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[Conlangs-Conf] 2nd Language Creation Conference - current state of planning, talks, & some feedback request

From:Sai Emrys <sai@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 11, 2006, 6:49
Hello again everyone.

We're still in the early planning phase, but I figured I'd share with
you all what I have now, and ask for your feedback.

- = general suggestion, no takers as of yet
+#.# = specific suggestion by someone who could make it happen
(multiple suggestions grouped by person; first # is person, second is
suggestion #)

One general point - should we try to combine with a Logfest or
Esperanto League convention? It may net reduced costs and higher
crossover audience, but would also probably be a mostly parallel set
of events (and ergo would require exclusive choices). Would open up
each others' conferences; whether our cultures would mix well is of
course a separate question...

PLEASE give me your feedback or preferences on items listed here, or
suggestions for others, PARTICULARLY with regard to the proposals for
talks - which would you most like to hear? Anything you would prefer
to see as a workshop or a mini-talk? Would you really like to hear
more than one of a single speaker's proposals? Let me know and it'll

Speaking of mini-talks: I know many of you are intimidated by the idea
of giving a formal talk (i.e. like all the ones at 1LCC), but might be
willing to give a short (5-15 minute) talk on a narrow subject, more
low-key and informal. I'd like to have several of these, and will be
much looser about the topics; consider it an opportunity to diversify
the content of the conference. So, you - yes you! - please consider
what you might know about or have done, or could do, or could present,
or whatever, that would be of interest to your fellow conlangers, and
tell me about it.

On to the content...

Time: Late June to mid July 2007
Place: TBD (HEAVILY!!! dependent on who offers a viable venue... hint hint...)
Length: 2-2.5 full days - Friday afternoon through Sunday evening

Suggested schedule (very tentative / broadstroke):
Friday: introduction; intro talk (1hr); warmup workshop (1-2);
translation relay start (async); minitalks (1); minibreak; panel (.5);
formal talk (1); social outing

Saturday: 2 formal talks (2); workshop (1-2); lunch; 1 formal talk
(1); minitalks (.5-1); workshop (1); 1 formal talk (1); social outing

Sunday: 2 formal talks (2); workshop(s) (2); lunch; panels (.5-1);
minitalks / formal talk (1); relay & language creation wrapup (.5);
closing talk; poster sessions / social time / informal talk time until

**** Talks ****
- conworlding
- conculturing
- Tolkein linguistics (?)
- auxiliary languages
 (current state of the art, not advocacy - vet somehow for NPOV)
- logical languages (ditto)

+1.1 History and Comparison of Philosophical Languages: from Wilkins
to the Present
... "a systematic look at the basic operational/constructional
premises behind various philosophical languages (Wilkins, Delgarno,
Sudre, the Ro language, aUI, etc.).  Humberto Eco's book on this topic
would probably serve as a source of inspiration, data, and sub-topics
for such a presentation.  I see the talk as starting and/or ending
with addressing the meta-level issue of why people make philosophical
languages in the first place. "

+1.2 Exploring Different Approaches to Lexicon-Building
... "various approaches to creating the lexicon of a conlang, and the
various pitfalls to avoid (or embrace!), issues one must face,
tangents entailed, confrontations with semantics, world-view, culture,
biases, etc"

+1.3 Language Personalities:  How the Interplay of Phonology,
Phonotactics, and Morpho-phonology Creates a Linguistic Aesthetic
... ("an objective analysis of the subjective effect that different
phonemic inventories, phonotactic patterns, stress patterns, and
prosodic/tonic patterns have on giving a language it's particular
"sound" and how that sound gives rise to an emotional impact on the
listener.  Accompanied by an analysis of the extent to which various
conlangs succeed (whether intentionally or inadvertently) at
accomplishing the same thing")
... related: "have audience interaction, e.g., hand out a "score card"
to everyone, then play them samples of (or speak live) various
conlangs and ask the audience to subjectively rate them by a series of
aesthetic criteria or maybe a fill-in sentence like "The sound of this
language makes me think of___________", then call upon members of the
audience to share what they wrote."

+2.1 It's the End of Clitics as You Know Them, But I Feel Fine - about
morphs seemingly at the crossroads of words and affixes (clitics)
... "clitics -- as a unified category -- don't actually exist.
Instead, they are either prosodically-deficient words or "phrasal
affixes." These two entities, while quite similar in many respects,
have rather subtle differences. I'd plan on discussing the criteria
for distinguishing the two (which people could then "reverse engineer"
into their languages) and illustrate both varieties from my own

+2.2 phonology, phonotactics, unwitting relex thereof, syllable
typology (sonority sequencing, onset/coda asymmetry), phonetic cues in
distribution of consonant clusters

+3 Becoming an evangelist of the secret vice (venues, audiences, etc.)

+4 Controlled languages (viz

+5 Linguistics. General linguistics, and expansionistic conlangs

+6.1 Design versus discovery: linguistic architecture in auxlangs.
+6.2 What makes a conlang cool?
+6.3 Everybody-talk: accessible auxlangs.

+7.1 "Free word order": what it is and isn't, how to achieve it (case
marking isn't the only way), and what you can do with it when you've
got it (various ways of using changes in word order to mark topic,
focus, etc.)
+7.2 The quest for the perfect conlang (and why it isn't achievable,
even though I can't seem to stop trying - basically a discussion of
tradeoffs in conlanging: why some nifty features are incompatible with

+8 the design criteria that allowed me to produce a language I could
become fluent in without its being boringly familiar, and my
experiences in using it primarily for journal-writing, talking to
myself, prayer... (Jim Henry re. gjâ-zym-byn; viz.

**** Mini-talks ****
- moderator-led audience discussion
... topic suggestions?

+1.1 how the Lojban vocabulary was created... manual intervention,
Mandarin morphology, etc
+1.2 a presentation of the new Lojban parser and/or the Lojban MOO

**** Workshops ****
- morphology, phonology, syntax, orthography

++ language construction workshop, AKA ling 101 immersion (for
newbies) - heavily directed create-a-language-in-class
++ language construction workshop, AKA Create-a-Language-NOW (for
oldbies) - 3-4 person groups each quickly creating a language based on
some core idea or approach, capable of translating a given sentence or

^^^^ these two would operate in parallel

+1.1 conlang / conscript puzzles (without cheat sheet :-P)
+1.2 conlang / conscript treasure hunt (conference program would have
enough info to decipher all [or do so w/ general knowledge]; clues in
or about conlangs lead you to further clues etc., eventually lead to a
... ed.: anyone have a prize to contribute?

+2 How to Present a Grammar of Your Conlang

**** Panels ****

- Sapir-Whorf
- conlang aesthetics / 'schools' / desiderata differences
- conlang teaching

... other suggestions?

**** Translation relay(s) ****

Same as online, but LIVE and with much shorter translation times -
bring your materials and be prepared! Would take place over the length
of the conference, on signup basis, results posted online & discussed
near end of conference.

Possibly have a couple different-intent relays going on simultaneously
- e.g. one bizarre / joke, one serious/poetic.

**** PARTAY! ****

- non-technical speaker over dinner
- sociopetal event of some sort (suggestions?)
- other ways to icebreak discussion / interaction between attendees

**** Showoff ****

- Personal pages as before (2 pages per attendee or donor)

- poster sessions on 3rd day (everyone bring whatever you like, you
get one table)

**** Specific speakers: ****

(Have gotten requests for the same people also; only listing specific
people who *weren't* there last time.)

Marc Okrand (Klingon creator)
... I have tried repeatedly to contact him without success :(  Anyone
able to actually poke him?
Lawrence Schoen (KLI head)
 .... ditto
David Salo (LotR movie elvish expert)
Helge (Ardalambion op)
John Cowan (Loglan / lojban creator)

That's about all for now. Please let me know:
* feedback on these suggestions - what you particularly do or don't
want to see, tweaks to make them better
* more suggestions or requests (for topics or speakers)
* if you or someone you know can host (!!!!!!!)
* if you or someone you know can speak (!!)
 - including for short informal 5-15 minute minitalks!
* if you can help run any of the workshops

 - Sai