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Lunatic Survey 2005

From:Patrick Jarrett <pjarrett@...>
Date:Friday, February 25, 2005, 17:13
> A. PROFESSION, DEMOGRAPHICS, INCLINATION: > > 1. Who are you, and what is the name of your invented language or > languages? Pseudonyms allowed. (Are you using one? asked "Sally > Caves")
Patrick Jarrett
> > *2. Are you new to the Lunatic Survey or have you filled out a version > of this survey before?
Yep, first timer
> 3. Do you have a website for you language/world(s)? If so, please list > the URL address.
Nope, used to but took it down
> > 4. What is your email address? name at hostsite dot whatever.
pjarrett on gmail
> > 5. What is your age? (vague answers allowed, but it is an important > demographic)
> 6. What is your gender?
> 7. What is your nationality? Where do you live now?
American, and USA
> 8. What is your native language?
> 9. What natural languages foreign to you have you studied or do you > speak?
I speak Latin fairly well, I can speak horribly broken Spanish and know tidbits in a handful of other languages.
> 10. What is your level of education? i.e., your highest degree > achieved or sought?
Currently in college for my bachelors
> 11. What is your profession?
Full time student
> Are you a professional linguist?
Nope (Note: there was no question 12)
> 13. If you are a student, what is your major or your area of study?
Right now it is Computer Science but that may be changing soon.
> 14. How long have you been developing your invented language(s)?
I began about eight years ago and it took off while in high school, faded for the first year of college and had been a fairly consistent hobby since.
> 15. At what age did you first start inventing a language? Can you > briefly describe your early efforts?
I was probably around 12 or 13 and it grew out from my love of ciphers, and the want to communicate with my sister without the parents listening in.
> 16. What drew you to start inventing a language and/or constructed > world? What was the inspiration?
See above.
> > 17. Did you start inventing before you had heard of the list or after?
> Before you had heard of Esperanto or Tolkien? (I name the two most > common inspirations)
Yes Esperanto, my father introduced me to Tolkien very early.
> 18. Tolkien calls it a "shy art" and a "secret vice"; but that was > before the Internet. How secret do you keep it from others outside > this list for much the same reasons?
I don't wave it around but I'm always eager to tell someone about it. My senior year of high school, I had 2 class periods devoted to it as an independant study so everyone in my ring of friends was well acquainted with my odd hobby.
> 19. Yaguello has called it "pathological," influenced, unfortunately, > by a lot of psychiatric writings such as _Le Schizo et la langue_. To > what extent have you encountered such reactions by outsiders you had > taken into your confidence?
Most of my friends find it odd, some find it very cool. I wouldn't say any of them think of my as extremely unusual for it.
> *20. Do you consider it nerdy to be doing this? This is a term that > gets tossed around a lot. Or actually sophisticated? Do you need to > get a life, or is this your life? What is a life?
I think of it as sophisticated. But then I prefer to just remove nerdy from the language.
> 21. There has been a connection noted between linguistic and musical > ability. Are you musically inclined? Do you sing and/or play a musical > instrument? Do you compose music?
I sing, and I used to play french horn. I also own a guitar but have never really pursued it yet.
> 22. There has been a connection noted between linguistic and > mathematical ability. Are you mathematically inclined or inclined > towards computing in any way?
Somewhat, if I can see where it fits with daily life, even in some stretch of a way, then yes I can usually pick it up. I find purely theoretical math more difficult.
> 23. What other passions do you pursue that give you creative pleasure? > (painting, drawing, sculpting, calligraphy, model-building, novel or > story-writing, role-playing games, map-making, book-making, poetry, > web-designing, star-gazing or other?)
I'm a web designer, a writer, medieval re-enactment and role-playing games (running usually)
> B. FEATURES OF YOUR INVENTION > > 1. Pick the best term for the invented language you are currently > invested in: auxlang, artlang, engelang, loglang, lostlang, > philosophical language, or "other." etc.
I'm going to go with other because most of them are simply conlangs with no back theory behind them.
> 2. Is your conlang a priori (devised from scratch) or a posteriori > (based on an existing natural language or drawing from a language > class such as Semitic)?
The two main ones which actually got developed are both priori.
> > 4. Do you have a script for your conlang? What is it called? Could you > provide me at a later date with a sample of it? Is it on Langmaker's > "neography" site?
Nontrosa has a script and the latest one (unnamed) is in the process of acquiring one.
> 5. Briefly describe the outlines of your invented language > (syntactical structure--VO, OV, etc.; class or type--analytic, > synthetic, agglutinating, incorporative, accusative, ergative, active, > trigger, other, combinations, etc.), noting what you have done with it > that is innovative in your opinion.
Nontrosa is SVO but it is also ergative so the order is flexible. The innovation came in my use of number for nouns allowing for fairly exacting defining of number through a series of endings. I implemented nullar, singular and plural as well as various adaptations.
> 7. How extensive would you say your invented language is, now? How big > the vocabulary? Do you provide a vocabulary list or taxonomy on your > website if you have one?
Nontrosa is around 2400 words right now. The latest project is without words.
> 8. How do you build vocabulary? Some people pull words out of the air; > others build up a base of root words and affixes. Many do both.
As it begins it is words out of the air, but as it grows I begin building off roots or related words.
> 3. Does a constructed world accompany your invention(s)? What is it > called?
Nontrosa is on a world called Duran.
> *9. Has your language and conworld ever served in a role-playing game > or a world shared by other conlangers?
> *10. Briefly describe your conculture (is it within the bounds of this > world? on another world, etc.?)
Duran is a world that is still in the bronze age of existence, the main continent is composted of over two dozen 'nations' which are more like tribes than true countries.
> *11. Are the beings who speak your invented language human or alien?
> 12. What do you write in it? Poems? chants? lullabyes? prayers? > history? stories? recipes? Are any of these exhibited on your website?
All of the above except recipes.
> 13. Can you speak your conlang? Are you fluent in it? Is this a goal > for you? Have you tried to teach it to an intimate? a companion > animal? :)
To some degree yes, it doesn't have terms for many modern items so daily use is difficult. The latest project is aimed at modern times though and I hope to be fluent in it.
> 14. Have you made any soundbytes of your language? Could you provide > me at a later date with a sample of them?
I haven't made one before but I would be willing to if you requested.
> *15. If you use Roman script, how recognizably "phonetic" is your > writing system? In other words, do you use unconventional letters or > letter combinations to represent sounds? Why or why not? Im thinking, > of course, of Etabnannery, for those who remember it.
The roman script of it is fairly recognizably phonetic.
> 16. How many of you sing in your language and have invented songs for > that purpose?
I have written a few songs and sung in it. Not well, but it is done.
> *17. How many of you, for entertainment or any other reason, resort to > gibberish? (This is in response to Adrian Morgans question in > December). Does it give you ideas for conlanging? (Have you ever > fooled anyone?) How many of you have sung gibberish?
I can't say I do.
> *18. What on-line games do you play? (or devise?) Translations, > Babel-text, Relays, etc.
None really. I did babel text once.
> 19. Which do you prefer doing: devising phonology? script? structure? > building vocabulary?
I love the structure and vocabulary of my languages.
> 20. Do you start and stop several different conlangs, or do you tend > to stick with one and develop it over years?
I start and stop. I had a few side projects over the years but nothing near nontrosa's depth.
> 21. What do you think makes a "complete" conlang, if a conlang can > attain completion? What are your goals for completion? When do you > grow "tired" of your conlang, or dont you?
I don't think a conlang can be completed, I only grow tired of conlang projects when the language becomes obvious that it is not going to continually be interesting. I know that is vague but languages have to be interesting and when the grammar becomes either so completely convoluted that it is near impossible to translate in it, or it is so rudimentary that it is but a cipher.
> *22. Which came first: the conlang or the conworld?
For me, the conlang came first, but just barely.
> C. PHILOSOPHY AND AESTHETIC: > > 1. What aesthetic features do you value in inventing language? Be > specific as to phonology, structure, script, etc.
Phonology mostly, when I make a language, I'm aiming for a certain sound. Then structure follows.
> 2. What commonly applied aesthetics have you ever tried to avoid in > your invention? This has been an oft debated question, especially when > it comes to Tolkien.
> 3. Is difficulty or obscurity a goal in inventing a language?
> 4. Is efficiency a goal in inventing a language? This question neednt > cancel out the previous one.
Not in Nontrosa, but I had a few side projects where it was.
> 5. How natural do you wish to make it, or is that a concern? Or > rather, how unnatural do you wish to make it?
Usually I want it to be fairly natural, though I've toyed with some which are unnatural.
> 6. Can conlanging be sexy? sensual? obsessing? how does it heal or > harm you?
Definitely. I'd love to have an SO who conlanged.
> *7. How many of you have developed a rich vocabulary of obscenities?
I did a few, but not many.
> 8. Can it be mystical? To what extent does conlanging fulfill a > spiritual purpose for you? Or a magical one? Did it ever start out > that way?
Not really in any way. It's a relaxer.
> 9. How many of you have developed a rich vocabulary of magical, > religious, or incantatory terms?
> *10. How many of you have striven to invent words that express novel > ideas, or are not expressed in any natural language that you know?
I haven't.
> 11. Name a few of the words in your language(s) that you are most > pleased with and are the most original to you.
From Nontrosa: goongdar - black delinea - white dulnpora - rain caln - bowl
> 12. How do you sense that a word is "right" for its meaning? How much > do you labor at fitting a sound to its sense? Or dont you care?
I do care but I can't explain what I strive for, I simply know if it is right or not.
> *13. Do you ever rely on a software program to build vocabulary? Do > those who dont think thats cheating? :)
Nope, I do it by hand.
> *14. Is conlang a hobby, a craft, or an art in your mind? This has > been hotly debated, so the question is not as weird as it seems. Can > conlanging be considered an art? Why or why not?
Definitely an art and a hobby.
> *15. If it is, who do you think are its consumers?
Fellow conlangers.
> *16. This question is directed as well at any auxlangers on the list. > Is it an art, a political tool, both? And who do you think could be > its consumers?
I don't regard languages I create as political in any way.
> *17. There has been some exciting talk recently (and over the years) > about what a conlang is or is not. If you could pick a metaphor or > write a descriptive phrase defining "conlang," what would that be?
Conlang, a language created by a single person or a group of people aimed at creating a tool of communication that is functional in some way.
> *18. Why or why not would you eschew the metaphors "miniature" or > "model"?
I don't see any reason to eschew them.
> *19. Is a conlang more like a glimpse of something lifesize? (Irinas > suggestion in 2001)
I suppose it could be. I personally don't see it as anything but a creative outlet for myself.
> *20. There has been some invigorating discussion lately about what a > conlang can do that most natural languages dont (such as produce OSV > structure, or eradicate verbs) What experiments have you made with > your artlang(s) along these lines?
None really
> *21 What do you think distinguishes a conlang from a natural > language, if you think so at all? What would it take for a linguist > to be fooled into thinking a conlang was a natural language?
A natural language for the most part has evolved from a group consensus on its use and form, most conlangs have the ability to become natural languages one day but that requires years of aging and use among a group of people.
> *22. How much do you study other languages in order to discover what > is natural in language? Or to discover how you can stretch the > boundaries of language to make it do things that are unnatural?
I read a fair bit. Just yesterday I was reading about hungarian, mongolian and basque. I don't do a whole lot of stretching though.
> *23. Can such a language function?
Usually yes, but there are exceptions to any rule.
> *24. There has been quite a bit of fascinating debate about the > relevance of conlanging to linguistic study. We all know that > linguistics can aid conlangers, but in what ways can conlangers aid > linguists? Or does it matter?
Conlangs can explore formations which haven't arisen yet and can provide a proving ground for some studies. I don't think there is any basis to say conlanging is essential to linguistics unless you consider the linguist who devises a written language for a spoken one.
> D. THE LISTSERV > > 1. How did you first hear of this list?
Some website I stumbled across.
> > 2. How long have you been on this listserv or on other related > listservs? Continuously? Infrequently? Off and on? More off than on > and vice versa?
I've been on and off the list about four times in about seven years. More off than on. I simply get overwhelmed with stuff at times and begin cutting mailing lists until stuff settles down.
> *3. What is the appeal of being on a listserv and contributing to it? > Do you think you contribute moderately or excessively, or not enough? > Do you tend to lurk ?
I lurk most of the time. I don't really have much to offer to most discussions. My linguistic knowledge is fairly low level as compared to many on the list.
> *5. How helpful has the list been in developing your language? In > learning linguistic information?
It's been quite helpful over the years.
> 6. What books have you consulted? On your own, or because you heard > of them on the list?
None really. I use the Internet extensively but I don't have any really useful linguistic books.
> *7. Do you peruse the websites of other conlangers?
> *8. Do you sense that people on this list are interested in your > conlang and give you feedback on it?
Of the times I've shared, I gained a fair bit of feedback but I don't share very often.
> 9. Have you ever set out to learn at least a little bit of someones > conlang, if only a word or two, or a phrase?
To be honest, not really. I like looking over different grammars more than anything.
> *10. Do you peruse Jeffrey Hennings site?
> *11. What on-line techniques do you use to showcase your conlang, such > as Audacity or other sound programs, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, > Fontography, and so forth? Did you hear of them on the list?
Notepad and a can of Dr. Pepper.
> 12. Have you ever tried to introduce a friend to the list?
No, I have one friend who is into conlanging but he found the list on his own and came and went as far as I know.
> 13. Do you know of anyone who does this kind of thing but who has > never heard of the list?
> *14. What other lists do you frequent related to conlanging?
> *15. What do you think will be the future of the list? I see it giving > birth to alternate lists like Conworld, Lostlanguages, Romlang, etc. > What improves the present list and its helpfulness or entertainment > value?
I'm not sure. I just don't have any predictions to make.
> *16. What Internet technology would you most like to see developed > that would aid you in showcasing your language(s)?
An easier font sharing tool. Not just through images but css embedded font files and such.
> *17. What lists like conlang exist in other cultures and languages > that you know of?
None that I know of.
> *18. There has been some terrific talk about CONLANG as a community. > And yet so many of us seem to want the world to know of it and respect > it. Is the CONLANG community enough?
I think so. You reach a point where communities, like cells, hit critical mass and it either dies or faces a schism that takes time to heal. I think CONLANG is enough for us, this isn't a hobby for the masses. I don't mean that in an elitest way, simply that it isn't an area many will find interesting.
> *19. In my 2000 on-line article > ( I suggested > that the Internet "may provide a site that, with the impetus of > competition and showmanship, encourages inutile and obsessive > activity"; I was quoting Jeff Salamons article "Revenge of the > Fanboys." Village Voice 13 Sep., 1994. He wrote that over ten years > ago. Do outsiders still entertain such notions, do you think, about > listservs like this one? Do you? To what extent has the list increased > obsessive development in you? Would you be inventing as furiously as > you are without the list or knowledge of other inventors?
I can't be sure but I don't think it has that much of an effect on me. Unless it comes up with an interesting new idea or something I would like to incorporate into my language (which honesly isn't often).
> 20. If asked whether it is not better to turn your linguistic talents > to the learning and speaking of natural languages (a common response > Ive met with and aimed at criticizing introversion or solipsism), how > would you answer?
That's like telling a painter that his drawing art is better served as a museum curator than an artist. Or an athlete is better served being an announcer than a player.
> *21. In Elizabethan times there were the inkhorn neologisms. There > were ciphers and pasigraphies. Today there is conlanging. Do you think > the contemporary world is more open to language innovation or more > closed?
I'd say more open, we see neologisms via the internet every day. Blog is a word that came about and spread like relative wild fire.
> *22. What would Tolkien have done with such a community? He writes in > "A Secret Vice" that language inventors "hardly ever show their works > to one another, so none of them know who are the geniuses at the game, > or who are the splendid primitives." He suggests that perhaps in a > later time language invention will become respectable, and such things > can be exhibited. Have we reached that time?
I think so.
> *23. Is there a danger that over-exposure can make conlanging "banal"? > To what extent is it exciting because it is a) considered > disreputable, "corny" or "mad," or b) largely unknown to the world? > Does it have a fizzle-out date? In other words, is it just a fad, or > is it a natural human inclination that will stand the test of time?
It's fizzle out date is when every possible language has been created, much like the death of chess, one day every position and every game will be analyzed, but that day is so far off it is better to just act as if there is no death date.
> Finally, may I have your permission to use any of this material of > yours for my academic work on conlanging? First name? last name? > pseudonym? anonymous?
Absolutely, just notify me if you do use it.