On 6/7/2014 9:26 AM, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets wrote:
> On 7 Jun 2014 15:55, "R A Brown"<[log in to unmask]>  wrote:
>> I don't for one minute claim that all of these are engelangs
>> - at least in the traditional sense - but are they really
>> ARTlangs?
> Personally, I think this is a false dichotomy, that as soon as something is
> engineered it cannot be art anymore.

That makes sense. Or vice versa.

As a gameplay programmer, I deal with engineering issues, but there are 
also artistic decisions to be made. Animators focus on art, but they 
have to deal with all sorts of technical issues. So why not a category 
of conlangs that have both art- and enge-lang aspects?

Of course, the thing these languages have in common is not specifically 
the artistic or engineering aspects, but the idea of taking sound 
changes and other ideas from historical linguistics, and applying them 
systematically to a historical language to produce a new language. 
That's enough to put them in a category of their own. But if you look at 
all the different ways that languages have been derived from Latin, 
there's certainly an artistic element in deciding which historical 
changes to apply.

> Take architecture for instance. No one who's seen a Gothic cathedral or
> (arguably) some of the modern feats of construction like some Olympic
> stadiums can argue that it's not art. Yet the amount of engineering needed
> to make sure that a building doesn't fall on its face is staggering!
> Conlanging is similar in that respect: even if one's goal is to create a
> language that is simply "beautiful" (for whatever value of "beautiful" that
> they want to use), a language will only work if all its parts fit together,
> and that requires an effort that can only be described as "engineering".
> That doesn't make the result unartful, on the contrary. It's just part of
> the art, just like engineering is part of the art of architecture.
> So I don't think that one can speak of art OR engineering, at least not
> with an exclusive OR. However they were made, Brithenig and other bogolangs
> were definitely created with an aesthetic goal in mind. That, in and of
> itself, makes them artlangs. They may not have been created in the same way
> that my Moten was created, for instance, but that doesn't mean that they
> are so different as to not deserve the same moniker.
> --
> Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
> President of the Language Creation Society (
> Personal Website:

I think you can usually identify one aspect or the other as more 
significant. The engineering in engelangs as such is more focused on the 
structure of the language. The engineering in "bogolangs" or 
"graftlangs" or whatever you want to call them is more in the process of 
deriving the language, not in the structure of the language as such. 
It's there to serve the purpose of the artistic goal of making a 
historically plausible language.