Jörg Rhiemeier, On 06/04/2011 16:37: > Hallo! > > On Tue, 5 Apr 2011 22:54:32 -0400, Jim Henry wrote: > >> On Tue, Apr 5, 2011 at 10:02 PM, And Rosta<[log in to unmask]> wrote: >>> Jim Henry, On 04/04/2011 21:20: >> >>>> In general, for a conlang with one or more speakers to be interesting >>>> for academic study, I would think you'd need a new descriptive >>>> grammar, lexicon, etc. written *after* you have one or more fluent >> >>> On the whole, yes -- if there's stuff in systematic usage of invented lgs >>> that doesn't occur in natlangs, then that'd be of interest. But some >>> linguistic theorizing considers matters of pure design -- of possible > design >>> solutions to the problem of how to achieve the functions lg must achieve > -- >>> and to this theorizing, lg designs ought to be relevant, not usage, except >>> maybe to the extent that usage proves human usability. >> >> That last clause, "except....usability", seems to almost negate the >> rest of the sentence -- if a language design isn't eventually proven >> to be human-usable, by being learned and spoken by one or more (or >> more rigorously, two or more) speakers, then it's not obvious to me >> that any non-conlanger linguists would see such designs as being >> relevant to their concerns. > > Nor do I see that, either. It is not very difficult to draw up a > weird conlang that does things deliberately differently than any > human language. That tells us nothing about the human language > faculty, though. No, but how is this observation relevant? >> Some linguists may be more interested in *langue* than in *parole*, >> but with natlangs, we only know the existence and nature of *langue* >> by studying *parole*. > > Yep. Grammars of natural languages are based on observations of the > actual usage of the language (often on texts that are considered > "authoritative" or "classical", but that is still "parole"). We clearly live in very different universes, you and me. I don't deny that there is a flourishing, and extremely tedious, body of work describing parole, replete with mind-numbing tables of frequencies and so forth. But there is a vastly larger, and vastly untedious, body of work that describes langue, not parole. >First > there is a language, then there are descriptive or prescriptive > grammars. With conlangs, it is reversed: first there is a grammar, > and then, if at all, there is a language. This reads to me as mere argument-by-definition: you wish to define language as parole. (Admittedly, I wish to define language as langue.) >>> In practice, I think >>> this is the area where conlanging (more specifically, engelanging) has the >>> greatest (i.e. least nugatory) scope for contributing to linguistics: >>> specifically, in what ways, if any, is it possible to functionally improve >>> on natlangs' design? To what extent are natural languages perfect? >> >> Is a theoretical improvement in design interesting (for these >> purposes) if it turns out that nobody is able to learn to speak said >> engelang fluently? > > Well, it would at least indicate that that design improvement is > impractical, and goes outside what the human language faculty can > cope with. We would discover something about the human language > faculty, namely that there is something particular that it *cannot* > do. Aha! A point we agree on! --And.