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Re: Educational conlanging

From:Sai Emrys <sai@...>
Date:Friday, August 17, 2007, 22:51
On 8/17/07, Fredrik Ekman <ekman@...> wrote:
> On Fri, August 17, 2007 12:03 am, Sai Emrys said: > > What sort of conlanging do you do exactly? > > Without going into any details right now, I basically have three different > tasks. [snip]
I suggest you talk to Donald Boozer about the presentation he uses for his conlang workshop; it sounds similar for the basic parts, and you may get some ideas from each other.
> The third task is the BIG one. Create your own language. No limits. Only > three have attempted this one so far, two of them working together. While > their attempts are sometimes a bit naive (hey, what were your languages > like in your early teens?) some of their output is absolutely fantastic. > They make backgrounds and alphabets and calendars and all very seriously. > I sometimes have to pull a bit to make them work on their grammars (which > is the important stuff to me).
That's very neat. What do they normally concentrate on, without prompting? Any predictive difference in the people who take a greater interest in the full project vs the basic ones? How long do you have to allocate for such a project? 9 months 1hr/day? 3 months 1hr/wk? I would imagine that it makes a fairly large difference.
> > How does it go over with your school, parents, kids, etc? > > My colleagues and headmaster trust that I do what I have to in order to do > my job, which is to give the pupils opportunities to fulfil their > educational goals. Those few comments I have had from parents so far have > been overwhelmingly positive. ("I don't know what you're doing to my > daughter, but it's great! We had a long talk today about how languages > work and the use of grammar.") The kids, at first, are amused and slightly > surprised. Then they become frustrated. Then frantic. Finally proud. The > only ones who failed so far did so out of laziness.
That sounds excellent. I would be very interested to see some sort of longitudinal observation of any differences in the language ability of those who have your conlang-based teaching vs those who don't. E.g. does it have noticeable effects a year or two later? Do they remember it later on, or develop it on their own, or just forget it as yet another childhood experience?
> > Without being overly self-promoting, I suggest you talk with us at the > > Language Creation Society ( about publishing. > > I never heard of the LCS before (I have been inactive, remember). But > since everyone else probably has, perhaps you could clue me in with an > appropriate link or write more in a private e-mail.
The LCS is a recently created organization made to promote and support conlanging in various ways. I am its president; Henrik Theiling is the vice president, David Peterson the secretary/treasurer, and there are another 7 board members. Its current main business is to run the Language Creation Conference ( in the forseeable future, but we are expanding into other things, such as developing a respectable publication program, and a variety of other possibilities. The LCS is a non-profit membership corporation out of California (but international in scope). We haven't yet received the official blessings of the US tax service, which we expect within a couple months; that's when we'll be able to open up for memberships and the like. I hope that answers your question; let me know if it's unclear.
> > I'd also suggest you join & backread the CONTEACHING list > > Hah! I just knew I was not alone in my madness. And since there is a > conlist for just about every imaginable purpose, why not a conteaching > list as well. I just signed up and have caught up on the archives. Will > post there tomorrow.
Glad to hear it. :) The CONTEACHING list basically grew out of a little list I was keeping in my head of the people I knew of who'd done (or planned, or were interested in) such things, as I've been keeping track for ~3 years now. I wanted to give us a place to talk in more detail and not spam everyone on CONLANG while sharing syllabi and worksheets and the like. ;) It's still a pretty small list, but every so often we get someone new from a somewhere interesting who's been doing it for a while and thought they were the only one... sorta like conlanging in general actually..... - Sai