--- On Sun, 1/20/13, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> > Fair enough. Let me try something else then.
> >
> > Let's say there's only 1000 people that are alive, and
> we're all one of
> > them. We are all in the same village and speak only
> American Sign Language.
> > We have no written system. We are sedentary, but we are
> not technologically
> > advanced. It now has come to our attention that we are
> all affected by a
> > virus that will make us blind in 30 days. Therefore, we
> decide to create a
> > language using sound and ears instead of body and eyes,
> but we have only 30
> > days to create it, or at least to create the minimum (I
> took this number
> > because of Gary's challenge ^^). What do you think the
> spoken language will
> > look like in 30 days?
> >
> >
> Probably like a spoken version of ASL (with the bits and
> pieces that strictly depend on its spatial nature linearised, 

I dunno. I'd suggest that a thousand blind and utterly defenseless and
sedentary people will probably be terrified of losing one another in the 
Dark. Perhaps we'd decide on something like the gripping language and 
decide most firmly to never let go. If anyone got separated after the
Darkness fell, they would be utterly Lost. They couldn't see to talk, no
one would comprehend any kind of vocalism. Such a person would be in a 
bad way.

More conventionally, I think you're probably right. At first, probably
something that could be transferred and learnt quickly. It's not like
we'd have a full month to create the language! We'd have one month to
run through all the anticipatory grieving processes, the decide on type,
then plan the project, then devise the language and then learn and teach

Question: are all 1000 people in on the project, or is there just a small
cadre of conlangers in on it? Could be interesting, culturally and
psychologically, if half a dozen conlangers, who are facing this fate,
have to teach the rest of humanity not just a new language, but an 
entirely new mode of communication. I get from Mathieu's scenario that
everyone has the capacity to talk, but no one uses that modality to
communicate. Most people will probably not even be aware that they can
talk with their mouths and see with ears!

What will the reactions of everyone else be when these intrepid conlangers
start making communicative noises with their mouths? People won't know what
to do with the sounds they're hearing!

Otherwise concur.


> or more likely partly
> ignored), and you will have learned absolutely nothing. Sign
> languages are
> nothing *special*, besides being spoken using hands, face
> and body rather
> than sounds. They are handled by the same language facility
> in our brains
> as spoken languages are, and are subject to the same
> restrictions. They
> appear on the surface different, but that's only because the
> medium is
> different. I don't think the resulting language would be any
> different from
> the 6000 or so spoken languages we have already. And by that
> I mean that
> the variety of natlangs is already so big the resulting
> language would
> probably fall squarely within the range established by the
> natlangs we
> already know. There's a reason the acronym ANADEW is so
> commonly used here.
> Of course, the original version, created after 30 days,
> would probably be
> more pidgin-like than anything (simply due to time
> constraints, and those
> people probably not being all trained conlangers!), but by
> the second
> generation it would turn into a creole, with all that
> entails (one thing
> people always seem to forget is that when a pidgin becomes a
> creole, one
> thing that develops is *exceptions to grammatical rules*.
> Creoles are never
> 100% regular, at least as far as I know). The language may
> then look
> superficially quite exotic, but I'm sure that a deep
> analysis wouldn't
> reveal anything vastly different from the variety we already
> find when
> analysing existing natlangs. Some details may be unique, but
> I doubt they'd
> be significant.
> -- 
> Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets.