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Hallo!

On Mon, 15 Dec 2008 13:57:58 +0100, Ina van der Vegt wrote:

> But Auxlanging isn't fun anyway. I am most likely some sort of mix
> between funlanger and artlanger, and as long as we have English as our
> Auxlang, I won't have to worry.

I can understand that someone finds pleasure in tackling
the intellectual challenge of designing an auxlang which
offers a good trade-off between the various criteria of
quality, but like you, I find artlanging much more fun.

On Mon, 15 Dec 2008 17:08:09 +0000, R A Brown wrote:

> Jörg Rhiemeier wrote:
> > Hallo!
> [...]
> > As far as I can remember, the auxlang my brother and I were
> > desigining (yes, my brother was involved back then; now he
> > tells me that conlanging was meaningless because, quoting
> > Wittgenstein, "private languages are impossible"; if you ask
> > me, W. didn't speak of conlangs at all when he said that)
> 
> I think you're right. I understood that W was claiming that a language 
> understandable by _only a single individual_ is incoherent. Clearly an 
> auxlang, unless it is *extremely* badly designed, does not qualify as a 
> private language. the whole point surely is that it should be 
> understandable by as many people as possible and to be, above, _public_!

Indeed.  By "private language", W. meant a language that
was constituted in a way that nobody but its inventor was
possible to understand it, and he concluded - rightly -
that such a language is logically impossible.  This does
not mean that conlangs don't work, but that conlangs are
*never* private, and are thus equally capable of
functioning as means of communication as natlangs (if
certain requirements regarding "completeness" are met,
of course) - which is the *exact opposite* of what
my brother thinks Wittgenstein had said!

> > It never went beyond a few rules
> > of grammar.  I remember the gender endings -o for masculine,
> > -a for feminine and -u for neuter, and that they were assigned
> > English-wise: only biological males were masculine, only
> > biological females were feminine.  No vocabulary, but I think
> > we were going to use Latin roots, e.g. _homo_ 'man', _homa_
> > 'woman', _homu_ 'human being of unspecified sex'. 
> 
> Rather more enlightened, I am sure, than Voldapeko was. My extant notes 
> do not say this, but I am sure that, following the Esperanto model, 
> nouns referring to living beings were by default masculine, and that the 
> feminine was formed by suffixing -in-o (Yes, all nouns ended in -o, and 
> all adjectives in -a - Now where did I get that idea from?). You must 
> excuse a youngster in 1953 who had only just turned 14 and attended an 
> all-boys school from being blind to the male chauvinism inherent in this 
> scheme   ;)

This indeed looks all very Esperantine, even if the name
"Voldapeko" is reminiscent of "Volapük" (but indeed
showcases the Esperantine endings -a (in _volda_) and
-o (in _peko_)).  Well, 'world language' is an obvious
(though unoriginal) choice for the name of an IAL, and if
you use the same source of words, the name will be similar.

> > Much like
> > Novial, which, however, we hadn't even heard of back then.
> 
> Yep, it wasn't till Christmas of that year that I got my hand on 'Novial 
> Lexike' and I became more enlightened. I think from then onwards nouns 
> denoting living beings were epicene by default, and maleness was marked 
> by an appropriate suffix.

I still use such a gender marking system in Old Albic.
At one point, I asked myself the questiom, "How justified
is such an overt gender marking in a naturalistic language?",
but then I remember that Bantu languages do it, and older
Indo-European languages at least to some degree with their
*-os, *-ah2 and *-om endings, so why not have it in Old Albic?

> But my extant notes on Voldapeko show that, despite the obviously 
> Volapük influence of the name, the morphology of the language was very 
> Esperantine, including accusative case and noun-adjective agreement as 
> well as the whole battery of participles. Indeed the actual endings were 
> practically the same, the main difference being that /j/ was spelled 
> |y|, not |j|!
> 
> The improvements? I got rid of the nasty /x/ sound, and gave the 
> language the 'nice easy' English sounds of /T/, /D/ and /3/ - written 
> |ž, š, ö| respectively. Oh, the folly of youth!

|ö| for /3/ is *evil*!  It reminds me of Srikanth's claim
that the words  Engl. _her_ and Fr. _feu_ contained the
same vowel (and of the pronunciation, often heard in
Germany, of _Happy birthday_ as [hEpi b9rsdEi]).
And then, none of those phonemes (especially not /T/ and
/D/) has a legitimate place in an *auxlang*, of course!

> > Yes.  And English is the current leader, and much more of a
> > world language than any language before.  It is the de facto
> > standard of international communication worldwide.  I have
> > once heard of a linguist who predicted that English will
> > become the sole language of humanity somewhen in the middle
> > of the millennium (but I doubt that).
> 
> I doubt it also. People do not easily give up their own languages.

Many languages have gone extinct in the past, even rather
large ones such as Gaulish.  But I don't see how the *whole
planet* will become monoglot within a couple of centuries,
especially given the fact that we are probably moving
towards a multipolar world, in which several non-English-
speaking nations will play major roles, rather than a
USA-dominated one.  And there is an increasing awareness
among linguistic minorities worldwide that their languages
are worth preserving, even if the whole community becomes
bilingual in another, more widely spoken language for
practical purposes.

> > Sure, it isn't always easy.  Often you have things in
> > your project where you don't know whether you should
> > change them or not.
> 
> Very true - and asking other conlangers doesn't always help as advice 
> from different individuals tend to be contradictory -

Sure.  Different conlangers have different opinions which
is the best solution of a particular design problem - and
that is a good thing because this leads to a wide variety
of unique, original conlangs.

>       but that's the fun   
> of conlanging. Heck - if it was easy, it would be boring, wouldn't it!

Yes.  My Albic languages are certainly not an easy project
the way I do them, with the way I take "Old European" loans
in western European IE languages, the distant relationship
with Indo-European and all that into account.  I *could*
do it much easier, but I feel that I need the challenge
to have fun in it.

> [snip]
> > 
> > AFAIK, while Lojban is not originally intended as an
> > auxlang, 
> 
> My understanding is that it was originally intended as a development of 
> James Cooke brown's Loglan, i.e. a language based on formal logical in 
> order to test the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.

Yes, the goals are the same.  The original publication,
I have been told, was titled "Lojban: A Realization of
Loglan".  The idea behind Lojban was to "reform" Loglan
in a few points where the LLG perceived that JCB's design
could be improved - and, what's more, to get out of the
way of JCB's copyright claims (this was the reason why
they relexed the whole language rather than just amended
a few grammatical rules)!

> > the suggestion that it be used as one finds
> > support from a sizeable part of the Lojban community.
> 
> So i believe - but I'll not get into an argument as to whether that 
> would be a good idea or not. There are theoretically many features of 
> English that make it unsuitable as an auxlang, but that doesn't stop it 
> being so used.

English has its "weak spots", mainly in phonology and
especially orthography, but also in having irregular verbs
and all that - yet it is the language most widely used in
international communication worldwise.  But indeed, the pros
and cons of various auxlangs is a touchy matter :)

> > I have seen such proposals at least for Quenya.
> 
> That doesn't surprise me one bit.

Me not, either.  Indeed, Quenya has some strengths: it is
beautiful (OK, that is subjective, but I guess many people
will agree with me), with little difficulty in prounciation,
it is culturally neutral because it is a priori, the grammar
is mostly regular; yet, it is not an optimal IAL because
many things could be simplified, especially its Latin-like
grammar with 10 or so noun cases.  But indeed, Volapük wasn't
any better!
 
> I remember several years back some auxlanger asked on *this* list for 
> our top three (or was 10?) conlang candidates to serve as a global 
> auxlang. The request annoyed me, as I thought it inappropriate for this 
> list, and made sure none of my candidates were any of those that had 
> actually been designed by their authors as auxlangs. IIRC my top three 
> were: Quenya, Tepa, Kinya     :)

I don't know Kinya, but Tepa (now Miapimoquitch, more or less)
is a lovely artlang.  My taste in auxlangs is more "traditional":
I like Novial best, but Ido and even Esperanto aren't really
that bad, either.  But frankly, I don't even care much.

On Mon, 15 Dec 2008 13:01:41 -0500, deinx nxtxr wrote:

> > [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of R A Brown
> 
> > > .... was never codified on paper.  
> > 
> > All mine were    :)
> 
> My interest in conlanging started when I first encountered Esperanto
> back around 1980-1981.  The idea of constructing a language appealed
> to me and I immediately came up with "improvements" to E-o that
> could be considered my first attempts to make a language though it
> was little more than a relexified and rephonemized E-o.

I would say that two streams met in my mind.  It was also
about 1980 when I first time heard of Esperanto (though
without having an idea what it actually looked like), and
started dabbling with artificial languages.  Also, 1980
was the year when my elder brother started learning Latin
in school - and curious as I am, I browsed through his
Latin grammar and saw all those beautiful inflectional
paradigms, and wanted to do just that kind of thing!

The other stream was my fascination for imaginary worlds,
and it was only natural to me that such worlds would have
imaginary languages spoken in them.

> > > Yes.  And English is the current leader, and much more of a
> > > world language than any language before.  It is the de facto
> > > standard of international communication worldwide.  I have
> > > once heard of a linguist who predicted that English will
> > > become the sole language of humanity somewhen in the middle
> > > of the millennium (but I doubt that).
> > 
> > I doubt it also. People do not easily give up their own languages.
> 
> I don't necessarily see it becoming the *sole* langauge, at least
> not that soon.  I do see where in the next 200-300 years it will
> become universally known to almost all humanity, and by 500 years it
> will be the L1 of most humans though I'd expect some small pockets
> where local languages will still be in use.  I can envision a time
> further down the road though were the local languages will
> eventually erode away but 500 years just seems like too short of a
> period.  Meanwhile English will evolve during all of this and will
> probably not be intelligible with the language we are using here.

I think that's a good prediction.  Within 100 or 200 years,
English will be the universal L2, and while many small
languages will die out, many others will survive.  If the
world follows a path of sustainable development in which
the rights of the people are respected and poverty becomes
history, I see no reason why the universal L2 English
should kill off the various L1s.  And then, English will
continue to diversify, and eventually break up into daughter
languages.
 
> 	http://conlang.dana.nutter.net/index.php/Li%C5%8Bgl%C4%B1s

Nice!

> > Very true - and asking other conlangers doesn't always help as
> > advice 
> > from different individuals tend to be contradictory - but that's
> > the fun 
> > of conlanging. Heck - if it was easy, it would be boring, wouldn't
> > it!
> 
> Which is why I like to make auxlangs.  There's a challenge to making
> something that has to fit within the mold of being useful rather
> than just making up *whatever*.  I am on the Auxlang list and do
> support the concept of using a planned auxlang, but realistically I
> know it's futile so I have no expectations that any of my auxlangs
> will ever be used by anyone.

A perfectly legitimate stance on auxlanging - take it as an
intellectual challenge, but don't be zealous about it.  I prefer
making artlangs, which is in some way easier because you don't
have criteria such as ease of learning to test your language
against - but you can set your own challenges in that field,
and designing a truly naturalistic, believable fictional language
is also a challenging endeavour.

> > > I have seen such proposals at least for Quenya.
> > 
> > That doesn't surprise me one bit.
> 
> Me neither given that Klingon has been brought up too.  The only
> problem with these are they are artistic creations so not really
> designed to be easy to learn and use.

Right.

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