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Padraic,
 
Unfortunately, just about everything I have is in manuscript form. I'd intended to put it into a web-friendly format, but have yet to get to it. I believe my work was mostly complete by the end of 2009, so the chance of me getting around to it any time soon is not that great, if I am honest with myself.
 
There may be a few reasons for my lack of interest in putting my Comprehensive Illustrated Pakuni Dictionary on line. One is that my main motivation for putting it together was to resolve some of the shortcomings in the available material. At this point, my own questions have been answered and putting it on line wouldn't help with that. Another possible explanation is that I've never gotten the sense that there is a single person in the whole world who would appreciate my notes. Your request easily ranks in the top 2 inquiries. The folks on the conlang list don't seem overly interested in Land of The Lost or Pakuni, and the Land of The Lost folks aren't overly interested in the nitty gritty of language. Even Clayton, last I contacted him, was more interested in documenting every detail of the new and old "V" TV series than in correcting errors and omissions in his documentation of Pakuni.
 
Of course, now that "George" is coming public with his work, maybe it is time for mine too.

I am not familiar with Frath Wiki, but I found the
 article. It looks like it has been updated with info from "George". I found this comment especially
 interesting:
 
> Shadlag suspects that Olsen is a professionally-
> trained Linguist, yet lacking in decipherment
> experience and familiarity with Fromkin's conlangs,
> both of which Shadlag claims in some measure.
> Shadlag claims that Olsen's work
 lacks
> methodological rigor, and yet is excellent
> in its effort and even in its many fruits. 
 
At this point I consider Nels a personal friend to the point where I forget that he is the same "famous" Nels P Olsen who wrote the best-known Pakuni dictionary on the internet. Let's just say that "Shadlag" is wrong, and it's probably better not to give his speculations any more credit by quoting them. If it's important to know Nels's background, one could always contact him and ask. He's not hard to find.
 
It is true, though, that Nels's dictionary does lack "methodological rigor", and I think Nels would agree with that. [Since writing this e-mail, I've read through "Greg Mann's" document and I regret that so many of his claims ended up in the Frath Wiki article, because so much of what is quoted is simply not true. It's especially poignant that where Greg openly disagrees with Nels, Nels is correct and Greg is in error.]

Padraic asked:
> I'm guessing that "official" here means any
> documentation available from either
> the author or the show's producers?
> Would that be the TV Guide article that
> Olsen talks of?
 
There were a few sources that came out when the show was still airing. The TV Guide article is one of the better known ones, and is sometimes called "Fromkin's Dictionary." There is also the word list from Puffinstuff and Other Stuff. These are superficial. It's also likely that they contain errors, even as short as they are.
 
I don't have the direct link to Clayton Barr's stuff, but it should be easy enough to find. Google Clayton Popapostle or Clayton Barr Pakuni.

> Me what I'd like to see is some sort of standard
> type reference grammar. Whatever is directly
> knowable about the grammar of the language
> (and perhaps
 what can be very reasonably inferred)
> set out in some sort of logical format.
 
At this point, I would be confident in doing this without any speculation or guesswork. I had most of it figured out from watching the show. I am not a linguist, but it would be fair to say that I am an experienced language learner, and a lot of it fell into place from context. Then, I was given a document written by Fromkin, which spelled everything out. The trouble with this document is that it includes "corrections" to the language (by Fromkin) made after the show, and many details conflict with how the language was used in the show. It is unclear to me how to resolve some of these contradictions.
 
> Then include any connected "texts" (probably
> sentences or lines from the show) and then
> an either-way lexicon of all the Pakuni roots.
 
There's plenty of that - but again, there are countless mistakes made by the actors. It's unfortunate that the best samples of this language were spoken by a child actor with false teeth. Ultimately, the person who "deciphers" Pakuni and documents it, must come up with some method to decide what "really" is and is not Pakuni.
 
I have made an inversion of Fromkin's lexicon (from her later notes).
 
> This I think would be interesting if for no
> other reason than that one of Fromkin's
> design goals apparently was to expose kids
> to and teach them a foreign language,
> via a television show.
 
It is more than just "apparent" that these were the design goals given to her by the producers. This has been stated explicitly - I believe in a few places - one of them being in the producer's commentary on the DVD's of the show. Whether these were Fromkin's actual goals, though, is another question. I don't know that she was ever on set to coach the actors, and she had said explicitly that she'd never seen the show.
Thomas

From: Padraic Brown <[log in to unmask]>
To: Thomas Alexander <[log in to unmask]>; "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]> 
Sent: Thursday, January 9, 2014 8:21 AM
Subject: Re: Pakuni Decipherment Contribution

 
the sense that it contains every word ever used in the show. It's 
> illustrated in the sense that I've got examples of each word as it is used, 
> and as it is translated in the various dictionaries and official sources that 
> were published previously. I also include common mispronunciations of each word 
> as used in the show.

Do you have anything on line? Or any kind of wikifiable documentation that
you'd be
 interested in sharing? There is a short article on Pakuni that I
 wrote
at Frath Wiki. I already have links to Olsen's work on the language, but I'd certainly
like to be able to link to your work if it's available!

> I had the idea a few years ago that it would be fun to learn Pakuni since it 
> "only had 300 words", but when I set out to gather materials to do 
> this, I found that doing so was not a straight-forward task. I've since come 
> to the conclusion that the "300 words" is also a myth. Lots of sources 
> quote that number, but not one of them quote a source.

Sure. Claims and reality are often at odds. Even so, I daresay 300 can't be too
terribly far from the truth. It's not like Fromkin was churning out Pakuni
literature every week!


> I've been on
 this list for quite some time but I don't always follow the 
> discussions, so I was glad that "George Mann" (who goes by countless 
> on-line aliases) also wrote to me directly (and to my friend Nels Olsen), and 
> that one of the regulars here thought to bring George's post to my 
> attention.
> 
> I've not looked over "George's" work in detail, but my initial 
> impression is a bit like Padraic Brown's. I will say that there is some 
> truth to what "George" says about the documentation of the language so 
> far, in that the official versions are extremely superficial, and the detailed 
> work has been done by people who are primarily fans of the show, and not really 
> "language people".

I'm guessing that
 "official" here means any documentation available from either
the author or the show's producers? Would that be the TV Guide article that
Olsen talks of?


> I was initially very excited to hear that a trained 
> linguist had documented the show, but that was before I saw the documents - 
> complete with rants and raves.


Yeah. It might be a touch far to say a "trained linguist" is involved. It's generally
not good science (linguistics included) to mix personal rants with one's data.


> I was surprised that "George" did not mention the work of Clayton 
> Barr, whose work was of huge value to me since I was able to compare my 
> transcriptions to his, and then go back and give the
 show another listen where 
> we disagreed.


Do you have any links to Barr's work? I'll add those to the article as well.


> I will say, though, that there is still much that can be improved with what is 
> available online for Pakuni. 


Sure. Me what I'd like to see is some sort of standard type reference grammar.
Whatever is directly knowable about the grammar of the language (and perhaps
what can be very reasonably inferred) set out in some sort of logical format.
Then include any connected "texts" (probably sentences or lines from the show)
and then an either-way lexicon of all the Pakuni roots.

This I think would be interesting if for no other reason than that one of
 Fromkin's
design goals apparently was to expose kids to and teach them a foreign language,
via a television show.


> "Groundbreaking" may be going to far, 
> but Padraic also goes too far in implying that the language is essentially 
> already documented. It's not. (At least not in a way that can be found 
> online.)

Just to clarify. What I said was "You really haven't gone "much further" than Olsen's previous 
work, if only because there's not much of the language to begin with, so it's not like you can 
really get a whole lot farther than anyone else. A lot of the work you're doing has been done 
already to a great extent, and your disparagement of that work (Olsen's et al) doesn't do you 
much credit." This in
 response to George's claims of having done so much more about this
conlang than anyone else in the history of the world. I didn't say that the language is
"essentially documented", only that the work George has done more or less parallels what Olsen
already did (and apparently, what you've been working on, and perhaps a couple others we don't
know about).

I am by no means a Pakuni expert, nor indeed even a fan of the show or the conlang. My sum
total involvement in the language was to write a short article about it on Frath Wiki, and
pointing out Olsen's work for anyone who is interested. My interest continues in so far as
new work on the language comes to light -- I'd be delighted to add to the article!


I would note that what we have here is a made-for-tv
 conlang. As such, what you see is
what you get. Whoever watches every episode and documents all the bits of conlang that
are used in the show (both actual Pakuni words and any of the characters' descriptions of
Pakuni language that doesn't involve actual words) and who takes into account any further 

'official' documentation on the language has basically done a 100% job of documenting  the 

the conlang. Unless you have access to the author's papers, notes and/or are in personal contact 

with the author, there just isn't anything else to document. It's not like Fromkin did what she 

did for the television show -- and then also published the collected works of Shaxespere in Pakuni.
There's just a very limited corpus. Hence, my gripe over the claim that he
 has gone so much 
further in documenting the conlang than anyone else.

> It's kind of too bad that "George" didn't post here sooner. I 
> see that in 2012 (posting then under the name of "Real Catholic University 
> of Sta. FILVMENA") he announced his intention to document Pakuni. I could 
> have shared my notes and saved him the trouble - especially since he said that 
> watching the show was "really boring."

Yep. That's just the sort of attitude that makes for a good field worker!


Padraic

> Thomas/Tomaso ALEXANDER.