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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 10:35 pm 
Avisaru
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Conlanging, the secret vice, is a noble sport. It is wonderful for the mind. It trains you to think critacally and creatively. It requires you to research, learn and study. I daresay it's much more challenging for the brain then, say, Sudoku or Crossword puzzles. A detailed conlang taxes your brain in a much different way. The problem with conlangs is twofold. There is the problem of context. Or better yet, lack thereof. Then there is the problem of presentation.

Conlangs require context. Some conlangs are created for the modern world, although those are becoming less and less frequent. Most conlangs made by ZBB members are artlangs meant for conpeople. But for a lot of us, creating the language is much more fun than creating the the people. That requires so much more thought and starts overtaxing your brain. Conworlding is very overwhelming. Especially when it isn't clear what the end-goal of the exercise is. Are you going to make a book using it? Are you going to make a movie? A game of some sorts? Or are you just making it for the sake of making it and presenting it on a website in encyclopedic format? Which brings me to the other problem.

No one likes reading grammars.

There. I said it. I mean, I love reading grammars. I love reading about natural languages. And well made conlangs can be a joy. But most of what we post here is nowhere near that stage. And most people don't have in depth knowledge to critique aspects of grammar besides phonology and maybe rudimentary morphology. In general, reading grammar scraps and notes isn't that much fun and it gets old. Which is why most threads about in depth grammars do not get many responses around here. I don't blame anyone for it. I get it. But it's also made me come to realise that writing them up publicly here is just as useful as just working privately.

And reading a grammar is a lot less interesting when it exists in a vaccuum. Zompist's grammar's, though not written in a style that I prefer for grammars (I like them dry and scholarly), are a joy because they not only teach us about the language, but also the culture that speaks it. And if I want to learn even more about that culture, he provides more information. But getting to this stage took years and years and I still don't understand how he does it. Where does he get the time? Othere people here have produced magnificent work, but in most cases, the presentation is pretty rag-tag and unorganised. To no fault of theirs or anyone elses; this stuff requires work and it's not like any of us are getting paid to do this . (Except my acquaintance David Peterson, who made the Dothraki language for Game of Thrones. How I envy him.)

So I wonder, is there a way to solve these problems? For context, we must work and work and work tirelessly. And the process usually ends up being private. This board is good for quick questions and socialising, but deep questions require outside research. For presentation, we must either have a lot of work already done, in order to get away with the website approach or we must set a goal for ourselves that goes beyond conlanging (and conworlding) for conlanging's (or conworlding's) sake.

Personally, I go back and forth with everything that has to do with this. Once I make a conlang, relatively in depth, I'm not easily willing to just discard it and not put it to use. I've gone through several main conworld settings, and I usually try to emigrate languages between them, because working on several conworlds at the same time is undoable for me. But often the case is, the languages don't fit the new setting. The words made for them, the feeling, the writing method etc. I'm not in love with my conworld, but I've had it in the back of my head for so long, I can't do away with it. Trying to move Uscaniv to a new setting seems pretty much undoable. It would negate so much work already done. But I love Uscaniv. So how do I reconcile the two? For that, I have no answer. Except maybe work and work and work. But that doesn't seem appealing when I have to make a living for myself and turn in school work. Sometimes I wish I had never gotten into this. What's the point? But as I said earlier, it's probably the best exercise your brain could ever get. Hence the work required.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 2:09 am 
Avisaru
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I did a test once, an impulsive one. I won't do it again. On my familys old computer I opened up notepad and wrote something random that resembled a phrase, then I left it. My mother was the first to see it, and I havn't seen her behavining like she did then before or after. She became suspisous and began asking me questions after questions, but never waiting for an answer. She didn't even reflect over what she did at that point and it was like an automatic mechanism.
I said that it was just something random that I found on the net and that it was worthless, then I closed it and after that episode I keep my conlangs to myself or post them here.

Most people don't give languages a second thought because they take them for granted, like water in most of the developed world. Eveytime I show people that I know more of language than average joe, I can see their eyes light up with intrigue like I opend a door they didn't know was there or something. It never fails.

Personally, I just want something that prevents people from snooping around too much.

The problem with conlangs as I see it is, if you don't plan to start an new ethnic group; it is fairly useless.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 6:23 am 
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*shrugs*
It's called the secret vice for a reason. The fact that we get together and talk about it doesn't really change that.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 7:13 am 
Lebom
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I guess if you want both and still want it dry as the Atacama, you could write it as a transcript of a joint presentation of Jones the linguist and Smith the anthropologist about the Whatawhozits people, their culture and language.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 8:26 am 
Lebom
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This is sort of falling into the fallacy that if it isn't "productive"/monetizable/popular, it's "meaningless" and a "waste of time". This is untrue and is a symptom of the fact that in the corporate world, this is generally the case. Time is only money at work; free time is not money.

There doesn't need to be a "goal" for conlanging. Period. At all. If you want to make a dry, boring grammar that nobody will read, that's fine. If you want to make a boring website, that's fine. All that matters is that you find it fun; conlanging is generally a hobby and finding it fun is the essence of hobbies.

What would you be doing with the time you spend conlanging otherwise, anyway? Working more? (Unless you need the money or fear getting fired, not worth it. Nobody ever says they wished they spent more time at the office on their deathbed.) Doing something else for fun? (Then you're probably getting paid precisely $0.00 an hour for it, the same as you would conlanging.) Going out on dates? (Love is very overrated.)

The only time you need to manage is the time you're getting paid for. It is impossible to "waste" free time.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 9:26 am 
Lebom
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You have to understand, this whole guilt about freetime is fairly common in countries with a Protestant work ethic. If you enjoy it, especially if you don't get paid, it's not work but leisure and therefore you shouldn't be doing it. Before someone jumps on this, I am knowingly using this term in a broader sense than Weber would have to include countries such as Japan. In other words, characteristic of but not exclusive to countries dominated by Luther's spiritual children.

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Last edited by sirred on Sun May 08, 2011 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 9:28 am 
Lebom
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Ultimately, I think, you just have to conlang for yourself and not for people to see. If you put stuff online and people like it, then great, but that shouldn't be your main aim - because you're unlikely to come away satisfied.

It's true that people don't tend to read in-depth grammars. It's frustrating when the average neither-good-nor-bad phoneme inventory can get more responses than a long grammar that took its creator a long time. Perhaps the key to success is to present one's language in short chunks - ideally in a original, readable style.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 9:36 am 
Lebom
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Maybe it's a skill thing? I mean I am not a linguist nor will I ever be one. So what is someone like me going to say about a conlang's use of relative clauses beyond, "Oh that looks neat"? However most people here can tell when a phonology looks off. The learning curve for that it so much lower.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 10:12 am 
Avisaru
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vecfaranti wrote:
Conworlding is very overwhelming. Especially when it isn't clear what the end-goal of the exercise is. Are you going to make a book using it? Are you going to make a movie? A game of some sorts? Or are you just making it for the sake of making it and presenting it on a website in encyclopedic format?

I think you forgot an end-goal: fun. For many, they enjoy simple tinkering with different possibilities & combinations of possibilities. Roninbodhisattva & Nortaneous come to mind here with their many ideas for phonologies.

Personally, I have ambitions of making a full conworld & potentially writing novels set therein. When I'm dead & turned to dust, I'd like to think there's something I left behind that I created that shows a certain vision & aesthetic that I appreciate. That gives plenty of motivation to keep working and to stay focused on developing 1 world. However, that's not for everyone, and those that "simply tinker" have equally valid interests.


vecfaranti wrote:
No one likes reading grammars.

There. I said it. I mean, I love reading grammars. I love reading about natural languages. And well made conlangs can be a joy. But most of what we post here is nowhere near that stage.

So I wonder, is there a way to solve these problems?

I think lots of us enjoy reading thorough, well presented grammars, especially ones that make it easy to grasp the concepts quickly & easily. This is why declension charts are always interesting, and also parses that are well formatted. You can get a sense of the language very quickly without spending tons of time reading through the entire grammar. If the tables, example phrases, etc. interest you, then you can read more.

Which gives me the idea that, for my lang, I think I'll provide a "cheat sheet" once done that provides this type of info. Cliff Notes for conlangs. 8)

The only possibly solution I can see is to provide as standardized a "form" as possible for people to post their conlang info in. I could see a sticky thread on this forum that one could quote that serves as a template. All this does is help people move beyond the formatting & focus only on providing the info. In the last 10 years, I've done a lot of writing for software training, and I can tell you that writing clear, concise, and well formatted & organized documents takes A LOT of work, and is not something most people understand how to do, even if they've taken college writing classes! A forum template might help out with that a bit.




vecfaranti wrote:
I'm not in love with my conworld, but I've had it in the back of my head for so long, I can't do away with it. Trying to move Uscaniv to a new setting seems pretty much undoable. It would negate so much work already done. But I love Uscaniv. So how do I reconcile the two? For that, I have no answer.

Ah, I think we come now to the real problem or question you are asking. :)

Take a break. Play around with some different conlang or conworld ideas. Make different cultures, maps, or even just set the whole thing aside for a while. It will still be there when you get back! Looking at different ideas or focusing on different aspects of life may allow your brain to refresh itself a bit and find out again what makes you enjoy your language(s) and world. If there are aspects of your world that you're not in love with, but are just "meh", revise! Again, taking that break and/or looking at other ideas may allow you to get outside of the rut and find a solution that would actually allow you to translate Uscaniv to a new setting. I think lots of times the result is even better than what you had before.

On a smaller scale, I've had this happen several times w/ Tibetan Dwarvish. At each point, I've been stuck with not loving what I had, but not knowing what else would work within the parameters I had given myself. Turns out, changing my rules and allowing a bit more freedom improved the language each time.

So, step back and get out of the box. It will allow you to refresh your creative energy and find ways of integrating your works.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 10:42 am 
Smeric
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Salmoneus wrote:
*shrugs*
It's called the secret vice for a reason. The fact that we get together and talk about it doesn't really change that.


I've often wondered what Tolkien meant by that. Did he feel guilty or sinful somehow making conlangs?

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 12:03 pm 
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Eddy wrote:
I've often wondered what Tolkien meant by that.

You could read the essay and find out.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 12:22 pm 
Smeric
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vecfaranti wrote:
[...] Conworlding is very overwhelming. Especially when it isn't clear what the end-goal of the exercise is.

I don't agree at all. Yes, it's a hard work to make a nation or an entire country with its culture, languages, politics and all the stuff it needs to resemble real, but I don't find it harder than creating a conlang that seems real and natural, presented in a complete and rigorous grammar. This requires a lot of thought and work too. I never found conworlding overhelming; at least this is not my experience, but that's very personal and subjective: I love history. I'm a history & archaeology graduate and I like anything related to history, which touches areas of knowledge tied with conwordery: politics, economic systems, voting systems, anthropology, traditions, mythology... I red and read things about that. Since I can remember, so I began my conworlding career as an early teenager, or even before. And I made fun of that. I mean, I didn't take it too seriously (in the begining, at least, until I merged my conworlding and conlanging stuff and I created something different, much more mature). Why? Because I didn't need an end-goal. I was playing with things I liked (and still like), and those things were the ingredients to make a more or less complex and realistic conworld. Maybe I was lucky, I don't know. I know people racking their brains in the development of their conworlds, not knowing how to start. The only thing I say to them is don't take it as a run, take it as fun. Investigate, read, learn... what you want, and start making bricks and constructing. No matter how long it will take if you are having fun.

Quote:
No one likes reading grammars.

[...]

And reading a grammar is a lot less interesting when it exists in a vaccuum.

Many people likes reading grammars. In this forum we've seen persons not interested at all in conworldery but only in conlangs, languages and linguistics. A few have read some grammars and posted reviews. I you go to the Almea section on this forum tou'll see how enough persons show inconsistencies and errors or typos on Zomp's Almean languages grammars. It shows there's people reading them.

Other people, like me, are not interested in grammars per se but in conlang's surface. What I really like about conlangs is their flavour: the essence or soul that emanates from their structures, specially how they sound when spoken and their orthographies; and all the constuff related to them (writing systems, the history of the language, etc.) and how they fit their conworlds/nations/peoples. I'm not interested at all in syntax or morphology; that's for my languages, the ones I will really use. So I'm not a great reader of grammars. A conworld attached to a conlang is a point in favour. In fact, the few grammars I've red or glanced over at are related to conworlds I really like and appreciate.

Quote:
Zompist's [...] But getting to this stage took years and years and I still don't understand how he does it. Where does he get the time?

You answered yourself: years and years of work. He began his career as a teenager, IIRC. Or at least when he was very young. Now he's an adult. That means a lot of years, months, weeks, days and hours. I created Hellesan in 1992. That's almost 20 years of work on that conlang. And its conworld has been worked for 10-15 years. Think about all the summers, weekends and little moments one can do conworlding stuff... When considered as a whole that's a lot of time.

Quote:
So I wonder, is there a way to solve these problems? For context, we must work and work and work tirelessly. And the process usually ends up being private. This board is good for quick questions and socialising, but deep questions require outside research. For presentation, we must either have a lot of work already done, in order to get away with the website approach or we must set a goal for ourselves that goes beyond conlanging (and conworlding) for conlanging's (or conworlding's) sake.

Not so tirelessly. In my case, that is. To me it's not a job but a hobby. I mean, anyone can do a lot of work without becoming overwhelmed and too tired.
And yes, conworlding & conlanging is, after all, a personal research. If private or public that's another thing.

Quote:
Once I make a conlang, relatively in depth, I'm not easily willing to just discard it and not put it to use. I've gone through several main conworld settings, and I usually try to emigrate languages between them, because working on several conworlds at the same time is undoable for me. But often the case is, the languages don't fit the new setting. The words made for them, the feeling, the writing method etc. I'm not in love with my conworld, but I've had it in the back of my head for so long, I can't do away with it.

Maybe the problem is that? That you don't really love the scenario, so it's difficult to put all the elements on it?

Because the feeling of a language, its writing system or the lexicon it uses is not a real problem to make a conlang believable in a conworld. Look at our real world, with so many languages, writings and vocabularies... And all of them have its place.

Quote:
Trying to move Uscaniv to a new setting seems pretty much undoable. It would negate so much work already done. But I love Uscaniv. So how do I reconcile the two? For that, I have no answer. Except maybe work and work and work. But that doesn't seem appealing when I have to make a living for myself and turn in school work. Sometimes I wish I had never gotten into this. What's the point? But as I said earlier, it's probably the best exercise your brain could ever get. Hence the work required.

I changed the scenario a few times. And that was in my highschool years, with tons of work, exercises and exams and other diverting things. But I made it. I created the definitve setting for my constuff. I could change things in the future, true. I probably will... Look at Zomp's Great reclimatization. If that isn't a pothole... Will modify things, but not the entire world.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 1:21 pm 
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Get a blog, put stuff in manageable chunks, and post bits that are as complete as possible so you don't get scraps laying around...

At least that's what I'm doing. No idea whether it's "working" in any real sense, but I do have a tiny sort of "audience", so...

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 2:04 pm 
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I guess most of what I intended to say when reading the topic post is already said. I may just add this...

My conlanging/conculturing has expanded far beyond every single one of my original intentions and has given me hours and hours of true fun. It has gone from being just a (dubious) hobby into becoming a device that keeps my mind in shape in every aspect. Without this hobby I guess I never would have known a thing about even rudimentary grammar and how we use our language(s) every day (I never finished senior high school, remember?!) Add to that it, stimulates my imagination and helps me to think outside of the box.

Xhaimera is with me every day. I love composing Xhaimeran music, making up folk tales and writing official documents for my world. It's the reward you get when you create something: it's yours to live with and you can do whatever you want with it.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 3:01 pm 
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vecfaranti wrote:
No one likes reading grammars.


This is to some degree an overstatement, but it is true that only very few people like reading grammars, and even those who like reading grammars find that more enjoyable if the grammar is written in a witty way that flashes a light at the culture behind the language. I think, Zompist has made a good job of it in his grammar of Xurnese, with such examples as "My niece is dating a sculptor. He hopes to govern a province one day". Why should a sculptor have reason to hope being appointed a provincial governor? Because Xurno is ruled by artists! In any other country, the example would be a non sequitur, but not in Xurno.

Yet, I once observed that if Tolkien had not written The Lord of the Rings but instead A Historical Grammar of the Eldarin Languages (the book all the conlang geeks now wish he would have written), his conlangs would now be almost certainly forgotten, if he had found a publisher for the latter book at all. His conlangs would merely be an eccentricity of an Oxford don, nothing else. Of course, if it turned out that he did write A Historical Grammar of the Eldarin Languages and that it just had lain hidden in the piles of manuscript he left behind, that book would sell well - but only because The Lord of the Rings is so hugely popular.

So, if you want to reach more than a few language geeks with your conlangs, what to do is to invent a conworld where they are spoken and write at least one good enough novel set in that conworld. Make sure that there are some examples in it - mostly names of people, places and culture-specific concepts, and perhaps a poem or two (but not so much that it turns off the reader) - and then hope that the novel sells well.

But that should not deter anyone from pursuing the "Secret Vice" - being well-received by a small community such as the ZBB or the CONLANG mailing list is better than nothing, and what really counts is the fun.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 3:41 pm 
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With conlangs, like all hobbies it shouldn't matter if there is a point. There doesn't need to be a culture, a book, or anything in the end. It's a hobby. Like bulbaquil said, it's about free time and fun. IMHO there is no need for it to be secret. If l would put some random words down and make a phrase and my parents asked me questions I'd tell them I was constructing a language. If they asked why I'd ask why not?

It's a hobby, and like all hobbies, it should be done for your enjoyment. You can be happy to share it, that's why you're here right? To be among like minded individuals. For instance, if you race remote controlled boats (it happens that the western final for this is in my home town every year), many people might wonder why you do that in your free time. People like me, I would find no fun in doing that, but it's your hobby, so it only matters if you find it fun.

If your wanting critique, or comments at all, you might have to settle for one or two. I know I've read many grammars on here, of the types where they are wet or dry with cultures. I've never commented because I wouldn't know how. I'm new to studying languages, and while I could comment and say. 'that was nice' I'd rather give people why I liked it beyond I just did. Maybe that's my inner writer.


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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 3:48 pm 
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I like conlanging because it's both mentally challenging and a creative outlet. It's an art and a science at the same time.

What I don't like is how when I tell people that "I'm making my own language", they always show one of these reactions:

One, they'll overestimate and think I'm out to create the next Esperanto or something, when in reality I have no sociopolitical ambitions and Bengedian is simply a pet project, a hobby.
Or two, they'll underestimate and think it's just a cipher of English or a word game like Pig Latin. I really wish linguistics was given more weight in mainstream communication channels. Then probably more people would understand.

It's only rarely that someone will be genuinely interested (chances are they know some linguistics too). The problem is that most of my peer contact currently comes through the American public schools, where compulsory attendance laws mean that I'm above 75% of my peers, who I can't talk to because they're not interested in/don't understand what I have to say.

But, that's just me going on tangents again.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 3:55 pm 
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Bedelato wrote:
What I don't like is how when I tell people that "I'm making my own language", they always show one of these reactions:

One, they'll overestimate and think I'm out to create the next Esperanto or something, when in reality I have no sociopolitical ambitions and Bengedian is simply a pet project, a hobby.
Or two, they'll underestimate and think it's just a cipher of English or a word game like Pig Latin. I really wish linguistics was given more weight in mainstream communication channels. Then probably more people would understand.

And there's reaction three: they don't overestimate nor underestimate. They simply don't have the slightliest idea what a conlang is for.

-But why you make them?
-Because I like it.
-But why?
-It's a hobby. A challenge.
-But WHYYYYYYYYY?

That kind of people.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 4:09 pm 
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What's the point? I have nothing better to do. Sometimes I'm not awake enough to dick around with obscure bits of political philosophy.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 4:37 pm 
Avisaru
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sirred wrote:
You have to understand, this whole guilt about freetime is fairly common in countries with a Protestant work ethic. If you enjoy it, especially if you don't get paid, it's not work but leisure and therefore you shouldn't be doing it. Before someone jumps on this, I am knowingly using this term in a broader sense than Weber would have to include countries such as Japan. In other words, characteristic of but not exclusive to countries dominated by Luther's spiritual children.

Yeah this could be true for me. Who knew? :?

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 7:36 pm 
Avisaru
Avisaru

Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2008 1:44 pm
Posts: 557
Location: Moorhead, MN, USA
I want to write a science fiction novel or series of novels, I just need to get the ambition to do it. I have a whole epic Sci-Fi universe in my head that takes place around AD 4200 (symbolic astrological connotations, that is when the Age of Aquarius ends and the Age of Capricorn begins) and in which humanity has become a Kardeshev Type II civilization that has colonized several hundred star systems. My attempts at languages descended from English is part of this.


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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 7:58 pm 
Avisaru
Avisaru
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Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 1:20 pm
Posts: 716
Location: Not Mariya's road network, thankfully.
Izo wrote:
Bedelato wrote:
What I don't like is how when I tell people that "I'm making my own language", they always show one of these reactions:

One, they'll overestimate and think I'm out to create the next Esperanto or something, when in reality I have no sociopolitical ambitions and Bengedian is simply a pet project, a hobby.
Or two, they'll underestimate and think it's just a cipher of English or a word game like Pig Latin. I really wish linguistics was given more weight in mainstream communication channels. Then probably more people would understand.

And there's reaction three: they don't overestimate nor underestimate. They simply don't have the slightliest idea what a conlang is for.

-But why you make them?
-Because I like it.
-But why?
-It's a hobby. A challenge.
-But WHYYYYYYYYY?

That kind of people.


Then there's the type that I keep seeming to find, who just ask what my (or another) name is in the language.

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Zain pazitovcor, sio? Sio, tovcor.
You can't read that, right? Yes, it says that.
Shinali Sishi wrote:
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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 9:09 pm 
Smeric
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Posts: 2373
Location: Santiago de Chile
I think Count's case, as well as Weeping's comment on Tolkien, the experience with Klingon, suggests something.

Many people here conlang in order to conworld in order to write a novel. Conworlds are awesome for a lot of stuff: movies, videogames, novels, graphic novels, short stories, paintings, etcetera. Just imagine if someone like Luis Royo [here, if you don't know the guy] had a coherent, well developed, interesting conworld with depth, substance, and verosimilitude [not realism, but sort of] to it. His stuff would be awesome... well, awesomer.

My point is that the thing here is that the apparent thing is that conworlding can almost only be showcased as a supporting art: this is, something that gives a work of fiction added depth and value. Nevertheless, we have the case of Mark and his Verduria: it's fun to read the virtual verduria website for its own sake [the almeopedia not so much, at least for my tastes], this is, the work showcases itself with just a bit of web design and a working knowledge of other arts: the guy illustrates decently, does maps and models and stuff. That, and the fact that his writing is entretaining, clear, light-hearted and frankly fun to read. So that might explain it.

Myself, I'm discovering myself to be more of a conhistorian... who knows, maybe I'll end up producing a sort of illustrated historical atlas or something... I always loved reading about those as a child. faux non-fiction, so to speak.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 10:09 pm 
Avisaru
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Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 12:17 pm
Posts: 800
Location: The darkest corner of your mind...
I, uh, usually admit this to nobody (in fact, I don't think I've admitted it to anyone, ever), but conlanging is an intensely personal, private thing for me, sort of a weird variety of introspection. The only reason I ever share my work with anyone (and even then I'm always somewhat apprehensive about it) is that there's no way for other people to see in my conlangs what I see in them when I make them, if that makes sense at all. It still feels like baring my soul at random strangers on the internet, though.

So its value for me is entirely separate from other people reading it and commenting on it. Sure, it's nice to have that, but it's entirely unnecessary for my partaking in the activity.

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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2011 7:46 am 
Sanci
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Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:08 pm
Posts: 64
Location: Gränsfors, Sweden
Izo wrote:
Bedelato wrote:
What I don't like is how when I tell people that "I'm making my own language", they always show one of these reactions:

One, they'll overestimate and think I'm out to create the next Esperanto or something, when in reality I have no sociopolitical ambitions and Bengedian is simply a pet project, a hobby.
Or two, they'll underestimate and think it's just a cipher of English or a word game like Pig Latin. I really wish linguistics was given more weight in mainstream communication channels. Then probably more people would understand.

And there's reaction three: they don't overestimate nor underestimate. They simply don't have the slightliest idea what a conlang is for.

-But why you make them?
-Because I like it.
-But why?
-It's a hobby. A challenge.
-But WHYYYYYYYYY?

That kind of people.


That kind of people will never understand. And they don't have to. It's no use to even waste breath in trying to explain. "I'm a weird person and do weird things", is my standard answer in those cases.

As a sidenote, a lot of hobbies (such as fashion, poker games, sports, matchbox collecting etc) I will never understand, so I guess I'm no better myself.

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