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Ray Brown wrote:

> On 22/10/2015 13:36, Decremental Bug wrote:
>> Padraic, this was one of the most inspiring passages about conlanging I ever read :) Thanks.
>
>Quite inspiring - and nice to have emails about an artlang for a change    :)


Thank you! As you well know -- and as we can all see from your delightful webpage! -- when one has been doing something of this sort, an artistic pursuit, one tends to think about the activity itself. Not just in terms of "how do I do x, y and z"; but "what is it I am doing" and "why am I doing this?"

>> Many folks recommend against beginning with poetry or other hard kinds of language.
>
> I know - but really an artlang deserves something better than: "John like the dog."  "Jane likes the dog."  "John and Jane like the dog" 
> ad_nauseam (quite literally).

This is true. Although of course one could deliberately chóose to render _Dick and Jane_ into the conlang, for preference within its cultural context, and one would necessarily end up with just such sentences. But at least there would be an artistic purpose behind it! (And if I recall right, it was a bit of a thing a few years back to do just that, translate such books into conlang. I had planned, years ago to do _Y Wyddor_, a very pretty little Welsh abcedarium, into Brithenig & Kerno, but that project didn't get too far. Perhaps I'll wait for Brittanese to come out and make all three!)

I tend to favour useful or interesting or culturally pertinent sentences, even when just starting a project. Caramansian, a western relative of Talarian, for example has only one sentence so far: clawthî ‘e yizreelatte: Adonaryo anzo deyuo: hiscue oyno -- Hear o Israel! the Lord is our God, He is one! (Not entirely coincidental, it must be admitted, the country being a Jewish kingdom, but I think as an example sentence it beats some of the alternatives!)

Temberean, another scantily clad conlang from the West, has this for a first sentence. ar skente skere swirkwo tlikwon; a cutting and witty jibe (if you will kindly excuse my horrible pun), meaning "like a sharp knife in soft flesh" and is said when a person relishes an often nefarious or questionably moral activity.

Nope. No "Jane likes dog" here!


>> I recommend the contrary: start with poetry! Write a recipe or a prayer or a snatch of song or a chapter of your people's foundational myth.
>
> Yep - tho the very earliest writing does seem to have come about for the mundane reason of keeping, as soon as people realize writing is a great 
> tool and begin to write _literature_ more often than not, it seems to to me, it is verse/poetry that precedes prose.  Think of the Epic of Gilgamesh, 
> the Homeric Epics of the Greeks, the Vedic hymns etc.

True that. I don't think any but a very peculiar conlanger would want to devise a conlang and for his first text make it a monthly expense ledger! I think most of us aspire to use our conlangs in more communicative ways, and thus tend to start out with sentences that are more narrative in nature. Starting with poetry & literature is just so much more fun!

> Your own people's foundation in myth in verse - now that's a thought!  

In prose, I've worked on a couple, and in "translation" several. In verse, none that I can recall!

> I so often wish Tolkien's Silmarillion had been a verse epic in Quenya, instead of the (disappointing to me) posthumous publication by Christopher 
> Tolkien  {sigh}.

Disappointing in what way? If I recall right, he (CJRT) set himself up as custodian and setter-in-order of whatever his father had already written, not a creator within his father's world. Isn't the published S text basically JRRT's work as combed through and edited in scholarly fashion, and not CJRT's own original writing?

Naturally, I think we share the wish that such things had been properly done up by JRRT himself.