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Conlang by Mutation

From:Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>
Date:Thursday, December 18, 2003, 22:43
An Idea for Creating a Constructed Language by
Discrete, Stepwise Mutation and Evolution:

Mark Twain once wrote an article in which he discussed
spelling reform for the English language. In that
article he began to immediately use each spelling
reform as soon as he had introduced it.  The reader
would read about a particular reform and then see it
put into use, and get practice in reading it.  At no
point in the gradual process was the system of
spelling "broken" since it could be halted at any
stage since it was complete and consistent at every
step along the way.

Thus, after reading and gradually and painlessly
absorbing the reforms within the familiar context of
the article itself the reader found himself able to
easily understand Twain's conclusion: "Fainali, xen,
aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a
lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe
Ingliy-spikingwerld."

What about a project to _evolve_ an entire constructed
language by discrete steps, or _mutations_, starting
with English or some other familiar base language, and
ending up with a new language that bears no
resemblance whatsoever to the base language in either
its grammar or its vocabulary.  As in Twain's article,
this conlang could be not only described, but actually
evolved within the context of a book, long article, or
web page.  Each mutation would be described and then
applied and used in the text as soon as it is
introduced.  Interesting essays or short stories on a
variety of subjects could be provided in the text to
demonstrate the usage of the current mutations, and to
give the reader the opportunity to become familiar
with, and fluent in the mutated version.

Eventually the step-wise mutations would add up to a
complete alteration of the base language into
something entirely unrelated.  Yet after each step is
applied the language is complete in the sense that it
has a rich vocabulary and a consistent grammar and is
capable of expressing a range of concepts as broad as
any natural language.  Yet after even casually reading
the entire book or web page, along with all the
suplementary materials, the reader would find that
he/she had effortless gained fleuncy in this conlang
as it evolved before their very eyes.

Replies

James Worlton <jworlton@...>
lblissett <blissett@...>