Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Hacker Language (was Re: Language comparison)

From:Chris Bates <chris.maths_student@...>
Date:Thursday, January 6, 2005, 9:22
> >> Of course, this is only relevant for those like me who want a sort of >> hacker's conlang. ;-) > > > For what purpose? That is a serious question. Until you know what the > objectives of your conlang are, you will not know what features of > natlangs are relevant in any case. >
If you want a hacker's conlang you have to first consider the type of culture you're aiming for. You need to have firmly in your mind what kind of culture/society you're designing for if you want a conlang perfect for that particular culture. So what are the most marked features of hacker culture? 1) Emphasis on acquiring knowledge, usually through personal experience and experimentation rather than through, for example, lectures, classes etc 2) The hoarding of knowledge. In my experience, although a hacker might choose to associate with particular people and help them, in general the hacker isn't so interested on passing on knowledge. At times the culture tends to become similar to the shamanistic systems of other cultures: while a shaman might choose to take on an apprentice, in general being a shaman is a matter of personal learning and then hoarding the acquired knowledge rather than giving it out freely. A hacker is the ultimate individual, because his or her focus is on the self rather than the society, and this was true also of the shamans. While they might sometimes benefit their society, their ultimate focus was on their own knowledge and power, and they could do harm as well as good to their community. 3) The desire to compete and to demonstrate the knowledge they possess. After all, what's the point in being really smart and knowledgeable if no one knows it? This can sometimes contract (2), since most hackers want to demonstrate their skills without also giving out too much of their knowledge to other people, since doing so weakens them relative to others. I'm speaking of hackers in the general sense, not in the sense of "crackers", or even in the sense of "skilled computer programmers". I find it interesting that in projects such as Linux (3) has managed to triumph over (2), (that's why Linux works, because the volunteers want kudos), while in other areas (including cracker culture) (2) is generally more powerful than (3). And I do find a lot of similarities between hacker culture and the shamanistic cultures. :) The most core point is that any language built for hackers would be individual rather than community focused and generally egocentric, since community focus is the antithesis of the hacker's world view. Now, what vocabulary do you need? What kind of hackers did you mean? If you mean computer hackers, you will have to allow for a large influx of English loans into your conlang, if you want to talk about "Microsoft", "Intel", "Pentium", "Athlon", etc. If for instance your syllable structure is CVCVCV... then you're going to have to butcher any new borrowed computing term to introduce it into your language, and there are so many technical terms in computing you'd be taking a lot on to invent equivalents for everything from scratch. I guess you could borrow the terms from another language though... I'd guess the Chinese have invented their own computing terms for a start. Do you want this language to be specific to hacker activities, or to be able to talk about pretty much anything? (slightly OT, if it's aimed at hackers I suggest your first word should mean "porn" lol).


Simon Clarkstone <simon.clarkstone@...>