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195263Re: On Creating Altlangs

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  • Jörg Rhiemeier
    Feb 21, 2013
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      Hallo conlangers!

      On Thursday 21 February 2013 11:20:03 R A Brown wrote:

      > I'm away from home & having to use webmail, so formatting
      > may not be brilliant.

      Never mind. It came out OK.

      > On 20.02.2013 23:01, BPJ wrote:
      > > On 2013-02-19 20:39, R A Brown wrote:
      > [snip]
      > >>> Amen! I had to fudge the sound changes, especially the
      > >>> vowel changes, *a lot* when I was doing Roman Germanech
      > >>> because Common West Germanic is quite far away from
      > >>> Vulgar Latin in terms of phonology!
      > >>
      > >> Always a problem for bogolangers. :)
      > >
      > > But that's what allows them to break out of the
      > > bogosphere and into the altosphere (yes, intentiontally
      > > ambiguous coinage!)
      > _May_ allow them if:
      > 1. the situation is a plausible one, e.g. applying Bantu
      > phonological developments to Vulgar Latin is IMHO not a
      > plausible scenario and no altlang, as I understand the word,
      > will result.
      > 2. the conlanger has the nous to allow such a break in a
      > plausible situation.


      > > so it's actually a good thing.
      > Not necessarily IMO. Some bogolangs I've seen remain
      > bogolangs & do not cross the threshold into the altosphere.

      I have seen several bogolangs that were broken beyond repair,
      usually starting with an utterly implausible scenario (often
      involving Roman mercenaries in Africa, China or wherever).

      A common failure mode of bogolangs is to ignore those phonemes
      of the starting language which are not covered by the GMP because
      the language the GMP is based on does not have them, and leave
      them unchanged in the midst of the turmoil.

      > [snip]
      > > yet you generally need to peg even an
      > >
      > > altlang on something, like what features of English and
      > > Welsh are areal/Sprachbund features which perhaps could
      > > have existed in a Brittanno-Romance language. It's
      > > still essentially the same beast -- langauge A on
      > > language B's turf,
      > No - that is not the same as applying, say, Welsh or Irish or
      > Germanic diachronic sound changes to Vulgar Latin. AIUI a
      > bogolang is produced by:
      > 1. taking language A;
      > 2. forming a "master plan" from the diachronic sound of language B;
      > 3. applying the "master plan" to language A.

      Yes, that's how the word _bogolang_ is usually defined.

      > That is *not* the way I would develop, say, a Britanno-Romance lang.

      Indeed not!

      My Hesperic family, a family of European lostlangs meant to
      represent the residues of a Neolithic European language family,
      will not contain *any* bogolangs. Some of the languages are
      *inspired* by the phonologies of Indo-European languages of the
      relevant region, which I justify by assuming areal influences
      being in play, and some parallels in the sound changes occur
      here or there (for instance, Proto-Alpianic has undergone a
      consonant shift not unlike the High German consonant shift
      - in its complete and thorough form as found in Swiss German,
      complete with velar affricates - but it is not the same shift,
      starting, to mention one point, with *three* grades of stops
      rather than two in German, and many other things, such as the
      vowels, have developed in utterly different ways), and there will
      be three Albic languages showing some resemblance to Welsh, Irish
      and Quenya respectively, but even those won't be bogolangs. It is
      infinitely more realistic and especially more *fun* to develop
      your own sound changes than to apply those of an existing language
      to another language!

      Geoff Eddy, author of Breathanach, had a conlang family, named
      "Sunovian", which seemed to involve a great degree of bogolanging,
      applying sound changes of various IE languages and of Quenya to
      an a priori proto-language.

      > > with the difference that one tries
      > > to create something which *might* have evolved under
      > > normal conditions of language evolution as we know them
      > > by humans like us, as opposed to something that absolutely
      > > *could not* have so evolved.
      > Of course.

      Yes. Some artlangs could never have so evolved. Of course, this
      does not necessarily mean that the language was a bad artlang, if
      the motivation is not one of realism. But an altlang or a lostlang
      must be crafted in a way that one can say, "Yes, this language
      could have evolved that way", otherwise it is a failure.

      > > My own Rhodrese is a case in point: it started out
      > > decades ago as my 'ideal' mix between French and
      > > Italian, which was certainly not realistic:
      > I'm not sure what "ideal" means in that context.

      Nor am I. Ideal things live on a separate tier of existence
      which in turn only exists in the mind of Platonists ;)

      > As this was a dialect _continuum_ from Sicily to Picardy, there
      > was in reality a whole band of "mix between French and Italian"
      > languages. Some may well still survive despite attempts of schools
      > to impose the national languages of the two countries within their
      > national borders.

      Yep. The dialects of northern Italy, I have been told, show
      many features where they are closer to Gallo-Romance than to
      Standard Italian.

      > essentially
      > [snip]
      > > An altlang without side-glances on what actually grew
      > > up in the same soil is just an arbitrary a-posteriori
      > > conlang of indeterminate plausibility, and one which
      > > does make such side-glances runs the risk of becoming a
      > > parody of the thing glanced at,
      > It does run such a risk, if the side glances are not checked
      > and kept in balance. As I've observed before, I think Brithenig
      > paid undue attention to Welsh, including...

      It did.

      > > unless it is spiced up
      > > with something which is probably implausible.
      > ...the implausible (IMO) spelling of [v] as _f_ in a Romancelang.

      Yes. Romance spelling is largely etymological, and you'd only
      get _f_ for /v/ if you have a /f/ > /v/ rule, which Brithenig
      IMHO doesn't have. (Not that I'd have a clue how _f_ ended up
      representing /v/ in Welsh, though.)

      > Implausibility may add spice, but then the thing passes from the
      > altosphere into the artosphere.


      > > Neither
      > > is that much of an improvement over the bogolang unless
      > > one keeps in mind that the main goal of conlanging is
      > > aesthetic gratification and learning about Language,
      > Is it? I agree with "learning about language", but is all
      > conlanging about "aesthetic gratification"? Some auxlangers
      > may want a result that is aesthetically pleasing, but I am not
      > convinced that they all do. I'm not certain that aesthetics are
      > a prime concern of engelangers.

      Head on. Aesthetic gratification is a goal in many (but not
      all) artlangs; Tolkien's Elvish languages are a case in point.
      It is less of a concern of engelangers (who strive for a more
      rational notion of "elegance"), or of auxlangers.

      > Aesthetic considerations certainly do not play any part in TAKE; it
      > was just an experiment in trying to produce an "ancient Greek without
      > inflexions." Nor I convinced that way back in the 17th century Dr
      > Outis
      > was concerned with aesthetics any more than his near contemporary
      > Philippe
      > Labbé was.


      > Ray.

      ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
      "Bêsel asa Éam, a Éam atha cvanthal a cvanth atha Éamal." - SiM 1:1
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