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CONLANG  February 2005, Week 4

CONLANG February 2005, Week 4

Subject:

Re: LUNATIC SURVEY: 2005

From:

John Quijada <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 25 Feb 2005 15:30:48 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (613 lines)

A. PROFESSION, DEMOGRAPHICS, INCLINATION:
1. Who are you, and what is the name of your invented language or
languages? Pseudonyms allowed. (Are you using one? asked "Sally Caves")
-- John Quijada.  My most important conlang is Ithkuil.  No pseudonymn.

*2. Are you new to the Lunatic Survey or have you filled out a version of
this survey before?
--I’m new to the survey.

3. Do you have a website for you language/world(s)? If so, please list the
URL address.
–-Yes. http://home.inreach.com/sl2120/Ithkuil

4. What is your email address? name at hostsite dot whatever.
-- jq_ithkuil at inreach dot com

5. What is your age? (vague answers allowed, but it is an important
demographic)
-- I’m 45 years young.

6. What is your gender?
-- Just a second, let me check…male ;-)

7. What is your nationality? Where do you live now?
-- Born in U.S. of 2nd generation Mexican-American heritage.  Currently
reside in Sacramento, California.

8. What is your native language?
-- English.

9. What natural languages foreign to you have you studied or do you speak?
-- I speak fluent Spanish, near-fluent Portuguese and Italian, and
passable French. I also read Catalan passably. Additionally, I ’ve
formally studied German, Arabic, and Sanskrit and have informally studied
too many languages to mention.

10. What is your level of education? i.e., your highest degree achieved or
sought?
--I have a bachelor degree in linguistics with a minor in anthropology and
a vocational certificate in computer programming.

11. What is your profession? Are you a professional linguist? If so, what
also makes you a conlanger?
-- I am a data processing manager; I supervise programmers.  I wanted to
be an anthropological linguist but had no money for graduate school.

13. If you are a student, what is your major or your area of study?
-- No longer a student.

14. How long have you been developing your invented language(s)?
-- Ithkuil represents over 25 years of work.  Prior to that, I developed
various sketches of conlangs for about four years.

15. At what age did you first start inventing a language? Can you briefly
describe your early efforts?
-- At about age 15.  My first language was called Mbozo, a relexified
generic Romance/Germanic hybrid with African-like phonology.  After that,
the conlangs came fast and furious until embarking on the work which would
develop into Ithkuil.

16. What drew you to start inventing a language and/or constructed world?
What was the inspiration?
-- Tolkien whetted my appetite but it was the discovery of Christian
Vander’s Kobaian language from the various Magma albums that really got me
going.

17. Did you start inventing before you had heard of the list or after?
Before you had heard of Esperanto or Tolkien? (I name the two most common
inspirations)
-- This list didn’t exist in the mid-1970s, obviously.  Before Esperanto,
but after Tolkien.

18. Tolkien calls it a "shy art" and a "secret vice"; but that was before
the Internet. How secret do you keep it from others outside this list for
much the same reasons?
-- I am very selective about whom I discuss conlanging with in my off-line
life.  Unless I have the time to really discuss it and the listener is
really willing to try to understand, I don’t bother.

19. Yaguello has called it "pathological," influenced, unfortunately, by a
lot of psychiatric writings such as _Le Schizo et la langue_. To what
extent have you encountered such reactions by outsiders you had taken into
your confidence?
-- I’ve never had this reaction.  Most listeners have one of three
reactions, in order of frequency:  (a) Exasperation of the “Well it’s over
my head” variety, (b) polite feigned interest, after which they forget all
about it, or (c) fascinated interest.

*20. Do you consider it nerdy to be doing this? This is a term that gets
tossed around a lot. Or actually sophisticated? Do you need to get a life,
or is this your life? What is a life?
-- I see why other people would call it nerdy (or geeky to use the term
most often hear).  I myself don’t bother to worry about what being a geek
does or doesn’t mean.  I simply believe in pursuing one’s creative and
intellectual passions as part of the greater pursuit of personal
fulfillment and happiness, as long as one doesn't interfere with the
rights of another and is aware of and accept the potentially adverse
impact to one’s social life.

21. There has been a connection noted between linguistic and musical
ability. Are you musically inclined? Do you sing and/or play a musical
instrument? Do you compose music?
-- I am passionate about music and am innately musically inclined but am
untrained as a musician.  I played drums and wrote songs for a punk band
in the late 1970s and played drums and a synthesizer in a post-punk band
in the early 1980s.  From the mid-1980s to mid-1990s I composed electronic
music realized via MIDI technology.  It is a hobby I plan to return to
when I get time.

22. There has been a connection noted between linguistic and mathematical
ability. Are you mathematically inclined or inclined towards computing in
any way?
-- I’m  technically good (but now rusty) at both math and programming but
have never been passionate about either.  To me they are simply tools to
achieve greater goals.

23. What other passions do you pursue that give you creative pleasure?
(painting, drawing, sculpting, calligraphy, model-building, novel or story-
writing, role-playing games, map-making, book-making, poetry, web-
designing, star-gazing or other?)
-- I come from a family of artists (painting) and plan to pursue it when I
retire.  I am currently writing a novel with my brother and have written
lots of short stories.  I liked RPGs when I was younger.  Other passions:
European travel, reading, classical and world music, art, studying quantum
physics, amateur protozoology, amateur astronomy.

B. FEATURES OF YOUR INVENTION
1. Pick the best term for the invented language you are currently invested
in: auxlang, artlang, engelang, loglang, lostlang, philosophical language,
or "other." etc.
– Ithkuil is a philosophical language, structured as an engelang (if I
understand the term correctly).

2. Is your conlang a priori (devised from scratch) or a posteriori (based
on an existing natural language or drawing from a language class such as
Semitic)?
-- a priori but with morphological ideas inspired by many natlang sources

4. Do you have a script for your conlang? What is it called? Could you
provide me at a later date with a sample of it? Is it on
Langmaker's "neography" site?
-- Ithkuil has it’s own script, called Içtaîl /Ictai:l/.  It is neither an
alphabet, syllabry, abugida, or logographic.  It is a morpho-phonemic
script.  It is listed in the neographies section on Langmaker.com.

5. Briefly describe the outlines of your invented language (syntactical
structure--VO, OV, etc.; class or type--analytic, synthetic,
agglutinating, incorporative, accusative, ergative, active, trigger,
other, combinations, etc.), noting what you have done with it that is
innovative in your opinion.
– Morpho-phonology is primarily synthetic, secondarily agglutinative,
fairly free word order, ergative but with many sub-delineations of
semantic roles.  As for innovations, given that Ithkuil’s purpose is to
showcase how a language could be constructed to more closely correspond to
human cognitive patterns at a deep level, the majority of its structure
bears little relation to existing languages, natural or constructed.

7. How extensive would you say your invented language is, now? How big the
vocabulary? Do you provide a vocabulary list or taxonomy on your website
if you have one?
-- The language is more or less complete except for the lexicon.
Approximately 1000 of the semantic 3600 roots have been identified,
including the 18 stems associated with each of those thousand roots.
Thus, the lexicon now stands at about 18000 stems out of the total 64800.
341 roots (6138 stesm) are currently listed on the Ithkuil website.

8. How do you build vocabulary? Some people pull words out of the air;
others build up a base of root words and affixes. Many do both.
– Ithkuil root and stem derivation is quite complex.  The details are
given in the introduction as well as Chapters 2 and 10 of the website.

3. Does a constructed world accompany your invention(s)? What is it
called?
-- In the early 1990s I developed a conworld to go along with Ithkuil,
first called Rian, then Reiha.  After two years of work, it was abandoned.

*9. Has your language and conworld ever served in a role-playing game or a
world shared by other conlangers?
--No.

*10. Briefly describe your conculture (is it within the bounds of this
world? on another world, etc.?)
-- The culture existed on an earthlike world circling a nearby star (Eta
Cassiopiae A, later changed to Zeta Tucanae).  It was discovered by Earth
in the mid-22nd century as part of our first xeno-anthropological survey.
It was a largely agrarian but highly intellectual/philosophical, clan-
based culture just entering an industrial/electronic age.

*11. Are the beings who speak your invented language human or alien? If
alien, what features have you given the language to make it alien or how
have you restricted or expanded its phonology? vocabulary?
-- Human (where humans are found on three planets including Earth as
descendants of seeding experiments by a progenitor race, somewhat similar
to Ursula LeGuin’s Hainish universe but on a much smaller scale).

12. What do you write in it? Poems? chants? lullabyes? prayers? history?
stories? recipes? Are any of these exhibited on your website?
-- Nothing so far except example sentences to illustrate the grammar.  Due
to the language’s complexity, it takes hours just to compose a single
sentence.  I plan to write more in it in the future, time permitting.

13. Can you speak your conlang? Are you fluent in it? Is this a goal for
you? Have you tried to teach it to an intimate? a companion animal? :)
-- I do not speak it and do not have the time to learn.  Several people in
Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan have e-mailed me telling me they want to,
or are trying to learn it.  This is due to a Russian science magazine
having published an article in which Ithkuil was described.

14. Have you made any soundbytes of your language? Could you provide me at
a later date with a sample of them?
-- There are lots of mp3 soundbytes on the Ithkuil website.

*15. If you use Roman script, how recognizably "phonetic" is your writing
system? In other words, do you use unconventional letters or letter
combinations to represent sounds? Why or why not? I'm thinking, of course,
of Etabnannery, for those who remember it.
– The website uses a fully phonemic romanized transliteration scheme for
the Ithkuil script.  Lots of diacritics are used to create single
characters representing the 82 phonemes of the language.

16. How many of you sing in your language and have invented songs for that
purpose?
-- No songs as yet.

*17. How many of you, for entertainment or any other reason, resort to
gibberish? (This is in response to Adrian Morgan's question in December).
Does it give you ideas for conlanging? (Have you ever fooled anyone?) How
many of you have sung gibberish?
-- In one of my first conlangs as a teenager, I derived words by banging
blindly on a typewriter to see what letter combinations would be produced
and inspire me.

*18. What on-line games do you play? (or devise?) Translations, Babel-
text, Relays, etc.
–None.  No time.

19. Which do you prefer doing: devising phonology? script? structure?
building vocabulary?
-- All of the above equally except building vocabulary.

20. Do you start and stop several different conlangs, or do you tend to
stick with one and develop it over years?
– Initially the former from age 15 to 19.  Beginning at 19, I worked on
the single language which, through many twisted paths, eventually became
Ithkuil.

21. What do you think makes a "complete" conlang, if a conlang can attain
completion? What are your goals for completion? When do you grow "tired"
of your conlang, or don't you?
-- As long as you can translate anything from another language (allowing
for culturally determined constraints, of course) and express any
conscious thought, the language is sufficiently complete in my opinion.
As for growing tired, having completed Ithkuil’s grammar a year ago and
posting it to the web, I am sufficiently tired now to want to take a
breather before completing the lexicon.

*22. Which came first: the conlang or the conworld?
--The conlang.

C. PHILOSOPHY AND AESTHETIC:
1. What aesthetic features do you value in inventing language? Be specific
as to phonology, structure, script, etc.
– A phonology that meets one’s own subjective aesthetics (for me that
means a large Caucasian-style consonant inventory and as few open CV-
syllables as possible), a highly synthetic or even polysynthetic grammar
as far away from isolating languages as possible, and an aesthetically
pleasing script that is non-alphabetic.

2. What commonly applied aesthetics have you ever tried to avoid in your
invention? This has been an oft debated question, especially when it comes
to Tolkien.
– Mellifluous phonology and CV- syllabic patterning, not because I don’t
like pretty languages (I do), but simply because it’s been done to death.
The same with alphabetic scripts.

3. Is difficulty or obscurity a goal in inventing a language?
-- Not per se or as an end in itself, but if the solution to a problem
(e.g., how to pack as many morphemes as possible into a word of no more
than three syllables) calls for a “difficult” or “obscure” solution, I
have no qualms about pursuing such.

4. Is efficiency a goal in inventing a language? This question needn't
cancel out the previous one.
– For me it is one of my primary goals, as the introduction to the Ithkuil
site makes abundantly clear.

5. How natural do you wish to make it, or is that a concern? Or rather,
how unnatural do you wish to make it?
-- Ithkuil is designed to show how human languages COULD be, not as the
ARE.  While some might think this makes “unnaturalness” a goal of Ithkuil,
in actuality, Ithkuil’s unnaturalness is merely a circumstantial byproduct
of the fact that, given the morpho-phonological, morpho-syntactic, and
lexico-semantic “inefficiency” of natural human languages, any language
that attempts to counter such inefficiency can’t help end up
being “unnatural” in comparison to real human languages, in my opinion.

6. Can conlanging be sexy? sensual? obsessing? how does it heal or harm
you?
-- I believe all three are possible, easily so.  Language is a tangible
embodiment of the workings of the human thought.  And if thoughts can be
sexy, sensual or obsessing, then so can the language that expresses them.
Conlanging has been a great joy to me through the years, and is therefore
very psychologically therapeutic, in my opinion.  As for harm, well, it’s
kept me from spending a lot of money on drugs, superficial relationships,
dangerous sports, acquiring superficial possessions, etc. ;-)

*7. How many of you have developed a rich vocabulary of obscenities?
-- Not a rich one, just a few affixes that add various deprecatory or
insulting nuances to stems, and a couple of stems referring to certain
body parts and functions.

8. Can it be mystical? To what extent does conlanging fulfill a spiritual
purpose for you? Or a magical one? Did it ever start out that way?
-- Although such purposes are not what Ithkuil's about, I do think
conlanging can be very mystical and can definitely fulfill a spirtual
purpose for a conlanger.  In fact, to me, one of the most counter-
productive things about many contemporary mystical movements is their
reliance on their practicioner’s native vernacular.  To me, a true
mystical movement MUST have its own language.  It was this aspect of
Tolkien and Magma’s music (the Kobaian language as part of the group’s
future history background story) that got me totally hooked on conlanging
in the first place.

9. How many of you have developed a rich vocabulary of magical, religious,
or incantatory terms?
--I haven't developed such vocabulary as yet, as such activities are not
central to Ithkuil’s purpose.

*10. How many of you have striven to invent words that express novel
ideas, or are not expressed in any natural language that you know?
-- This is very important to me.  Ithkuil has many such roots and stems,
especially in the realm of emotions and social interaction.  The extremely
flexible and varied system of derivational affixes makes the creation of
novel terms from existing roots/stems very straightforward as well.

11. Name a few of the words in your language(s) that you are most pleased
with and are the most original to you.
-- /Ek_>a_US:”cIn:ut_>/ = ‘on Sundays’ (based on the way I was able to
derive the concept of separate days of the week from a single stem
meaning ‘day’ (i.e., 24-hour period) purely morphologically without the
need for separate lexemes)
-- /ks`qO?wamEN”tEs`t}/ = ‘a man accidentally and without realizing it
enables (a situation to happen)’
-- /dIawas”muC_R/ = ‘over me [i.e., along my body] + what belongs to a rag-
tag amalgamation of you (singular) and all those things + [sense of
surprise]’ as in “Hey! Something belonging to you and your hodge-podge of
(attached) parts…!”
-- /IT”kUil/ = ‘hypothetical representation of language’ [the name of the
Ithkuil language]

12. How do you sense that a word is "right" for its meaning? How much do
you labor at fitting a sound to its sense? Or don't you care?
-- This was originally very important to me in the early days of Ithkuil’s
development, but had to be abandoned when necessary to streamline the
morpho-phonology for purposes of efficiency and reuse.

*13. Do you ever rely on a software program to build vocabulary? Do those
who don't think that's cheating? :)
--I don’t use such software but I don’t think it’s cheating, just lazy.

*14. Is conlang a hobby, a craft, or an art in your mind? This has been
hotly debated, so the question is not as weird as it seems. Can conlanging
be considered an art? Why or why not?
--It depends on the individual’s own motive. Of course it can be
considered an art, if the motive for doing it is artistic.  For me it’s
art, though I imagine most natlangers would scoff at the idea of Ithkuil
being an artlang, looking at from a narrow perspective based purely on
audio-visual aesthetics and ties to a conculture.  For me, the art is not
derived from creating a variation on a natlang to be spoken by fictional
beings in an imaginary universe, but rather in finding and expressing the
cognitive patterns of the human mind in a way that’s never been done.

*15. If it is, who do you think are its consumers?
-- Anyone who can recognize artistry in such an esoteric medium.

*16. This question is directed as well at any auxlangers on the list. Is
it an art, a political tool, both? And who do you think could be its
consumers?
-- Sorry, but the last time I answered a political question online, I
inadvertently started a disgusting and personally offensive flamewar on
the Zompist bulletin board.  I’ll be damned if I ever answer a political
question again.

*17. There has been some exciting talk recently (and over the years) about
what a conlang is or is not. If you could pick a metaphor or write a
descriptive phrase defining "conlang," what would that be?
– Not being a “mainstream” conlanger who presumes to define others’
efforts and motives, I’ll pass on this one.

*18. Why or why not would you eschew the metaphors "miniature" or "model"?
--I’m not sure what is meant by “miniature” so I can’t say.  I don’t have
a problem with the word “model” for an effort like Ithkuil, as it is an
attempt at expressing cognitive models.  I would be wary of applying the
word to other conlangs, however, as the relationship between them and what
they might be modelling is probably not so direct as with Ithkuil.

*19. Is a conlang more like a glimpse of something lifesize? (Irina's
suggestion in 2001)
-- A glimpse implies a brief duration.  Applying a temporal metaphor to
what I think is meant to be an outline of a conceptual hierarchy doesn’t
work for me.

*20. There has been some invigorating discussion lately about what a
conlang can do that most natural languages don't (such as produce OSV
structure, or eradicate verbs) What experiments have you made with your
artlang(s) along these lines?
-- Too numerous to list. Almost everything about the language does things
that natural languages don't.  Some of the ones I'm most proud of is my
morphological categories of Configuration and Affiliation by which words
are transparently formed as conceptual gestalts, as well as the morpho-
phonemic principle underlying the script.

*21 What do you think distinguishes a conlang from a natural language, if
you think so at all? What would it take for a linguist to be fooled into
thinking a conlang was a natural language?
-- Depends on the conlang.  I’ve seen some Romance-style, Germanic-style,
and Amerindian-style conlangs that would’ve fooled me if I were a
linguistic layperson uneducated in history.

*22. How much do you study other languages in order to discover what is
natural in language? Or to discover how you can stretch the boundaries of
language to make it do things that are unnatural?
-- I have a room at home filled with grammars, tutorials, self-teachers,
dictionaries, and phrase books on over a hundred languages, as well as
tons of Internet bookmarks.  I’ve been studying languages since age 11.

*23. Can such a language function?
--depends on how coherently and thoroughly it has been designed

*24. There has been quite a bit of fascinating debate about the relevance
of conlanging to linguistic study. We all know that linguistics can aid
conlangers, but in what ways can conlangers aid linguists? Or does it
matter?
-- I have a degree in linguistics but would nevertheless say,
unfortunately, that the relationship is pretty much unidirectional.  I see
little in most conlang efforts of benefit to linguists other than perhaps
providing some superficial data for analyzing the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.
Even a language like Ithkuil which attempts to provide linguistic
expression for such deep-level cognitive processes as prototype theory
would probably be dismissed as “silly” by most cognitive linguists.

D. THE LISTSERV
1. How did you first hear of this list?
-- I think it came up on a Yahoo or Google search results list.

2. How long have you been on this listserv or on other related listservs?
Continuously? Infrequently? Off and on? More off than on and vice versa?
-- I joined this listserv a year ago and was fairly active for about five
or six months.  Now I am only an occasional lurker.  I joined the zompist
bulletin board last September and was active until early January, when I
was unfairly targeted in a flamewar which disgusted and personally
offended me into leaving.

*3. What is the appeal of being on a listserv and contributing to it? Do
you think you contribute moderately or excessively, or not enough? Do you
tend to lurk ?
-- I don’t think I can speak for others.  I used to contribute whenever I
thought I had something of value to say, but now rarely.  My impression is
that most people don’t seem very interested in what others have to say,
only in what they themselves want to say.

*4. For those of you who remember its inception, how has it changed over
the past decade?
-- I’ve only been here a year so can't say.

*5. How helpful has the list been in developing your language? In learning
linguistic information?
-- I’ve learned some interesting linguistic tidbits on occasion.  I joined
too late for it to help me in developing Ithkuil.  Henrik Theiling’s
Qthyn|gai language gave me one idea on verbs that, had I encountered it
earlier, I would’ve incorporated into Ithkuil.

6. What books have you consulted? On your own, or because you heard of
them on the list?
--Too numerous to mention.  The writings of the cognitive linguists
(Langacker, Talmy, Fauconnier, Lakoff, etc.) have been especially valuable
in Ithkuil’s development.

*7. Do you peruse the websites of other conlangers?
-- On occasion.

*8. Do you sense that people on this list are interested in your conlang
and give you feedback on it?
--When Ithkuil was introduced a year ago, the degree of interest and
feedback was significant and lasted for several weeks, way more than I’ve
seen for most conlangs since.  I was surprised and grateful for my fifteen
minutes of fame!

9. Have you ever set out to learn at least a little bit of someone's
conlang, if only a word or two, or a phrase?
– Tolkien’s and Christian Vander’s Kobaian when I was a teenager.  I also
practiced a little Láadan when I first discovered it and practiced
pronouncing some of Henrik Theiling’s Qthyn|gai when I first encountered
it.

*10. Do you peruse Jeffrey Henning's Langmaker.com site?
-- I’ve visited it many times over the last year since I discovered it,
about two or three times a month, I’d say..

*11. What on-line techniques do you use to showcase your conlang, such as
Audacity or other sound programs, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Fontography,
and so forth? Did you hear of them on the list?
– my website is built in Dreamweaver.  The script and other graphics were
done in Powerpoint.  The mp3 sound files were done in Wavelab Lite.

12. Have you ever tried to introduce a friend to the list?
--I told my brother about it, that’s all.  He’s not a member but reads the
posts from time to time.  I don’t know anyone else in my personal life
who’s interested in conlanging.

13. Do you know of anyone who does this kind of thing but who has never
heard of the list?
-- I got the impression from the several months I was on the Zompist board
that a significant portion of the members there weren’t familiar with it.
Although, I must say, when the Conlang list does get mentioned on zompist,
it isn't in a positive manner.  This list is generally seen on zompist as
being elitist and unfriendly to outsiders and newbies.

*14. What other lists do you frequent related to conlanging?
--Until a recent distasteful experience in which I learned the hard way
about others’ abilities to distort and misinterpret one’s words and put
words in my mouth, I visited and contributed to the zompist bulletin
board. No longer.  I’ve posted a few times in the past on Sai Emry’s Live
Journal site as well.

*15. What do you think will be the future of the list? I see it giving
birth to alternate lists like Conworld, Lostlanguages, Romlang, etc. What
improves the present list and its helpfulness or entertainment value?
-- I don’t wish to be negative, so I’m going to refrain from answering
this.

*16. What Internet technology would you most like to see developed that
would aid you in showcasing your language(s)?
-- Haven’t given this any thought.

*17. What lists like conlang exist in other cultures and languages that
you know of?
-- Someone here once directed me to a Spanish-language conlanging list
which I visited once.

*18. There has been some terrific talk about CONLANG as a community. And
yet so many of us seem to want the world to know of it and respect it. Is
the CONLANG community enough?
-- I have no thoughts about this.

*19. In my 2000 on-line article (http://journal.media-
culture.org.au/0003/languages.php) I suggested that the Internet "may
provide a site that, with the impetus of competition and showmanship,
encourages inutile and obsessive activity"; I was quoting Jeff Salamon's
article "Revenge of the Fanboys." Village Voice 13 Sep., 1994. He wrote
that over ten years ago. Do outsiders still entertain such notions, do you
think, about listservs like this one? Do you? To what extent has the list
increased obsessive development in you? Would you be inventing as
furiously as you are without the list or knowledge of other inventors?
-- I’m not familiar with the media’s view on this topic, so I can’t say.
As for me, most of my conlanging was done before I became aware of an
online conlang community in 1999.  Even then, I rarely visited such sites
until I posted Ithkuil on the web 13 months ago.  So I’ve never had any
problem being my own best motivator.

20. If asked whether it is not better to turn your linguistic talents to
the learning and speaking of natural languages (a common response I've met
with and aimed at criticizing introversion or solipsism), how would you
answer?
-- The two aren’t mutually exclusive.  I’ve found time to teach myself to
speak four natural languages with passible fluency which I use happily
during my frequent trips to Europe.  As for introversion, I’m naturally an
introvert anyway so conlanging or no conlanging wouldn’t affect that.  In
fact, my ability to speak other languages has allowed me to easily counter
my own natural introvertedness when I’m travelling in Europe.

*21. In Elizabethan times there were the inkhorn neologisms. There were
ciphers and pasigraphies. Today there is conlanging. Do you think the
contemporary world is more open to language innovation or more closed?
–- I doubt I (or most others) have an objective perspective on this.  I
suppose more open, simply because of the increased freedom to pursue
individual paths and interests.

*22. What would Tolkien have done with such a community? He writes in "A
Secret Vice" that language inventors "hardly ever show their works to one
another, so none of them know who are the geniuses at the game, or who are
the splendid 'primitives'." He suggests that perhaps in a later time
language invention will become respectable, and such things can be
exhibited. Have we reached that time?
-- I think conlanging will remain a geeky obsession in the eyes of
mainstream laypersons.  As for Tolkien, I think he would’ve liked the idea
of a conlang community in theory, but would’ve avoided participating
himself once he saw how superficially many so-called conlangers actually
practice the art and how few bother to first gain a working knowledge of
linguistics.

*23. Is there a danger that over-exposure can make conlanging "banal"? To
what extent is it exciting because it is a) considered
disreputable, "corny" or "mad," or b) largely unknown to the world? Does
it have a fizzle-out date? In other words, is it just a fad, or is it a
natural human inclination that will stand the test of time?
-- I have no opinion about these topics because they are irrelevant to me.
I’m not concerned with what anyone else thinks about conlanging in
general.  I’ve been conlanging for 30 years, 25 of them working under the
naïve assumption that the only other conlangers in the world were Tolkien,
Ursula LeGuin and Christian Vander.  While it’s nice if someone else can
appreciate my efforts, I’d have done it anyway even if no one else ever
knew about it.  I am an artist, but the audience I consciously create for
is just lil’ ol’ me.

Finally, may I have your permission to use any of this material of yours
for my academic work on conlanging? First name? last name? pseudonym?
anonymous?
-- If you notify me how and where they are used, then yes.

Thanks!
-- You’re welcome.

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