staving David Peterson:

This is, in my opinion, an absolutely useless classification, and I would say it is one that few if any conlangers agree with right now, nor would agree with—nor should. By this classification, the only theoretically possible a priori language is one built by machines, or by humans who have never been exposed to language. Any classification system that calls both Quenya and Esperanto a posteriori is, in my opinion, simply of no practical value whatsoever.


Esperanto is clearly a posteriori, since it is derived from existing languages. Brithenig is a more interesting form of a posteriori, since it is derived from an existing language via simulated historical processes. Khangaþyagon and iljena are both completely a priori.

Quenya, however, blurs the line in an interesting way, in that it is derived by simulated historical processes from Primitive Noldorin. Taxonomies are always most interesting where they break down.

Pete Bleackley
The Fantastical Devices of Pete The Mad Scientist -

-----Original Message-----
From: David Peterson <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Wed, 04 Jun 2014 20:15
Subject: Re: Bālaybalan

On Jun 4, 2014, at 11:21 AM, R A Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> But this is like arguing that Quenya or Sindarin are
> a_priori, which IMHO is nonsense.  If a language is a_priori
> then it is *built from scratch from _first principles_,
> without any reference to any natural languages*.   Clearly
> Quenya and Sindarin are not so built.
> The grammar of both languages are original (though with
> aspects that recall several natlangs that I will not detail
> here) and their vocabularies are entirely original.  But we
> know that Tolkien fashioned these languages out many years
> of exposure to natlangs.

David Peterson
LCS Member Since 2007
[log in to unmask]