I've been blessed with a relatively large, close-knit and eufunctional
family; I'm friends with a good proportion of my first and second
cousins and first cousins once removed, and know something about a
fair number of my ancestors, and more importantly re: this discussion,
I identify with my family and my ancestors in spite of choices and
beliefs that said kinfolks do or did or would have disagreed with.  I
considered, a while ago, a name change that would incorporate more of
my ancestors' names into mine -- sort of retroactively making it as
though my grandparents for the last few generations had concatenated
or hyphenated their surnames.  But such a name, incorporating four or
eight grandparents or great-grandparents' names, would be too long for
everyday use, or even for entering on official forms, and so it didn't
seem worthwhile to do either a de facto or de jure name change.

My brother has an invented glyph which he incorporates into his
signature, or in informal contexts uses in place of a signature; I
tend to use said glyph in labelling his Christmas presents, and have
incorporated it into my gj-zym-byn script as a logogram for his name
(but it's not, and won't be, documented as part of the gzb script web
page).   I'm not sure to what extent he considers it part of his name;
it has no pronunciation as such, so it can only be used in written

Linguists, and to a slightly lesser extent conlangers, tend to
consider spoken language as primary and written forms as secondary; to
what extent do we/should we apply that to names?  How essential is the
orthography of a person's name, vs. its pronunciation?  My
unscientific impression is that people with unusual names tend to be
more forgiving of mispronunciations than of misspellings of their
names; with my fairly ordinary name I have little or no experience
with either.

I tend to agree with Sai that one's real or true name is the name that
one's friends call one, not the name the government calls one.

As for handles or online pseudonyms, my inclination is to use handles
which are obviously such -- ones that are unlikely to be mistaken for
a legal or birth name.   I'm known in most fora as "Jim Henry", an
abbreviation of my given/legal name, but in some by more fanciful
handles that no one is likely to suppose are my "real" name.

For stage names and auctorial pen names, I suppose uniqueness within a
given field of artistic endeavor is one of the most salient qualities;
there are several Jim Henrys more famous than myself, but no other
fantasy/sf authors of that name as far as I know, so I'd be inclined
to publish under this name, or a more formal variant.  For whatever
reason, writers seem less inclined to choose unusual or fanciful pen
names than actors, musicians, etc. are to choose unusual or fanciful
stage names; most pen names are the sort of string that could
plausibly be the author's birth name, but aren't.

On Sat, Jul 9, 2011 at 5:35 PM, Mia S. Soderquist
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Actually, I've given a lot of thought to why I conlang. I mean, I started
> out just playing with language, but what is it that drives me to keep doing
> this all these years later? For me, I'd say it is an attempt to more
> perfectly express myself and the way I see the world from inside my head.

That fits pretty well my motivations for continuing to use and develop
gj-zym-byn, if not my motivations for developing smaller sketchlangs
from time to time.   It explains, perhaps, why my primary interest is
in semantics more than in grammar, and in grammar more than in

Jim Henry