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Distaste and hostility was Re: a 12th century conlang

From:dunn patrick w <tb0pwd1@...>
Date:Wednesday, March 24, 1999, 2:24
On Tue, 23 Mar 1999, Sally Caves wrote:

> Yes indeed. I mentioned her in my talk about all us guys, theone I gave in > Florida a few days ago. She, or someone else, > apparently collected a list of nouns, 1011 of them, in something > called the _Lingua Ignota_. These range from God > and His angels to the lowly cricket. She uses her invented > words in her hymns, wherein she has adjectives, but the list > has only nouns. There is a German edition of this, that I > acquired through interlibrary loan: M.L. Portmann and A. > Odermatt's _Worterbuch der unbekannten Sprache (Basel: > Basler Hildegard-Gesellschaft, 1986). But the best study > to date has been made by Jeffrey Schnapp, who has a good > bibliography on other studies. This is his article called > "Virgin Words: Hildegard of Bingen's Lingua Ignota and > the Development of Imaginary Languages Ancient to Modern," > in _Exemplaria_ 3.2 October (1991): 267-298. I critiqued > his "generalizations" about invented languages; he's too ready > to modify his findings with words like "always" and "never": ex. > "Every imaginary language is a _bricolage_." Or: "The result > is almost always an 'impoverishment' of the natural languages > in question: a language reduced to a limited set of open vowels, > prone to syllabic reduplication and to excessive syntactical > parallelism and symmetries." He talks a lot about the "infantilism" > of invented languages, generally replicating and lauding Yaguello's > cynical and over-generalized announcements. Hildegard, however, > he holds up on a pedestal, and while he won't give us much about > her language, he does show us the taxonomies, the categories, > that her words fall into-- the Supernatural, the Human, the Church, > the Secular, Time, the Socio-Economic, and the Natural World.
It would be interesting to read a psychological study of why people have such an overtly hostile reaction to the idea of conlanging. --Patrick