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--- Sai Emrys <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

<snip>
> 
> Please list, in your own words (preferably detailed) what criteria you
> apply to conlangs to judge them to be (in your opinion / for your
> purposes) "better" or "worse", or more or less "likable" or
> "impressive" etc etc. They can be subjective, objective, or both.

I generally don't "judge" other conlangs because my own criteria are very
idiosyncratic to me, and I don't suppose anyone else would pay any attention to
them in their own conlangs.

In other conlangs I like melifluous languages that are easy to pronounce. I
find Japanese, the Polynesian family, and Swahili and the Bantu family
particularly pleasant. I don't much care about the subtlties of phonology so I
don't care for languages that have detailed instructions on where to put your
tongue and which way to twist your upper lip when saying a particular word. I
regard Bombay English, Brisbane English and Boston English to be one and the
same language with pronunciation style being no more significant that
handwriting style or using serif vs sans serif fonts. In addition, I don't
really "get" tonal languages, and don't much care for them. I also don't care
much for "decorated" letters. The plain vanilla Roman alphabet works fine for
me, although I also like using the Shavian alphabet since I'm very fluent in
it. 

In my own conlangs I tend toward open sylables and unclustered consonants, yet
my roots tend to be somewhat Graeco-Roman, although often obscurely so. It's
not immediately obvious that "peru" (Tazhu for "cat") descends from "feles",
but it does. Using Anglo-Germanic-Graeco-Roman roots makes it easier for me to
become fluent in the language because those bits of it are already familiar. I
prefer short words to long ones. My grammars tend to one of two extremes:
either very isolating or more Sanskrit-like with a brazzilion inflections on
everything. Either way, I prefer consistancy and regularity as opposed to
realism.

The recuring theme I keep returning to is exploring mutations of English rather
than creating a conlang from scratch. I have a collection of mutated version of
English at http://fiziwig.com/anglosic/index.php several of which have been
contributed by others.

I have no formal lingusitics training, and half a century of exprerience with
computers, so I tend to think of languages as an exercise in information
engineering. My conlangs are sometimes modelled after such programming ideas as
Reverse Polish Notation, Functional Notation, and Object Oriented Programming.
I tend to think of language as a method of passing instructions from one world
simulation to another. I imagine (i.e. simulate) some event in my head and use
words to pass instructions to you that enable you to duplicate that simulation
(i.e. to imagine in your own head what I am imagining). Thus "John gave the
book to Mary" really says: "1. Imagine a person named John (i.e. create an
instance of the class Person and set the name attribute to "John"). 2. Imagine
a person named Mary. 3. Imagine a book. 4. Imagine possession of that book
transfered from John to Mary. 5. Imagine that John caused this transfer. 6. End
of simulation."  If I can translate a sentence to a sequence of simulation
steps then I "understand" the sentence.

--gary