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195268Re: On Creating Altlangs

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  • BPJ
    Feb 21, 2013
      On 2013-02-21 11:20, carolandray+ray wrote:
      > I'm away from home & having to use webmail, so formatting
      > may not be brilliant.
      >
      > 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.

      OK, I should have added "if the scenario isn't all too outrageous.

      > 2. the conlanger has the nous to allow such a break in a
      > plausible situation.

      OK, so maybe I'm expecting to much of the average newbie,
      but essentially I agree with these points.

      >
      >> 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.

      Surely. Did I say otherwise? "Allow" and "make" ain't the same thing.

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

      No, but strictly speaking such a language, had it
      existed, might or might not have any similarities to
      Welsh or English at all; there is simply no way to
      know, although the lack of influence from Gaulish in
      French or from Brittonic in English makes "might not"
      seem the safer guess. I see nothing wrong in donning a
      Montesquieuan hat as a design strategy in doing an
      altlang or a bogolang, but it's as arbitrary in either
      case, the difference being that the 'weak' areal
      traits/sprachbund version may actually produce
      something plausible. However something entirely
      arbitrary, on the "sound changes I like" principle,
      might be just as plausible. I actually created Rhodrese
      on that principle, and it just turned out as something
      which might possibly, if not probably, have arosen in
      Gaul, so I located it there after the fact.

      >
      >> 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.
      >
      >> 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.

      Note the scare quotes! My personal predilections which my
      youthful self regarded as 'ideal'. I was clear about the
      subjectivity, but not about the semantics of "ideal"! :-)

      >
      > 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.
      > essentially

      Several Gallo-Italian varieties live on to varying degrees
      in the Alpine valleys of Italy, where the school system's
      attitude to how the students speak out of class seems much
      more relaxed than (it traditionally was) in France
      <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vergonha>.

      I see now that the particular mix of features of my
      youthful "Roumain" (sic!), high mid diphthongization
      *and* lack of intervocalic lenition, may perhaps be
      found "sur la côte Sud-Est de l'Italie, depuis Molfetta
      jusque dans l'intérieur des Abruzzes" which is an _ei_
      area, but it still doesn't seem very interesting to my
      present self. Something like the current Rhodrese --
      **minus** i-umlaut -- is perhaps more *plausible* to
      actually (have) exist(ed) somewhere in the continuum,
      but it's not more *likely* in any way. First and last
      its only raison d'être is as a reflection of my
      personal lámatyáve, but I do also wish for it to
      possess a modicum of plausibility which "Roumain"
      didn't. There's no telling how my self thirty years
      into the future will judge it of course.

      > [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...
      >
      >> unless it is spiced up
      >> with something which is probably implausible.
      >
      > ...the implausible (IMO) spelling of [v] as _f_ in a Romancelang.
      > Implausibility may add spice, but then the thing passes from the
      > altosphere into the artosphere.

      Yes, at least unless VL /f/ were regularly lenited to
      /v/, but then intervocalic /f/ was rather rare in
      Latin. Actually a Britanno-Romance which coexisted with
      Old English could have picked up the _f_ == [v] mapping
      from OE; not very likely but possible.

      I'd say spelling is a rather superficial aspect. I
      don't think the way Rhodrese uses the digraphs _ch gh
      gn gl tx_ makes it anymore like Italian, Rumantsch or
      Basque *as a language*, but nor do I think that the
      presence or lack of linguistic similarity makes it more
      or less likely that it would have those spellings
      either, though its chosen geographical and cultural
      position, and the way Latin GN, C'L and X developed and
      some back vowels after /k g/ ended up as front vowels
      in the language, might.

      >
      >> 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.
      >
      > 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.

      Perhaps not if you equate "aesthetic" with "beauty". I
      don't. I think there is always an element of
      consideration of artistic impact and appearance. How
      much and in what way may differ of course, as do the
      relevant preferences and concerns of the author and the
      perceived audience. Surely even the most cacophonous
      and/or mechanical engelang somehow reflects the
      artistic preferences and sensibilities of its author,
      or it would turn out differently. All engelangs I've
      seen have some sort of 'aesthetic coherence', as does
      the Black Speech which Tolkien meant to reflect his
      idea of ugliness (it isn't phonaesthetically or
      'morphoaesthetically' ugly to me, but the idea
      expressed in its main extant text is no more or less
      repulsive for that!)

      /bpj
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