Print

Print


On 2012-03-27 18:55, Daniel Bowman wrote:
>>
>>
>> Neither.  It looks like a handout for a presentation  a common early
>> step on the way to a full paper.
>>
>> --
>> wm
>>
>
> That makes sense (perhaps I should have read the URL more closely).   What
> I'm trying to determine is how serious the inclusion of a conlang is.  If
> this was simply a handout for a class assignment, or even a handout made by
> the professor for his/her linguistics class, then this is relatively
> excusable.  A conlang could even be used to point out the *possibility* of
> a certain construction.  However, if this is a presentation at a
> professional conference, then the inclusion of the conlang is a much bigger
> problem, in my opinion.  This is because it is being passed off as a
> legitimate piece of evidence for a natural construction.
>

Either way it's not the conlangers' problem.  Painters are not
required to glue a note that the object/person depicted does
not exist in the external world, and novelists are not required
to print a note that their text is fictional on every page.
The burden of finding out whether they quote a fictional
or a factual work rests on the person doing the quoting.
Would anyone have blamed Borges if someone had quoted one
of his quasi'scholarly texts as a real scholarly text? No!
If I were to produce a photograph of a dragon, would it be
my responsibility to take precautions that nobody believe
that it depicts a being actually alive somewhere? No!
Only if I produced a description of a conlang and swore
that it was a description of a natlang would I *maybe* be
guilty of fraud, but OTOH many a novel lets its narrator
make a statement that what s/he tells is a true story!

Perhaps there rests on us a burden of raising awareness that
there is such a thing as artlangs, but not in the sonse that
it's incumbent on us to prevent that anybody mistakes an artlang
for a natlang, but in the sense that it's in our own interest
to raise awareness and acceptance that there is an art form
like ours.

BTW the distinction is not "real language" vs. conlang,
it's natlang vs. conlang; if it has a phonology, a
morphology and a syntax it's a language, if you ask me!
Having a community of speakers is not a requirement
even on a natlang; it is a requirement for being called
a _living language_, but not for being called a
language. There are plenty of dead natlangs with a
smaller corpus and thinner descriptive grammars than
many a conlang. And there is no discernible structural
difference between a grammar/dictionary of a conlang
and one of a natlang, and although there probably is an
ontological difference, it's not about languagehood,
it's about natlanghood. A conlang _is_ thus a language
in a sense in which an image of a pipe is not a pipe!

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Treachery_of_Images>

It might be *fun*, though, to write "Ceci n'est pas une langue"
at the end of a conlang grammar!

/bpj