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
James Campbell email@example.com http://www.zeugma.force9.co.uk
"Love's the only country I know" - The Blue Nile