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CONLANG  February 2001, Week 1

CONLANG February 2001, Week 1

Subject:

Re: A DISTURBING proposal! (was Re: Personal langs and converse of aux)

From:

Luís Henrique <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 7 Feb 2001 09:32:03 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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On Wed, 7 Feb 2001 01:30:16 +0100, Joerg Rhiemeier
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Brian Phillips <[log in to unmask]> writes:
>
>>       2.)it's designed to be an
>> excellent "first" language for my kids.
>
>You are really going to do THAT???  Have your children grow up with a
>language that no-one else speaks outside their core family?  I consider
>this MONSTROUSLY unadvisable, as it might result in SEVERE mental
>development disorders.

>>   The PPC would also be an "anti-IAL" in that it would (likely) be the
exclusive > tongue
>> of a family group (not even a micro-community!).
>
>What is your intention behind isolating your children from the rest of
>humanity by having them grow up with a first language no-one else
>speaks?
>
>This is really disturbing.  But even more disturbing to me is that I am
>apparently the first on this list to point it out how monstrous it is,
>while the rest of the list happily replies giving that monster ideas
>what kinds of difficult sounds to build into his Mengelean experiment.
>I am ALARMED by the apparent obliviousness of the conlang community
>towards such wickedness.  It was people like YOU, fellow conlangers, who
>made Auschwitz possible!  Sorry to offend you, but this must be said.
>
>Jörg.

Jörg:

I think you ARE overreacting. Most of the people here understood Brian's
proposal as a completely different thing than isolating his kids from the
outer world. And this is the reason of what you call "apparent
obliviousness" of the list. Of course, we could be all wrong, and you
right, but I don't think that Brian's posting alone is evidence of that.

Brian:

That said, I wouldn't do such a thing. Kids are different on their language
abilities. Some are good at it, others are not. I have seen children who
did indeed suffer when they had to leave their dialect-German at home and
learn maths, science and history in Portuguese. I wouldn't say that they
where in any way mentally ill because of that - but they would have trouble
in learning, and it would not make a nice peasurable time to them. A good
friend of mine, brought up along the Brazilian-Uruguayan boundary, simply
stopped to speak, from 2 y/o to four, from psychological resistance to
learn two languages quite similar as Portuguese and Castillian. He's ok
now, but he suffered. I myself had to learn English at 2 y/o: it didn't
affect me seriously, I suppose (mwhahahahha!) but I DISTASTED it. I imagine
that this could have a backlash effect on kids interest in languages, be
foreign natural languages or constructed ones.

Other aspect is fluency. Perhaps the text you are presently reading looks
quite reasonble fluent English. But sounds like "th" and final "ng", along
with most English vowels, remain a nightmare when I am speaking. Yo puedo
escribir en Castellano casi tán bién como en inglés, y lo leo como si fuera
mi primera lengua. Pero no lo podería hablar en la velocidad o tampoco con
la seguranza con que hablo el portugués. Je lis français aussi bien, merci,
et je puis evidemment écrire quelque chose, mais je ne le peut pas parler
du tout. So, unless you could teach yourself a non-existing language to the
point of completely mastering it (I mean picking up a nursery rhime and
translating it real-time into your conlang, without completely destroying
the rhime scheme and the meter), you would be likely to teach your kids
a "language" mostly composed by "errr-" utterances.

Finally, I wouldn't bring home "experiments" in any way related to the idea
of testing the effect of language on mindset. This usually turns up into
naive assumptions that you could avoid sexism by suppressing gender on the
language (or inverting marked-non marked genders, a la Elgin) and other
things like that. In the best case this is futile, in the worst leads to
the creation of mangled languages, in which you (supposedly) can't perform
such naturally human actions like, for instance, lying