Print

Print


Hallo conlangers!

On 10.06.2016 02:48, And Rosta wrote:

> On 9 June 2016 at 10:40, R A Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> So why must the creator/ inventor/ author (or whatever) of a conlang 
>> meet a requirement that, on your own admission, no natlang meets? 
>> This is what puzzles some of us. 
> I think I'd misunderstood your previous question. If by 'specification' we
> mean 'langue', then of course natlangs have fully specified inner workings,
> but that specification is (to date) only implicit. When you asked "How many
> natural languages meet that requirement", I thought you were asking how
> many languages have an *explicit* specification, which is the requirement I
> lay upon the authored conlang.

Fair. But what about conlangs such as Tolkien's, where a full explicit 
specification has not been found yet in the manuscripts the master has 
left behind, and perhaps never existed? The coherence and consistency of 
the texts he produced clearly shows that he has at least an "implicit 
specification" in his mind, though this specification seems to have 
changed over time, doesn't it?

> As I've already explained somewhere in the
> mass of prior messages that is understandably too voluminous for the casual
> reader to have digested, my argument is that if X invents or authors Y then
> Y must be explicit, or at least X must be capable of making Y explicit (if,
> say, afforded sufficient time to sit down and write it all down).In other
> words, in order to invent or author a language, one must be able to make
> explicit its inner workings, which in natural, uninvented unauthored,
> languages are (as of 2016) only implicit.

Fine. Tolkien, for instance, certainly would have been able to write _A 
Historical Grammar of the Eldarin Languages_ if he had wanted to. He 
didn't (or maybe he did but it has not been recovered yet from the 
unedited stacks of manuscript he left behind), but he could have.

> [...]
>> This is not what I understand by a pidgin.  However, all it
>> seems to say to me is that if a conlang attracts a group of
>> people who actually use the language for communication (I
>> assume both spoken and written and produced some literature)
>> then it become a language.  So Volapük, Esperanto, Klingon,
>> Lojban are languages?  But not, I guess, Spelin, Bolak,
>> Euroling, TAKE, Outidic etc. etc.
>>
> There are two Klingons, Klingon1, which is authored, explicit, internally
> incomplete, and not a language, and Klingon2, which is the langue implicit
> in Klingon parole, which is pidgin, implicit, internally complete and is a
> language. There is Outidic1, which is authored,
> explicit, internally incomplete, and not a language. But there is no
> Outidic2 that is the langue implicit in (nonexistent) Outidic parole, which
> would be pidgin, implicit, internally complete and a language.

This strikes me as somewhat pedantic, and reminds me of the pedantry 
which I found in Tolkienian linguistic discussion groups - and put me 
off. Yet, I understand that the distinction between what the conlanger 
wrote and what the users of the conlang developed later is meaningful.


> [...]
>
>
> There are (in my terms) 'platonic' (or 'cognitive') and 'semiotic'
> conceptions of langue. On the 'platonic'/'cognitive' conception, langue
> exists in the realm of ideas; langue is primary and parole is the usage of
> langue. On the 'semiotic' conception, langue is immanent in parole, which
> exists in the physical realm; parole is primary and langue is the patterns
> and regularities in parole. I espouse the 'platonic'/'cognitive'
> conception. The term _platonic_ (small P) is here used in the sense of
> 'pertaining to the realm of ideas' rather than in the sense of 'pertaining
> to Plato' (or even to Plato's theory of Forms). (In the very unlikely event
> that you are unfamiliar with this sense of 'platonic', look up
> 'mathematical platonism' for an example of it; it is a synonym of 'realist'
> in the metaphysical sense.)

Ah, a difference of letter case! No wonder that misunderstandings arose.

> [...]
>> But you have already conceded that we do not know the full inner 
>> workings of any natlang, i.e. we do not fully know the full 
>> specification of any langue. So how do we know that there is not 
>> langue underlying, say, Quenya, Sindarin, Spelin, Bolak etc., etc.? 
> You may answer your question as you wish. My point is that the authors of
> Quenya, Sindarin, Spelin, Bolak etc. have not authored or invented full
> inner workings of those conlangs, because the authors did not, and were not
> able to, make full inner workings explicit. I will allow that the authors
> may have originated, and hence, in a sense, 'created', a language replete
> with implicit full inner workings, but not that they have authored or
> invented one.

I can't speak for Spelin or Bolak, but with Quenya and Sindarin, it is 
from the consistency of the texts and names found in Tolkien's literary 
works that we can conclude that he had a pretty good idea of their 
_langues_. This is also evident from the fact that later linguists 
managed to recover much of this from the available material.

--
... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
http://www.joerg-rhiemeier.de/Conlang/index.html
"Bêsel asa Éam, a Éam atha cvanthal a cvanth atha Éamal." - SiM 1:1