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Hello all! Since I last posted on this list it has occurred to me that I ought to offer something interesting or useful in return for the tidal wave of help I received, and it occurred to me that list members might be interested to see whether there is a detectable personality difference between artlangers and auxlangers.

Most members of this list are probably familiar with Joerg Rhiemeier's article...

www.joerg-rhiemeier.de/Conlang/auxlangers-artlangers.html

...where he argues for "a difference of personality structure between auxlangers and artlangers." My own position is admittedly skeptical, but the existence of two separate lists for auxlangers and non-auxlangers must be taken as a point in favor of a genuine distinction between these two types of people at least. If there is actually a difference between auxlangers and artlangers, we should be able to capture that difference using a personality test.

The question of course is "what kind of personality test should we use?" I don't know how many of you are aware of the lexical hypothesis, but, the field of psychology has been working for the past few decades to uncover the structure of human personality by studying human languages. The idea is that over enough time, speakers would begin to recognize personality differences in one another and would gradually encode these personality differences into their language. By finding out how adjectives cluster together when people describe themselves or others, the idea is that the structure of human personality can be derived. The results showed that the structure of personality is the same across several language families - as of 2007, the languages studied include Croatian, Dutch, English, French, Filipino, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Polish, and Turkish. The long story made short is that this would allow us to investigate the Rhiemeier hypothesis using a language-based test.

So, is anyone interested in an informal study? I have the right psych test, and it should be fairly easy to add a few questions to determine how much of an artlanger or auxlanger someone is (e.g. "would you describe yourself more as an auxlanger than an artlanger," "do you feel that international communication can be improved with an artificial language," etc). I've actually done this kind of thing before, so I can tell you that the test can be sent and answered through email, the whole thing should take 10 minutes or less for each respondent to answer, and my software can analyze the results without much trouble. But if anyone thinks this would be fun, it might be worth discussing first to nail down how the survey should look. Some questions that occur to me are, Should we also look at Engelangers and not just art- and auxlangers? Is it acceptible to include results from people who don't post on the conlang and auxlang lists? And maybe it's worth measuring values and attitudes as well as just personality? (I don't have a linguistically-driven values survey, although I do have some quick ones that would work out.)


--Mark