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CONLANG  January 2003, Week 2

CONLANG January 2003, Week 2

Subject:

Re: New Survey: Celtic Conlangs (and other lunatic pursuits)

From:

Christophe Grandsire <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 13 Jan 2003 15:47:52 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (917 lines)

En réponse à Sally Caves <[log in to unmask]>:

OK, I finally found a little time to reply to the survey. Better late than
never!

>
> PART I.  FOR CELTIC CONLANGERS:
>
> Have you based your conlang(s) wholly or partially on a Celtic
> language?
> If so, on which?  or combined with which?
>

I'll answer this one with Maggel, since its first incarnation was born from
reading a little booklet about Irish Gaelic (itself triggered by a school trip
to Ireland 10 years ago, deep in the Connemara - in Knocknacarra, to be exact,
a few kilometers from Galway, for the ones who know where it is :)) -), and its
new version is more influenced by Gaelic than its original version was.

Note though that Maggel is not *based* on Irish Gaelic, but rather *influenced*
by it (just like Quenya is *influenced*, rather than *based*, on Finnish). The
core grammar of Maggel stays a priori.

> What is your name and what do you call your conlang(s)?
>

Christophe Grandsire (as most people know, I don't use pseudonyms on the
Internet, or if I do they are always accompanied with my real name :)) ). A
list of the conlang I dare speak about ;))) is:
Azak, Astou, Reman, Notya, Moten, Tj'a-ts'a~n, Chasmäöcho, Narbonósc, O,
Itakian, Maggel (I think I have them all :))) ).

> When did you start it/them?
>

My first conlang was started when I was around 12, but I don't have any record
of it anymore. I never stopped conlanging since then.

> Are you still working with it/them or have you abandoned it or them?
>

Most of them are in a state of "deep sleep" ;)) , but I never stopped working
on any as such, in the sense that I never said "well, I'm fed up with that one
and will never do anything with it anymore! :))))) .

> What Celtic features have you borrowed?  What is the structure of your
> language?  Be specific.
>

Initial mutations (though they work very differently in Maggel from Celtic
languages), broad-slender consonant distinctions (Maggel has unpalatalised-
palatalised consonants), VSO word order, umlauts for some plurals, the use of
the possessive prefixes (Maggel doesn't have possessive pronouns) to mark the
object of non-finite verb forms (very common since like in Irish Gaelic a lot
of conjugations are periphrastic), an omnipresent "to be" verb, and the absence
of a verb "to have", only a few true prepositions, the article |a|, a script
derived from the Insular Uncial form of the Latin alphabet, a very counter-
intuitive orthography ;))))) , a vigesimal numeral system, etc... Still, in all
those things I borrowed the spirit rather than the letter, as Maggel's grammar
is extremely different from any Indo-European language's, including Celtic
ones. Ideas have been borrowed, not their actual implementation.

> What innovations did you introduce?  (new constructions, perhaps a new
> script, etc.)
>

The main innovation is the concept of Maggelity, i.e. the state of being
entirely unpredictable. In other words, Maggel is irregularity made into a
language. Also, it takes common distinctions and categories and gives them a
new twist. Maggel's genders (masculine, feminine, neuter) are purely
grammatical, leading sometimes to the use of feminine or neuter pronouns to
refer to a man! ;)) There are four numbers: singular, dual, plural indefinite
and plural definite, the "definition" in this case meaning that the number is
known or not. Nouns that come in natural pairs also have a special dual form
for this pair (the normal dual in this case referring to an "unnatural pair",
like two right hands). The "article"'s appearance is ruled nearly purely by the
presence of other words around the noun rather than something
like "definition", numbers are separated into other categories
than "cardinal", "ordinal", "multiplicative", etc... The script contains a big
number of ligatures and has the strange feature that some letters mandatorily
connect to the next one while others don't, like the Arabic script. A
grammatical distinction made by verbs is whether they are performative (the act
of enunciating them actually *performs* the action they are describing) or not.
Verbs themselves are separated into separable and inseparable ones (somehow
like German verbs, but with a new twist ;))) ). Plenty of other features I
haven't work on yet but involve plenty of suppletive forms ;))) .

> What features of Celtic languages (or a particular Celtic language)
> initially inspired or intrigued you?  For example, Tolkien, as he
> described
> it in "Welsh and English" was impressed by the beauty of a Welsh
> inscription
> he saw on a building: Adeiladwyd 1887 ('built 1887').  He loved words
> like
> wybren, so much more "mellifluous" than our borrowed word "sky."  He
> was
> likewise enthralled by Finnish and Hebrew.  So he deliberately set out
> to
> make his Elvish languages beautiful.   Was this a draw for you as well
> in
> choosing Celtic as a model? (I understand that T's Elvish languages are
> not
> exclusively "Celtic."  He has described them, however, as being
> "European-like.")
>

Irish Gaelic inspired me indeed by its unintuitive orthography, and the idea of
describing plenty of sounds with only a limited number of letters. That's why
the Maggel alphabet has 17 letters only, for about 100+ phonemes. The
general "feel" of its grammar also influenced me for Maggel (but not for any
other of my languages).

> On the other hand, perhaps the Celtic structures, their VSO, their
> paraphrastics, their initial mutations, their spelling conventions,
> their
> general strangeness caught your fancy, not necessarily their "beauty"
> or
> "romance."  Comment?
>

See above! That's exactly my case! :))

> How many of you are also scholars of Celtic languages?   Scholars of
> other
> languages?
>

Not at all, although some people around me think that I am ;))) .

> How were you introduced to them?
>

See above.

>
> PART II:  INSPIRATION BY TOLKIEN (tangential to the questions on
> inspiration
> by Celtic languages):
>
> How many of you were inspired to invent a language because of your
> exposure
> to Tolkien?
>

Not at all. I actually read LOTR when I was 13, but it was in a French
translation without the appendices, and I actually didn't realise that he had
put invented languages in the book! I learned much later that Tolkien was
mainly a conlanger. IIRC, my first inspiration for making my own language was a
small article about Zamenhof's Esperanto, and boredom during Latin classes (I
had already read all of the Latin schoolbook and the teaching was going too
slow for me ;)))) ).

> How many of you based your conlang on one of Tolkien's languages, or
> your
> conculture in Middle Earth?
>

Never done that.

> How many of you have a constructed world, and, if so, does it include
> some
> of the races we associate with Celtic or Scandinavian mythology?
> (Elves,
> Dwarves, medieval societies of humans, Faeries or Fays?  Selkies?
> Wizards?)
>

I do have a sketch of a constructed world, but it's an alien (well, humanoid
alien) world, in which I don't even know if Magic works :))) . On the other
hand, the Sky People living on this constructed world do have legends, mainly
about elementary spirits which can sometimes look a bit like faeries...

> How many of you were inspired to examine Welsh, Hebrew, or Finnish
> because
> of your examination of Tolkien?
>

Not me. I was never much interested in P-Celtic languages or Hebrew, and
Finnish interested me already before I learned Quenya was influenced by it :)) .

> How many of you were inspired to invent a conlang or a conculture
> because of
> some influence OTHER than Tolkien?
>

See above. It's an article about Esperanto (not even Esperanto itself, since I
read about its grammar only a few years later) that triggered my conlanging.

> How many of you were inspired to invent a language because you engage
> in
> Roll-Playing Games?
>

Not me, although I've always been interested in RPGs (but never played much
myself, mostly by lack of time).

> How many of you were inspired to invent a language because you heard of
> this
> listserv?
>

Nope, although the listserv gave a boost to my creativity :))) .

> How many of you are members of the Mythopoeic Society, or the Society
> for
> Creative Anachronism, or other High Fantasy Groups?
>

Nope. Never heard of them by the way...

>
> PART III:  NON-CELTIC CONLANGERS:
>
> What is your name and what do you call your conlang?
>

See above :))) . It still didn't change (despite the many conlangs I've made, I
haven't started one during the writing of this mail ;))) ).

> So what is unappealing about the Indo-European model for conlanging?
> Or
> Tolkien's Elvish?
>

Nothing in particular. Actually, I love IE languages (especially my
mothertongue, which I've learned to look at with new eyes during the years, and
which turns out to be much more exotic than the usual grammars say it is :)) )
and even have made two Romance conlangs, Reman and Narbonósc. And Tolkien's
languages are fascinating. It's just that my interest encompasses much more
than just those two sources :)) . I'm a fan of the diversity of Asian
languages, and intrigued at American, African and Australian languages,
although I don't know much about them.

> How did you start conlanging?  What was your initial inspiration?
>

See above. My first drafts were all relexes of Latin, so my initial inspiration
is clear ;)))) .

> Did you know about Tolkien's inventions?  Read the books, the
> appendices?
> etc.  Or not?
>

Not yet. As I said, when I first read Tolkien the appendices were not included.
It's only currently that I am reading Tolkien in the original (I'm in the
middle of Book 3 right now, but I read the appendices in advance ;))) ).

> What language types have you modeled your language(s) after?
>

My languages often have an inspirator, but I don't *model* them on it. Rather,
I take some features of those languages I like and adapt them to the conlang I
make. For instance, for Moten I was inspired by Basque and its use of
overdeclination and its SOV word order. Azak was meant to be a purely
agglutinative and ergative language, and its invention was triggered by the
discovery of Basque too (although its VSO word order was influenced by Arabic).
Itakian was made because I wanted to try a trigger language, and I threw in
Bantu noun classes and register tone for niceness :))) .

> What features of these languages or language types appeal to you?
>

About everything!!!! ;))) I'm a linguavore if there is one! :) Of course,
features I hadn't heard of before always interest me most. The endless variety
of languages fascinates me. I'm also very interested in languages which
break "language universals". The rebel part of me speaks here ;)))) .

> Some of you, and I'm thinking in particular of a conversation I had with
> And
> Rosta, are not interested in producing a language that is
>  "mellifluous"--that "mellifluousness" is a thing to be avoided in
> your
> conlang and especially as it is associated with Tolkien's Elvish or
> copiers
> of Elvish.   Is this so?  Why?
>

Each language has its own aesthetics. Voiceless stops are beautiful in Azak,
but not that much in Moten. Maggel loves monstruous consonant clusters, but
they just wouldn't fit Notya, which is strictly CV(N) (with N being /n/ or /m/
and possible only at the end of a word). Chasmäöcho would sound extremely ugly
to a speaker of Astou, yet they are both "beautiful" in their own way. I don't
think "melifluousness" per se is beautiful. Beauty is relative, especially in
languages. Each language comes with its own set of aesthetics, and what follows
this set is "beautiful" in this language, but may be ugly in another. I only
try to have languages being "consistent" in their set of aesthetics. In this
way, they are all beautiful to me :)) .

Note that I do have a soft spot for nice consonant clusters :))) (I like things
like initial /kt/, /zd/, /bdr/, etc...).

> For how many of you, though, is beauty and/or efficiency a factor in
> your
> language?  Or elegance?  How would you define these terms?
>

Elegance certainly! But I couldn't define this term as it is different in every
language. Moten is elegant in its use of overdeclination of finite verb forms
to make subclauses, but this just couldn't do in Narbonósc (since it's a
Romance lang). Here again, I'm aiming at elegance, but elegance is different
for each language. I just have to find the "right" elegance for each of them.

> For how many of you is the "exotic" a desired feature of your invented
> language?
>

It is certainly an influence. Newly discovered language features often trigger
the need to ty them in a language for me. The fact that I cannot resolve myself
to modify a language to include those newly discovered features (the recent
revampification of O and Maggel from their original form is something
different: I basically revived them and modify them because I found that they
didn't fit their own goals and were a bit childish, not to include newly
discovered features to them. O, for instance, didn't get any new feature in it)
is certainly a reason why I have so many languages around :))) .

> How many of you invent a non-human language?  And if so, how alien are
> its
> sounds and constructions?
>

Tj'a-ts'a~n is supposed to be an alien language, spoken by the humanoid Sky
People. But the most alien feature of this language is the "nasalised stops",
which can only be approximated by humans as prenasalised stops with a nasal
release ;))) (something like [m_p_m] in X-SAMPA ;)))) ), and are *not* nasal
stops (those exist in this language too). Apart from that, it does
have "strange" features (mainly both vowel *and* consonant harmony, and a
structure a bit like Sumerian - which is logical since I got the inspiration
for this language from a book on Sumerian that Mathias Lassailly lent me a few
years ago :)) -), but nothing inhuman ;)) . It does have very long winded words
with plenty of affixes, a derivational gender system with genders divided into
optional subgenders, a complicated active system, adjectives and genitives
which are derivations from already declined nouns, and which are marked as such
by an affix which is prefix or suffix depending on whether the adjective or
genitive is put after or before the noun it completes, verbs which are a
nightmare to conjugate and is written using an insane system of partially
phonetically used ideograms, but none of those features are typically non-
human. They are just a bit extreme ;)) .

> Do you prefer inventing an a posteriori language or an a priori
> language?
> In other words, how many of you invent a language wherein you base it
> closely on a natural language (Arabic, Tagalog) or a combination of
> languages, and how many others of you invent a language from, well,
> scratch?
> (if that can be done.)
>

I have no preference. I like a posteriori languages (I have two Romance
conlangs plus a future project of Arabo-Romance conlang) but I seem to prefer a
priori languages since they are in majority ;))) . As I said, I am often
influenced by natlangs, but I like to keep full liberty on how I want to tweak
my grammar ;))) . That's why even Reman, although a Romance conlang, has quite
a different structure from other Romance languages (loss of gender, an
invariable article, nominal sentences, prepositions used also as conjunctions,
in which case they need a mandatory subject in indirect form if it's a pronoun,
etc...). And of course, Maggel is the epitome of it, the perfect example of the
language *influenced* by other languages, even in the vocabulary through some
puns, but which is a priori at heart ;))) .

> How many of you invent a language based on a particular type
> (Ergative,
> Accusative, Trigger, etc.)?
>

That'd be me :)) . I usually get to create new languages because I have
discovered new interesting natlang features that I want to try out. Azak was
created because I wanted to try my hand at a purely agglutinative language with
an ergative grammar. Moten because I wanted to try infixes and overdeclination,
Itakian because I wanted to try a trigger system, and threw in register tone
and noun classes to make it original, and complex sandhi rules because I had
just read about it and wanted to see how far I could go ;))) . It's probably my
scientific education that gives me this "experimentator" look to
languages ;)))) .

> To what degree is difficulty and irregularity of language important to
> you
> in your conlang?

Knowing that I am the creator of Maggel, do I need to answer that question, or
is the answer clear from context? ;)))))))

  what natural language eccentricities (or efficiencies)
> do
> you like and try to reproduce?
>

I like umlaut, harmony, gradation, infixes, etc... all those phenomena,
especially when they are irregular, which modify the shape of a word to give a
grammatical function. With Azak, I have the ideal purely agglutinative language
with no inflecting phenomena at all, so I may have grown tired of pure
affixes ;))) .

And of course, non-intuitive orthographies stay a favourite for me ;)) .

> To what degree is accessibility, efficiency, and regularity important
> to
> your conlang?  What natural language "faults" are you correcting?
>

I guess I'm rather trying to multiply those "faults" rather than correct
them!!! ;)))

> How many of you invent logical languages?
>

Beurk!

> How many of you invent IALs?
>

On of my first "serious" conlang was a half-hearted IAL, based on the idea that
a true IAL should be easy to pronounce to everyone. I ended up using only four
vowels (/a/, /o/, /u/ and /i/, which had allophone [e] at the end of a word,
don't ask me why...) and four consonants (/k/, /m/, /s/, /f/, I had only one
stop because I considered that they were too difficult :)) . How naive...). The
grammar was basically a monster mixing noun cases, gender (a masculine in -a
and a feminine in -o, it was my rebel days ;))) ), and verbs using plenty of
periphrastic constructions a la English verbs. The language was called Amia
[amja] (yeah, my knowledge of phonology was extremely scarce at that time, and
I didn't know anything about stress placement... ;))) ), which was somehow (but
not regularly) related to the word for "peace" in the language: ami [ame] (I
swear I just realised at this very moment the possible connection with
French "ami": friend!!! ;))) ).

> How many of you have invented non-Tolkienesque or non European
> concultures
> and what are they like?
>

I have told you of my most advanced conculture, the Sky People. They are blue-
skinned humanoid aliens with four fingers per hand and three toes per foot (one
very big toe is anatomically the result of the merge of two former smaller
toes). They are superficially similar to us but have quite a few differences
anatomically, although their vocal tract is similar to us (to explain for the
similar sounds they produce ;)) ). They have a matriarchal society divided into
64 "clans" (extended families which are recognised by name by a unique
combination of two of the eight basic elements in their beliefs - a single
element can be doubled, explaining why we have 64 instead of 56 clans -. Note
that their number system uses base 8 and base 7. The 56 - 8*7 - clans with two
different elements are the basic clans, the eight clans using double elements
are something which is a bit like a clergy or a nobility), and an
animistic/pantheistic religion based on the eight "elements", which are also
considered to be quasi-divine entities. They put special importance on the Fire
element, since it's that entity which gave them free will which allowed them to
survive (it's all in a creation myth that I must have somewhere in my notes,
and which even explains why they are called "Sky People" - or "People made out
of the matter of the sky" in their own language -). All houses must be centered
around a hearth containing a fire which normally must never be estinguished,
and if you want to build a new house you must first build a hearth and bring it
the fire from the house you come from, and only when the hearth is lighted you
can build the house around. Each "clan" has also a "temple", a religious
construction itself built around a hearth (whose fire is especially sacred and
is supposed to be the origin of all the other fires in all the houses of the
same clan), and in which only members of the clan may enter. The priests punish
intruders with immediate death. Those temples are also sacred soils where
people who seek refuge in get automatically immunity, according to the laws of
those people.

I have other sketches of concultures, like the elusive African speakers of
Itakian, and even the half-joking idea of Hanuman Czhang that the speakers of
Maggel could be the Picts, but nothing very much advanced.

> How many of you started out by pulling words out of the air,
> originally?

It's my main method of creating vocabulary. I hesitate in doing plenty of
translations for adding vocabulary to my languages because I am afraid that I
would tend to make relexes of the source language, at least in matters of
lexicon.

> How many of you have chosen a more methodic form of vocabulary
> building?

Tried it, failed it. Not enough discipline for it...

> I.e., how have you gone about setting up the framework for your words
> and
> your grammar?
> (I started out pulling words out of the air.)
>

I generally have a framework for developping my grammars (first the sounds,
then the phonotactics, then the morphology, then the syntax, i.e. from the
small to the big :)) ).

>
> PART IV:  THE LUNATIC SURVEY REVISITED (because we are all "fous du
> langage," according to Yaguello and other French critics.
>
> Why do you conlang?

For the same reason Picasso painted, Beethoven composed, Piaf sang, etc... I
like it, I'm good at it, I find pleasure in doing it, it's intellectually
challenging like an adventure, etc... In brief, it's the art I'm good at ;))) .

  Who will speak it?

Probably nobody, except the fictional speakers of those languages. Maybe one
day I'll learn to speak a bit of Maggel, but even that I doubt. I don't make my
languages to have them spoken, but to expose them, like paintings ;)) .

  Read it?

Whoever wants to read what I write ;))) .

  What's the point?

Apart from bringing a little fresh air to our utilitarian world? ;)) Basically,
it's the same point as any other art. So it's different for every artist. For
me, the art justifies itself without the need for an external goal.

> What's
> the beauty?

In the eye of the beholder mostly. But as I explained, I find beauty in a self-
contained structure where everything is in harmony. Yep, that's the correct
term: beauty in a conlang for me resides in the harmony between its parts.

  what's the intellectual draw?
>

See above ;)) . Creating a harmonious linguistic system is quite a challenge in
itself ;)) .

> To what would you compare a conlang?  Is it a miniature?  Is it a model?
>  Is
> it a tapestry?  Is it an act of obsession and madness? <G>  Or is it a
> communicable language?
>

The tapestry idea is quite good, since in conlanging we take common material
and arrange it in an original manner, which hopefully has not already, at least
in *this* particular manner, been arranged. But mostly, conlanging is as
comparable to any other art as any other art. Compare a conlang to a painting
or a poem is as valid as comparing a painting to a symphony. It can be done,
insight can be gained in it, people may find it more valid than others
(especially those synesthetes which I unfortunately don't belong to :(( ), but
in the end every art has its own uniqueness, and conlang is no exception.

> If it is a communicable language, to whom do you speak it?
>

Although meant to be communicable, I don't intend to speak my languages to
anybody. They are made to be *exposed*, not to be *used*.

> To what extent is the opacity or "alterity" of your language something
> that
> pleases you?

Well, Maggel answers your question quite nicely ;)))) .

  In other words, the sounds and the script have, even for
> you,
> a quality of being foreign, and this delights.
> Comment?  (I know that when I make maps of cities, and imagine myself
> in
> them, they delight me because they are both familiar and foreign at the
> same
> time.)
>

You just described Maggel!!!

> This is a difficult question:  how is it that a word sounds "right" to
> you?
> We recently discussed this.  To what extent are you finding righter,
> better
> words for the world in your conlang?  (Perhaps unanswerable).
>

As I already said, each language has its own scale of beauty and harmony. The
right word is the right word in *that* language, and no other. |ragft| ['r\a~N]
is the right word for "women" in Maggel only because it *is* in Maggel. It
wouldn't be right in English or French or Narbonósc because it is *not* the
word for "women" in those languages. It's difficult to explain, but to me the
right word is the word that "feels" right in that language, even if sometimes
it "sounds" wrong (for instance, |idosiob| ['toUzIb] for "quick"
doesn't "sound" especially "quick" in the absolute. But in Maggel it "feels"
just right. Ask an abstract painter why he used *this* choice of colours
instead of *that*, and you'll probably get the same kind of answers ;)) .

> How many of you are fictive map-makers, designers of fictive floor
> plans,
> fictive yachts, fictive star-ships, world-builders, calligraphers,
> cartoonists, etc.?  (These pursuits have been associated with
> conlanging.  I
> 've done most of them.)
>

Not I, though I've tried cartoons (I'm bad at them :((( ). I do write stories,
especially one story in episodes for my website. I remember also as a child
that I used my Legos to create big transformable robots (long before the
Americans ever heard of the Power Rangers, in France we already had the
original Japanese series on which it's based aired on TV, and I was a fan of
them - as much as I hate the Power Rangers themselves ;))) -). I remember
creating long stories using my transformable characters and robots, copying the
stories I was watching on TV ;))) .

> How many of you have a special script in your conlang?
>

I do, for most of my conlangs except those which are logically written in the
Latin script, like my Romance conlangs. It's a normal part of conlanging to me,
as important as choosing the phonology.

> If you use Roman script, how recognizably "phonetic" is your writing
> system?

Depends on the language, and on whether the Roman script is only a
transliteration or the actual script. Narbonósc, for instance, uses natively
the Roman script, and thus has sometimes irregularities and such. For Maggel,
it's a little special since its native script is in fact derived from the
Uncial form of the Roman script. Since it uses only 17 letters which are easily
mapped on the Roman script, the Roman transliteration I use for instance in
emails follows exactly the native orthography (except that it does not feature
all the ligatures ;))) ), and is thus as counter-intuitive as the native
orthography is ;)))) .

> In other words, do you use unconventional letters to represent sounds?

In Moten, I use funny letters which are nicely represented as |s, |z, |l and |n
to represent some phonemes of the language (two affricates and two palatals). I
don't have any special explanations for them except that it felt right that
way ;))) .

As for Maggel, I won't insult your intelligence by explaining again the point
of its orthography ;))) .

> Why?
>

For Maggel? Pure evil. <Mwahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!! ;))))))))>

> This is a question Heather asked, but I also asked it four years ago:
> how
> many of you write in your language?  What do you write?
>

I don't write much in my languages because I usually don't have enough
vocabulary to do so. This comparison may explain my point of view: I am more a
mecanician of languages, I prefer building the motor rather than polishing the
body or driving the car.

> How many of you sing in your language and have invented songs for that
> purpose?
>

Let me first learn to sing without provoking rainstorms ;))))

> How many of you started conlanging when you were a teenager and have
> stuck
> to the same language over many years?   Why?
>

Not me!

> How many of you change conlangs regularly, developing structures for
> many
> languages but not sticking with any one for very long?  Why?
>

That'd be me, although I'm trying to stick with Maggel, at least for a
while ;))) . As I explained above, it's probably due to a combination of my
experimentator will of trying features as I discover them and my reluctance to
modify a language I already made to include those features while they wouldn't
fit in the current structure. The only way to try those features out is thus to
create a new language.

> For how many of you does your language function as a spiritual
> instrument?

Nope. I'm highly spiritualist, but I don't use words for that, in whatever
language.

> This is a deeply personal question--let me give you an example.  When
> I
> first started inventing "Tayonian" in my early teens, what I wrote
> were
> spells and prayers.  They had a talismanic quality.  Does that ring a
> bell
> for anybody?
>

I see perfectly Maggel used for that purpose, but I wouldn't do it myself. I
did draw with somewhat the same goal though. And the rare jewels I ever wore
always had a talismanic quality to me (or rather I invested them with some
talismanic quality :)) ). But I never used conlangs for that purpose.

> For how many of you was your language at least at one stage of its
> making
> meant to fool others, or to write secret diaries? (Me, waving my
> hand).
>

I had originally planned Chasmäöcho to become my personal language (hence its
name, meaning "the good enough one", as in "the good enough language for
me" ;))) ), but never managed to build enough vocabulary to make it useful. I
suffered from the "Oh! Shiny!" ferret syndrome by discovered the forgotten
notes of what would become O ;)))) .

> How many of you can speak your language, at least to yourself and your
> pet?
> child?  spouse?  <G>  To what extent?
>

That's not me at all, although I plan to learn curses in Maggel as soon as I
invent them! ;))))) (now *that* will be neat!!! ;)))) )

> How many of you have put up websites where your language can be
> showcased?

I have one, which only shows Moten, Azak and Reman (despite the promises for
more :((( ), but is, despite the age of the pages, quite up-to-date since I
didn't (and will never) tweak anymore with the structure of those languages. At
most I will add vocabulary when I feel like it. The languages I make are
never "complete", but their grammars can be ;)))) .

> If so, what is the website address?
>

http://rainbow.conlang.free.fr

> How many of you have made soundbytes of your language so the rest of us
> can
> hear it?  If so, give the site.
>

Maybe one day. I do have the installation to record soundbytes, but I'm lazy
and I have to work on the quality anyway...

> How many of you are comfortable talking to your boss, your professors,
> your
> family members about this pursuit?

I don't have problems talking about it when I'm asked about my hobbies (even
during a job interview). But I won't bring on the subject myself (not by fear,
just because it's not my type to do such a thing :)) ). At most if somebody
begins to talk about about Tolkien's languages I will jump in the conversation
with mine ;)))) .

   How many of you have received
> condescending or other negative responses to your disclosure?  (I have.)

Never. The most negative reaction I ever had was "Why would you do that?", and
then it's not even me who replied to that but another person, a non-conlanger,
using the same argument as I would have used: "Why would someone do *any*
art?" ;))))) So actually I even got non-conlangers defending my
conlanging ;)))) .

>  Or
> even been called "pathological"?
>

Nope, except for my boyfriend when he said that *any* pursuit of art
was "pathological" in some way (which doesn't mean it's negative. As he
said, "only dead people are psychologically sane" ;)))) ).

> If this attitude is changing, to what do you attribute the change?  (On
> New
> Year's Eve, a delightful, elderly gentleman could not understand why I
> would
> be interested in this pursuit.  What purpose could it serve?)
>

The movies LOTR are certainly opening the minds to the idea of conlanging, at
least in the media, and certainly provides a new argument of defense for
conlanging when attacked ;))) .

> For how many of you is the damning statement "better to learn real
> languages
> than invent private ones" a criticism you have encountered?

Since I already know quasi-fluently two languages (French, English), can follow
a conversation, listen to the TV, speak about not-too-complicated subjects in
another (Dutch), can find my way in two others (Spanish, Esperanto), and even
know good basics in a few others (mainly Japanese, but a bit of German, Italian
and Portuguese as well) while following a purely scientific course, which is
quite exceptional for a French person (a French person knowing more than two
sentences in another language than French is quite a rarity ;)))) ) protects me
from such comments.

  What would
> be
> your response to such a remark?
>

I would say "time for dinner! Itadakimasu!!!" ;))) . Seriously, if I ever got
such comment and the list above didn't impress enough, I'd say: "First, I'm a
physicist, not a linguist nor a translator. Second, learning a language takes a
lot of time and energy, and I don't have an unlimited quantity of either.
Third, it costs also a lot of money. So if you are willing to employ me for a
decent salary and my only job is to learn languages, I'll be happy to do it.
Otherwise, you'll understand that I cannot do it. Pass me the salt
please." ;)))))))))

>
> PART V:  GENERAL DEMOGRAPHICS:
>
> What is your age (optional--and can be general: 30-40, for instance).
>

27 next 25th of March.

> What is your profession or your station in life (i.e., if you are a
> student,
> what is your MAJOR; if a middle or high-school student, what is your
> intended major)?
>

I'm a Ph.D. student in Fluid Mechanics.

> What is your gender?
>

Animate (hey! You didn't specify in *which* language I had to give my
gender ;))))))) ).

> What is your nationality and your native language?
>

French (for both ;)) ).

> What natural languages do you speak or have studied?
>

Speak: French, English, more and more Dutch.

Studied at school, and speak unfortunately only a little: Spanish and Japanese
(Japanese I studied for only two years, and when I try to speak Spanish Dutch
wants to get out of my mouth automatically :((((( . I still didn't find a way
to re-cable myself correctly :((( ).

Studied with a teacher, still can speak but don't use often: Esperanto.

Studied by myself, unable to speak it but can recognise a bit of it, and know
some things about the grammar: German, Arabic, Turkish.

I can read without much trouble French (of course ;)) ), English, Dutch (with
the help of a dictionary for the difficult words), Spanish and Esperanto. I can
also decypher Japanese katakana and hiragana and read phonetically German and
Turkish, but I don't understand what I read.

> How many of you have chosen a profession in linguistics because of
> your
> interest in inventing languages?  Or plan a profession in linguistics?
>

Doesn't apply to me. I'm into hard science ;))) .

> What have you learned from conlanging?
>

All the linguistics I know, I learned from, by or around conlanging ;))) . It
also taught me the value of each and every natlang, the fact that no language
is inherently "superior" to the other, the complexity of every linguistic
system that makes a language. I also learned more about other cultures than I
would ever have dreamt. And I learned about you guys of the list too ;)))) .

> What texts on language and linguistics have you consulted to help
> invent
> your language?
>

Not many. I have a few Que-Sais-Je ?, a French series of vulgarisation which
has nice booklets about linguistics in general and some languages in
particular, but most I've read on the list or on webpages directed to me by the
list or that I found myself. An important resource for me is
http://www.yourdictionary.com/grammars.html.

> Do you know of anyone who has not connected with the Internet or the
> List
> who has invented a language?

I have received a mail from a French person who has a concreole on the web. I
still have to reply to him (damn Christmas holidays!). I regularly receive
mails from French people who have been conlanging alone until they discovered
my site, but they usually don't reply to my replies :(((( .

 (I'm firmly convinced that "conlanging"
> has
> been a private pursuit for many people long before the list started,
> but
> that the list has increased its visibility as an art).
>

Our websites help that a lot too.

> Can you give me a short sample of your language with interlinear
> description
> and translation?
>

Nope :(( . I don't have my notes with me currently, being at work ;)))) .

> Would you object to my mentioning your conlang/and or your name in my
> talk?
> I will be discreet about some of the more personal questions you
> answered.
>

Feel free to mention anything about me. I have nothing to hide, and I'll
actually feel honoured if you mention me and Maggel.

>
> Ev send poto, yry poy poy firrimby!
>

You're welcome! (if only I could say that in Teonaht - or at least in
Maggel... -)

Christophe.

http://rainbow.conlang.free.fr

Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.

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November 2006, Week 4
November 2006, Week 3
November 2006, Week 2
November 2006, Week 1
October 2006, Week 5
October 2006, Week 4
October 2006, Week 3
October 2006, Week 2
October 2006, Week 1
September 2006, Week 5
September 2006, Week 4
September 2006, Week 3
September 2006, Week 2
September 2006, Week 1
August 2006, Week 5
August 2006, Week 4
August 2006, Week 3
August 2006, Week 2
August 2006, Week 1
July 2006, Week 5
July 2006, Week 4
July 2006, Week 3
July 2006, Week 2
July 2006, Week 1
June 2006, Week 5
June 2006, Week 4
June 2006, Week 3
June 2006, Week 2
June 2006, Week 1
May 2006, Week 5
May 2006, Week 4
May 2006, Week 3
May 2006, Week 2
May 2006, Week 1
April 2006, Week 5
April 2006, Week 4
April 2006, Week 3
April 2006, Week 2
April 2006, Week 1
March 2006, Week 5
March 2006, Week 4
March 2006, Week 3
March 2006, Week 2
March 2006, Week 1
February 2006, Week 4
February 2006, Week 3
February 2006, Week 2
February 2006, Week 1
January 2006, Week 5
January 2006, Week 4
January 2006, Week 3
January 2006, Week 2
January 2006, Week 1
December 2005, Week 5
December 2005, Week 4
December 2005, Week 3
December 2005, Week 2
December 2005, Week 1
November 2005, Week 5
November 2005, Week 4
November 2005, Week 3
November 2005, Week 2
November 2005, Week 1
October 2005, Week 5
October 2005, Week 4
October 2005, Week 3
October 2005, Week 2
October 2005, Week 1
September 2005, Week 5
September 2005, Week 4
September 2005, Week 3
September 2005, Week 2
September 2005, Week 1
August 2005, Week 5
August 2005, Week 4
August 2005, Week 3
August 2005, Week 2
August 2005, Week 1
July 2005, Week 5
July 2005, Week 4
July 2005, Week 3
July 2005, Week 2
July 2005, Week 1
June 2005, Week 5
June 2005, Week 4
June 2005, Week 3
June 2005, Week 2
June 2005, Week 1
May 2005, Week 5
May 2005, Week 4
May 2005, Week 3
May 2005, Week 2
May 2005, Week 1
April 2005, Week 5
April 2005, Week 4
April 2005, Week 3
April 2005, Week 2
April 2005, Week 1
March 2005, Week 5
March 2005, Week 4
March 2005, Week 3
March 2005, Week 2
March 2005, Week 1
February 2005, Week 4
February 2005, Week 3
February 2005, Week 2
February 2005, Week 1
January 2005, Week 5
January 2005, Week 4
January 2005, Week 3
January 2005, Week 2
January 2005, Week 1
December 2004, Week 5
December 2004, Week 4
December 2004, Week 3
December 2004, Week 2
December 2004, Week 1
November 2004, Week 5
November 2004, Week 4
November 2004, Week 3
November 2004, Week 2
November 2004, Week 1
October 2004, Week 5
October 2004, Week 4
October 2004, Week 3
October 2004, Week 2
October 2004, Week 1
September 2004, Week 5
September 2004, Week 4
September 2004, Week 3
September 2004, Week 2
September 2004, Week 1
August 2004, Week 5
August 2004, Week 4
August 2004, Week 3
August 2004, Week 2
August 2004, Week 1
July 2004, Week 5
July 2004, Week 4
July 2004, Week 3
July 2004, Week 2
July 2004, Week 1
June 2004, Week 5
June 2004, Week 4
June 2004, Week 3
June 2004, Week 2
June 2004, Week 1
May 2004, Week 5
May 2004, Week 4
May 2004, Week 3
May 2004, Week 2
May 2004, Week 1
April 2004, Week 5
April 2004, Week 4
April 2004, Week 3
April 2004, Week 2
April 2004, Week 1
March 2004, Week 5
March 2004, Week 4
March 2004, Week 3
March 2004, Week 2
March 2004, Week 1
February 2004, Week 5
February 2004, Week 4
February 2004, Week 3
February 2004, Week 2
February 2004, Week 1
January 2004, Week 5
January 2004, Week 4
January 2004, Week 3
January 2004, Week 2
January 2004, Week 1
December 2003, Week 5
December 2003, Week 4
December 2003, Week 3
December 2003, Week 2
December 2003, Week 1
November 2003, Week 5
November 2003, Week 4
November 2003, Week 3
November 2003, Week 2
November 2003, Week 1
October 2003, Week 5
October 2003, Week 4
October 2003, Week 3
October 2003, Week 2
October 2003, Week 1
September 2003, Week 5
September 2003, Week 4
September 2003, Week 3
September 2003, Week 2
September 2003, Week 1
August 2003, Week 5
August 2003, Week 4
August 2003, Week 3
August 2003, Week 2
August 2003, Week 1
July 2003, Week 5
July 2003, Week 4
July 2003, Week 3
July 2003, Week 2
July 2003, Week 1
June 2003, Week 5
June 2003, Week 4
June 2003, Week 3
June 2003, Week 2
June 2003, Week 1
May 2003, Week 5
May 2003, Week 4
May 2003, Week 3
May 2003, Week 2
May 2003, Week 1
April 2003, Week 5
April 2003, Week 4
April 2003, Week 3
April 2003, Week 2
April 2003, Week 1
March 2003, Week 5
March 2003, Week 4
March 2003, Week 3
March 2003, Week 2
March 2003, Week 1
February 2003, Week 4
February 2003, Week 3
February 2003, Week 2
February 2003, Week 1
January 2003, Week 5
January 2003, Week 4
January 2003, Week 3
January 2003, Week 2
January 2003, Week 1
December 2002, Week 5
December 2002, Week 4
December 2002, Week 3
December 2002, Week 2
December 2002, Week 1
November 2002, Week 5
November 2002, Week 4
November 2002, Week 3
November 2002, Week 2
November 2002, Week 1
October 2002, Week 5
October 2002, Week 4
October 2002, Week 3
October 2002, Week 2
October 2002, Week 1
September 2002, Week 5
September 2002, Week 4
September 2002, Week 3
September 2002, Week 2
September 2002, Week 1
August 2002, Week 5
August 2002, Week 4
August 2002, Week 3
August 2002, Week 2
August 2002, Week 1
July 2002, Week 5
July 2002, Week 4
July 2002, Week 3
July 2002, Week 2
July 2002, Week 1
June 2002, Week 5
June 2002, Week 4
June 2002, Week 3
June 2002, Week 2
June 2002, Week 1
May 2002, Week 5
May 2002, Week 4
May 2002, Week 3
May 2002, Week 2
May 2002, Week 1
April 2002, Week 5
April 2002, Week 4
April 2002, Week 3
April 2002, Week 2
April 2002, Week 1
March 2002, Week 5
March 2002, Week 4
March 2002, Week 3
March 2002, Week 2
March 2002, Week 1
February 2002, Week 4
February 2002, Week 3
February 2002, Week 2
February 2002, Week 1
January 2002, Week 5
January 2002, Week 4
January 2002, Week 3
January 2002, Week 2
January 2002, Week 1
December 2001, Week 5
December 2001, Week 4
December 2001, Week 3
December 2001, Week 2
December 2001, Week 1
November 2001, Week 5
November 2001, Week 4
November 2001, Week 3
November 2001, Week 2
November 2001, Week 1
October 2001, Week 5
October 2001, Week 4
October 2001, Week 3
October 2001, Week 2
October 2001, Week 1
September 2001, Week 5
September 2001, Week 4
September 2001, Week 3
September 2001, Week 2
September 2001, Week 1
August 2001, Week 5
August 2001, Week 4
August 2001, Week 3
August 2001, Week 2
August 2001, Week 1
July 2001, Week 5
July 2001, Week 4
July 2001, Week 3
July 2001, Week 2
July 2001, Week 1
June 2001, Week 5
June 2001, Week 4
June 2001, Week 3
June 2001, Week 2
June 2001, Week 1
May 2001, Week 5
May 2001, Week 4
May 2001, Week 3
May 2001, Week 2
May 2001, Week 1
April 2001, Week 5
April 2001, Week 4
April 2001, Week 3
April 2001, Week 2
April 2001, Week 1
March 2001, Week 5
March 2001, Week 4
March 2001, Week 3
March 2001, Week 2
March 2001, Week 1
February 2001, Week 4
February 2001, Week 3
February 2001, Week 2
February 2001, Week 1
January 2001, Week 5
January 2001, Week 4
January 2001, Week 3
January 2001, Week 2
January 2001, Week 1
December 2000, Week 5
December 2000, Week 4
December 2000, Week 3
December 2000, Week 2
December 2000, Week 1
November 2000, Week 5
November 2000, Week 4
November 2000, Week 3
November 2000, Week 2
November 2000, Week 1
October 2000, Week 5
October 2000, Week 4
October 2000, Week 3
October 2000, Week 2
October 2000, Week 1
September 2000, Week 5
September 2000, Week 4
September 2000, Week 3
September 2000, Week 2
September 2000, Week 1
August 2000, Week 5
August 2000, Week 4
August 2000, Week 3
August 2000, Week 2
August 2000, Week 1
July 2000, Week 5
July 2000, Week 4
July 2000, Week 3
July 2000, Week 2
July 2000, Week 1
June 2000, Week 5
June 2000, Week 4
June 2000, Week 3
June 2000, Week 2
June 2000, Week 1
May 2000, Week 5
May 2000, Week 4
May 2000, Week 3
May 2000, Week 2
May 2000, Week 1
April 2000, Week 5
April 2000, Week 4
April 2000, Week 3
April 2000, Week 2
April 2000, Week 1
March 2000, Week 5
March 2000, Week 4
March 2000, Week 3
March 2000, Week 2
March 2000, Week 1
February 2000, Week 5
February 2000, Week 4
February 2000, Week 3
February 2000, Week 2
February 2000, Week 1
January 2000, Week 5
January 2000, Week 4
January 2000, Week 3
January 2000, Week 2
January 2000, Week 1
December 1999, Week 5
December 1999, Week 4
December 1999, Week 3
December 1999, Week 2
December 1999, Week 1
November 1999, Week 5
November 1999, Week 4
November 1999, Week 3
November 1999, Week 2
November 1999, Week 1
October 1999, Week 5
October 1999, Week 4
October 1999, Week 3
October 1999, Week 2
October 1999, Week 1
September 1999, Week 5
September 1999, Week 4
September 1999, Week 3
September 1999, Week 2
September 1999, Week 1
August 1999, Week 5
August 1999, Week 4
August 1999, Week 3
August 1999, Week 2
August 1999, Week 1
July 1999, Week 5
July 1999, Week 4
July 1999, Week 3
July 1999, Week 2
July 1999, Week 1
June 1999, Week 5
June 1999, Week 4
June 1999, Week 3
June 1999, Week 2
June 1999, Week 1
May 1999, Week 5
May 1999, Week 4
May 1999, Week 3
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May 1999, Week 1
April 1999, Week 5
April 1999, Week 4
April 1999, Week 3
April 1999, Week 2
April 1999, Week 1
March 1999, Week 5
March 1999, Week 4
March 1999, Week 3
March 1999, Week 2
March 1999, Week 1
February 1999, Week 5
February 1999, Week 4
February 1999, Week 3
February 1999, Week 2
February 1999, Week 1
January 1999, Week 5
January 1999, Week 4
January 1999, Week 3
January 1999, Week 2
January 1999, Week 1
December 1998, Week 5
December 1998, Week 4
December 1998, Week 3
December 1998, Week 2
December 1998, Week 1
November 1998, Week 5
November 1998, Week 4
November 1998, Week 3
November 1998, Week 2
November 1998, Week 1
October 1998, Week 5
October 1998, Week 4
October 1998, Week 3
October 1998, Week 2
October 1998, Week 1
September 1998, Week 5
September 1998, Week 4
September 1998, Week 3

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