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The Problem with Conlanging
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Author:  Trailsend [ Mon May 09, 2011 8:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

The Count wrote:
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 usually just respond, "Why do painters paint?" Sometimes I have to clarify that I mean amateur painters, but it usually works well enough.

Author:  vec [ Fri May 13, 2011 8:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

The difference between a lot of hobbies that have been mentioned (for example poker) and conworlding, is that there is no end in the former. Conworlding always ends up with a product of some sort. But I'm starting to have issues with just storing my product on my harddrive. It is not a money issue, althogh lack of time is an issue here, which indirectly relates to money. I have other things that I could do that are seemingly more beneficial for me in the long run than conlanging. And those are the things that I have been doing for the past two years. It's not that I don't like conlanging and conworlding, but it seems to end up at the bottom of my to-do list. Not because I don't like it, but because it frustrates me. It makes me happy, but it also makes me sad.

Author:  Eyowa [ Sat May 14, 2011 12:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

vecfaranti wrote:
Conworlding always ends up with a product of some sort.


In my experience, it too often doesn't. I can never seem to complete a language or conculture to the point where I feel I can show it to people.

For me, the problem with conlanging is that, when languages are treated as an end in themselves, writing more than a grammar and a few hundred words seems like a pointless exercise. At that point, I've already derived whatever aesthetic pleasure I'm going to from the language, and any further detail I might add would be for the sake of usability--and faced with the realization that none of my languages are going to be used as such, I'll generally start a new project rather than fleshing out an old one.

Not to diminish the efforts of those with fabulously detailed languages and 10k-word lexicons, of course. I'd love to be in that camp, I just can't seem to get there. If you have such a language, what did you do to keep it from going stale over the years?

Author:  Agricola Avicula [ Sat May 14, 2011 4:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

vecfaranti wrote:
The difference between a lot of hobbies that have been mentioned (for example poker) and conworlding, is that there is no end in the former. Conworlding always ends up with a product of some sort. But I'm starting to have issues with just storing my product on my harddrive. It is not a money issue, althogh lack of time is an issue here, which indirectly relates to money. I have other things that I could do that are seemingly more beneficial for me in the long run than conlanging. And those are the things that I have been doing for the past two years. It's not that I don't like conlanging and conworlding, but it seems to end up at the bottom of my to-do list. Not because I don't like it, but because it frustrates me. It makes me happy, but it also makes me sad.


I know the feeling. I sometimes think I should spend more time with friends instead of doing constuff. Sometimes I fear that in 20 years time or so, I will have a beautiful and pretty complete conlang, but no friends and no social life whatsoever. As was said above, conlanging/worlding is mostly a private thing, and it's also a huge project that you' ve taken up. If you had three lives, you could probably spend all three of them working on your project and still not reaching a point of satisfaction. I mean, creating a world, that's what nature took 4.5 billion years in the case of our own, and it's still not complete, because there is no such thing as 'complete' (unless it is blown away by an exploding sun).
So I think you have to love the process of creating a conlang or conworld, else it can be very frustrating. Also, try to work out small things at a time, which will give a sense of completing something. As has been said earlier, you can achieve a lot by just working on it in the weekends, and there will be plenty of time for other things. Just avoid thinking about all the work that still needs to be done and enjoy the moment.

Author:  Ashroot [ Sat May 14, 2011 11:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

Agricola Avicula wrote:
If you had three lives, you could probably spend all three of them working on your project and still not reaching a point of satisfaction. I mean, creating a world, that's what nature took 4.5 billion years in the case of our own, and it's still not complete, because there is no such thing as 'complete' (unless it is blown away by an exploding sun).
13.5billion years (if you include the big bang)(though that is 3,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars)(7046.6204408365747787361181577316 stars a second)(If you think about the number of stars capable of having life...)

Author:  vec [ Sun May 15, 2011 12:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

I love the act of creating conlangs. That's why I do it. But it seems to cause me more anxiety than a hobby should., probably because I care too much That's all.

Author:  Agricola Avicula [ Sun May 15, 2011 4:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

Ashroot wrote:
Agricola Avicula wrote:
If you had three lives, you could probably spend all three of them working on your project and still not reaching a point of satisfaction. I mean, creating a world, that's what nature took 4.5 billion years in the case of our own, and it's still not complete, because there is no such thing as 'complete' (unless it is blown away by an exploding sun).
13.5billion years (if you include the big bang)(though that is 3,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars)(7046.6204408365747787361181577316 stars a second)(If you think about the number of stars capable of having life...)


I was talking about the Earth, not the universe.

Author:  The Count [ Sun May 15, 2011 8:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

Eyowa wrote:
If you have such a language, what did you do to keep it from going stale over the years?


I created my language to use it and that's what I've been doing through the years. In music, poetry and conculturing. Also I've learned a lot about languages in general (bear in mind that I lack what people would call "formal education") and the act of creating a language has forced me to think of concepts and ponder over philosophical matters in a way that I normally wouldn't have done.

I don't reckon I'll ever get to the point where Xhaimeran will go stale. And I certainly will not get tired of it as there's so much of me in it. And the possibilities for me to use it are endless.

Author:  Savi [ Sun May 15, 2011 12:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

I mostly do conlanging and conworlding because I like the process of creation and not to end up with some finished product. I mean, what would I do to fill my spare time if some day I found out that I had finished my conworld?

Izo wrote:
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.


It's funny, because I had the opposite experience when I tried to tell some of my close friends of my strange hobby. They really tried to understand and show interest. But still, they had some hobbies themselves that others didn't understand, so perhaps they knew what it was all about...

Author:  Ashroot [ Mon May 16, 2011 4:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

Savi wrote:
It's funny, because I had the opposite experience when I tried to tell some of my close friends of my strange hobby. They really tried to understand and show interest. But still, they had some hobbies themselves that others didn't understand, so perhaps they knew what it was all about...
Like?

Author:  Savi [ Mon May 16, 2011 1:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

Dungeons & Dragons and such. The point is that they were just as nerdy about it as I am about conlanging.

Author:  Rik [ Mon May 16, 2011 2:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

I came to terms with the fact that people will show scant interest in my conlanging and conworlding efforts many, many years ago. And, to be honest, that makes me happy because the thought of being well known doesn't excite me. Like I'm a signed-up member of the anti-celebrity culture.

In the end conlanging and conworlding can be great fun, but friends and lovers can be even better fun. It's a balance thing, innit.

re the posterity thingy: I sorted that by getting the British Library to archive my website ...

Author:  Zelos [ Tue May 17, 2011 12:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

Rik wrote:
I came to terms with the fact that people will show scant interest in my conlanging and conworlding efforts many, many years ago. And, to be honest, that makes me happy because the thought of being well known doesn't excite me. Like I'm a signed-up member of the anti-celebrity culture.


those who seek fame rarely get it =)

Author:  Bristel [ Tue May 17, 2011 1:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

Rik wrote:
I came to terms with the fact that people will show scant interest in my conlanging and conworlding efforts many, many years ago. And, to be honest, that makes me happy because the thought of being well known doesn't excite me. Like I'm a signed-up member of the anti-celebrity culture.

In the end conlanging and conworlding can be great fun, but friends and lovers can be even better fun. It's a balance thing, innit.

re the posterity thingy: I sorted that by getting the British Library to archive my website ...


That's wonderful! Now if your site went down, the archive will continue to be there, and no loss!

Gevey will live!

Author:  ekobor [ Thu May 19, 2011 11:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

Bedelato wrote:
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.


I tend to get the kind that say something along the lines of: "Uh-huh?" And I can tell they have no idea what I just said.
Is the statement "A language(or religion) I am making" that odd?

Though I have hit upon one or two people whose eyes light up and you can tell they are holding back from saying "You can do that?!" I'm hoping they decided to pursue it, I haven't seen them since.

Author:  Ossicone [ Fri May 20, 2011 6:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

My bf refers to Inyauk as my cult. XD

Author:  Foolster41 [ Mon May 23, 2011 3:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

I don't think I've ever had a negative reaction the few times it's brought up. People either are uninterested (which is understandable, since not everyone's going to be interesting studying how language works) or seems at least somewhat interested and ask questions about it.

Author:  Bristel [ Mon May 23, 2011 5:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

My roommate seems to be alright with it. I'm sure that he believes that it is my version of a intellectual pursuit.

My mom thinks it is interesting, but I haven't gone into detail about it with her.

My father thinks that I should cut back on it in favor of more useful things, but isn't against it.

Author:  Nortaneous [ Mon May 23, 2011 5:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

I never talk about it. I hardly ever mention that I study linguistics; I don't think anyone knows that except my parents and a few people who I knew in high school. Everyone else who I know IRL knows practically nothing about my interests (except possibly that I'm majoring in political philosophy), and I prefer to keep things that way.

Author:  Civil War Bugle [ Mon May 23, 2011 9:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

My parents had no idea what I was talking about when I mentioned Esperanto once, so I never went into the subject again. But both of my circles of college friends included conlangers, so it wasn't a totally mysterious thing to people I brought it up to.

Author:  Ashroot [ Mon May 23, 2011 5:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

I live in a fairly Christian community (I enjoy it but enough said.) So when I brought it up, I was asked if I was trying to recreate God's language, the first language, and stuff along similar lines.

I said no and that it was a hopeless endeavor. Besides the closest I think you can get is learning Hebrew. They acted disappointed. Then they brought up Tolkien.

Have you ever looked around you and noticed how hopelessly mediocre people can be?

Author:  Vardelm [ Mon May 23, 2011 5:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

Ashroot wrote:
Have you ever looked around you and noticed how hopelessly mediocre people can be?

All the time.

Author:  ekobor [ Mon May 23, 2011 5:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

Vardelm wrote:
Ashroot wrote:
Have you ever looked around you and noticed how hopelessly mediocre people can be?

All the time.

Yep.

Author:  Shrdlu [ Mon May 23, 2011 5:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

ekobor wrote:
Vardelm wrote:
Ashroot wrote:
Have you ever looked around you and noticed how hopelessly mediocre people can be?

All the time.

Yep.

Every day.

Author:  Trailsend [ Mon May 23, 2011 7:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Problem with Conlanging

Shrdlu wrote:
ekobor wrote:
Vardelm wrote:
Ashroot wrote:
Have you ever looked around you and noticed how hopelessly mediocre people can be?

All the time.

Yep.

Every day.

Nope.

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