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CONLANG  August 2001, Week 1

CONLANG August 2001, Week 1

Subject:

Re: NPR interview

From:

And Rosta <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 8 Aug 2001 02:06:10 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (51 lines)

Matt:
> And Rosta wrote:
[...]
> > including this piece of ignorant baloney;
> >
> > #Dr. Marc Okrand's creation of the Klingon language is just as impressive as
> > #what Tolkien accomplished, and I think it's wrong to suggest otherwise.
>
> How is that ignorant baloney, as opposed to one person's subjective opinion?
> Different people judge the impressiveness of conlangs by different standards.

Because she didn't write "Klingon impresses me as much as what Tolkien
accomplished". She said "is just as impressive", which in normal English
implies that it is by some quasi-objective standard (i.e. with intersubjective
consensus).

> Though it may be crude in other ways,

I don't mean to dis Klingon. I mean to praise Tolkien, not just for what
he actually achieved but also for the fact that he did it while under the
impression for most of his life that nobody would give a shit about it.
Now that we have Conlang we know that others would appreciate our
conlanging achievements, and Okrand knows that his endeavours will be the
most appreciated of all.

> Klingon at least has the virtue of being well documented and accessible.
> You can learn to speak sentences in it, and even carry on conversations
> with other people.  You just can't do that with Quenya and Sindarin, for
> all their wonderfully imagined and gloriously detailed vocabularies
> and histories.  In that particular sense, Okrand could be said to have
> "accomplished" as much as or more than Tolkien.

That could be said, but pretty contestably so. Few conlangers could
emulate Tolkien's achievement (especially if you make allowances for the
different conditions under which he and we work), while many more could
emulate Okrand's achievement.

> I'm not saying that I value accessibility/usability over artistry, but I
> definitely believe that documentation is important.  Certainly when
> it comes to my own conlang projects, I judge their 'success' as much by
> how well documented the grammars are as by other criteria such as
> aesthetics and plausibility.

I agree with you, alas. It's why Tokana would get my and most others'
vote for Best All Round Conlang -- the best conlang decathlete, as it
were. But it's also why I don't get more pleasure from inventing
Livagian than I do: despite ten years of Conlang and slightly fewer of
the web, I haven't documented it so can't share it with others.

--And.

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