1. Who are you, and what is the name of your invented language or
languages? Pseudonyms allowed. (Are you using one? asked "Sally
Charlie Brickner - Senyecan (only one so far) - Yahoo moniker:
caerulean centaur.

*2. Are you new to the Lunatic Survey or have you filled out a
version of this survey before?
This is my first one.

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

4. What is your email address? name at hostsite dot whatever.
[log in to unmask]

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

6. What is your gender?

7. What is your nationality?  Where do you live now?
American - western Virginia

8. What is your native language?

9. What natural languages foreign to you have you studied or do you
Speak Spanish - studied French, German, Italian, Latin, Greek (Attic
and Koine), Biblical Hebrew.  Have read innumerable grammars.
Especially like Portuguese, Modern Greek, Romanian, Swahili and
Bahasa Melayu.

10. What is your level of education? i.e., your highest degree
achieved or sought?
M.A. in theology; M.A. in comparative religions.

11. What is your profession? Are you a professional linguist? If so,
what also makes you a conlanger?
I am a pastor, a Roman Catholic priest.  Not a professional linguist
(darn it!).

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

14. How long have you been developing your invented language(s)?
4-5 years.

15. At what age did you first start inventing a language? Can you
briefly describe your early efforts?
5-6 years ago.

16. What drew you to start inventing a language and/or constructed
world? What was the inspiration?
I fell in love with PIE language and culture.  Also desired to write
a novel in which to use this pre-pre-PIE.

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)
Pre-list; post-Esperanto and 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?
Only two friends know, because they're the only ones with an interest.

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?
Only two know, both respond positively.

*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?
A hobby is a hobby is a hobby.  What I choose to do in my spare time
is my own business.  That is when I have spare time; I do have a
life.  My life is caring for the people for whom I have been
appointed pastor.

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 musically inclined, but no professional training.  Have sung in
choirs.  Play the recorders.  Used to be able to play the guitar.
One needs time to practice.

22. There has been a connection noted between linguistic and
mathematical ability. Are you mathematically inclined or inclined
towards computing in any way?
No mathematical inclination.  Barely made it through high school trig.

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?)
Working haphazardly on two novels.  Nothing yet in writing.  Am
putting together a work on the family trees of the sovereign families
of the world, my other passion.


1. Pick the best term for the invented language you are currently
invested in: auxlang, artlang, engelang, loglang, lostlang,
philosophical language, or "other." etc.
The only word I know is conlang.

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 posteriori

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 three scripts for Senyecan.  I don't have a sample on line
yet.  I don't know how to do that.

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.
SOV - analytic with a few verb and noun postfixes.

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?
1,927 basic words.  My vocabulary is not on line yet.

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.
The vocabulary is based on Pokorny's work "Indogermanisches
Wrterbuch."  Compound words and neologisms are created from these
1,927 words.

3. Does a constructed world accompany your invention(s)? What is it
Yes there is a conworld.  No name.

*9. Has your language and conworld ever served in a role-playing game
or a world shared by other conlangers?

*10. Briefly describe your conculture (is it within the bounds of
this world? on another world, etc.?)
It takes place on planet Earth during the last Ice Age in the area of
Russia and Ukraine west of the Urals and north of the Caucasus.
Peopled by six different races whose mythic beginnings are in their
creation by the one God out of the six different elements. A fall
from grace ( la Eden) resulted in many changes.  The humans are
last ones to return to a civilized state.

*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?
Senyecan is the first language.  Therefore, the phonology is very
simple and regular, as is the grammar.

12. What do you write in it? Poems? chants? lullabyes? prayers?
history? stories? recipes? Are any of these exhibited on your website?
There are a few examples on my website.  I translate whatever is
interesting to me: The Sun and the North Wind, the Babel story, the
Lord's Prayer, the Beatitudes.  No rhyme or reason to the selections.

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 cannot speak it.  I'd like to be able to, but I'm not fooling
myself.  Fluency in writing perhaps.

14. Have you made any soundbytes of your language? Could you provide
me at a later date with a sample of them?
No - no.

*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.
With the Roman and Cyrillic script there is a one-to-one
correspondence of phoneme to grapheme.  I've adapted the script I use
on my word processor because some of those letters are not available
for this conlang group.  I use the "unconventional" letters ,
, ,
, , , , , , , and .

16. How many of you sing in your language and have invented songs for
that purpose?
Not yet, but it's coming.

*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?

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

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

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

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?
I can't see it as being "complete."  Now that I have the vocabulary
in place, I can begin to translate texts; that's what I like to do.
Not tired of it yet.

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


1. What aesthetic features do you value in inventing language? Be
specific as to phonology, structure, script, etc.
No harsh sounds.  The structure and grammar are as PIE as I can make
them.  I'm still not satisfied with the scripts.  One is runic, one
is cursive, one is for brushes like a kana script.

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.

3. Is difficulty or obscurity a goal in inventing a language?
Not for me.

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

5. How natural do you wish to make it, or is that a concern? Or
rather, how unnatural do you wish to make it?
The "naturalness" is solely the way I envision the langauge when
first spoken before the "Great Sundering."

6. Can conlanging be sexy? sensual? obsessing? how does it heal or
harm you?
Obsessing yes, but fun.  It heals me by getting me out of this real
world of pastoring.

*7. How many of you have developed a rich vocabulary of obscenities?
Not yet.

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?

9. How many of you have developed a rich vocabulary of magical,
religious, or incantatory terms?
Senyecan has such a vocabulary because magic is inherent in the

*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?

11. Name a few of the words in your language(s) that you are most
pleased with and are the most original to you.
I was delighted to discover the verb "qesa," to spiral.  Using
appropriate declensions I derived qeson, spiral; qesin, ivy
helix); and qesen, tur (Capra caucasica).  I always enjoyed
the names of the six avatars of the One for each of the races, based
on names of gods in Pokorny's work.

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 don't sense this.  A word is right when it is created properly and
the phonology is correct.

*13. Do you ever rely on a software program to build vocabulary? Do
those who don't think that's cheating? :)
No, no.

*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?
For me it's a hobby.  I would not use the word "art," at least not

*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?
I have no idea.

*18. Why or why not would you eschew the metaphors "miniature"
or "model"?
Miniature because it is not small.  Senyecan has a larger vocabulary
than Paraha, if I remember correctly.  Nor model, because I fail to
see what a conlang is a model of.  Each conlang is a creation sui

*19. Is a conlang more like a glimpse of something lifesize? (Irina's
suggestion in 2001)
This doesn't compute.

*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?

*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?
The only thing that distinguishes a conlang from a natural language
is its genesis.  A pretty dumb linguist.

*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 read grammars "all the time."  I have no desire to do unnatural
things with language.

*23. Can such a language function?

*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?
It doesn't matter to me.  It's just a hobby.


1. How did you first hear of this list?
By browsing through Yahoo's group 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?
Continuously for the past 6 months or so.

*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 contribute minimally.  I have learned a great deal from the

*4. For those of you who remember its inception, how has it changed
over the past decade?

*5. How helpful has the list been in developing your language? In
learning linguistic information?
Minimally in developing Senyecan.  Tremendously in learning
linguistic information.

6. What books have you consulted? On your own, or because you heard
of them on the list?

*7. Do you peruse the websites of other conlangers?
Only cursorily.

*8. Do you sense that people on this list are interested in your
conlang and give you feedback on it?
There has been very little feedback about my conlang.

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?

*10. Do you peruse Jeffrey Henning's site?

*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?

12. Have you ever tried to introduce a friend to the list?

13. Do you know of anyone who does this kind of thing but who has
never heard of the list?

*14. What other lists do you frequent related to conlanging?

*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 have no idea.

*16. What Internet technology would you most like to see developed
that would aid you in showcasing your language(s)?
A better way to present scripts.

*17. What lists like conlang exist in other cultures and languages
that you know of?

*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?
As I said, it's just a hobby.  I don't care what others think about

*19. In my 2000 on-line article ( 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 would not have progressed as far as I have without the list.  I've
put more time on it than I should have!!

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?
It's my hobby.  You collect stamps; I create a language.  Given my
job, I can hardly be criticized for introversion.

*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 have no idea.

*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 have no idea.

*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 think it is a natural human inclination.  People have always
collected things.  I doubt that that will cease.  People have always
made crafts.  I don't think that will cease. One thousand years ago,
St. Hildegard of Bingen created a conlang.  I doubt that that will

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?

You have my permission.  Full name is fine.


Sally Caves scaves@f...
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