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Conworld: Reconstructing a "lost" language

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  • Gary Shannon
    Suppose that the lost continent of Atlantis was for real... Suppose that the languages around the Atlantic rim were influenced in one way or another by the
    Message 1 of 28 , Mar 21, 2010
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      Suppose that the lost continent of Atlantis was for real...
      Suppose that the languages around the Atlantic rim were influenced in
      one way or another by the lost language of Atlantis, either borrowing
      grammatical principles or adopting loan words or place names from
      Atlantean...

      Ignoring real historical linguistics, what kind of imaginary
      con-historical linguistic reconstruction could be made of the lost
      language of Atlantis?

      Regardless of being an entirely fictitious reconstruction, it should
      nonetheless have a semblance of something that at least looks like
      logic behind it. It could, in other words, be based on surface
      commonalities or apparent commonalities among languages of the
      Atlantic rim.

      An obvious trivial example is the occurrence of "ATL" in "ATLantis",
      "ATLantic", the ATLas Mountains of North Africa, the kATLa Volcano of
      southern Iceland, the azATLan of central America, perhaps AThLone in
      Ireland, mATLock in U.K. (yes, that's stretching it, but it IS a
      fictional reconstruction so more latitude has to be allowed). From
      that some imagined meaning is given to "atl" from which a
      semi-plausible argument can be made for the meaning of those place
      names. Finally, when enough root forms from proto-Atlantean are
      "recovered", then some kind of grammar could be "discovered" using
      similar "reasoning", until one could actually begin to speak the
      finally recovered lost language of Atlantis.

      It might even be a fun sort of collaborative project with people
      contributing their discovered "derivations" to a wiki-type web site.
      :) Imagine how exciting it would be to discover the link between the
      Florida city of Tamarac" and the Hebrew "tamara" (palm tree). Clearly
      the Hebrew language borrowed the Atlantean word for palm tree, since
      it also shows up at an American coastal location well endowed with
      palm trees. (Ignore that fact that the Florida city was named in 1960
      and the name "Tamarac" was coined by a local businessman, since the
      Atlantean origin makes a better story.)

      --gary
    • Roger Mills
      ... I m sure it would become an instant internet hit , right up there with Latvian/Hungarian/whatever as the source of all the world s languages :-)))) ...
      Message 2 of 28 , Mar 21, 2010
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        On Sun, 21 Mar 2010 12:07:27 -0700, Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...> wrote:

        >It might even be a fun sort of collaborative project with people
        >contributing their discovered "derivations" to a wiki-type web site.
        >:)

        I'm sure it would become an instant internet "hit", right up there with
        Latvian/Hungarian/whatever as the source of all the world's languages :-))))

        >Imagine how exciting it would be to discover the link between the
        >Florida city of Tamarac" and the Hebrew "tamara" (palm tree). Clearly
        >the Hebrew language borrowed the Atlantean word for palm tree.....

        Tamarack is also a tree, a deciduous (!) conifer.... see Google.
      • Calculator Ftvb
        That would be awesomely fun. I would love to participate. :-) ... *Larix laricina* — maybe it should be *ATLarix laricina*. ;-) —Calculator Ftvb
        Message 3 of 28 , Mar 21, 2010
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          That would be awesomely fun. I would love to participate. :-)

          On 21 March 2010 15:34, Roger Mills <romiltz@...> wrote:

          > On Sun, 21 Mar 2010 12:07:27 -0700, Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>
          > wrote:
          >
          > >It might even be a fun sort of collaborative project with people
          > >contributing their discovered "derivations" to a wiki-type web site.
          > >:)
          >
          > I'm sure it would become an instant internet "hit", right up there with
          > Latvian/Hungarian/whatever as the source of all the world's languages
          > :-))))
          >
          > >Imagine how exciting it would be to discover the link between the
          > >Florida city of Tamarac" and the Hebrew "tamara" (palm tree). Clearly
          > >the Hebrew language borrowed the Atlantean word for palm tree.....
          >
          > Tamarack is also a tree, a deciduous (!) conifer.... see Google.
          >
          *Larix laricina* — maybe it should be *ATLarix laricina*. ;-)

          —Calculator Ftvb
        • R A Brown
          ... When I read this, vague memories were stirred somewhere deep down in my memory banks. I have a feeling I came across something similar way back in the
          Message 4 of 28 , Mar 22, 2010
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            Gary Shannon wrote:
            > Suppose that the lost continent of Atlantis was for real...
            > Suppose that the languages around the Atlantic rim were influenced in
            > one way or another by the lost language of Atlantis, either borrowing
            > grammatical principles or adopting loan words or place names from
            > Atlantean...

            When I read this, vague memories were stirred somewhere deep
            down in my memory banks. I have a feeling I came across
            something similar way back in the pre-Internet days when one
            read books. Of course the guy was doing a serious 'suppose'
            - not a collaborative conlang game - but, alas, I don't
            recall any details.

            I tried a quick search on Google, but kept coming across
            Marc Okrand's Atlantean, which takes a rather different
            approach. I did, however, come across this which might be of
            interest:
            http://www.atlantisquest.com/Linguistics.html

            It might at least be an interesting starting point.
            ==============================================

            Roger Mills wrote:
            > On Sun, 21 Mar 2010 12:07:27 -0700, Gary Shannon
            <fiziwig@...> wrote:
            >
            >> It might even be a fun sort of collaborative project
            with people
            >> contributing their discovered "derivations" to a
            wiki-type web site.
            >> :)
            >
            > I'm sure it would become an instant internet "hit", right
            up there with
            > Latvian/Hungarian/whatever as the source of all the
            world's languages :-))))

            Come on! We all know it was Basque :-)))))

            On a more serious note - there was (still is?) a website
            maintained by some guy who purported to show that Basque was
            humankind's protolanguage. I tried find to find it. Is it
            still there? Does anyone know its URL?

            --
            Ray
            ==================================
            http://www.carolandray.plus.com
            ==================================
            Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
            There's none too old to learn.
            [WELSH PROVERB]
          • Krista Casada
            Stephen Lawhead s Pendragon Cycle does a bit of this. Charis was the princess of Atlantis. ... From: R A Brown Date: Monday, March
            Message 5 of 28 , Mar 22, 2010
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              Stephen Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle does a bit of this. Charis was the princess of Atlantis.

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: R A Brown <ray@...>
              Date: Monday, March 22, 2010 2:40 am
              Subject: Re: Conworld: Reconstructing a "lost" language
              To: CONLANG@...

              > Gary Shannon wrote:
              > > Suppose that the lost continent of Atlantis was for real...
              > > Suppose that the languages around the Atlantic rim were
              > influenced in
              > > one way or another by the lost language of Atlantis, either
              > borrowing> grammatical principles or adopting loan words or place
              > names from
              > > Atlantean...
              >
              > When I read this, vague memories were stirred somewhere deep
              > down in my memory banks. I have a feeling I came across
              > something similar way back in the pre-Internet days when one
              > read books. Of course the guy was doing a serious 'suppose'
              > - not a collaborative conlang game - but, alas, I don't
              > recall any details.
              >
              > I tried a quick search on Google, but kept coming across
              > Marc Okrand's Atlantean, which takes a rather different
              > approach. I did, however, come across this which might be of
              > interest:
              > http://www.atlantisquest.com/Linguistics.html
              >
              > It might at least be an interesting starting point.
              > ==============================================
              >
              > Roger Mills wrote:
              > > On Sun, 21 Mar 2010 12:07:27 -0700, Gary Shannon
              > <fiziwig@...> wrote:
              > >
              > >> It might even be a fun sort of collaborative project
              > with people
              > >> contributing their discovered "derivations" to a
              > wiki-type web site.
              > >> :)
              > >
              > > I'm sure it would become an instant internet "hit", right
              > up there with
              > > Latvian/Hungarian/whatever as the source of all the
              > world's languages :-))))
              >
              > Come on! We all know it was Basque :-)))))
              >
              > On a more serious note - there was (still is?) a website
              > maintained by some guy who purported to show that Basque was
              > humankind's protolanguage. I tried find to find it. Is it
              > still there? Does anyone know its URL?
              >
              > --
              > Ray
              > ==================================
              > http://www.carolandray.plus.com
              > ==================================
              > Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
              > There's none too old to learn.
              > [WELSH PROVERB]
              >
            • Gary Shannon
              That link is an amusing collection of wild conjectures, like the Atlantean origin of Cro-Magnon man. :) --gary
              Message 6 of 28 , Mar 22, 2010
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                That link is an amusing collection of wild conjectures, like the
                Atlantean origin of Cro-Magnon man. :)

                --gary

                On Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 12:41 AM, R A Brown <ray@...> wrote:

                > I tried a quick search on Google, but kept coming across Marc Okrand's
                > Atlantean, which takes a rather different approach. I did, however, come
                > across this which might be of interest:
                > http://www.atlantisquest.com/Linguistics.html
                >
                > It might at least be an interesting starting point.
              • R A Brown
                ... Oh, yes, I agree completely. I merely thought it might be an interesting starting point for the reconstructing game. I would never advocate it as a
                Message 7 of 28 , Mar 22, 2010
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                  Gary Shannon wrote:
                  > That link is an amusing collection of wild conjectures, like the
                  > Atlantean origin of Cro-Magnon man. :)


                  Oh, yes, I agree completely. I merely thought it might be
                  an interesting starting point for the reconstructing game.
                  I would never advocate it as a starting point for a serious
                  reconstruction of a protolanguage.

                  > On Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 12:41 AM, R A Brown <ray@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >> I tried a quick search on Google, but kept coming across Marc Okrand's
                  >> Atlantean, which takes a rather different approach. I did, however, come
                  >> across this which might be of interest:
                  >> http://www.atlantisquest.com/Linguistics.html
                  >>
                  >> It might at least be an interesting starting point.

                  --
                  Ray
                  ==================================
                  http://www.carolandray.plus.com
                  ==================================
                  Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
                  There's none too old to learn.
                  [WELSH PROVERB]
                • Gary Shannon
                  ... There s nothing serious about this proposed project. It s meant to be bogus right from the start. :) --gary
                  Message 8 of 28 , Mar 22, 2010
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                    On Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 12:30 PM, R A Brown <ray@...> wrote:
                    > Gary Shannon wrote:
                    >>
                    >> That link is an amusing collection of wild conjectures, like the
                    >> Atlantean origin of Cro-Magnon man. :)
                    >
                    >
                    > Oh, yes, I agree completely.  I merely thought it might be an interesting
                    > starting point for the reconstructing game. I would never advocate it as a
                    > starting point for a serious reconstruction of a protolanguage.
                    >

                    There's nothing serious about this proposed project. It's meant to be
                    bogus right from the start. :)

                    --gary
                  • Adam Walker
                    Of course Atlantis, in the sense you mean it, is just a fiction confected by some semi-delerious Egyptian priest (We all know what *they* can be like!) to
                    Message 9 of 28 , Mar 22, 2010
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                      Of course Atlantis, in the sense you mean it, is just a fiction confected by
                      some semi-delerious Egyptian priest (We all know what *they* can be like!)
                      to entertain Plato's papa. However the name was a wonderfully natural
                      choice for the discoveries made by Christoffa Corombo while searching for
                      India to the glory of the Crown of Aquitània. Someday there could even be a
                      United States of Atlantis!


                      Adam


                      On Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 2:44 PM, Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...> wrote:

                      > On Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 12:30 PM, R A Brown <ray@...>
                      > wrote:
                      > > Gary Shannon wrote:
                      > >>
                      > >> That link is an amusing collection of wild conjectures, like the
                      > >> Atlantean origin of Cro-Magnon man. :)
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Oh, yes, I agree completely. I merely thought it might be an interesting
                      > > starting point for the reconstructing game. I would never advocate it as
                      > a
                      > > starting point for a serious reconstruction of a protolanguage.
                      > >
                      >
                      > There's nothing serious about this proposed project. It's meant to be
                      > bogus right from the start. :)
                      >
                      > --gary
                      >



                      --
                      Vote for TIM URBAN as the next American Idol!
                    • Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
                      ... This is actually kind of the idea behind my Astou. Astou was the language spoken on the lost Ulda bi Dhaotid be, my version of Atlantis (as in, it was an
                      Message 10 of 28 , Mar 23, 2010
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                        On 21 March 2010 20:07, Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...> wrote:

                        > Suppose that the lost continent of Atlantis was for real...
                        > Suppose that the languages around the Atlantic rim were influenced in
                        > one way or another by the lost language of Atlantis, either borrowing
                        > grammatical principles or adopting loan words or place names from
                        > Atlantean...
                        >
                        > Ignoring real historical linguistics, what kind of imaginary
                        > con-historical linguistic reconstruction could be made of the lost
                        > language of Atlantis?
                        >
                        >
                        This is actually kind of the idea behind my Astou. Astou was the language
                        spoken on the lost Ulda bi Dhaotid be, my version of Atlantis (as in, it was
                        an island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, was technologically and
                        socially advanced, but fell due to war against a similarly advanced
                        civilisation based on a continent in the middle of the Pacific ocean I
                        called Mu). In terms of grammar, Astou had a relatively European nominal
                        morphology (3 genders, 4 cases, singular-dual-plural, adjectives agreeing
                        with their heads, nominative alignment) but a somewhat American
                        (polysynthetic) verbal morphology (well, as much as I understood it in that
                        time, so basically it is relatively analytic with lots of affixes for
                        various participants of the clause and other things like tense, aspect,
                        etc...). It also featured its own peculiarities (a postfixed definite
                        article that cancels noun declension and a person system that completely
                        eschews the habitual 1st-2nd-3rd person separation in favour of a
                        ego/non-ego distinction), and had a mostly a priori vocabulary (with only
                        some items looking like words from other languages). It wasn't a
                        "reconstruction" though, just an a priori naturalistic conlang with some
                        basic design principles that it should look like something "in between"
                        European and American.

                        I've been meaning to come back to that conlang, as it deserves some kind of
                        a reboot (I was young when I designed it, and it shows), but I lack the
                        time...
                        --
                        Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets.

                        http://christophoronomicon.blogspot.com/
                        http://www.christophoronomicon.nl/
                      • Jörg Rhiemeier
                        Hallo! ... Indeed not. Atlantis is an unknown entity that cannot be used to explain anything. Rather, it calls itself for an explanation. If we are going to
                        Message 11 of 28 , Mar 23, 2010
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                          Hallo!

                          On Mon, 22 Mar 2010 19:30:20 +0000, R A Brown wrote:

                          > Gary Shannon wrote:
                          > > That link is an amusing collection of wild conjectures, like the
                          > > Atlantean origin of Cro-Magnon man. :)
                          >
                          >
                          > Oh, yes, I agree completely. I merely thought it might be
                          > an interesting starting point for the reconstructing game.
                          > I would never advocate it as a starting point for a serious
                          > reconstruction of a protolanguage.

                          Indeed not. Atlantis is an unknown entity that cannot be used to
                          explain anything. Rather, it calls itself for an explanation.

                          If we are going to make a fictional language for a pseudoscientific
                          Donnellyesque lost continent and mother of all civilizations, there
                          is no reason to restrict ourselves to a reconstruction respecting
                          the rules of the trade of real-world historical linguistics. After
                          all, when we try to travel that road stony, steep and narrow, we can
                          go on forever and get nowhere.

                          Instead, we can indulge ourselves in pseudoscientific speculation,
                          without giving a damn on regular sound correspondences and all that.
                          Heck, we can even flout such facts as that the many Nahuatl words
                          ending in _-atl_ do so because _-tl_ is a common grammatical ending
                          in that language! Man, they even have a word _atlatl_, now referring
                          to a simple spear throwing device, but it may once have referred to
                          an Atlantean rocket launcher or some other kind of high-tech weaponry!
                          And bring in Lemuria and Mu as well for extra fun!

                          BTW, on a more serious note, I have a hunch that there is more than
                          just a philosophical fiction behind Plato's tale. The real Atlantis
                          could have been a lost civilization in the British Isles, which is
                          also reflected in the Celtic and Germanic traditions of Elves as well
                          as the Greek myth of the Hyperboreans. This civilization is also the
                          subject of my main conlanging project - Old Albic could have been
                          their language. But I would not call that a scholarly reconstruction;
                          I prefer speaking of a "re-creation" which takes what little we know
                          about pre-Celtic languages of northwestern Europe into account, but
                          expands on that - very meagre - knowledge speculatively.

                          --
                          ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
                          http://www.joerg-rhiemeier.de/Conlang/index.html
                        • Benct Philip Jonsson
                          This reminds me of my youthful fooleries: /BP
                          Message 12 of 28 , Mar 24, 2010
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                            This reminds me of my youthful fooleries:

                            <http://listserv.brown.edu/archives/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0810C&L=CONLANG&P=R2>

                            /BP

                            Jörg Rhiemeier skrev:
                            > Hallo!
                            >
                            > On Mon, 22 Mar 2010 19:30:20 +0000, R A Brown wrote:
                            >
                            >> Gary Shannon wrote:
                            >>> That link is an amusing collection of wild conjectures, like the
                            >>> Atlantean origin of Cro-Magnon man. :)
                            >>
                            >> Oh, yes, I agree completely. I merely thought it might be
                            >> an interesting starting point for the reconstructing game.
                            >> I would never advocate it as a starting point for a serious
                            >> reconstruction of a protolanguage.
                            >
                            > Indeed not. Atlantis is an unknown entity that cannot be used to
                            > explain anything. Rather, it calls itself for an explanation.
                            >
                            > If we are going to make a fictional language for a pseudoscientific
                            > Donnellyesque lost continent and mother of all civilizations, there
                            > is no reason to restrict ourselves to a reconstruction respecting
                            > the rules of the trade of real-world historical linguistics. After
                            > all, when we try to travel that road stony, steep and narrow, we can
                            > go on forever and get nowhere.
                            >
                            > Instead, we can indulge ourselves in pseudoscientific speculation,
                            > without giving a damn on regular sound correspondences and all that.
                            > Heck, we can even flout such facts as that the many Nahuatl words
                            > ending in _-atl_ do so because _-tl_ is a common grammatical ending
                            > in that language! Man, they even have a word _atlatl_, now referring
                            > to a simple spear throwing device, but it may once have referred to
                            > an Atlantean rocket launcher or some other kind of high-tech weaponry!
                            > And bring in Lemuria and Mu as well for extra fun!
                            >
                            > BTW, on a more serious note, I have a hunch that there is more than
                            > just a philosophical fiction behind Plato's tale. The real Atlantis
                            > could have been a lost civilization in the British Isles, which is
                            > also reflected in the Celtic and Germanic traditions of Elves as well
                            > as the Greek myth of the Hyperboreans. This civilization is also the
                            > subject of my main conlanging project - Old Albic could have been
                            > their language. But I would not call that a scholarly reconstruction;
                            > I prefer speaking of a "re-creation" which takes what little we know
                            > about pre-Celtic languages of northwestern Europe into account, but
                            > expands on that - very meagre - knowledge speculatively.
                            >
                            > --
                            > ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
                            > http://www.joerg-rhiemeier.de/Conlang/index.html
                            >
                          • Andreas Johansson
                            ... Your foolery reminds me of some older but less youthful pseudo-science I read of recently: http://www.thecimmerian.com/?p=11152 (The relevant bit begins a
                            Message 13 of 28 , Mar 24, 2010
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                              On Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 6:01 PM, Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...> wrote:
                              > This reminds me of my youthful fooleries:
                              >
                              > <http://listserv.brown.edu/archives/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0810C&L=CONLANG&P=R2>


                              Your foolery reminds me of some older but less youthful pseudo-science
                              I read of recently:

                              http://www.thecimmerian.com/?p=11152

                              (The relevant bit begins a few paragraphs in, with the ideas of Spence.)


                              --
                              Andreas Johansson

                              Why can't you be a non-conformist just like everybody else?
                            • Benct Philip Jonsson
                              ... BTW I neglected to link to the follow-up about the more linguistic aspects of my foolery, and the revised version with a pre-desertation Saharan location
                              Message 14 of 28 , Mar 25, 2010
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                                Andreas Johansson skrev:
                                > On Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 6:01 PM, Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...> wrote:
                                >> This reminds me of my youthful fooleries:
                                >>
                                >> <http://listserv.brown.edu/archives/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0810C&L=CONLANG&P=R2>
                                >
                                >
                                > Your foolery reminds me of some older but less youthful pseudo-science
                                > I read of recently:
                                >
                                > http://www.thecimmerian.com/?p=11152
                                >
                                > (The relevant bit begins a few paragraphs in, with the ideas of Spence.)
                                >
                                >

                                BTW I neglected to link to the follow-up about the more
                                linguistic aspects of my foolery, and the revised
                                version with a pre-desertation Saharan location for
                                Atlantis:

                                <http://listserv.brown.edu/archives/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0810C&L=CONLANG&D=0&P=4390>

                                BTW the idea of potentially immortal but sterile
                                hybrids behind mythological beings had a strange grip
                                on me. I recycled it with a human/alien setting a
                                rather long time later, in my late twenties and
                                therearound, using mutations carried by viruses as an
                                "explanation" for humans and aliens being able to
                                interbreed in the first place -- neglecting that that
                                would probably presuppose that human and alien
                                biochemistry be similar to begin with, and later
                                grafted it on Fred Hoyle's panspermia ideas.

                                <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panspermia>

                                I guess I took a long time growing up (and doubt that
                                I'm yet done! ;-). I hasten to add, in the interest of
                                NCNC, that I now neither accept nor reject any
                                hypothesis on the origin of life. Rather I'm an
                                agnostic on this and on most things these days. That
                                includes (pre)history. The further back we go the
                                preserved data becomes an increasingly smaller fraction
                                of the whole picture as it once was, and the more
                                insecire it becomes to draw any conclusions from them.
                                This dawned on me when I realized or read somewhere
                                that prehistorical languages like PIE may have had any
                                number of features not preserved in any of their
                                daughters, and so any reconstruction is by necessity
                                partial, so that any description/analysis of the
                                protolang qua system is almost bound fraught with
                                errors, i.e. the more synthesis you apply to a
                                reconstruction, the more of a conlang it becomes! I now
                                believe that applies to (pre)history in general: the
                                further back you go, and the more interpetation you
                                apply, the more fictional it becomes. This is not to say
                                that it should not be done, but that one must be aware
                                of the implications. After all it takes a lot of
                                knowledge and dicipline not to be anachronistic even
                                when dealing with (or forging!) rather recent history!

                                /BP
                              • R A Brown
                                ... [snip] ... This is very true and seems to me often overlooked. If we had no knowledge of Classical Latin, there is no way we could reconstruct from
                                Message 15 of 28 , Mar 25, 2010
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                                  Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:
                                  > Andreas Johansson skrev:
                                  [snip]
                                  > This dawned on me when I realized or read somewhere
                                  > that prehistorical languages like PIE may have had any
                                  > number of features not preserved in any of their
                                  > daughters, and so any reconstruction is by necessity
                                  > partial,

                                  This is very true and seems to me often overlooked. If we
                                  had no knowledge of Classical Latin, there is no way we
                                  could reconstruct from Romance languages anything resembling
                                  what spoken Latin must have been like earlier in the Empire
                                  or in the Republic the preceded it.

                                  > so that any description/analysis of the
                                  > protolang qua system is almost bound fraught with
                                  > errors, i.e. the more synthesis you apply to a
                                  > reconstruction, the more of a conlang it becomes!

                                  Exactly! During my lifetime I have come across 'texts'
                                  supposed written in some reconstruction or other of PIE.
                                  They are, of course, essentially conlang texts.

                                  > I now
                                  > believe that applies to (pre)history in general: the
                                  > further back you go, and the more interpetation you
                                  > apply, the more fictional it becomes.

                                  I agree. It must do, as far as I can see.

                                  > This is not to say
                                  > that it should not be done, but that one must be aware
                                  > of the implications.

                                  Exactly - the exercise should, of course, be attempted - but
                                  we must always be aware of the limitations of our knowledge.

                                  > After all it takes a lot of
                                  > knowledge and dicipline not to be anachronistic even
                                  > when dealing with (or forging!) rather recent history!

                                  It does indeed!

                                  Fortunately, however, the "lost" language that it is
                                  proposed to reconstruct is acknowledged to be a fiction and
                                  the reconstruction to be a fun exercise. But IMO Philip's
                                  words pertinent to any who are minded to do any serious
                                  reconstruction.

                                  --
                                  Ray
                                  ==================================
                                  http://www.carolandray.plus.com
                                  ==================================
                                  Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
                                  There's none too old to learn.
                                  [WELSH PROVERB]
                                • Charlie
                                  ... I have always been interested in what I call royal genealogies, the genealogies of sovereign dynasties. I have a huge collection of them which I
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Mar 25, 2010
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                                    > > Andreas Johansson skrev:
                                    > > I now believe that applies to (pre)history in general: the further
                                    > > back you go, and the more interpetation you apply, the more
                                    > > fictional it becomes.

                                    I have always been interested in what I call "royal genealogies," the genealogies of sovereign dynasties. I have a huge collection of them which I gathered from many hours in libraries. This was before PC's!

                                    I've always thought that, the farther back in time one goes, the less certain one can really be of who begat whom!

                                    Charlie
                                  • John Vertical
                                    ... Do you have any particular features in mind? I ve usually seen reference to loss of things like vocabulary items, cases, and /h/. It seems many of these
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Mar 25, 2010
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                                      On Thu, 25 Mar 2010 10:55:00 +0000, R A Brown wrote:
                                      >If we had no knowledge of Classical Latin, there is no way we
                                      >could reconstruct from Romance languages anything resembling
                                      >what spoken Latin must have been like earlier in the Empire
                                      >or in the Republic the preceded it.

                                      Do you have any particular features in mind? I've usually seen reference to
                                      loss of things like vocabulary items, cases, and /h/. It seems many of these
                                      could still be reconstructed via PIE however and we'd only be in the blank
                                      on when exactly something was lost. And if we'd allow for evidence of other
                                      Italic languages, even better.

                                      (I get that this isn't the methodological point, I'm just wondering about
                                      the example of Latin in particular.)


                                      >> I now
                                      >> believe that applies to (pre)history in general: the
                                      >> further back you go, and the more interpetation you
                                      >> apply, the more fictional it becomes.
                                      >
                                      >I agree. It must do, as far as I can see.

                                      Shouldn't that be simply "less certain"? An individual scholar or school
                                      thereof might make some overconfident statements, but that shouldn't be
                                      confused (even if it commonly is) with our actual state of knoledge of the past.

                                      "Fiction" just reads too close to "conscious fabrication" to me.

                                      John Vertical
                                    • R A Brown
                                      ... Well, there s no way the case system could have been reconstructed accurately, even allowing for PIE (which, in this instance is cheating - see below).
                                      Message 18 of 28 , Mar 25, 2010
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                                        John Vertical wrote:
                                        > On Thu, 25 Mar 2010 10:55:00 +0000, R A Brown wrote:
                                        >> If we had no knowledge of Classical Latin, there is no way we
                                        >> could reconstruct from Romance languages anything resembling
                                        >> what spoken Latin must have been like earlier in the Empire
                                        >> or in the Republic the preceded it.
                                        >
                                        > Do you have any particular features in mind? I've usually seen reference to
                                        > loss of things like vocabulary items, cases, and /h/.

                                        Well, there's no way the case system could have been
                                        reconstructed accurately, even allowing for PIE (which, in
                                        this instance is "cheating" - see below). We might well have
                                        assumed a four-case system (nom., acc., gen., dat.) as in
                                        Germanic and ancient Greek. There's no way we could have
                                        been more precise.

                                        Nor, as far as I can see, could we possibly have known about
                                        the 4th & 5th declension patterns which are probably not
                                        just constructs of the literary language but had some sort
                                        of existence at one time in the spoken language.

                                        There is also, as far as I can see, no way that the various
                                        future tense formations of Latin could have been reconstructed.

                                        > It seems many of these
                                        > could still be reconstructed via PIE however and we'd only be in the blank
                                        > on when exactly something was lost.

                                        Quite - we'd have blanks. We might well have assumed Latin
                                        distinguished only past and non-past, in Germanic & ancient
                                        Greek (the "future" of the latter is aspectual), and that
                                        futures were developed only in proto-Romance.

                                        In the case of Latin, sure we could work forward from PIE
                                        and help fill in gaps. But in the case of PIE and many
                                        other proto-languages, we have no pre-proto-language to help us.

                                        > And if we'd allow for evidence of other
                                        > Italic languages, even better.

                                        Yes, other Italic languages would clearly have been used, as
                                        far as they were known; but there would have been gaps and a
                                        certain amount of intelligent guess work. But I did say
                                        reconstruction from the _Romance languages_ for a reason.

                                        When we try to reconstruct PIE we have AFAIK no daughter
                                        languages of PIE to help fill in the gaps, i.e. there's
                                        nothing comparable to the Italic languages if we had had to
                                        reconstruct Latin just from Romance.

                                        Perhaps I should have been clearer: there is no way that
                                        something close to what we know Latin to have been if all we
                                        had in order to reconstruct it were the Romance languages,
                                        i.e. no PIE and no Italic languages.

                                        When we try to reconstruct PIE or proto-Semitic or whatever
                                        we don't have the pre-proto-languages nor, generally, other
                                        related proto-languages.

                                        > (I get that this isn't the methodological point, I'm just wondering about
                                        > the example of Latin in particular.)

                                        Latin in particular because we have some sort of control
                                        language to set against any reconstruction that one would
                                        get if we had to re-construct an earlier proto-language just
                                        from the existing Romance languages _and nothing else_. The
                                        point is that many features of Latin were lost in the
                                        proto-Romance stage and there is no way they could be
                                        recovered by a reconstruction from the Romance languages alone.

                                        It may well be, as far as I can see, that some (many?)
                                        feature of the ancestral Indo-European language were
                                        similarly lost in the PIE stage as the language broke up
                                        into different dialects. That is why I agree entirely with
                                        BPJ's observation:
                                        "This dawned on me when I realized or read somewhere
                                        that prehistorical languages like PIE may have had any
                                        number of features not preserved in any of their
                                        daughters, and so any reconstruction is by necessity
                                        partial, so that any description/analysis of the
                                        protolang qua system is almost bound fraught with
                                        errors, i.e. the more synthesis you apply to a
                                        reconstruction, the more of a conlang it becomes!"

                                        >>> I now
                                        >>> believe that applies to (pre)history in general: the
                                        >>> further back you go, and the more interpetation you
                                        >>> apply, the more fictional it becomes.
                                        >> I agree. It must do, as far as I can see.
                                        >
                                        > Shouldn't that be simply "less certain"?

                                        This seems akin to the "half full" or "half empty" argument.
                                        One person's "more fictional" is another's "less certain."

                                        > An individual scholar or school
                                        > thereof might make some overconfident statements, but that shouldn't be
                                        > confused (even if it commonly is) with our actual state of knoledge of the past.

                                        No - Philip didn't mention overconfident statements. He was
                                        surely talking about the _interpretation_ an historian makes
                                        from what must necessarily be imperfect data. The more one
                                        has to rely upon interpretation, no matter how informed that
                                        interpretation may be, the less certain one can be about the
                                        overall picture.

                                        > "Fiction" just reads too close to "conscious fabrication" to me.

                                        I don't see anything in Philip's remark to suggest any
                                        scholar is consciously fabrication things. The point is,
                                        surely, that even with the best intentions, the more one has
                                        to rely on interpretation (i.e. informed guess work) the
                                        more one is producing something closer to an historical
                                        romance than to hard fact. As long as the scholar is clear
                                        on what is hard data and on what is interpretation and makes
                                        clear the reasons for particular interpretations, there's no
                                        deceit intended.

                                        --
                                        Ray
                                        ==================================
                                        http://www.carolandray.plus.com
                                        ==================================
                                        Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
                                        There's none too old to learn.
                                        [WELSH PROVERB]
                                      • Benct Philip Jonsson
                                        ... That s true, but to be honest I have come to believe that certainty is a commodity very hard to come by, our very perception of data as well as our
                                        Message 19 of 28 , Mar 25, 2010
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                                          On 2010-03-25 R A Brown wrote:
                                          >
                                          > >>> I now
                                          > >>> believe that applies to (pre)history in general: the
                                          > >>> further back you go, and the more interpetation you
                                          > >>> apply, the more fictional it becomes.

                                          > >> I agree. It must do, as far as I can see.
                                          > >
                                          > > Shouldn't that be simply "less certain"?
                                          >
                                          > This seems akin to the "half full" or "half empty"
                                          > argument. One person's "more fictional" is another's
                                          > "less certain."

                                          That's true, but to be honest I have come to believe
                                          that certainty is a commodity very hard to come by,
                                          our very perception of data as well as our interpretations
                                          being conditioned by subjective disposition and biassed
                                          by cultural, contemporarary and personal values.
                                          Knowledge and objectivity alike can only be improved by
                                          acknowledging and addressing their limits and maintaining
                                          a sound scepticism at all times. Otherwise we will surely
                                          land in despair and solipsism or complacency and dogmatism
                                          and the end of inquiry, which is equally dangerous no matter
                                          by which road we may come to it.

                                          > > An individual scholar or school
                                          > > thereof might make some overconfident statements, but
                                          > that shouldn't be
                                          > > confused (even if it commonly is) with our actual state
                                          > of knoledge of the past.
                                          >
                                          > No - Philip didn't mention overconfident statements. He
                                          > was surely talking about the _interpretation_ an
                                          > historian makes from what must necessarily be imperfect
                                          > data. The more one has to rely upon interpretation, no
                                          > matter how informed that interpretation may be, the less
                                          > certain one can be about the overall picture.

                                          Indeed. It should also be remembered in mind that the
                                          conventional style of scientific and scholarly statements
                                          probably gives an impression of more certainty than is
                                          hopefully meant, in order not to impair readability and
                                          waste ink (or bytes!) by a too liberal sprinkling of modals.

                                          > > "Fiction" just reads too close to "conscious
                                          > fabrication" to me.
                                          >
                                          > I don't see anything in Philip's remark to suggest any
                                          > scholar is consciously fabrication things. The point is,
                                          > surely, that even with the best intentions, the more one
                                          > has to rely on interpretation (i.e. informed guess work)
                                          > the more one is producing something closer to an
                                          > historical romance than to hard fact. As long as the
                                          > scholar is clear on what is hard data and on what is
                                          > interpretation and makes clear the reasons for particular
                                          > interpretations, there's no deceit intended.

                                          Indeed, though *unintentional* self-deceit, and hence
                                          deception of others, due to unawareness or neglect
                                          of the problematic conditions of human knowledge and
                                          interpretation certainly has occurred, sometimes with
                                          disastrous consequences, still does in many quarters,
                                          and alas will most probably continue to occur.
                                          To believe that oneself is free of biasses because one
                                          can't see ones own, or that the history of human inquiry
                                          is one of steady progress and improvement are not the
                                          least of self-deceptions and royal roads to complacency.
                                          This is indeed in my opinion the most important lesson
                                          to be had from that history, as certain as can be!

                                          /BP 8^)>
                                          --
                                          Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                          "C'est en vain que nos Josués littéraires crient
                                          à la langue de s'arrêter; les langues ni le soleil
                                          ne s'arrêtent plus. Le jour où elles se *fixent*,
                                          c'est qu'elles meurent." (Victor Hugo)
                                        • Jörg Rhiemeier
                                          Hallo! ... Oh, what a profusion of lateral affricates and bogus etymologies! I
                                          Message 20 of 28 , Mar 25, 2010
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                                            Hallo!

                                            On Thu, 25 Mar 2010 10:31:27 +0100, Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:

                                            > BTW I neglected to link to the follow-up about the more
                                            > linguistic aspects of my foolery, and the revised
                                            > version with a pre-desertation Saharan location for
                                            > Atlantis:
                                            >
                                            >
                                            <http://listserv.brown.edu/archives/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0810C&L=CONLANG&D=0&P=4390>

                                            Oh, what a profusion of lateral affricates and bogus etymologies!

                                            I also had a mid-Atlantic Atlantis (with futuristic technology!)
                                            in my youth, but I don't remember much of it. Later, I dropped
                                            it and considered the Atlantis myth a tall tale invented by Plato
                                            to make a philosophical point, until I realized that the "Elvish"
                                            civilization in the British Isles which I re-created after the
                                            Germanic and Celtic myths about Elves could indeed have been
                                            Atlantis. It is a civilization; it is lost; it is beyond the
                                            Pillars of Hercules; it is on an island that actually looks quite
                                            much like Plato's Atlantis! Plato's description may not fit
                                            *perfectly*, but it does fit reasonably well, and a perfect fit
                                            is not to be expected, and I haven't found any other place that
                                            fits better.

                                            > [...]
                                            > <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panspermia>

                                            I never was much into that. Basically, it doesn't really solve
                                            the problem but merely pushes it further back into the unknown.
                                            Also, I think that the oceans of early Earth are a more likely
                                            place to start life than the vastness of space.

                                            > [...] The further back we go the
                                            > preserved data becomes an increasingly smaller fraction
                                            > of the whole picture as it once was, and the more
                                            > insecire it becomes to draw any conclusions from them.

                                            Right. One of my hobbies is researching the languages of prehistoric
                                            Europe, and it is always frustrating (but also challengimg) how little
                                            is known about them. We get only faint glimpses of what *could have
                                            been*. It is hardly surprising that this field attracts legions of
                                            crackpots who fill up the blanks with groundless speculation and try
                                            to sell that as "breakthrough discoveries". I am sure that I probably
                                            won't discover much of significance, and I don't consider Old Albic,
                                            which is my "application" of that research, a reconstruction; rather,
                                            it is what I call a "re-creation", and I am very aware that it is
                                            just a *conlang*.

                                            --
                                            ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
                                            http://www.joerg-rhiemeier.de/Conlang/index.html
                                          • John Vertical
                                            ... My point is that there is no _one_ correct interpretation that can be based on the data. Most of the time, only one is presented (OK yes, probably more
                                            Message 21 of 28 , Mar 25, 2010
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                                              On Thu, 25 Mar 2010 20:41:24 +0100, Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:
                                              >On 2010-03-25 R A Brown wrote:
                                              >> > An individual scholar or school
                                              >> > thereof might make some overconfident statements, but
                                              >> > that shouldn't be confused (even if it commonly is) with
                                              >> > our actual state of knoledge of the past.
                                              >>
                                              >> No - Philip didn't mention overconfident statements. He
                                              >> was surely talking about the _interpretation_ an
                                              >> historian makes from what must necessarily be imperfect
                                              >> data. The more one has to rely upon interpretation, no
                                              >> matter how informed that interpretation may be, the less
                                              >> certain one can be about the overall picture.
                                              >
                                              >Indeed. It should also be remembered in mind that the
                                              >conventional style of scientific and scholarly statements
                                              >probably gives an impression of more certainty than is
                                              >hopefully meant, in order not to impair readability and
                                              >waste ink (or bytes!) by a too liberal sprinkling of modals.

                                              My point is that there is no _one_ correct interpretation that can be based
                                              on the data. Most of the time, only one is presented (OK yes, probably more
                                              typically for reasons of brevity than overconfidence), but surely a more
                                              complete description of our understanding would also list contending
                                              possibilities, especially with regards to features which aren't particularly
                                              certain.

                                              It may be quite likely that eg. *h1 was [ʔ], but that doesn't mean we should
                                              forget all about other possibilities. That [h] is another likely option, [χ]
                                              is less likely, [s] rather implausible and [ʐʊb] ridiculously implausible
                                              are also results on the topic.

                                              >> > "Fiction" just reads too close to "conscious
                                              >> fabrication" to me.
                                              >>
                                              >> I don't see anything in Philip's remark to suggest any
                                              >> scholar is consciously fabrication things. The point is,
                                              >> surely, that even with the best intentions, the more one
                                              >> has to rely on interpretation (i.e. informed guess work)
                                              >> the more one is producing something closer to an
                                              >> historical romance than to hard fact. As long as the
                                              >> scholar is clear on what is hard data and on what is
                                              >> interpretation and makes clear the reasons for particular
                                              >> interpretations, there's no deceit intended.

                                              No, deceit doesn't come into this, I mean that 'fiction' to me implies
                                              something that does *not* attempt to replicate reality, and thus excludes
                                              any reconstruction.

                                              John Vertical
                                            • John Vertical
                                              ... The vastness of space does have the size factor going for it big time. But the oxidation-based, water-phase life we are familiar with really doesn t look
                                              Message 22 of 28 , Mar 25, 2010
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                                                On Thu, 25 Mar 2010 21:11:36 +0100, Jörg Rhiemeier wrote:
                                                >> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panspermia>
                                                >
                                                >I never was much into that. Basically, it doesn't really solve
                                                >the problem but merely pushes it further back into the unknown.
                                                >Also, I think that the oceans of early Earth are a more likely
                                                >place to start life than the vastness of space.

                                                The vastness of space does have the size factor going for it big time. But
                                                the oxidation-based, water-phase life we are familiar with really doesn't
                                                look like it came about in a medium where 98% of kemically reactiv matter is
                                                hydrogen, and energy mostly comes in the form of photons and the kinetic
                                                energy of particles. A hypothetical gas-phase lifeform also probably
                                                wouldn't have survived a crash course on a (rocky) planet - air pressure
                                                alone would be lethal. That effectivly limits panspermia to spores dispersed
                                                from near-terrestrial habitats, which is of no help for anything since
                                                terrestrial unicellular life, which after all has existed for closer to a
                                                quarter of the Universe's age, neither has been able to disperse to outer
                                                space nor is there any kno'n way for it to do so.

                                                John Vertical
                                              • Eric Christopherson
                                                ... That s part of what makes me really want to take part in a game where a conprotolang is created, descendent languages are created from it, and another
                                                Message 23 of 28 , Mar 25, 2010
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                                                  On Mar 25, 2010, at 5:55 AM, R A Brown wrote:

                                                  > Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:
                                                  >> Andreas Johansson skrev:
                                                  > [snip]
                                                  >> This dawned on me when I realized or read somewhere
                                                  >> that prehistorical languages like PIE may have had any
                                                  >> number of features not preserved in any of their
                                                  >> daughters, and so any reconstruction is by necessity
                                                  >> partial,
                                                  >
                                                  > This is very true and seems to me often overlooked. If we had no knowledge of Classical Latin, there is no way we could reconstruct from Romance languages anything resembling what spoken Latin must have been like earlier in the Empire or in the Republic the preceded it.

                                                  That's part of what makes me really want to take part in a game where a conprotolang is created, descendent languages are created from it, and another person (or team of people) with no knowledge of the protolang have the task of reconstructing it.

                                                  In that case, we would actually *know* what the protolang was like, so it'd be a lot of fun comparing it with the reconstruction(s) -- what features of the original language would be missing from the reconstruction? What might be reconstructed that wasn't actually in the ancestor, e.g. because several of the daughters had innovated the same feature? (Daughter language designers could even conspire to make parallel innovations look like retained features!)

                                                  I guess it would be, in essence, a kind of telephone game.

                                                  It would also be fun to take a real-world reconstruction, identify some possible gaps in it, and fill them in with plausible material.

                                                  >
                                                  >> so that any description/analysis of the
                                                  >> protolang qua system is almost bound fraught with
                                                  >> errors, i.e. the more synthesis you apply to a
                                                  >> reconstruction, the more of a conlang it becomes!
                                                  >
                                                  > Exactly! During my lifetime I have come across 'texts' supposed written in some reconstruction or other of PIE. They are, of course, essentially conlang texts.
                                                  >
                                                  >> I now
                                                  >> believe that applies to (pre)history in general: the
                                                  >> further back you go, and the more interpetation you
                                                  >> apply, the more fictional it becomes.
                                                  >
                                                  > I agree. It must do, as far as I can see.
                                                  >
                                                  >> This is not to say
                                                  >> that it should not be done, but that one must be aware
                                                  >> of the implications.
                                                  >
                                                  > Exactly - the exercise should, of course, be attempted - but we must always be aware of the limitations of our knowledge.
                                                  >
                                                  >> After all it takes a lot of
                                                  >> knowledge and dicipline not to be anachronistic even
                                                  >> when dealing with (or forging!) rather recent history!
                                                  >
                                                  > It does indeed!
                                                  >
                                                  > Fortunately, however, the "lost" language that it is proposed to reconstruct is acknowledged to be a fiction and the reconstruction to be a fun exercise. But IMO Philip's words pertinent to any who are minded to do any serious reconstruction.
                                                  >
                                                  > --
                                                  > Ray
                                                  > ==================================
                                                  > http://www.carolandray.plus.com
                                                  > ==================================
                                                  > Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
                                                  > There's none too old to learn.
                                                  > [WELSH PROVERB]
                                                • Jörg Rhiemeier
                                                  Hallo! ... Proto-Indo-European would be a wonderful starting point. It is more complete than the average conlang, even better known than some scantily
                                                  Message 24 of 28 , Mar 26, 2010
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                                                    Hallo!

                                                    On Fri, 26 Mar 2010 00:14:11 -0500, Eric Christopherson wrote:

                                                    > It would also be fun to take a real-world reconstruction, identify some
                                                    > possible gaps in it, and fill them in with plausible material.

                                                    Proto-Indo-European would be a wonderful starting point. It is more
                                                    complete than the average conlang, even better known than some scantily
                                                    attested languages like Etruscan or Sumerian; it sounds wonderfully
                                                    ancient (to my ears, at least), and I have seen several crackpots
                                                    claiming that it was spoken in Atlantis.

                                                    --
                                                    ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
                                                    http://www.joerg-rhiemeier.de/Conlang/index.html
                                                  • Roger Mills
                                                    On Fri, 26 Mar 2010 17:10:15 +0100, Jörg Rhiemeier ... This has actually been done, over and over :-))), with Proto Austronesian--
                                                    Message 25 of 28 , Mar 26, 2010
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                                                      On Fri, 26 Mar 2010 17:10:15 +0100, Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
                                                      wrote:

                                                      >Hallo!
                                                      >
                                                      >On Fri, 26 Mar 2010 00:14:11 -0500, Eric Christopherson wrote:
                                                      >
                                                      >> It would also be fun to take a real-world reconstruction, identify some
                                                      >> possible gaps in it, and fill them in with plausible material.
                                                      >
                                                      >Proto-Indo-European would be a wonderful starting point. It is more
                                                      >complete than the average conlang, even better known than some scantily
                                                      >attested languages like Etruscan or Sumerian; it sounds wonderfully
                                                      >ancient (to my ears, at least), and I have seen several crackpots
                                                      >claiming that it was spoken in Atlantis.
                                                      >

                                                      This has actually been done, over and over :-))), with Proto Austronesian--
                                                      from the early "Proto Malayo-Polynesian" attempts by mainly Dutch scholars
                                                      in the late 19th/early 20th C, to Dempwolff's rather authoritative work in
                                                      the 1930s (but without Formosan data), to Dyen's revisions in the 50s, plus
                                                      Dyen's additions (based on first good data from Formosan langs.) in the
                                                      50/60s, then work by several scholars to try to make sense of the foregoing
                                                      (Blust, Dahl and Zorc among them), to several relatively recent papers by
                                                      John Wolff who is trying to simplify/rationalize/make realistic the putative
                                                      sound system (some good ideas, some too radical IMNSHO). We will, of course,
                                                      never know for sure :-( or :-)? but so far not too much crack-pottery..........
                                                    • Alex Fink
                                                      On Fri, 26 Mar 2010 00:14:11 -0500, Eric Christopherson ... conprotolang is created, descendent languages are created from it, and another
                                                      Message 26 of 28 , Mar 26, 2010
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                                                        On Fri, 26 Mar 2010 00:14:11 -0500, Eric Christopherson <rakko@...>
                                                        wrote:

                                                        >That's part of what makes me really want to take part in a game where a
                                                        conprotolang is created, descendent languages are created from it, and
                                                        another person (or team of people) with no knowledge of the protolang have
                                                        the task of reconstructing it.

                                                        As I said last time this came up, the ZBB has done this twice, with
                                                        languages that ended up in the Akana project. You could even play along at
                                                        home: pick the descendants of any node P on
                                                        http://www.superlush.co.uk/~akana/index.php/Languages_of_Akana
                                                        and, without looking at P itself, reconstruct it. The original two games
                                                        used Proto-Isles and Ndak Ta. Or, for something harder, you could try
                                                        Ada:ta from its second (or its third, or ...) generation daughters.

                                                        Alex
                                                      • Eric Christopherson
                                                        ... Yeah, I ve been meaning to look at those for a while now, although somehow I had forgotten about their existence when I wrote my message. I recall from an
                                                        Message 27 of 28 , Mar 26, 2010
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                                                          On Mar 26, 2010, at 6:23 PM, Alex Fink wrote:

                                                          > On Fri, 26 Mar 2010 00:14:11 -0500, Eric Christopherson <rakko@...>
                                                          > wrote:
                                                          >
                                                          >> That's part of what makes me really want to take part in a game where a
                                                          > conprotolang is created, descendent languages are created from it, and
                                                          > another person (or team of people) with no knowledge of the protolang have
                                                          > the task of reconstructing it.
                                                          >
                                                          > As I said last time this came up, the ZBB has done this twice, with
                                                          > languages that ended up in the Akana project. You could even play along at
                                                          > home: pick the descendants of any node P on
                                                          > http://www.superlush.co.uk/~akana/index.php/Languages_of_Akana
                                                          > and, without looking at P itself, reconstruct it. The original two games
                                                          > used Proto-Isles and Ndak Ta. Or, for something harder, you could try
                                                          > Ada:ta from its second (or its third, or ...) generation daughters.

                                                          Yeah, I've been meaning to look at those for a while now, although somehow I had forgotten about their existence when I wrote my message. I recall from an IRC conversation that no one had actually reconstructed either one (or at least no one publicized doing so), but perhaps that's changed by now.
                                                        • Jan Strasser
                                                          The original reconstruction game of 2005 which spawned the Akana project did not get very far, in part because some of the first-round daughter languages were
                                                          Message 28 of 28 , Apr 1 4:24 AM
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                                                            The original reconstruction game of 2005 which spawned the Akana project
                                                            did not get very far, in part because some of the first-round daughter
                                                            languages were designed in such a way as to cause confusion for the
                                                            other team. Mark Rosenfelder did create a fairly good list of phonetic
                                                            correspondences for the Isles family though, which he made public about
                                                            a year ago. It's available here:

                                                            http://www.zompist.com/proto-ran.html

                                                            (See also http://www.superlush.co.uk/~akana/index.php/Proto-Isles for
                                                            information on the daughter languages and for a link to the actual
                                                            grammar of the protolanguage.)

                                                            Later phases of the Akana project have increasingly focused on
                                                            plausibility and naturalness of the languages and their diachronic
                                                            developments, not so much on reconstruction, and certainly not on
                                                            obscuring language history. In fact, most of the newer languages (i.e.
                                                            those created after mid-2007) explicitly state the etymology of most if
                                                            not all the words in their respective lexicon.

                                                            There has also been one major effort of serious linguistic
                                                            reconstruction within the context of this project: Proto-Eigə-Isthmus.
                                                            The cultural notes accompanying the first game mentioned a few languages
                                                            of neighbouring peoples which were said to be related to each other.
                                                            Several of the Edastean languages which were actually worked out
                                                            featured loanwords from these neighbouring languages, and in late 2007
                                                            Corumayas began reconstructing their common ancestor from these
                                                            loanwords. The current state of affairs, which is quite impressive IMHO,
                                                            can be seen here:

                                                            http://www.superlush.co.uk/~akana/index.php/Proto-Eig%C9%99-Isthmus

                                                            That said, if anyone's interested to contribute to Akana in one way or
                                                            another, you're very much invited to join! Just send me a mail, start a
                                                            topic at the AkanaForum - http://akana.dreamersdisease.de - or drop by
                                                            at our IRC channel - irc://irc.sorcery.net/akana

                                                            Jan


                                                            > ------------------------------
                                                            >
                                                            > Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2010 21:23:21 -0500
                                                            > From: Eric Christopherson<rakko@...>
                                                            > Subject: Re: Conworld: Reconstructing a "lost" language
                                                            >
                                                            > On Mar 26, 2010, at 6:23 PM, Alex Fink wrote:
                                                            >
                                                            >> > On Fri, 26 Mar 2010 00:14:11 -0500, Eric Christopherson<rakko@...>
                                                            >> > wrote:
                                                            >> >
                                                            >>> >> That's part of what makes me really want to take part in a game where a
                                                            >> > conprotolang is created, descendent languages are created from it, and
                                                            >> > another person (or team of people) with no knowledge of the protolang have
                                                            >> > the task of reconstructing it.
                                                            >> >
                                                            >> > As I said last time this came up, the ZBB has done this twice, with
                                                            >> > languages that ended up in the Akana project. You could even play along at
                                                            >> > home: pick the descendants of any node P on
                                                            >> > http://www.superlush.co.uk/~akana/index.php/Languages_of_Akana
                                                            >> > and, without looking at P itself, reconstruct it. The original two games
                                                            >> > used Proto-Isles and Ndak Ta. Or, for something harder, you could try
                                                            >> > Ada:ta from its second (or its third, or ...) generation daughters.
                                                            > Yeah, I've been meaning to look at those for a while now, although somehow I had forgotten about their existence when I wrote my message. I recall from an IRC conversation that no one had actually reconstructed either one (or at least no one publicized doing so), but perhaps that's changed by now.
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