On 6 Jun 2015 11:34, "David Peterson" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I think a general problem I’m sensing is the status of conlanging—that
is, whether it’s an art or not. If it is, it probably can’t be quantified;
if it isn’t, maybe it can. I don’t think we (and by “we” I mean humanity)
know enough about language and its origins yet to make that determination.

?? Which determination? And what is "it", whose quantifiability depends on
whether conlanging is art?

> > On Jun 4, 2015, at 1:10 PM, And Rosta <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >
> > Off the top of my head, I'd suggest a test of naturalism might be the
extent to which someone who doesn't know whether it's a conlang or not will
bet that it is. A kind of conlang analogue of the Turing test.
> I don’t think this is a good test, for this reason:
> That is, it’s REALLY easy to fake. As someone who works with conlangs
daily with whole hosts of linguistically-unsavvy folks, it’s just no
contest. It’s easier to create a couple sentences of gibberish that sounds
natural than it is to create a naturalistic conlang. On tests like these,
the elegant gibberish will win the prize every time.

But what this girl of proclaimed hotness shows is that phonetic naturalism
is easy to achieve. Or rather, phonetic naturalism is indeed easy to
achieve but she seems to show specifically that one can mimic a given
natlang by producing gibberish with the natlang's phonology and phonetics.

> Of course, if you did have more material, as you suggest here…
> > Say, assemble a panel of judges, and for each of a range of languages,
nat- and con-, get them to state a degree of confidence for whether it is
nat- or con-. One set of tests could be presenting the judges with raw
texts, another set could involve glossed texts, and another could involve
descriptions of the conlangs.
> …it could work—provided the judges actually knew what they were doing. In
effect, this would be tantamount to criticism (i.e. this group would be one
of the “top reviewers” in the conlang version of Rotten Tomatoes). That is,
the judgment will still be subjective. It may be better informed than other
subjective judgments, but that doesn’t make it any less subjective.

I had meant not that the judges would be critics making an aesthetic
judgement but rather that they would be trying to spot the 'fakes'. That
would clearly be an objective judgement, since each lg's status as nat- or
con- is an objective fact.

Someone who knows a lot about natlang typology might be able to do an okay
job at this judging. I don't, so if I was a judge and the conlanger was
quite skilled at naturalism, I wouldn't be able to start spotting fakes
until we start comparing documentations: the more elaborate the
documentation and the description therein, the more I'd bet on natlanghood.
But I doubt I'd be able to tell a skilfully-done conlang from a skimpily
described natlang. That goes back to what I was saying in a similar
different recent thread, namely that it's easy to create a veneer of
naturalism and difficult to impossible (in 2015 at least) to create a
conlang that's naturalistic when you dig beneath the surface.

> Here’s a question to those who have been following and participating in
this thread—something to think about and perhaps to answer: What is the
point of the various approaches being evinced here? It occurs to me that
different people may be aiming at different goal posts, which will
complicate the discussion. That is, which of these is the point:
> (a) To determine how natural a given naturalistic conlang is.
> (b) To determine whether one conlang is more naturalistic than another.
> (c) To define naturalism in conlanging.
> (d) To give conlangers a framework for creating naturalistic conlangs.
> (e) To help conlangers create more naturalistic-looking conlangs faster.
> (f) To determine the quality of a conlang.
> Because I’ll admit, I’m mainly talking about (c), but it looks like
Jeffrey and Alex are variously talking about (d), (e), (a) or (b)—or
perhaps some other point that I’m missing.

I was taking about (a/b) (I don't see the difference between them).

Discussion of the easiest way to fabricate a naturalistic veneer would be
interesting, but a different topic.

The best recipe for achieving thoroughgoing naturalism is probably spending
years studying languages deeply.