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> 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")

Sean Miller. The Latin-style names of my works-in-progress include
Varian, Strathin, Murathian, and Saltaran.

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

New.

> 3. Do you have a website for you language/world(s)? If so, please
list the URL address.

http://www.utd.edu/~spm016100/languages/

Be aware that only one language is well-represented in HTML (Strathin)
and two are presently absent.

> 4. What is your email address? name at hostsite dot whatever.

This should be obvious.

> 5. What is your age? (vague answers allowed, but it is an important
demographic)

22

> 6. What is your gender?

Male.

> 7. What is your nationality?  Where do you live now?

Rowlett, Texas, United States of America.

> 8. What is your native language?

English.

> 9. What natural languages foreign to you have you studied or do you
speak?

I know Spanish well. I've studied many others, however.

> 10. What is your level of education? i.e., your highest degree
achieved or sought?

I'm a college student.

> 11. What is your profession? Are you a professional linguist? If so,
what also makes you a conlanger?

I do freelance web application work. I'm not a linguist.

> 13. If you are a student, what is your major or your area of study?

Computer science.

> 14. How long have you been developing your invented language(s)?

At least nine months.

> 15. At what age did you first start inventing a language? Can you
briefly describe your early efforts?

I don't recall.

> 16. What drew you to start inventing a language and/or constructed
world? What was the inspiration?

I only needed naming languages for various people/places/things/etc.
in a certain fictional setting, but things quickly got out of hand.

> 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)

Before I'd heard of the list and before I'd heard of Esperanto, but
after I'd studied 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 list it as a hobby when asked.

> 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 have not really encountered anything like this, but I can see how
some might feel that way.

> *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?

Most people lack the intelligence, creativity, education, and
inclination to take part in this endeavor; therefore, it is natural
for them to decry conlanging (and many other things) as nerdy.

> 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 played instruments and composed music for seven years of my life.

> 22. There has been a connection noted between linguistic and
mathematical ability. Are you mathematically inclined or inclined
towards computing in any way?

Apparently, I'm highly mathematically inclined, but I actually hate
it. I do, however, love computer programming.

> 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'm an author, so many of these apply. And I'm a web dev by trade.

> 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.

These are fictional diachronic languages.

> 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 insofar as none of the four actually steal much from
real-world languages, but rather are merely inspired by them.

> 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?

I have developed scripts for both Strathin and Varian. Currently, only
Strathin is available online. Strathin is heavily influenced by
Futhark and other old runic alphabets. Varian is still on paper, but
incidentally contains similarities to Greek and Cyrillic.

> 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.

Due to geographical proximity, both languages below are
nominative-accusative with heavily agglutinative grammar. Both have
powerful case systems, though Varian's is more complete. Word order is
generally free, but the orderings can be used to enhance or emphasize
certain lexical relationships. Varian is still subject to change.

- Strathin: Uses vowel gradation for verb-tense and noun-number, but
encodes most other information by affixing bound morphemes. Due to the
importance of the concept of pairs to the Strathin people, this
language can express the dual number. Has a well-developed aspectual
system.

- Varian: Agglutinates heavily, but most affixes have two or more
forms to encode additional information. For instance, the verbal
preterite-tense marker has slightly different forms for several moods.
 Encodes several degrees of certainty in the verb form.

The other two (Saltaran, Murathian) are largely still on the drawing
board. They're more on the isolative end of the spectrum.

> 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?

These are all rather small languages.

> 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.

I have written several small programs to aid me in this process. I
generally produce permutations of phonemes and then manually select
the most aesthetically appealing entries. I then compound these and
apply morphophonemics to create words.

> 3. Does a constructed world accompany your invention(s)? What is it
called?

Yes, a conworld does accompany these languages; however, the world
itself has no name (beyond the many words for `world' in the various
conlangs).

> *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 Strathin people are strict individualists who have established a
district-based republic. They are a seafaring culture and therefore
have many ports and coastal cities. They believe in balance in all
things and, to them, the concept of the pair is divine.

The Varian people dwell in and along the `elbow' formed by the Red
Peaks and the Spinal Range. They have a love of architecture,
sculpture, and all academic pursuits. They construct vast cities of
stone, often near geothermally-active areas which provide resources
critical to certain Varian technologies.

Murathy is a land of agriculture and animal husbandry that spans a
series of fertile river valleys that run from the feet of the Spinal
Range westward to the Shallow Sea. With a traditional monarchy and an
established `manoral' system, this nation closely resembles feudal
Europe.

Saltara, once the seat of a sprawling empire, is now little more than
a scattering of huge, dusty cities separated by hundreds of leagues of
orchards and vineyards. Influenced heavily by nomadic cultures to the
north, Saltara has developed a serious love affair with the horse.

> *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. Mostly.

> 12. What do you write in it? Poems? chants? lullabyes? prayers?
history? stories? recipes? Are any of these exhibited on your website?

Poems and songs, mostly. None are available online, however.

> 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 am fluent in these languages, as far as they have been developed.

> 14. Have you made any soundbytes of your language? Could you provide
me at a later date with a sample of them?

No soundbytes yet.

> *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.

No, I aimed to create the most reasonable Latin orthographies
possible. The native scripts, on the other hand, bear little
resemblance to the Latin alphabet.

> 16. How many of you sing in your language and have invented songs
for that purpose?

I don't sing, but I have songs.

> *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?

Gibberish? No.

> *18. What on-line games do you play? (or devise?) Translations,
Babel-text, Relays, etc.

FPS and RTS.

> 19. Which do you prefer doing: devising phonology? script?
structure? building vocabulary?

All of the above, actually.

> 20. Do you start and stop several different conlangs, or do you tend
to stick with one and develop it over years?

I have stuck with these four for the entire duration of my conlanging
adventure.

> 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?

By definition, no language is ever complete.

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

Conworld. I must admit, the world is changing as the languages evolve.

> C. PHILOSOPHY AND AESTHETIC:
>
> 1. What aesthetic features do you value in inventing language? Be
specific as to phonology, structure, script, etc.

Aesthetically, I try to make each language as self-consistent as
possible. Each language has a set of guiding principles (regarding
each of the above: phonology, script, etc.) that I cannot violate.

> 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.

I hate retroflex phonemes and it's unlikely any will appear in my
conlangs. I prefer languages with many vowels, but Varian (for
example) only has six.

> 3. Is difficulty or obscurity a goal in inventing a language?

No.

> 4. Is efficiency a goal in inventing a language? This question
needn't cancel out the previous one.

No.

> 5. How natural do you wish to make it, or is that a concern? Or
rather, how unnatural do you wish to make it?

As natural as possible.

> 6. Can conlanging be sexy? sensual? obsessing? how does it heal or
harm you?

Obsessing, perhaps.

> *7. How many of you have developed a rich vocabulary of
obscenities?

I have not.

> 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?

Not mystical, doesn't satisfy any religious purpose. I'm areligious.

> 9. How many of you have developed a rich vocabulary of magical,
religious, or incantatory terms?

I have not.

> *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?

Not yet. Strathin and Varian will contain many such words.

> 11. Name a few of the words in your language(s) that you are most
pleased with and are the most original to you.

Sorry, I only know the IPA (not *SAMPA) and must therefore provide
descriptions of each sound. Capitalization indicates stressed
syllable. Unstressed vowels in Varian are centralized.

Strathin: faist, JEIdha. [dh: voiced dental fricative]
Varian: aHAda, XYEda. [h: unvoiced pharyngeal fricative, x: unvoiced
velar fricative, y: palatal approximant]

> 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?

I care that each root and word is aesthetically appealing to me. This
is completely arbitrary.

> *13. Do you ever rely on a software program to build vocabulary? Do
those who don't think that's cheating? :)

I do. I write my own software, however, so it obviously can't be
cheating.

> *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?

All of the above. Any artistic endeavor can be reinterpreted as a
hobby or craft.

> *15. If it is, who do you think are its consumers?

---

> *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?

---

> *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?

Conlang (n.) - short for constructed language, a deliberate creation
of a partial or complete language despite the presence of an existing
means of communication.

> *18. Why or why not would you eschew the metaphors "miniature" or
"model"?

Any conlang is necessarily a model or miniature (or any other number
of supposedly deprecating terms) until it is spoken by two or more
people and therefore becomes a living language. Latin deserves similar
description, as do all dead languages.

> *19. Is a conlang more like a glimpse of something lifesize?
(Irina's suggestion in 2001)

A well-developed conlang can be life-sized.

> *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?

Not many. See above.

> *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?

Natural languages are spoken. Conlangs generally aren't.

To fool a linguist, one would have to create a conlang with many
irregularities.

> *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 do this sometimes, but not often.

> *23. Can such a language function?

Conlangs can be fully-functional for any sort of communication. In
most cases, all one needs is the vocabulary.

> *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?

Don't know. I don't really worry about linguists. They only study real
languages.

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