Print

Print


        Sorry that this is a little late; I noticed Saturday that the list was
frozen, and decided to let it unfreeze before posting. 28 of you responded to
last week's question, although without as many interesting stories as I had
hoped. Ah, well.
        In response to the question, "What was the most extreme (negative) reaction
you have received from another person when they discovered that you invent
langauges?"

        A. I've never told any non-conlanger, so I've never gotten a reaction. (2
responses, 7%)
        B. An uninterested "hmm..." (7 responses, 25%)
        C. A suspicious "Oh, really???" (4 responses, 14%)
        D. "That's stupid!" (5 responses, 18%)
        E. "You're nuts!" (6 responses, 21%)
        F. "You shouldn't do that!" (3 responses, 11%)
        G. "Hello, operator? I need the number to the nearest insane asylum!" (1
response, 4%)

        While long, Maarten van Beek's responses put "B" in excellent perspective:
"When I started getting my skydiving license, many friends and family told me
I was insane for jumping out of a plane with just a piece of cloth and some
lines on my back.
        "When I participated in the local elections for a left-wing environmental
party and was elected town council member, my friends called me insane,
since politics should be something for old gray-haired men and not for 25
year old pod-smoking, heavy metal-loving students with long hair.
        "I've got some derogatory comments about my partcipation in a Viking-style
live roleplaying weekend, though it was a one time thing (I like tabletop RPGs
better).
        "I've even been commented on my choice of study: theortetical astrophysics
with some regular physics and math on the side and with a topping of
educational theory classes.
        "I've been ridiculed for wanting to be a high school teacher, since students
are not interested anymore these days, and the pay is lousy.
        "But no one (and I am quite open about it) has ever made any negative
comments about me inventing languages (or entire worlds and cultures, for
that matter). It's just a matter of persepctive, I guess."
        A valuable moral indeed.

        I had a tough time with David's (digitalscream@aol) response, because, as he
noted, I neglected to provide a question in which laughter was a response;
however, since Esperanto was mentioned, it didn't seem to be entirely
positive laughter and so got pegged as a "D": "I'm not sure which one this
falls into, since none of them seemed to indicate that the person was
laughing at you, but the response I got from big John McWhorter (my pidgins
and creoles prof.;  he's written a bunch of books, and junk) was that he
started laughing largely, and said, "Have you been fooling around with
Esperanto?"  That's been the worst so far, and it weren't that bad."

        Another "D" (almost "F") tale comes from Christoper Wright: "When I first
wanted to make languages, a friend told me the stupidest thing I've ever
heard: "They already tried that." Then he cited Esperanto. I was dutifully
cowed for all of two days, and then I Started a Language. However, I have
gotten interested reactions.
        "They never told me how addictive it is."
        First one's free, buddy. Then you pay. :)

        Counted as a "F" response (although I debated putting it in "D") is Stephen
Degrace's response: "'The world has enough languages, what do you want to go
inventing more for? You should get a healthy hobby involving fresh air and
the outdoors.'"

        Ian Maxwell referred back to his original post in answering "G": "I believe I
just recently posted my story in the thread that spawned this question, and I
wasn't exaggerating--my father seriously thought there was something severely
wrong, that I was retreating into a fantasy world, that soon I was going to
start speaking nothing but my own make-believe language, etc."

        Finally, to sum it all off, Andrew Smith gives the appropriate attitude for
persecuted conlangers: "Now I don't worry, let it pass, they are just trying
to appear urbane and sophisticated.  I know better.  Let them lose brownie
points."

        In response to the question, "Are you superstitious?" no one wanted to admit
to being superstitious, although several hinted that they had vaguely uneasy
feelings in certain situations.

        Well, that's it for this week's edition; stay tuned for Poll by Email No. 14!
        :Peter