On 4 February 2018 at 18:57, Walter Sperat <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hey everyone!
> Due to a recent thread on which several people listed their ages, and
> having recently watched Conlanging: The Art of crafting Tongues, I got
> curious about the individual stories of the people on this list, i.e. how
> did you get into conlanging?

Well... my dad was a French teacher, his dad was a German teacher, and
my mom and her mom were English teachers, so of course it was
predestined that I have an interest in languages (nevermind that one
of my brothers is in advertising and the other is a cowboy--at least
the cowboy also speaks Cantonese!)

From kindergarten through 3rd grade I lived in Belgium, and was
required to study French, but I thought that was stupid because
everybody I knew spoke English anyway. 'Twas after I moved back to the
U.S. that I realized that other languages are Cool, and perhaps I
should've actually put more effort into learning French when I was
younger. It was some time around 4th or 5th grade that I started
working on my first conlang, to go along with a heavily
Tolkein-inspired fantasy world (because what fantasy world's aren't
heavily Tolkein-influenced these days?) that I shared with a friend.
It even had a featural writing system inspired (in very broad strokes)
by tengwar (although just about every other aspect of the language was
horrendous juvenalia by my current standards), which is what got me
interested in phonetics (so that I could figure out how to actually
write stuff in my featural system) and thus Real Linguistics.

Somewhere in there I discovered the alt.language.artificial newsgroup
on USENET, which became my first and primary conlanging community
right up through my freshman year of college in 2007. Meanwhile, I
took an Intro Foreign Languages survey class in 7th grade, taught by a
nice old Belgian lady who was strangely supportive of my then-numerous
conlanging projects, followed by French in 8th grade. And then, in a
fit of teenage rebellion (my rebellions were pretty mild...) I
switched to studying Russian for 4 years in high school, which is how
I finally figured out how case systems actually work.

I have no recollection of precisely when I finally joined the CONLANG
list, but I suspect it was late 2007 or early 2008 (I suppose I could
check that in the archives, but I'm lazy right now). It was definitely
before 2011, because by that time USENET had pretty much completely
died, and all my old stomping grounds were either inaccessible, or
irretrievably drowned in spambots.