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I've always wanted to participate in these sorts of things; conlanging on my
own is fun, but eventually I have to face the fact that I'm essentially
finding creative ways to talk to myself (since I have too little confidence
in any of them to share) :P So, count me in! Although, I may be too bogged
down with school to be too active.
By the way, I do like the idea of linking to pictures for some basic words,
though it won't work for everything of course. I also like the idea of
linguistic anarchy, but we'll see how well that works in practice (might
have to have *some* structure or organization if it gets too complicated.)

Noelle

On Thu, Oct 9, 2008 at 12:07 AM, Gary Shannon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> It's that time again. Time to try to launch another collaborative project
> in linguistic anarchy. My last two collaborative conlang projects were
> interesting, but ultimately not terribly successful. (Kalusa - conlang
> archives May 2006... and another project from longer ago. I don't recall the
> name.)
>
> So here's my latest brainstorm: Start with a simplified "bootstrap"
> proto-language along the lines of Toki Pona (but without all the excessive
> ambiguity). That bootstrap language is used for all discussions about the
> emerging collaborative conlang, so that people who do not share the same
> native language can all discuss and work on the conlang using the bootstrap
> language. And in fact, that bootstrap language would eventually evolve INTO
> the collaborative conlang. One problem with that is that the original
> bootstrap language would already have put its stamp on the eventual
> collaborative conlang where basic vocabulary and grammar are concerned.
>
> Therefore, the original bootstrap proto-language could be set up with
> "placeholder" words for the initial vocabulary. To distinguish between
> "real" words and placeholder words, all placeholder words would be written
> in UPPER CASE ONLY. Placeholder words would NOT reflect the eventual
> phonology, or morphology of the evolving conlang, because they are
> disposable placeholders only. The bootstrap proto-language would have the
> placeholder name "TAK" (talk). The real name may or may not be discovered
> later by participants in the project.
>
> Grammar would be a simple SVO positional grammar with the very minimum of
> features. This too, would be disposable as the "real" grammar emerged and
> evolved to replace the placeholder grammar.
>
> The only hurdle to participation would be the necessity of learning the
> handful of placeholder words and the minimal grammar so that it would be
> possible to use the bootstrap language to discuss and evolve the emerging
> conlang.
>
> For that it would be necessary first to have a quick and easy course of
> instruction to pick up the bootstrap grammar and vocabulary. This would need
> to be available in many natural languages so that people from diverse
> linguistic backgrounds could all participate. The second requirement would
> be a forum where discussions could be held IN the bootstrap language.
> Finally, an interactive database would be needed for registered users to
> contribute discovered vocabulary to the dictionary.
>
> There would be no "official" dictionary, because any forum member could
> contribute any word or grammatical principle. Whether that word remains in
> the language would depend only on whether other community members used that
> word. The same would apply to rules of grammar, declensions and case endings
> (if verbs and nouns are eventually inflected), number of noun classes and
> their properties, and so on. Rules would remain rules if and only if they
> are generally adopted by the community. In fact, the language might not even
> have an "official" name. It would be called whatever people called it.
>
> Eventually all the UPPER CASE placeholder words would disappear and the
> real grammar would emerge to displace the simplified placeholder grammar,
> and a new language would be born which was not "designed" by any one person,
> but, to use an old favorite phrase of mine, "used into existence."
>
> Some preliminary quick-study lessons (40 sample sentences) for the
> bootstrap language can be found here: http://fiziwig.com/tak/tak01.htmlalong with links to a forum (still empty of posts) and a dictionary database
> with some 75 or 80 placeholder TAK words (borrowed from Toki Pona and Ilomi
> (thanks Larry)), and an interface for registered forum members to add words
> to the dictionary database.
>
> There is NO official policy, NO official grammar, NO official lexicon, and
> NOBODY to set themselves up as the authority on what is or is not "correct".
> Usage is king, and nothing else matters. Complete linguistic anarchy
> prevails.
>
> --gary
>