Print

Print


I lost my internet access for a couple weeks! I'm using a free AOL trial
thing (45 days). But I'm still using the Hotmail account. I gotta shop for a
provider when I finally move to the Washington DC area.

My apologies for all the bounced e-mails.

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

Irish was a big inspiration for Tech, in both its mutation system
(fortis-lenis and nasalization) and its palatized vs. non-palatized
("slender" vs. "broad") distinction, which of course can be found in
Baltic-Slavonic languages. I threw in labialization for a third class, along
the lines of North Caucasian, Na-Dene, Salishan.

Tech is also VSO, more a result of Semitic influence than anything.

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

Danny Wier, or Daniel A. Wier if I wanna be pretentious.

Tech: a "superlang" spoken by a race of fallen angels, demons, jinn or
whatever, in human form, comparable to elves in Middle Earth, but not always
so benevolent.

LANKA: a pidgin/IAL spoken by Trolls, a pre-human species produced by
cloning and genetic experimentation, a race of slaves and grunt soldiers for
a global dystopia of the future. Based mostly on Western European languages,
thus a type of Euroclone with a minimalist phonology -- the opposite of
Tech, in other words.

> When did you start it/them?

I started working on Tech in the late 1980s; it had a bunch of other names
before I decided on one (a corruption of a native word _t'aq'_ "hidden,
covered, occult"). LANKA was begotten much more recently, as in a year ago
or something like that.

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

I must've abandoned and resumed the Tech project (along with other
discontinued conlang projects) a dozen times. I'm still working on it
though, and lately, with an unequaled fervor. I finally have an official
phonology, which takes a while to explain.

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

Tech is VSO, adjectives other than articles, numbers and demonstratives
follow nouns, and verbal nouns are used a lot, though finite verbs have a
very complex system much like that of Georgian.

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

Right now, Tech is mostly unwritten (since Techians are a secretive bunch),
but there are Latin, Arabic and Cyrillic transliterations, since Techians do
adapt somewhat to where they live, if they settle in human nation-states --
they're nomadic, actually. They're a lot like the Roma/Gypsies in this
regard.

The main innovation is in combining features from Indo-European, Kartvelian,
Afro-Asiatic and Dravidian languages. I'm only at the word-root level right
now.

> PART II: INSPIRATION BY TOLKIEN (tangential to the
> questions on inspiration
> by Celtic languages):

> 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?)

The Techians (or Techs I guess I could say too) are really based on
Biblical, Islamic, Zoroastrian, and ancient Egyptian, Babylonian and Greek
ideas of demonology. But Techians are not always evil, so "demon" isn't a
good word in this sense. They were angels, gods or some type of exalted
spiritual being, banished to the earth because of their jealousy of the
human race (in Islam, Iblis -- the Devil or ash-Shaytaan -- is cast down to
earth because he refuses to bow down to and serve Adam).

Incidentally, Satan is a character in my conworld, and he is a Techian with
a hidden compound somewhere on the planet and a fanatical cultic following,
a lot like a mythologized Osama bin Laden-type character.

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

I used to be a Christian fundamentalist of sorts, so the Hebrew interest
came from there, along with its close cousins Arabic and Aramaic. But mostly
I just read about different languages and got interested in them. Georgian
really impressed me a lot for some reason, and I was so glad I discovered
the online grammatical summary by P.J. Hillery at http://armazi.demon.co.uk
(I think that's the URL).

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

Tech is designed to be ultra-compact, able to express complex notions in
fewer syllables. Semitic is a big inspiration in this area, with its verb
derivation system and inflections.

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

Tech is very exotic, less so if you speak Ubykh.

> How many of you have fashioned your language on a
> particular type (Ergative,
> Accusative, Trigger, etc.)?

Tech has a mixed-ergative system with some active features. I'm using
Georgian as a model right now, but I'm really far from the grammar/syntax
stage.

> To what degree is difficulty and irregularity of
> language important to you
> in your conlang? what natural language eccentricities
> (or efficiencies) do
> you like and try to reproduce?

I like irregularity, or regularity with many many rules. This may take a
while. LANKA is completely regular on the other hand.

> How many of you started out by pulling words out of
> the air, originally?
> How many of you have chosen a more methodic form of
> vocabulary building?
> I.e., how have you gone about setting up the framework
> for your words and
> your grammar?

I hate inventing words. Tech is supposed to be based on a theoretical
"Proto-World" language anyway. Legend has that Tech was spoken during the
time of the Tower of Babel, or was the language taught to Adam by the
angels.

> PART III: THE LUNATIC SURVEY REVISITED
>
> Why do you conlang? Who will speak it? Read it? What's
> the point? What's
> the beauty? what's the intellectual draw?

I conlang because I can. It's really an expression of my philosophy,
beliefs, experiences and understanding of history and culture, which is
always expanding.

> 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?

It's what you want it to be. To me, Tech is an experiment, a secret language
for communication with unseen entities (or talking to myself), and a tool
for understanding the inner workings of the universe.

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

Tech might have been written in a type of hieroglyphic system at one time or
another, but it's mostly an unwritten language. LANKA is written with
capital Latin letters -- seven consonants and three vowels in all.

> If you use Roman script, how recognizably "phonetic"
> is your writing system?
> In other words, do you use unconventional letters to
> represent sounds?
> Why?

If written in Latin script, Tech uses an apostrophe for glottalization,
acute accent for palatization, ring or degree sign for labialization, an
underscore for pharyngealization/"emphasis", a caron for retroflexion... and
I throw in some Greek letters for sounds not represented by Latin letters.
In effect, it's a twisted version of IPA. I kind of have an Arabic script
worked out, but not much of a Cyrillic version. There IS a Judeo-Tech
somewhere in there, using Hebrew script of course.

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

I did, and Tech was born in my teenage years, though with a different name,
a more limited idea base, and a much smaller phonology. It started when I
did some tricks with the Latin-English alphabet, like an asterisk for the
voiced version of x, i.e. /gz/ -- so "eggs" could be written "e*". I also
had a backwards N, or a Cyrillic /i/, for "ng". The inspration for this: the
Icelandic and Old English letter "thorn" which I was so impressed with back
then.

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

Like I said above, Tech is, vaguely put, a language for speaking to God.
Like the Ark of the Covenant is a radio for speaking to God (from the movie
_Raiders of the Lost Ark_).

> How many of you have put up websites where your
> language can be showcased?
> If so, what is the website address?

I just re-opened my website: http://www.geocities.com/dawier -- but there's
nothing there yet. I really want to get something up there on Tech by
tomorrow morning. I just got back on the internet after all...

> How many of you are comfortable talking to your boss,
> your professors, your
> family members about this pursuit? How many of you
> have received
> condescending or other negative responses to your
> disclosure? (I have.) Or
> even been called "pathological"?

I'm very secretive about this. I feel weird with this language. My
girlfriend knows a little about my hobby, but I haven't really explained it
all to her. I gotta come out of the closet soon ya know.

> For how many of you is the damning statement "better
> to learn real languages
> than invent private ones" a criticism you have
> encountered? What would be
> your response to such a remark?

My obsession with my conlang(s) has led me to discover natlangs (I've
mentioned Caucasian languages a lot). It really fuels my appreciation for
languages in general. I just need to get to work on Spanish, since I do live
in Texas...

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

32. I still think I'm 19.

> 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)?

Right now, disabled. I did go to college once, before I went crazy and
forgot who I was...

> What is your gender?

Male, I think.

> What is your nationality and your native language?

Texan -- I mean American, and the Redneck dialect of English.

> What natural languages do you speak or have studied?

Spanish, which I kinda learned by osmosis living my whole live in Texas.
French, which I took in high school (deux ans) and forgot.
Farsi, my fiancee's native language, which I tried to teach myself in 1998.
Greek, because of my Biblical interest.
Arabic, which I got interested in with my study of Islam and the Quran -- my
fiancee is a Muslim (a very liberal one).
Russian, because it was a "forbidden" language during the 1980s with Reagan
and the Cold War.
Georgian, for the hell of it.
Esperanto, because I guess I have to. :P
Irish Gaelic, since I'm Irish!
But none of these I speak or know well, except maybe Spanish.

Just reminded me -- I need a language to talk to my cat Jenna in. A catlang
in other words.

> What have you learned from conlanging?
> Hm...I haven't learned much from conlanging
> specifically...but from Linguistics in general
> I've learned that languages are infinitely interesting
> and worthy of study.

I learned I have too much free time. No really, it's inspired me to
constructively study real-world languages and appreciate them more. I see
myself in the future as being the John Nash of language theory. Maybe.

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

I've used _The World's Major Languages_ ed. Bernard Comrie more than
anything. I mentioned Hillery's online Georgian grammar earlier. I also have
_Indo-European and the Nostratic Hypothesis_ by Allan R. Bomhard, since Tech
is derived from Nostratic roots and phonology. I also have an Arabic
textbook and a Quran my future mother-in-law sent me, and a book on New
Testament Greek I stole from my brother a while ago. Everything else I get
for free from webpages and stuff.

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

_tlwat'_ = "damn it!", i.e. the universal swear. For added effect, suffix
the divine pronoun: _tlwat'llah_.

> Would you object to my mentioning your conlang/and or
> your name in my talk?

Sure, go ahead; I just don't have much in actual language, except how to
cuss. ~Danny~