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Paid contractor vs Artistic collaborator and other nonsense (was Re: Hello Luv!)

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  • Padraic Brown
    ... Perhaps you ve never worked with a contractor or vendor of any sort? It could very well be the case that I ve missed a key part of what you were actually
    Message 1 of 26 , Dec 3 10:42 AM
      --- On Mon, 12/3/12, Matthew Merlo <durakken@...> wrote:

      > What I find disgusting is the attitude that someone should
      > pay upfront for someone of another skill to work with them.

      Perhaps you've never worked with a contractor or vendor of any sort? It
      could very well be the case that I've missed a key part of what you were
      actually asking for. If you're looking for someone to partner with you in
      creating this world, maybe writing stories from it or co-authoring a novel,
      or doing some independent work within the shared-world -- then I certainly
      agree that seeking payment for specific work is over the top, and I really
      don't think anyone here would suggest such an arrangement. Naturally,
      you'd have to work out an equitable arrangement for co-authored
      compensation vs. individually created works within the shared world.

      But if you were looking for someone to work with you on making one or more
      languages from within the world, but are not looking for any further
      partnership, then I stand by what I've said already. It doesn't matter that
      you've already done some work on the language(s) or that you have ideas or
      plans for their overall shape -- many people looking for a language creator
      do already have plans and ideas coming in to the marketplace! That's really
      no different than buying a piece of marble and then asking a sculptor to
      create a statue with it. You'd be providing raw material either way.

      As for payment up front, I think it is certainly fair, upon contractual
      agreement, for you to pay your contractor some percentage up front. 25% to
      50% down and the rest due on completion is well within usual practice for
      paying an artisan to craft something for you.

      > The argument that "I'm putting my time and effort into this
      > so I should get paid" is invalid because the person doing
      > the asking is likely putting more time and effort into it.

      This of course is rubbish, if I may be so bold. This is like saying to the
      artisan: I want you to build a cabinet for me; I've already bought the wood
      and have drawn some sketches and have cut a few pieces of wood -- so I
      don't think you need to be paid for your work, because I've already put so
      much effort into it. Yes sir, that's nonsense. Unless you are inviting the
      artisan to live in your home, share in your life and take part in your
      other activities, he has the right to fair payment for the work he does
      for you, even if you've already "put [some] effort into it".

      I certainly appreciate that you have put much thought and work into your
      world -- but the fact remains that you are asking someone else to do some
      work for you. As I said previously, there is absolutely nothing wrong with
      either seeking a collaborative partnership or a contractor, depending on
      your particular needs and desires. There is nothing "disgusting" at all
      about this, nor is it inappropriate for a prospective *contractor* to
      either seek monetary payment or to talk general terms of contract.

      I could have missed something earlier in the discussion, but I don't
      recall seeing a *specific* mention one way or the other from you. I had
      gotten the impression that you were looking not for a full partner as it
      were, but rather someone to do certain pieces of work for you. If you
      did and that's not the case, then I apologise for the misunderstanding.

      > To which the next point someone falls is "Yeah well I can do
      > what you're doing" which the Artists claiming the writer has
      > no skill and whatever skill said writer does have it can
      > easily be matched by the artist as if drawing a picture
      > automatically qualifies a person as a good writer. The
      > entire world of creative people seems to be rife with mostly
      > these types of people.

      Well, I haven't seen anyone insult you or your skills as of yet. (Nor have
      I seen any of your skills in action, so comment in that regard either!) If
      this sort of thing happens in general, I can't really speak to that. As I
      said elsewhere, you have clearly stated that constructing languages is not
      your forte. I would take that as an admission of insufficient skill. And
      also as I said elsewhere, I (as a potential reader of your work)
      appreciate when the author knows his own skills well enough to know when
      to ask for help.

      > I don't think it's wrong to ask for money in some cases, but
      > I do think it is wrong to go in with the idea that every
      > project should be paid or your not going to have anything to
      > do with it.

      Well, it's certainly not the case that we (conlangers, folks here on this
      list) think that "every project should be paid", etc, etc. Nor has anyone
      insisted that every project ought to be a paid endeavour. I honestly think
      you have read far too much into what has been said! Either that or have
      mistaken what others are saying. There is certainly plenty of room for
      creative partnerships hereabouts, and many of us have participated in one
      way or another in such arrangements.

      > It's not unreasonable to ask in general as
      > certain people seem to think, and it's not unreasonable to
      > say that I have a project and need your help.

      Not at all. No one ever said it was wrong to do this, that I can tell!

      > If we work on
      > it and it becomes something that we can make money from then
      > good we make money from it, if not we're in the same boat.

      Of course -- such partnerships are generally done for the pure enjoyment
      of doing it.

      > Quite frankly the opposing view has always been silly at
      > best to me.

      Well, you're certainly welcome to the opinion! Though I'd really like you
      to try it some time on a home contractor or any other skilled artisan and
      see how far you get.

      > A lot of creative types are broke so one
      > demanding the other pay them, instead of them working
      > together to possibly get paid more than either could
      > separate and if it's a respectful relationship where both
      > sides are contributing equally then it is even more
      > ridiculous that one wants the other to pay.

      Well, if you're broke, then you probably won't be able to afford the
      services of a hired artisan -- conlanger or otherwise. Your options then
      are to do it yourself or find someone willing to become a partner in your
      creation. I don't know which might end up being more expensive, though...

      One way, you lay out some money and the job's done and boughten. The other
      way, you lose some amount of control and must share creative decision
      making and risk letting the project get out of your control. Neither the
      contractor nor the partner are your slave, but at least the one can be
      fired if he isn't coming up with the goods.

      > But, the main thing that I think money should be based on is
      > more so what type of relationship there is between the two.

      Well exactly. I don't think anyone's been saying anything different. It
      could be that I've misunderstood your plan, but I certainly agree with the
      above. If your relationship is some kind of artistic partnership then I
      think considerations of money ought to be out. If the relationship is
      one of contractor then clearly the issue of money for goods produced is
      central.

      > If someone comes along and asks you for something done
      > exactly like x, then that person should pay. That someone is
      > not giving asking for an equal partnership but rather using
      > your skill to do exactly what they want without input from
      > you.

      True. This is rather how I've read several of your posts! You want someone
      to create several conlangs for you!

      > However if someone comes along and asks if you want to
      > write a story together and they have the basic plot laid out
      > with characters and their willing to change it based on your
      > input and they have this idea for costuming, but nothing
      > exact or or whatever they have their willing to listen to
      > why this or that is better... at that point it becomes
      > unfair for the artist to ask the writer for payment, but
      > there is equal creative control.

      Exactly so. This may become a more complicated arrangement, especially if
      things go sour, but I largely agree. This is more of an arrangement between
      two people who are sharing in some project they both love to work on!

      > If I wanted the former I'd be willing to pay, even though I
      > don't have the money, but I am asking the latter.

      Alright then! At last, a clear statement of intent. So throw out all
      comments from me and everyone else that pertains to the former, then!

      > And personally, I don't find much value in the former because
      > people work better and care more about things they have a
      > hand in and those things tend to come out better in the end.

      That's your opinion. One thing you're not taking into account: we're not
      unskilled laborers that simply do a job. We are skilled artisans whose
      passion is the construction of languages, some of whom are offering those
      skills to folks wanting them. Yes, they expect payment for the service,
      but in the end, you will get an excellent product because your contractor
      is someone whose passion is what he's doing!

      > I have no interest in those who are the former even if I
      > could pay such an amount. I'm not challenging the price tag,
      > because I literally don't know from experience in this case,
      > but I'm just not interested in the type of relationship that
      > implies.

      As I said before, that is certainly not a problem! I'm not sure why this
      has ballooned into such a long and impassioned discussion, but I might
      suggest in hind sight that you could have avoided it by making this
      intention clearer at the outset!

      And you later wrote:

      > Let's say I randomly had money. However much I would need to hire
      > someone. How do you think it is that one would be able to adequately
      > judge a conlanger's/artlanger's skill

      If you go through LCS, for example, you would be working with experienced
      conlangers who are competent to judge the work and skills of others, and
      you'd also be able to choose from proposals offered by interested
      conlangers; you'd be able to discuss with the LCS any artistic as well as
      contractual concerns.

      It's not like just picking a random name out of a hat.

      > and why do you think that regardless of that skill that it is worth
      > $1000.

      Since the LCS started this service, that seems to be the average rate. Some
      jobs pay higher (and may require much more work, travel, etc), other
      jobs may be far simpler and pay far less.

      > You claim it takes a long time,

      No one claimed that at all. Making a language is not something that can be
      done *well* in a day or two; but it can generally be done well within a
      couple months to six months, depending on the depth you would require.

      > but clearly a simple language

      There's no such thing as a "simple language". There are such things as
      "language sketches", which I did mention earlier, and those certainly
      require less work and ought to command a lower rate of pay.

      > could take a very short amount of time and for those who do not know
      > enough you could simply create something like a cypher from existing
      > language like someone suggested earlier and even showed earlier.

      Indeed. I don't think any of us would do that, though. I would say that's
      terribly unethical to fob off a cypher and charge money for it -- UNLESS
      that's what you as the project owner want.

      > I know that artists for example all overprice everything they do

      You know, for all your carping about us, you yourself have some pretty
      bold speech!

      > because they think they're worth that because they have heard that's the
      > standard rate or what not.

      Frankly, I think one thing IS becoming clear here. The more I read about
      how you don't like us, as a group, and obviously don't trust us, and have
      very strong, very disparageing opinions about us; the less I'd actually
      want to either work for you in a contractual relationship or form any
      kind of creative partnership with you!

      > I can tell you that if I hired an artist for a comic it takes about 8
      > hours to draw each page and there are 20 pages in a comic, which comes
      > out to about 400 hours and depending on minimum wage ~$4000.

      Um. You're paying MINIMUM WAGE? I guess that's a pretty big red flag there!

      > But that's the thing. not all artists take 8 hours to produce a page and
      > not all can produce it at the same level. Would you suggest that every
      > artist should be paid $4000 per 20 pages?

      Talking the way you do, sir, I'd suggest that you might find it difficult
      to get anyone to do anything for or with you! You just have a negative
      opinion about everything and everyone around here, and that's pretty bold
      for someone so new around here and who has already admitted to lacking the
      skills you're looking to borrow from others. At first I was rather
      sympathetic towards your situation -- but I think I've gotten to know you
      well enough to just stay away entirely.

      I know I can come across as rough and opinionated, and some people don't
      like me for that, but for goodness sakes, if I need help from someone, I
      don't knock on their door, insult them, tell them how to do what I want
      done (but I can't be bothered to do it myself!), and you obviously charge
      too much to do it but it's only worth minimum wage anyway, and all I really
      want is for you to join my little world of happiness...

      > Even if you say yes we then
      > have to modify the art situation to the conlang situation which is more
      > like I could be hiring someone who can't draw anything but stick figures
      > and knows nothing of framing or panel layout. It could be that not only
      > is this person incredibly bad that it takes them double the time to
      > produce each page. And what's worse is that when it's all said and done
      > I'm not allowed to look at the pages, but rather i have to send them out
      > without ever looking at them. Do you still think that $4000 is fair?

      Honestly, I don't think you'd be satisfied with anything, so maybe your
      best option really will be to take Aesop's advice: when you want it done
      right, do it your own damn self.

      The rest is snipped. I don't know who you are, or who you think you are, or
      why you think you're all that, but I've read enough to get a good gauge of
      what sort of "partnership" anyone here would be in for, and I don't see
      much gain -- either monetary or artistic -- to be had from an
      association with you. Sorry if I came across as insulting, but it seems as
      if you are well able to dish it out, even if you don't take it too well!

      Padraic
    • Nikolay Ivankov
      ... [snip] ... This may indeed sound insulting from me. Especially since I m over-exaggerating my capabilities, that s a sad truth. Yet, I wanted to emphasize
      Message 2 of 26 , Dec 4 2:28 PM
        On Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 7:42 PM, Padraic Brown <elemtilas@...> wrote:

        > --- On Mon, 12/3/12, Matthew Merlo <durakken@...> wrote:
        >
        > > To which the next point someone falls is "Yeah well I can do
        > > what you're doing" which the Artists claiming the writer has
        > > no skill and whatever skill said writer does have it can
        > > easily be matched by the artist as if drawing a picture
        > > automatically qualifies a person as a good writer. The
        > > entire world of creative people seems to be rife with mostly
        > > these types of people.
        >
        > Well, I haven't seen anyone insult you or your skills as of yet. (Nor have
        > I seen any of your skills in action, so comment in that regard either!) If
        > this sort of thing happens in general, I can't really speak to that. As I
        > said elsewhere, you have clearly stated that constructing languages is not
        > your forte. I would take that as an admission of insufficient skill. And
        > also as I said elsewhere, I (as a potential reader of your work)
        > appreciate when the author knows his own skills well enough to know when
        > to ask for help.
        >

        This one insulting could have been me. Here is the citation from my mail:


        > On Sun, Dec 2, 2012 at 11:45 PM, Nikolay Ivankov <lukevilent@...>
        > wrote:

        [snip]

        > Now you want us to write not even a funfic on... what? After many years of
        > learning history, mythology, art, techs, languages, linguistics, biology,
        > physics, cosmology, often to the detriment to my primary occupation, I
        > think I can produce such worlds in dozens a week. And I'm still no more
        > than an apprentice here, who stands in awe before the giants.
        >

        This may indeed sound insulting from me. Especially since
        I'm over-exaggerating my capabilities, that's a sad truth. Yet, I wanted to
        emphasize that - though there indeed a good deal of work have been put into
        creating a timeline and assembling all these races and their relations, I
        really did sketches similar to presented one within about a week on
        relatively free evenings. And yes, I cannot show them: these sketches
        remain in lost worksheets some 2000 km away from my place.

        I admit that it requires an effort to create something even from ready
        parts - which goblins, demons, werewolves, centaurs, yeti etc seem to me to
        be. I admit that adding some quirks to these races is even more work. I
        admit that one may create a masterpiece out of ready parts. And, finally,
        I'm *not* presuming right away that any person I'm encountering for the
        first time in my live *doesn't* these abilities. In fact, I've written it
        right away before the text cited above:

        On Sun, Dec 2, 2012 at 11:45 PM, Nikolay Ivankov <lukevilent@...>
        > wrote:

        [snip]

        > I despise "standard" races, but I believe there are people around that can
        > create a world where these races would still be interesting, and You may
        > well be one of those genial guys - no kidding.


        Here I say about my tastes, I may choke on them , and also there is always
        de gustibus rule. But how do we know how much is it beyond the sketch? I've
        made my googling on the artwork of Mr. Merlo. Unfortunately I found
        nothing, and I'm not willing to google more deeply. Maybe I've went off my
        presumption of geniality this time, but AFAIR there were already
        suggestions to give an example of the work by other people.

        Finally, all my words may sound unfair, of course. I haven't proved my own
        abilities in any way, and everything I do in this e-mail is justifying my
        boor actions. But if a proof is needed, I'm willing to take a challenge.

        Let's say, 7 fantasy races, chosen randomly from a list of more or less
        standard ones (I think there would be several dozens of them) by anyone. I
        have a week on Christmas holidays to come up with a sketch, either spanning
        about three generations with a list of protagonists or around
        a millennium with just nations - again on the choice of anyone. No unique
        artifacts, vague geography, maybe some weird characteristics of races from
        my side. Some language history is also possible. Можно грабить корованы.
        Since I'm going to give a long list of races for choice, and am willing to
        have suggestions if there are some I'd have forgotten, there is not much
        space for me to cheat.

        This may mean that I'm sort of spoiling my holidays by making what I don't
        really like for nothing, but I'm sure that rudeness should be at least
        substituted by evidence of something behind it, even if it's *my own*
        rudeness.

        The rest is snipped, for it has nothing to do with my indiscretion.

        Thank everyone for your patience when seeing so much of off-topic from me
        the last days! I really do appreciate it!

        Best wishes to everyone!

        Kolya
      • Matthew Merlo
        @Padraic Brown I have been honest and forthright and I have not tried to hide intentions. What I have gotten from the lot of you is not tangential stuff, which
        Message 3 of 26 , Dec 5 10:58 PM
          @Padraic Brown

          I have been honest and forthright and I have not tried to hide intentions. What I have gotten from the lot of you is not tangential stuff, which may or may not be interesting, opinions that are superfluous about the posters own preferences and devaluing thing that they think are bad because they are "out of the box" which btw... they always have been just like almost everything is and everything was even for the vaunted JRR Tolkien, William Shakespeare, and the play writes of antiquities and so that is just bad form on you. And I have been "politely" insulted by your president.

          The intention to do so may not have been there but the fact of the matter that with people so inept at reading and formulating sentences if that was not your intent it bares the question how well do you even know this thing you study and claim to be skilled at. Especially when your president, the one who speaks from authority and helps establish authority on the subject, does it. It really make you all look silly, foolish, and trust worthy. That's ignoring the fact that he called strawmen arguments good and I'll be nice and do that considering I doubt he's a professor of logic.


          But let's just put that aside and look at what you wrote... Specifically, about my analogy between the comic book artist and conlanger.

          #1. Minimum Wage only applies to hour rate jobs. I am being nice using a $10 an hour rate which is roughly minimum wage just to give a figure and also it is a reasonable amount to start at to give context for the average person. Common rates are between $10 and 30. But focusing on this you miss the point and avoid the question.

          Why do you think that regardless of skill level what is provided is worth a standard rate?

          This is an important question. If it takes Joe double the time and is inferior quality than Bob should Joe and Bob be paid the same amount? The answer is no, they should not be. Quality is important. Speed in a lot instances is important. The average person thinks that they should be paid the same because that is how their mind works. They see it as essentially the same thing but the quality difference and time difference could be the difference between 100000 sales and 10000 sales. Eventually people get tired of waiting and sometimes the quality of work on one side of a project is so off putting that it makes the rest of it go down hill. They don't consider this and they think it's more like a plumber. A plumber does a job I pay him for parts and labor which takes roughly x amount of time which is standard across the board and I generally don't see the quality of the work and don't really care as long as it works, at least for the time being and doesn't break soon after.

          #2. yes someone does claim it takes a long time. Not looking it up. I think multiple people do. Again the calls into question if you missed this basic statement how can i trust that you can read well and if you can't read well how can i trust your lingual creation skills.

          #3. You might say there are no simple languages, but I think there are and they theoretically existed at sometime in the past.

          #4. I have direct experience with many artists. Also I am not talk about your "us" because your "us" is not "artists" but conlangers or artlangers where as I am referring to artists as in people who are drawing. This is clear and again, if you can't read this properly it's another indication of incompetent reading, thus, lack of skill.

          #5. Getting this far, you have now stopped actually responding to what I have wrote and become hostile. I have not, up until this post made any disparaging remarks about anyone here in terms of skill or ability and been quite clear, clarifying what I meant several times for people who are supposedly skilled in the language arts. What's funny is that all of you agree with what I have said, but then continue on with your nonsense in direct opposition to what I have said once past the point where I've expressed the argument and you agreed, insisting that my clear and explicit intent is not what I have said all along.

          anyways let's continue on with what you say anyways

          #6. I never said I was paying minimum, but had I you are foolish to look down on it for two reasons...
          A) Minimum wage from your perspective would be the standard pay rate from your side of the argument $1000
          B) Minimum wage using the $10/hr number and considering most people insist that it takes more than 100 hours to do what I want it would be more than $1000 in total per language v.v

          #7. After laying out the full analogy, which apparently you can't read, I re-ask the question; Should everyone be paid the same standard rate? Again the answer to that is No. The only time this isn't the case is in the case of animators who are doing basically the job of a copier and not an artist. Read, non-lead animators or key frame artists. Again, the reason for this is quality and speed and also level of fame of the artist as the work of artists can bring people to a book even if that artist is terrible.

          #8. If you find me to be "insulting" you have simply found my honest opinion as offensive... actually no you haven't. You found my analogy which is meant to illustrate why paying a standard rate is not right and not used in any other artistic medium as offensive. ie You found the reality of the world offensive and to that I say get over yourself and deal with it. That has nothing to do with me, it's just how the world is.

          #9. From my analogy on how anyone in reality would have to see conlanging as and the risk and trust it involves you get "I don't think you'll be satisfied with anything." read: You take me saying there isn't really any way to know that what you say your skill is it is to mean that I wouldn't be satisfied with whatever you produce. Another lingual problem you have there as well as logic jump issues...

          #10. I have never once said I am all that. By your own admission I have admitted that I don't have skill in this area. I haven't said I am a great artist or a great writer or a great game designer or great anything. You'll not even once in all these messages find that I say I am good. What I have said are my opinions on tangential things that don't really matter or that most of you agree on at base but don't like because it means you are fundamentally wrong in your thinking about what you are monetarily worth and for some reason you apply that to self worth. I have said I have no money and I would not work with someone who would not be interested in the project. I also in depth explained that I open to suggestions and such because I recognize that language and culture define each other and yet you've and others have taken that I somehow meant the opposite. I also don't recall if i stated what my commercial intents were directly or what to do with the profits thereof. I don't really think that is all that necessary. I understand why people want them, and why people are so distrustful, but all the same whatever details are more so to be discussed privately.

          But if you want to know the absolute truth. I'm charitable and I believe that everyone should get credit for what they do, and shares of whatever profit there is based on their contribution. I am so honest and hate scamming people and charging people for things that are simple that it greatly hinders me in making money real or in games. I absolutely hate it when I see people getting paid for essentially pressing a single button and then sitting around till the thing is done. I would rather tell the person how to do it, show them how to do it, and not get paid than do that. Of course you don't believe that or care about that or think it's some sort of flaw to be like that. No no of course the guy who has been nothing but direct and honest regardless of how much it has hurt his chances of getting the help he wants is a liar. But that's what a liar, and a troll, which you no doubt are thinking, would say.

          So in my brief stint here being honest and such what have I seen?
          Politely worded Insults
          non-helpfulness
          cheering on bad arguments
          lack of skill
          tangential topic taking over
          distrust
          and twisting what was said from the facts of reality to somehow insulting you.

          And what did I get out of this? Waste of time and being insulted
          And what did you all get out of this? Apparently you were taught a lesson in how to treat people unfairly and to speak double speak about thinking pro-bono is perfectly acceptable, but unreasonable, which is a daft thing to think and shows poor reasoning.

          Sorry for intruding on your magical kingdom. I'll go back to reality and continue working on my fantasies ^.^
        • David Peterson
          ... Wait, wait, let me make something clear. I am the president of the LCS, but the Conlang-L is something completely separate from and independent of the LCS.
          Message 4 of 26 , Dec 5 11:16 PM
            On Dec 5, 2012, at 10:58 PM, Matthew Merlo <durakken@...> wrote:

            > And I have been "politely" insulted by your president.

            Wait, wait, let me make something clear. I am the president of the LCS, but the Conlang-L is something completely separate from and independent of the LCS. I in no way represent anyone on the Conlang-L or the list generally, and I participate here on the list as an individual. Furthermore, my opinions are my own, unless I state explicitly that I'm speaking of the LCS. I wasn't in my previous message, and am not now.

            I'm sorry about the way I worded my last message. In threads like this, there's the potential for one's dander to get up, and it's easy to respond in a way that one oughtn't. Every so often you respond the way you're feeling, and, honestly, it's nice to be called out on it so that you can be reminded (yet again) that there's no call for being impolite.

            So being more direct: In my opinion your job is too much work for too little pay, and I would urge conlangers not to do it. I do wish you luck with your project, though. The more novels, movies, shows, etc. that feature conlang material, the better. Hopefully it will lead to more interest in conlanging in general, which will then lead to more paid conlang work in the future for more conlangers.

            David Peterson
            LCS President
            president@...
            www.conlang.org
          • Sai
            ... FWIW, just in case: I also speak for myself, not the LCS (of which I am the *former* president). However, I agree with what David wrote. I also tried *not*
            Message 5 of 26 , Dec 6 12:14 AM
              On Wed, Dec 5, 2012 at 10:58 PM, Matthew Merlo <durakken@...> wrote:
              > And I have been "politely" insulted by your president.

              FWIW, just in case: I also speak for myself, not the LCS (of which I
              am the *former* president). However, I agree with what David wrote.

              I also tried *not* to insult you, and to give polite, practical advice
              that you would be able to act on. My apologies if I failed on either
              of those.

              > Why do you think that regardless of skill level what is provided is worth a standard rate?

              FWIW, I don't. Skill level (at ability to fulfill a commercial job)
              does vary, and I think it's appropriate for costs to vary
              commensurately — and for skilled conlangers who take less time to
              charge more per hour (or to charge by the project).

              This is certainly true in my own industry (programming); I charge a
              lot more than a new college grad could get away with, and even so I'm
              still worth more to my clients, because of both speed and quality.
              (Lest ye protest about artistic subjectivity, I'd point out that
              "quality" in my field is also pretty hard to judge with any clear
              objective standard.)

              > #3. You might say there are no simple languages, but I think there are and they theoretically existed at sometime in the past.

              Your beliefs here disagree with those of linguists who have actually
              studied the matter. If you think there's a "simple [natural]
              language", name it and we'll show you how you're wrong.

              Caveat: there are certainly conlangs (hence my 'natural' stipulation)
              that are intentionally made to be simple (eg toki pona, Esperanto), or
              that just haven't been fleshed out enough.

              > #6. I never said I was paying minimum … Minimum wage … would be the standard pay rate

              This seems contradictory. FWIW, I think that a skilled conlanger
              deserves a lot higher than minimum wage. Minimum wage is for
              *unskilled* labor, i.e. that which basically anyone can be trained to
              do within a couple weeks; this is far from it.

              > … would be more than $1000 in total per language v.v

              AFAICT, you're basically saying that it'd cost more than you're
              willing to pay (even if it were paid at minimum wage), and therefore
              it's morally wrong?

              One point everyone seems to be missing: if you want just a naming
              language, it can take a lot less than 100 hours to make an adequate
              sketch.

              Part of what stimulated a somewhat overzealous response here is that
              you came on seemingly demanding a *huge* amount of work — when I think
              you probably would be satisfied by something much smaller. It'd help
              for you to be more explicit about the low end of what you'd be
              satisfied with (in terms of project scope).

              > … which apparently you can't read …

              Is needlessly insulting.

              I realize you feel misunderstood, but please don't escalate like that;
              it doesn't help.

              > Again, the reason for this is quality and speed and also level of fame of the artist as the work of artists can bring people to a book even if that artist is terrible.

              So you're arguing that good conlangers ought to be paid well more than
              minimum wage? :-)

              > #8. If you find me to be "insulting" you have simply found my honest opinion as offensive... actually no you haven't. You found my analogy which is meant to illustrate why paying a standard rate is not right and not used in any other artistic medium as offensive. ie You found the reality of the world offensive and to that I say get over yourself and deal with it. That has nothing to do with me, it's just how the world is.

              I think you've both been pretty insulting.

              However, I don't think anyone here (including Padraic) *has* been
              arguing that conlanging ought to be paid at a standard rate. I don't
              know why you think so. Rather, Padraic took offense at understanding
              you to be intending to pay only minimum wage (or none at all).

              It would probably help if you said clearly what you think such work
              *is* worth (to you), rather than using minimum wage as an example,
              since we all seem to agree that minimum wage is not an appropriate
              anchor. Either on an hourly or project basis.

              > … there isn't really any way to know that what you say your skill is …

              FWIW, this is part of what the LCS does (for a large enough project) —
              provide expert review, so that you don't *have* to worry about
              assessing an individual conlanger's skill.

              (Again, caveat for the rest of y'all: we don't believe in reviewing
              personal skill, and we're not interested in doing so; your personal
              conlanging can only be judged by yourself, not a third party, without
              you yourself specifying criteria for judgement. This is strictly
              limited to review for the purposes of satisfying a given client's
              needs, for which there do exist reasonable criteria.)

              > I also don't recall if i stated what my commercial intents were directly or what to do with the profits thereof. I don't really think that is all that necessary.

              I disagree. If you're asking someone to essentially invest their own
              time, without pay, into a commercial project from which you intend to
              profit, then you should be offering them a fair share of that profit
              along with a reason to believe that you'll make any.

              If you're *not* aiming to make something commercial, you really should
              say so explicitly — and should flesh out why your proposed project is
              awesome enough that people should work on it rather than whatever else
              they were going to do in their spare time. I gave you at least one
              example of a project that *did* manage to do so.

              Just don't expect people to volunteer on a for-profit venture. That's
              fundamentally unfair.

              - Sai
            • Matthew Merlo
              ... You are the person I was referring to. I don t commit people s name to memory and almost never look at a name unless they say something that I think is
              Message 6 of 26 , Dec 6 1:06 AM
                >On Dec 5, 2012, at 10:58 PM, Matthew Merlo <durakken@...> wrote:

                >> And I have been "politely" insulted by your president.

                >Wait, wait, let me make something clear. I am the president of the LCS, but the Conlang-L is something completely >separate from and independent of the LCS. I in no way represent anyone on the Conlang-L or the list generally, and I >participate here on the list as an individual. Furthermore, my opinions are my own, unless I state explicitly that I'm >speaking of the LCS. I wasn't in my previous message, and am not now.
                >
                >I'm sorry about the way I worded my last message. In threads like this, there's the potential for one's dander to get >up, and it's easy to respond in a way that one oughtn't. Every so often you respond the way you're feeling, and, >honestly, it's nice to be called out on it so that you can be reminded (yet again) that there's no call for being impolite.
                >
                >So being more direct: In my opinion your job is too much work for too little pay, and I would urge conlangers not to do > it. I do wish you luck with your project, though. The more novels, movies, shows, etc. that feature conlang material, >the better. Hopefully it will lead to more interest in conlanging in general, which will then lead to more paid conlang >work in the future for more conlangers.

                You are the person I was referring to. I don't commit people's name to memory and almost never look at a name unless they say something that I think is noteworthy. The insulting post was not the last, but the last in the Hello reply chain.

                You opinions may be your own and that is how I take them always (I've been a head moderator on forums) and I have always stood by when in official capacity to always act fairly and by the rules even to myself, but what I say and how much i come to despise someone holds no baring on how I moderate. This is almost never a position that moderators take. they say they do, but don't. However, when you are a head moderator or admin or founder or a president you are the person people look at and see you as a representative of that culture. I'm blunt, honest, and try to stay on point, but not against tangents and so people tend to not like what I have to say and that's generally a bad face to be leader of anything and I tend to try to stay away from leadership positions because even though I know how make things work well there isn't really a point if noone ever does what you tell them or it drives people away.

                Now on to your last paragraph...

                Yes what I want is a lot of work. There is no way I would ever be able to pay for it if we go by any measure of what anyone would consider fair and I wouldn't pay for it for all the reasons I pointed out, but I am also the type of person that if I had the money I'm the type of person that would make sure everyone that works with me is taken care of. I know that is hard to believe but it is true.

                That is me, but since I don't think that this is at all helpful for me in the least and it is unlikely any of you will actually help me.

                I have to point some things out...
                Firstly, I understand you want to work on your own projects and what not, but consider some things...
                If your intentions are in no way commercial or even if they are but you only want to work on conlanging and not necessarily world build. What's the harm of working with someone for free? If you just want to work on conlanging I'm sorry to say but it's not in huge demand as far as I know and as such it's not lucrative unless you associate with someone you're not going to make a lot of money more than likely. It's just a luck of a draw. If it's not me it's just some other schmuck. If you're in either position there's no contract and if you don't like me or my ideas you can just walk away, call me names, whatever... and more than likely you'll know pretty quickly. If for some reason things progress for some time and then you get angry and don't want to work with me any more then we can come to some agreement then. Again trust me when I say this, I am far more amenable than most people are and more than likely if you want to take all your work I'll go "I need this part for this reason, do you have a problem with that?" we'll discuss that and then I'll restart and rebuild. How do you know that is what I'll do or how can I be so certain that's what I'll do. We don't. You may not trust me and we may never know but that's how it is. Can't change that. At best you'll get more than you'd have gotten otherwise... at worst you'll have done pretty much the same thing you'd have done now.

                2ndly The logic that David is presenting is wrong. Don't work for free. Don't promote yourselves. Rely on other people coming to you to formulate arcane scripts that noone will tell the difference between language which takes skill and feeds back into the conlanging community and cypher which most people don't think is any different than what you're doing but doesnt feed back in and doesn't take much skill. You're essentially saying "I'm going to play in my own world and people will come pay me to play in their world and praise me for my ability to levitate" even though they can't tell the difference between your levitation and someone who is just doing an illusion.

                There are businesses and art that can get lucky and have that happen to them, but those are few and rare. Most companies and artists go, "here's free stuff! Talk about me! Aren't I amazing?! Why yes I can do that for you but my time is booked up... oh you want to give me money? This guy over here wants to give me money too though... Oh you want to give me more than him? OK!" It's a fundamental business concept.

                See, the fact is, David, you are right on the second part, that having real conlang in more places is a great way to promote what you are doing, but the second part is wrong because it doesn't allow for real conlang to be in all those places and that is part of the reason for the artists having a range of prices rather than a single standard rate, but it does promote promote ciphers which most can't tell the difference between because for every person you turn down is a missed opportunity to promote your work and a promotion of ciphers.

                Of course you can just say I'm a jerk and I'm untrustworthy and I'm disrespectful or I'm just not your horse. Valid reasons to some degree. It just means that I'm left with a negative opinion of your community, I'm a missed opportunity, and in my attempts I might even make the general conlang community look bad by my low quality work in the area or i might bone up and turn it around and be awesome in the area and in which case if i was vindictive it would lead to me talking negatively about your community and so you get a negative affect. I'm not saying I would do that if what my plans do work out. More than likely I'll forget, but I'm not everyone. That's a good thing in my book too ^.^
              • Matthew Merlo
                @Sai I read over what you wrote in the other reply chain briefly skimming over it and have no intention on replying to it. I have no reason to and I wasn t
                Message 7 of 26 , Dec 6 1:40 AM
                  @Sai
                  I read over what you wrote in the other reply chain briefly skimming over it and have no intention on replying to it. I have no reason to and I wasn't going to reply to anything any more but I don't like it when people so wrongly get what I wrote. That being said what i did see and remember I generally found what you said most alright.

                  #3. I would consider animal languages to be fairly simple and every where I have read when they talk about proto-proto langs they tend to point out that at some point in the past language must have been fairly simple.

                  #6. Read what I wrote and don't edit it to make it look like something I didn't write. If you didn't understand what I said.
                  I have seen in previously replies that standard rate for what I would want is $1000. (whether you say now this isn't the case is irrelevant in this statement) Minimum wage is "minimum" for what you are doing. A standard is also a minimum (as well as maximum) so if I paid minimum it would be the same as your standard we take it that you are talking about your minimum wage. If we take it that minimum wage is hourly national minimum wage then you have to consider number of hours and in that case the amount of money would be more than the standard.

                  >> … which apparently you can't read …
                  >
                  >Is needlessly insulting.

                  Again, you may take this as insulting and that is your option, but if I am clearly writing something specific and yet you are saying something that isn't what I wrote when you try to tell me back what I said then you "apparently" can't read. I would not take that as an insult, but more a challenge to my abilities that I am claiming and perhaps make more of an effort to not twist words to fit what i think they mean and take them for what they are saying.

                  #8. If there is no standard rate then it shouldn't have mentioned. Again, drawing from artists communities you quote more like "between $40 and $400 depending on what exactly you want, who you're asking, and where you're asking them" And then the buy can go "Well I can afford $40 so who, what, when?" and so on.

                  The last part of your reply is dishonest and that is what we call taking people out of context. reading the next line or the rest of the post explains why it is the case that I think that. By taking that out of context you are are made to look like I am saying something I am not. My position is just as much a protection for them as it is for me from my stand point, but I do understand them not believing that. I don't like ripping people off even with fake money and any contract you could possibly come up with in my opinion would be inherently unfair and ripping one of us off unless we just happened to get extremely lucky and reached a price point which we both later felt was right and didn't lose something valuable.
                • R A Brown
                  ... [snip] ... That would be too polite. Your initial request was unrealistic; it has been pointed out why. Some of your notions are not linguistically sound;
                  Message 8 of 26 , Dec 6 2:11 AM
                    On 06/12/2012 09:06, Matthew Merlo wrote:
                    >> On Dec 5, 2012, at 10:58 PM, Matthew Merlo
                    [snip]
                    >
                    > Of course you can just say I'm a jerk ...

                    That would be too polite.

                    Your initial request was unrealistic; it has been pointed
                    out why.
                    Some of your notions are not linguistically sound; it has
                    been pointed out why.

                    But you know best, and we are a load of foolish idiots.

                    When it's pointed out that the load of work you are asking
                    to be done is not insignificant and someone giving up the
                    time required might expect some recompense, then this is
                    dismissed as unworthy.

                    Sorry, I cannot take any more of Mr Marlo's rants and
                    diatribes. There's just too much noise on the Conlang list
                    at the moment. For the sake of my own sanity and peace of
                    mind, I'm going NO MAIL for a while, and hope that when I
                    return, things are better.

                    In the meantime, I wish you all
                    Happy Hanukkah
                    Merry Solstice
                    Merry Christmas
                    Happy New Year

                    To Mr Marlo I just add please learn to spell "playwright"
                    and maybe acknowledge you are not infallible.

                    Good-bye!

                    --
                    Ray
                    ==================================
                    Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
                    There's none too old to learn.
                    [WELSH PROVERB]
                  • Puey McCleary
                    I think that Sai and David have done super jobs being president. Perhaps not defeating Lex Luther type of super … but Lex has been rather quiet as of late,
                    Message 9 of 26 , Dec 6 5:05 AM
                      I think that Sai and David have done super jobs being president. Perhaps
                      not defeating Lex Luther type of super … but Lex has been rather quiet as
                      of late, so I may be wrong.

                      I don’t know whether you’re still here, Ray, but there are
                      plenty of quiet parties going on here, and I’ve got a chair reserved for
                      you by the pool. We were discussing the lovely Anglo-Saxon poem “Wulf and
                      Eadwacer,” and that was just fantastic. I like the conversation that Gary
                      started concerning an historical lexicon, though I haven’t had much to say
                      there. I don’t know whether you’re on Facebook, but on the Conlang group
                      there we’ve been talking about “The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere” and how
                      to translate “clift” and “sheen” and “drifts.” Gotta love Coleridge!

                      So you can stay with us where it’s really quiet. The water
                      is fine. And Mrs. Claus is serving sugar cookies. Santa’s on a diet.
                      Again. We’ll see how long that lasts.

                      Seriously, has Lex Luther been doing anything recently? I’m
                      getting nervous …
                    • Leonardo Castro
                      Justin B. Rye claims to have created a language for a client : http://www.xibalba.demon.co.uk/jbr/l4892/ So maybe he accepts your job offer. Até mais!
                      Message 10 of 26 , Dec 6 5:11 AM
                        Justin B. Rye claims to have created a language for a "client":
                        http://www.xibalba.demon.co.uk/jbr/l4892/

                        So maybe he accepts your job offer.

                        Até mais!

                        Leonardo


                        2012/12/6 Matthew Merlo <durakken@...>:
                        > @Padraic Brown
                        >
                        > I have been honest and forthright and I have not tried to hide intentions. What I have gotten from the lot of you is not tangential stuff, which may or may not be interesting, opinions that are superfluous about the posters own preferences and devaluing thing that they think are bad because they are "out of the box" which btw... they always have been just like almost everything is and everything was even for the vaunted JRR Tolkien, William Shakespeare, and the play writes of antiquities and so that is just bad form on you. And I have been "politely" insulted by your president.
                        >
                        > The intention to do so may not have been there but the fact of the matter that with people so inept at reading and formulating sentences if that was not your intent it bares the question how well do you even know this thing you study and claim to be skilled at. Especially when your president, the one who speaks from authority and helps establish authority on the subject, does it. It really make you all look silly, foolish, and trust worthy. That's ignoring the fact that he called strawmen arguments good and I'll be nice and do that considering I doubt he's a professor of logic.
                        >
                        >
                        > But let's just put that aside and look at what you wrote... Specifically, about my analogy between the comic book artist and conlanger.
                        >
                        > #1. Minimum Wage only applies to hour rate jobs. I am being nice using a $10 an hour rate which is roughly minimum wage just to give a figure and also it is a reasonable amount to start at to give context for the average person. Common rates are between $10 and 30. But focusing on this you miss the point and avoid the question.
                        >
                        > Why do you think that regardless of skill level what is provided is worth a standard rate?
                        >
                        > This is an important question. If it takes Joe double the time and is inferior quality than Bob should Joe and Bob be paid the same amount? The answer is no, they should not be. Quality is important. Speed in a lot instances is important. The average person thinks that they should be paid the same because that is how their mind works. They see it as essentially the same thing but the quality difference and time difference could be the difference between 100000 sales and 10000 sales. Eventually people get tired of waiting and sometimes the quality of work on one side of a project is so off putting that it makes the rest of it go down hill. They don't consider this and they think it's more like a plumber. A plumber does a job I pay him for parts and labor which takes roughly x amount of time which is standard across the board and I generally don't see the quality of the work and don't really care as long as it works, at least for the time being and doesn't break soon after.
                        >
                        > #2. yes someone does claim it takes a long time. Not looking it up. I think multiple people do. Again the calls into question if you missed this basic statement how can i trust that you can read well and if you can't read well how can i trust your lingual creation skills.
                        >
                        > #3. You might say there are no simple languages, but I think there are and they theoretically existed at sometime in the past.
                        >
                        > #4. I have direct experience with many artists. Also I am not talk about your "us" because your "us" is not "artists" but conlangers or artlangers where as I am referring to artists as in people who are drawing. This is clear and again, if you can't read this properly it's another indication of incompetent reading, thus, lack of skill.
                        >
                        > #5. Getting this far, you have now stopped actually responding to what I have wrote and become hostile. I have not, up until this post made any disparaging remarks about anyone here in terms of skill or ability and been quite clear, clarifying what I meant several times for people who are supposedly skilled in the language arts. What's funny is that all of you agree with what I have said, but then continue on with your nonsense in direct opposition to what I have said once past the point where I've expressed the argument and you agreed, insisting that my clear and explicit intent is not what I have said all along.
                        >
                        > anyways let's continue on with what you say anyways
                        >
                        > #6. I never said I was paying minimum, but had I you are foolish to look down on it for two reasons...
                        > A) Minimum wage from your perspective would be the standard pay rate from your side of the argument $1000
                        > B) Minimum wage using the $10/hr number and considering most people insist that it takes more than 100 hours to do what I want it would be more than $1000 in total per language v.v
                        >
                        > #7. After laying out the full analogy, which apparently you can't read, I re-ask the question; Should everyone be paid the same standard rate? Again the answer to that is No. The only time this isn't the case is in the case of animators who are doing basically the job of a copier and not an artist. Read, non-lead animators or key frame artists. Again, the reason for this is quality and speed and also level of fame of the artist as the work of artists can bring people to a book even if that artist is terrible.
                        >
                        > #8. If you find me to be "insulting" you have simply found my honest opinion as offensive... actually no you haven't. You found my analogy which is meant to illustrate why paying a standard rate is not right and not used in any other artistic medium as offensive. ie You found the reality of the world offensive and to that I say get over yourself and deal with it. That has nothing to do with me, it's just how the world is.
                        >
                        > #9. From my analogy on how anyone in reality would have to see conlanging as and the risk and trust it involves you get "I don't think you'll be satisfied with anything." read: You take me saying there isn't really any way to know that what you say your skill is it is to mean that I wouldn't be satisfied with whatever you produce. Another lingual problem you have there as well as logic jump issues...
                        >
                        > #10. I have never once said I am all that. By your own admission I have admitted that I don't have skill in this area. I haven't said I am a great artist or a great writer or a great game designer or great anything. You'll not even once in all these messages find that I say I am good. What I have said are my opinions on tangential things that don't really matter or that most of you agree on at base but don't like because it means you are fundamentally wrong in your thinking about what you are monetarily worth and for some reason you apply that to self worth. I have said I have no money and I would not work with someone who would not be interested in the project. I also in depth explained that I open to suggestions and such because I recognize that language and culture define each other and yet you've and others have taken that I somehow meant the opposite. I also don't recall if i stated what my commercial intents were directly or what to do with the profits thereof. I don't really think that is all that necessary. I understand why people want them, and why people are so distrustful, but all the same whatever details are more so to be discussed privately.
                        >
                        > But if you want to know the absolute truth. I'm charitable and I believe that everyone should get credit for what they do, and shares of whatever profit there is based on their contribution. I am so honest and hate scamming people and charging people for things that are simple that it greatly hinders me in making money real or in games. I absolutely hate it when I see people getting paid for essentially pressing a single button and then sitting around till the thing is done. I would rather tell the person how to do it, show them how to do it, and not get paid than do that. Of course you don't believe that or care about that or think it's some sort of flaw to be like that. No no of course the guy who has been nothing but direct and honest regardless of how much it has hurt his chances of getting the help he wants is a liar. But that's what a liar, and a troll, which you no doubt are thinking, would say.
                        >
                        > So in my brief stint here being honest and such what have I seen?
                        > Politely worded Insults
                        > non-helpfulness
                        > cheering on bad arguments
                        > lack of skill
                        > tangential topic taking over
                        > distrust
                        > and twisting what was said from the facts of reality to somehow insulting you.
                        >
                        > And what did I get out of this? Waste of time and being insulted
                        > And what did you all get out of this? Apparently you were taught a lesson in how to treat people unfairly and to speak double speak about thinking pro-bono is perfectly acceptable, but unreasonable, which is a daft thing to think and shows poor reasoning.
                        >
                        > Sorry for intruding on your magical kingdom. I'll go back to reality and continue working on my fantasies ^.^
                      • George Corley
                        ... If I may use your own artist analogy, that would be akin to going up to someone who draws purely for the fun of it without much commercial aspirations and
                        Message 11 of 26 , Dec 6 6:19 AM
                          On Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 3:06 AM, Matthew Merlo <durakken@...> wrote:

                          >
                          > Firstly, I understand you want to work on your own projects and what not,
                          > but consider some things...
                          > If your intentions are in no way commercial or even if they are but you
                          > only want to work on conlanging and not necessarily world build. What's the
                          > harm of working with someone for free?


                          If I may use your own artist analogy, that would be akin to going up to
                          someone who draws purely for the fun of it without much commercial
                          aspirations and asking them to do cover art for your book for free. If
                          they are a very, very good friend of yours, they might just do it for you,
                          but I doubt any random hobbyist on the street would agree too it. Working
                          *for* someone is usually less enjoyable than working for yourself for a
                          variety of reasons: You'll necessarily have less creative freedom, for
                          one, since what you do will have to fit into the creative vision of the
                          other party. None of us are your close, personal friend, so the only way
                          you'll get anyone to work for you for free is to somehow convince us that
                          the project is awesome enough for us to want to set our own projects aside.
                          It may well be that awesome, but you haven't convinced us of that.
                          Instead, you've decided to try to browbeat us by telling us how you can't
                          possibly pay and therefore we are unfair in asking for compensation. To be
                          truly honest, at this point I would be hesitant to work for you even for
                          pay, given the way you sell yourself.

                          On Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 3:40 AM, Matthew Merlo <durakken@...> wrote:

                          > @Sai
                          > I read over what you wrote in the other reply chain briefly skimming over
                          > it and have no intention on replying to it. I have no reason to and I
                          > wasn't going to reply to anything any more but I don't like it when people
                          > so wrongly get what I wrote. That being said what i did see and remember I
                          > generally found what you said most alright.
                          >
                          > #3. I would consider animal languages to be fairly simple and every where
                          > I have read when they talk about proto-proto langs they tend to point out
                          > that at some point in the past language must have been fairly simple.
                          >

                          There are no animal languages. To be more clear, no one has ever provided
                          sufficient evidence to show that any non-human animal has the capacity for
                          language at all. Mostly they have distinctive calls, some of them learned
                          and some of them instinctive, that have no grammar or complex meaning. It
                          is certainly plausible that early humans had more simple languages, or that
                          there may have been some gradient between animal communication and human
                          language, but we simply have no evidence of this other than brain size.
                          Language has been around for at least 100,000 years, and we can only
                          reconstruct proto-languages* back to around 10,000 or *maybe* 15,000 years.

                          The closest we have to a *simple* langauge would be a pidgin, which mainly
                          occurs in a *very* specific scenario (two cultures meet that do not share a
                          common language). Also, pidgins by definition have no native speakers, and
                          once they gain native speakers and become creoles, they tend to flesh out
                          and nail down the grammar.

                          *A proto-language, by the way, is a technical term for a language that has
                          been reconstructed based on data from its decendants. It's name in no way
                          suggests that it is less developed, primitive, or simpler.
                        • Alex Fink
                          ... I think part of the problem here is that linguists use of language is for a communicative system with a particular, quite specific, degree of expressive
                          Message 12 of 26 , Dec 6 7:52 AM
                            On Thu, 6 Dec 2012 08:19:03 -0600, George Corley <gacorley@...> wrote:

                            >On Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 3:40 AM, Matthew Merlo <durakken@...> wrote:
                            >
                            >> @Sai
                            >> #3. I would consider animal languages to be fairly simple and every where
                            >> I have read when they talk about proto-proto langs they tend to point out
                            >> that at some point in the past language must have been fairly simple.
                            >
                            >There are no animal languages. To be more clear, no one has ever provided
                            >sufficient evidence to show that any non-human animal has the capacity for
                            >language at all. Mostly they have distinctive calls, some of them learned
                            >and some of them instinctive, that have no grammar or complex meaning. It
                            >is certainly plausible that early humans had more simple languages, or that
                            >there may have been some gradient between animal communication and human
                            >language, but we simply have no evidence of this other than brain size.
                            > Language has been around for at least 100,000 years, and we can only
                            >reconstruct proto-languages* back to around 10,000 or *maybe* 15,000 years.
                            >
                            >The closest we have to a *simple* langauge would be a pidgin, which mainly
                            >occurs in a *very* specific scenario (two cultures meet that do not share a
                            >common language). Also, pidgins by definition have no native speakers, and
                            >once they gain native speakers and become creoles, they tend to flesh out
                            >and nail down the grammar.
                            >
                            >*A proto-language, by the way, is a technical term for a language that has
                            >been reconstructed based on data from its decendants. It's name in no way
                            >suggests that it is less developed, primitive, or simpler.

                            I think part of the problem here is that linguists' use of "language" is for a communicative system with a particular, quite specific, degree of expressive power and flexibility: the sort of communicative system that evolutionarily modern humans instinctively produce. With _that_ definition there are no "simple languages" just by definition. But there can certainly be communication systems too simple to be a "language", like animal communication or whatever unknowable thing came before evolutionarily modern humans. Given that Mr. Merlo's languages are for a variety of species there could well be one or several for which non-"languages" are appropriate.

                            On Thu, 6 Dec 2012 04:06:06 -0500, Matthew Merlo <durakken@...> wrote:

                            >You opinions may be your own and that is how I take them always (I've been a head moderator on forums) and I have always stood by when in official capacity to always act fairly and by the rules even to myself, but what I say and how much i come to despise someone holds no baring on how I moderate. This is almost never a position that moderators take. they say they do, but don't. However, when you are a head moderator or admin or founder or a president you are the person people look at and see you as a representative of that culture. I'm blunt, honest, and try to stay on point, but not against tangents and so people tend to not like what I have to say and that's generally a bad face to be leader of anything and I tend to try to stay away from leadership positions because even though I know how make things work well there isn't really a point if noone ever does what you tell them or it drives people away.

                            This listserv is not a forum. No-one is moderating posts; no-one has the power to un-send or redact the mail of anyone else. Instead we take responsibility for our own content and police ourselves, and under ordinary circumstances this works quite well.
                            (The person with control of the administrative levers of this listserv -- and mind that that is a logistic role, and he equally does not speak for anyone else -- is Henrik Theiling, who we have not heard from.)

                            Alex
                          • Matthew Merlo
                            @George Corley I would ask a random street artist that. They may say no, but I would highly doubt it has anything to do with limitations that I might place on
                            Message 13 of 26 , Dec 6 8:32 AM
                              @George Corley
                              I would ask a random street artist that. They may say no, but I would highly doubt it has anything to do with limitations that I might place on them or them wanting money. It more likely would have to do with some preconceived notion about the medium and what it would require them to work with. Provided that I could convince them they could use the same medium they are working with bring as few limitations as possible to the table more than likely they'd agree to at the very least hear me out or give it a try.

                              Another thing to keep in mind though when you are using the art analogy is that artistry is more accepted as valuable and to apply the analogy absolutely correctly you have to assume that everyone else outside of your very small community can't tell the difference between a stick man and the mona lisa. And just to rough up your ego just a little bit more. That is not something that could be claimed by any other "art" other than a very specific art who's name escapes me at the moment, and most people consider the artists in that category pompous, arrogant, scams, and not art at all. If draw people can most see the difference between a stick figure and liefeld and him vs Jim Lee and Jim Lee vs Rembrandt and Rembrandt vs DaVinci. If you take writing even though they don't know the mechanics the differences in style and whether it is at least competent writing or not can be seen and you can to some degree separate the levels into categories. Going to programming as someone brought up, which people don't generally think of art, the end user even though they don't understand it in most cases can tell the difference between a shoddy messy programmer/program, and a good one in 2 ways...looking at it which generally gives it away and running the program which tends to have problems if its bad. Conlanging on the other hand...I can make stuff up off the top my head, as can any child, and to your average viewers there is very little if any difference at all.

                              So the situation is more akin to me being blind and most of my audience being blind and only a few people outside of street artists can actually see and asking a street artist to draw me a sunset. The only word that I have that you drew a good sunset is your word and the word of, more than likely, other street artists.

                              The problem here is the absurdity of the situation. Why would blind people want a sunset drawn?
                              But it is also absurd of the street artists to be expecting that people will come around and ask to have sunsets drawn in the first place.

                              Of course that's where the analogy breaks down from being absurd yet possible to impossible which is that I am saying that if you want more people to come ask you to draw sunsets then you should draw sunsets for free and as often as you can because something I and others are doing could very well help to make people not blind and thus it is best for you and your community that you do this at least for right now.

                              You can say that you don't believe because you not seen a cure from me, but you can't say that what I am saying is illogical or wrong.

                              Btw, you stress "work for" when I always have said "work with" you are doing this knowing there is a difference and given that I have shown to choose my words to try to represent what i mean faithfully. It is wrong of you to try to switch words like that. This switch in itself shows that you understand what I'm saying and are purposely twisting my words which only shows malice and willful ignorance. Given that, I have a lot worse words that I would say of you, and your type of thinking, but I I'm not going to say them, but let me be clear on this point. If you paid me I wouldn't let you and people like you anywhere near anything I was working on or people that I know. And if anyone did ever ask me about conlanging and for some reason I said anything positive about this place. I would make sure to point out that you, not the rest of this community, should never be tolerated. You and others probably think that's a bit much, but I view willfully ignorant people, such as you have shown yourself to be, as the main cause of all ills on the earth and I do not tolerate them. I am simply civil and intelligent enough to realize that even the most backward thoughts need uttering to show how wrong they are.



                              As to the simple languages. you don't call them languages. That's nice. Missing the point of language, but you go ahead and believe what you will.
                            • Patrick Dunn
                              If you had spent the time today you spent insulting and berating people on this list writing a novel instead, you d have written a very respectable quantity.
                              Message 14 of 26 , Dec 6 8:37 AM
                                If you had spent the time today you spent insulting and berating people on
                                this list writing a novel instead, you'd have written a very respectable
                                quantity.




                                On Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 10:32 AM, Matthew Merlo <durakken@...> wrote:

                                > @George Corley
                                > I would ask a random street artist that. They may say no, but I would
                                > highly doubt it has anything to do with limitations that I might place on
                                > them or them wanting money. It more likely would have to do with some
                                > preconceived notion about the medium and what it would require them to work
                                > with. Provided that I could convince them they could use the same medium
                                > they are working with bring as few limitations as possible to the table
                                > more than likely they'd agree to at the very least hear me out or give it a
                                > try.
                                >
                                > Another thing to keep in mind though when you are using the art analogy is
                                > that artistry is more accepted as valuable and to apply the analogy
                                > absolutely correctly you have to assume that everyone else outside of your
                                > very small community can't tell the difference between a stick man and the
                                > mona lisa. And just to rough up your ego just a little bit more. That is
                                > not something that could be claimed by any other "art" other than a very
                                > specific art who's name escapes me at the moment, and most people consider
                                > the artists in that category pompous, arrogant, scams, and not art at all.
                                > If draw people can most see the difference between a stick figure and
                                > liefeld and him vs Jim Lee and Jim Lee vs Rembrandt and Rembrandt vs
                                > DaVinci. If you take writing even though they don't know the mechanics the
                                > differences in style and whether it is at least competent writing or not
                                > can be seen and you can to some degree separate the levels into categories.
                                > Going to programming as someone brought up, which people don't generally
                                > think of art, the end user even though they don't understand it in most
                                > cases can tell the difference between a shoddy messy programmer/program,
                                > and a good one in 2 ways...looking at it which generally gives it away and
                                > running the program which tends to have problems if its bad. Conlanging on
                                > the other hand...I can make stuff up off the top my head, as can any child,
                                > and to your average viewers there is very little if any difference at all.
                                >
                                > So the situation is more akin to me being blind and most of my audience
                                > being blind and only a few people outside of street artists can actually
                                > see and asking a street artist to draw me a sunset. The only word that I
                                > have that you drew a good sunset is your word and the word of, more than
                                > likely, other street artists.
                                >
                                > The problem here is the absurdity of the situation. Why would blind people
                                > want a sunset drawn?
                                > But it is also absurd of the street artists to be expecting that people
                                > will come around and ask to have sunsets drawn in the first place.
                                >
                                > Of course that's where the analogy breaks down from being absurd yet
                                > possible to impossible which is that I am saying that if you want more
                                > people to come ask you to draw sunsets then you should draw sunsets for
                                > free and as often as you can because something I and others are doing could
                                > very well help to make people not blind and thus it is best for you and
                                > your community that you do this at least for right now.
                                >
                                > You can say that you don't believe because you not seen a cure from me,
                                > but you can't say that what I am saying is illogical or wrong.
                                >
                                > Btw, you stress "work for" when I always have said "work with" you are
                                > doing this knowing there is a difference and given that I have shown to
                                > choose my words to try to represent what i mean faithfully. It is wrong of
                                > you to try to switch words like that. This switch in itself shows that you
                                > understand what I'm saying and are purposely twisting my words which only
                                > shows malice and willful ignorance. Given that, I have a lot worse words
                                > that I would say of you, and your type of thinking, but I I'm not going to
                                > say them, but let me be clear on this point. If you paid me I wouldn't let
                                > you and people like you anywhere near anything I was working on or people
                                > that I know. And if anyone did ever ask me about conlanging and for some
                                > reason I said anything positive about this place. I would make sure to
                                > point out that you, not the rest of this community, should never be
                                > tolerated. You and others probably think that's a bit much, but I view
                                > willfully ignorant people, such as you have shown yourself to be, as the
                                > main cause of all ills on the earth and I do not tolerate them. I am simply
                                > civil and intelligent enough to realize that even the most backward
                                > thoughts need uttering to show how wrong they are.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > As to the simple languages. you don't call them languages. That's nice.
                                > Missing the point of language, but you go ahead and believe what you will.




                                --
                                Second Person, a chapbook of poetry by Patrick Dunn, is now available for
                                order from Finishing Line
                                Press<http://www.finishinglinepress.com/NewReleasesandForthcomingTitles.htm>
                                and
                                Amazon<http://www.amazon.com/Second-Person-Patrick-Dunn/dp/1599249065/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1324342341&sr=8-2>.
                              • Roger Mills
                                I have not participated in this thread for many of the reasons Mr. Brown and others have given. Just to give you an idea of the time involved in creating _one_
                                Message 15 of 26 , Dec 6 12:26 PM
                                  I have not participated in this thread for many of the reasons Mr. Brown and others have given.

                                  Just to give you an idea of the time involved in creating _one_ language (Kash, in my case)--and bear in mind that I have a PhD in linguistics and have a nodding acquaintance with many languages, including lots of non-European ones.......

                                  The planet and language, and a back-story, were conceived in 1976; I did a hand-written phonology and some grammar at that time, and a rudimentary wordlist; and pulled some figures out of thin air for the planet's data (some maps, size, distance from its sun, year length etc.). I also knew that there would be two intelligent species.

                                  All that was set aside (largely mis-placed/lost) until I bought a computer in Spring of 1999. I wrote up some history and cultural data. I had to re-create/rewrite the phonology and grammar in Word Perfect. I found the old wordlist and didn't like what I'd done in '76, so in winter 99-2000 I spent about 3+ months @ 4-5 or more hours per day, creating the first 1000+ new words of the dictionary. Summer of 2000 et seq was spent reading "Websites for Dummies" and "HTML for Dummies". Then I realized that all the WP files had to be converted to Notepad and html-ized. The website was first created in Oct. 2001. In the meantime I was writing up the syntax (125 KB), then converting it to Notepad, html-ize, correct, revise; upload, then correct more errors in the Html :-) None of this was easy or quick for someone who at the time was quite lacking in computer skills. But essentially, creating and codifying that one language took from late 99 to around 2004, and
                                  that was with fairly steady work. I consider it basically "finished", though I keep adding vocabulary, and keep a file of possible tweaks to the grammar.

                                  In the meantime I created the second language, Gwr, and more recently a third, for an unrelated  minority tribal group. These are nowhere near as complete as Kash. Just bits and pieces of these have been uploaded, though a lot more exists in .doc files undergoing amplification and revision (the first computer having died, I now use MS Word. Fortunately the old WP files had been backed up).

                                  And I consider myself an artist, and my languages are works of art.
                                  ==================================================

                                  --- On Thu, 12/6/12, R A Brown <ray@...> wrote:
                                  On 06/12/2012 09:06, Matthew Merlo wrote:
                                  >> On Dec 5, 2012, at 10:58 PM, Matthew Merlo
                                  [snip]
                                  >
                                  > Of course you can just say I'm a jerk ...

                                  That would be too polite.

                                  Your initial request was unrealistic; it has been pointed
                                  out why.
                                  Some of your notions are not linguistically sound; it has
                                  been pointed out why.

                                  But you know best, and we are a load of foolish idiots.

                                  When it's pointed out that the load of work you are asking
                                  to be done is not insignificant and someone giving up the
                                  time required might expect some recompense, then this is
                                  dismissed as unworthy.

                                  Sorry, I cannot take any more of Mr Marlo's rants and
                                  diatribes.  There's just too much noise on the Conlang list
                                  at the moment.  For the sake of my own sanity and peace of
                                  mind, I'm going NO MAIL for a while, and hope that when I
                                  return, things are better.

                                  In the meantime, I wish you all
                                  Happy Hanukkah
                                  Merry Solstice
                                  Merry Christmas
                                  Happy New Year

                                  To Mr Marlo I just add please learn to spell "playwright"
                                  and maybe acknowledge you are not infallible.

                                  Good-bye!

                                  --
                                  Ray
                                  ==================================
                                  Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
                                  There's none too old to learn.
                                  [WELSH PROVERB]
                                • George Corley
                                  ... There are certain levels at which that doesn t work out. I think that the analogy of a stick-man here might be on-the-spot glossolalia by the actors --
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Dec 6 3:27 PM
                                    On Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 10:32 AM, Matthew Merlo <durakken@...> wrote:

                                    >
                                    > Another thing to keep in mind though when you are using the art analogy is
                                    > that artistry is more accepted as valuable and to apply the analogy
                                    > absolutely correctly you have to assume that everyone else outside of your
                                    > very small community can't tell the difference between a stick man and the
                                    > mona lisa. And just to rough up your ego just a little bit more. That is
                                    > not something that could be claimed by any other "art" other than a very
                                    > specific art who's name escapes me at the moment, and most people consider
                                    > the artists in that category pompous, arrogant, scams, and not art at all.
                                    > If draw people can most see the difference between a stick figure and
                                    > liefeld and him vs Jim Lee and Jim Lee vs Rembrandt and Rembrandt vs
                                    > DaVinci. If you take writing even though they don't know the mechanics the
                                    > differences in style and whether it is at least competent writing or not
                                    > can be seen and you can to some degree separate the levels into categories.
                                    > Going to programming as someone brought up, which people don't generally
                                    > think of art, the end user even though they don't understand it in most
                                    > cases can tell the difference between a shoddy messy programmer/program,
                                    > and a good one in 2 ways...looking at it which generally gives it away and
                                    > running the program which tends to have problems if its bad. Conlanging on
                                    > the other hand...I can make stuff up off the top my head, as can any child,
                                    > and to your average viewers there is very little if any difference at all.



                                    > So the situation is more akin to me being blind and most of my audience
                                    > being blind and only a few people outside of street artists can actually
                                    > see and asking a street artist to draw me a sunset. The only word that I
                                    > have that you drew a good sunset is your word and the word of, more than
                                    > likely, other street artists.
                                    >

                                    There are certain levels at which that doesn't work out. I think that the
                                    analogy of a stick-man here might be on-the-spot glossolalia by the actors
                                    -- which, while not as obvious as a stick figure, could probably be spotted
                                    fairly quickly by observant audience members (for instance, there are
                                    highly repetitive elements, and there will be no relationship between what
                                    is spoken and the subtitles). As things get more sophisticated, it does
                                    get to be a more academic distinction, though.

                                    But what exactly is a conlanger. If we are working for (or "with") another
                                    creator or creative project, we aren't just artists, but linguistics
                                    consultants. I'm not sure there is a perfect analogy to be had.


                                    > The problem here is the absurdity of the situation. Why would blind people
                                    > want a sunset drawn?
                                    > But it is also absurd of the street artists to be expecting that people
                                    > will come around and ask to have sunsets drawn in the first place.
                                    >
                                    > Of course that's where the analogy breaks down from being absurd yet
                                    > possible to impossible which is that I am saying that if you want more
                                    > people to come ask you to draw sunsets then you should draw sunsets for
                                    > free and as often as you can because something I and others are doing could
                                    > very well help to make people not blind and thus it is best for you and
                                    > your community that you do this at least for right now.


                                    Here we have an issue of misunderstanding. You assume that we all are
                                    interested in doing paid conlanging work, and that we just think we are
                                    lazy and waiting for people to come to us rather than getting out there and
                                    seeking jobs. Many people here have no interest whatsoever in conlanging
                                    for anyone but themselves, and I think most of the rest feel the same way
                                    as me -- it would be wonderful to get a paid conlanging gig, but that's not
                                    what I'm actively seeking at the moment -- partly because I know that
                                    demand for such work is very low.


                                    > You can say that you don't believe because you not seen a cure from me,
                                    > but you can't say that what I am saying is illogical or wrong.
                                    >

                                    Did I say you were illogical or wrong? I suppose disagreeing with you is
                                    implicitly saying that you are wrong. Your logic, it seems, is mostly
                                    sound, but many of your assumptions are, in my opinion, wrong.


                                    > Btw, you stress "work for" when I always have said "work with" you are
                                    > doing this knowing there is a difference and given that I have shown to
                                    > choose my words to try to represent what i mean faithfully. It is wrong of
                                    > you to try to switch words like that. This switch in itself shows that you
                                    > understand what I'm saying and are purposely twisting my words which only
                                    > shows malice and willful ignorance. Given that, I have a lot worse words
                                    > that I would say of you, and your type of thinking, but I I'm not going to
                                    > say them, but let me be clear on this point. If you paid me I wouldn't let
                                    > you and people like you anywhere near anything I was working on or people
                                    > that I know. And if anyone did ever ask me about conlanging and for some
                                    > reason I said anything positive about this place. I would make sure to
                                    > point out that you, not the rest of this community, should never be
                                    > tolerated. You and others probably think that's a bit much, but I view
                                    > willfully ignorant people, such as you have shown yourself to be, as the
                                    > main cause of all ills on the earth and I do not tolerate them. I am simply
                                    > civil and intelligent enough to realize that even the most backward
                                    > thoughts need uttering to show how wrong they are.
                                    >

                                    Do not presume that any small substitution of words constitutes a
                                    deliberate twisting of meaning. In some cases it is, but in this case it
                                    is not. Also, do not presume to know absolutely the contents of my mind.
                                    I apologize for stressing something that is not what you present. From
                                    the analogies you have presented and various other cues, I had essentially
                                    been thinking of your proposal as essentially a bit of contract work, which
                                    you are asking people to do for free or for some negotiated percentage of
                                    future profits.

                                    Even assuming this is an equal collaboration, it is still the case that the
                                    conlanger working with you would be giving up creative freedom. Perhaps
                                    every single point would be negotiated, including lots of the culture and
                                    worldbuilding info, so it still stands that the collaboration can be less
                                    enjoyable than working on one's own projects individually. It can also be
                                    a better experience, but from your attitude in this thread I can say that
                                    *I personally* would not like to work with you in any capacity. Much of
                                    what you have said in this thread has indicated to me that you don't much
                                    like conlangers, and that you fundamentally don't understand our
                                    motivations.


                                    > As to the simple languages. you don't call them languages. That's nice.
                                    > Missing the point of language, but you go ahead and believe what you will.


                                    It's an issue of technical definitions. In linguistics, a "language"
                                    necessarily has a certain level of complexity and flexibility that so far
                                    has only been observed in humans. Some of the ideas on this are listed
                                    here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_features_of_language (though
                                    certain of those features may be misleading IMO -- sign languages are still
                                    languages). This is not a matter of what people believe, it's a matter of
                                    knowing what we are talking about. If, among the "languages" that you want
                                    you list a set of animal calls or something like bird song, then that's
                                    fine -- but it's not something that people here do. Now, it is possible to
                                    make a language that is deliberately simpler than natural languages in some
                                    specific way, but for it to (technically speaking) still be called a
                                    language, it will most certainly not be anything analogous to currently
                                    known animal communication.

                                    You can dismiss these technicalities, but as I said above, if you ask a
                                    conlanger to work with you, we're not just an artist but also a linguistics
                                    consultant. Based on statements you've made, I would guess that most of
                                    the people on this list know more about linguistics than you do. So when
                                    we tell you that there are no animal languages, or that what you think of
                                    as a "simple language" doesn't exist naturally, or that your Goblin
                                    language is grossly unrealistic and likely impossible, we are trying to
                                    give you useful information. You are free to hand-wave away any of those
                                    complications away, just as so many sci-fi shows and movies hand-wave away
                                    the fact that sound doesn't carry audibly in space. That doesn't mean that
                                    the fact is not true, or that physicists are silly for saying you're wrong
                                    about sound in space.
                                  • Matthew Merlo
                                    George Corley You mistake having an opinion and not tolerating ignorance, dishonesty, insults. and letting his words be twisted, with having respect for the
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Dec 6 4:33 PM
                                      George Corley

                                      You mistake having an opinion and not tolerating ignorance, dishonesty, insults. and letting his words be twisted, with having respect for the skill itself. You could be superman and do tons of great things. That doesn't mean that what you say or why you do something is respectable. The sheer fact that I'm here at all and asking for such help shows that you are wrong because someone who didn't care wouldn't bother with seeking you out and they definitely wouldn't put up with the amount of stuff i've put up with from you. Nor would they respond or call you out on any of it.


                                      No I did not say that I think that all of you are interesting in paid work. However that is what we are talking about here. Keep on topic. David presented the argument that people shouldn't work for free and then said the more of it out there the more popular it gets and thus more work and the second part is true, but does not follow from the first. While should is still up for debate, should not is antithetical to that goal.

                                      If people want to work on their own worlds and not anyone elses' I understand, but I am not talk to them and why would I? They, and, ifyou are one these people, you, are not who I am talking to and you knowing this are must have some other motivation for confronting me and while there are many reasons that could be none are positive so I wouldn't be proud of myself if i were you.


                                      I do not consider "any" small change of wording to be deliberate, however, doing it constantly and calling attention to it you make known it is deliberate and as it is deliberate it becomes obvious that you are trying to make it sound like I am saying something I am not. I have said with every single time. Considering, I have also described the relationship I am proposing and I am not offering money usage of the word for is wrong. Perhaps you are hung up on trying to get it twisted to for because for implies monetary exchange and hierarchical relationship. You make it even more clear your intent to twist what I say by the beginning of your next paragraph, "Even assuming this is an equal collaboration..." which shows that I'm actually right in what I'm saying about you and your deliberate twisting.

                                      As to the points raised in that paragraph. What is agreed upon does not concern you and is only of concern to me and whoever I work with, but more importantly I have already explained what I am looking for and what "limitations" might be. Those limitations are what occur in every design. Certain elements dictate certain other elements and thus limit them. Anyone with any sense of continuity already knows thus and again I wouldn't want to work with someone who doesn't understand this or wouldn't be willing to work with considering those elements.




                                      As to what is language... the article you present as the qualities that language must have and then you say quickly after they don't is idiotic. I'm not call you or the writer idiots, but that article is idiotic and is a product of the thinking that is no longer considered proper when discussing things. It hits the nail on the head with "Language is about communication" which is funnily 9 on the list. He then goes on to go "Well how do humans around me communicate." That's a fallacy (don't know which one but i know it is one) What he is talking about is Human Language which is a subset of Animal Language which is a subset of Language. This very same thing happened in many other fields where once upon a time people were like "This is what this is and this how we can tell" and then they found something that was that thing and didn't fit their list of check offs and or they found things that DID meet their list of check offs but noone in their right mind would call it that.

                                      In the end, if it is a human centric line of thinking or what we know line of thinking then it is most likely a bad definition and an inaccurate line of thinking.
                                    • Patrick Dunn
                                      ... This sentence does seem to provide some evidence that language is not for the purpose of communication and that it cannot be learned by some H. sapiens.
                                      Message 18 of 26 , Dec 6 4:42 PM
                                        On Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 6:33 PM, Matthew Merlo <durakken@...> wrote:

                                        >
                                        >
                                        > As to what is language... the article you present as the qualities that
                                        > language must have and then you say quickly after they don't is idiotic.
                                        >

                                        This sentence does seem to provide some evidence that language is not for
                                        the purpose of communication and that it cannot be learned by some H.
                                        sapiens. It also, I must say, calls into questions the current conception
                                        of syntax.

                                        Well done, Matthew. You have indeed struck a blow against the field of
                                        linguistics by typing the above.

                                        I look forward to reading your novel. (This is an example of feature #14
                                        on Hockett's list.)

                                        --Patrick


                                        --
                                        Second Person, a chapbook of poetry by Patrick Dunn, is now available for
                                        order from Finishing Line
                                        Press<http://www.finishinglinepress.com/NewReleasesandForthcomingTitles.htm>
                                        and
                                        Amazon<http://www.amazon.com/Second-Person-Patrick-Dunn/dp/1599249065/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1324342341&sr=8-2>.
                                      • George Corley
                                        ... If you refuse to tolerate my ignorance , then why should I tolerate your own willful ignorance ... I m not exactly certain what you are saying. If you
                                        Message 19 of 26 , Dec 6 5:28 PM
                                          On Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 6:33 PM, Matthew Merlo <durakken@...> wrote:

                                          >
                                          > You mistake having an opinion and not tolerating ignorance, dishonesty,
                                          > insults. and letting his words be twisted, with having respect for the
                                          > skill itself. You could be superman and do tons of great things. That
                                          > doesn't mean that what you say or why you do something is respectable. The
                                          > sheer fact that I'm here at all and asking for such help shows that you are
                                          > wrong because someone who didn't care wouldn't bother with seeking you out
                                          > and they definitely wouldn't put up with the amount of stuff i've put up
                                          > with from you. Nor would they respond or call you out on any of it.
                                          >

                                          If you refuse to tolerate my "ignorance", then why should I tolerate your
                                          own willful ignorance


                                          > No I did not say that I think that all of you are interesting in paid
                                          > work. However that is what we are talking about here. Keep on topic. David
                                          > presented the argument that people shouldn't work for free and then said
                                          > the more of it out there the more popular it gets and thus more work and
                                          > the second part is true, but does not follow from the first. While should
                                          > is still up for debate, should not is antithetical to that goal.
                                          >

                                          I'm not exactly certain what you are saying. If you are saying that we
                                          should produce more work for free in hopes that we will grow the popularity
                                          of conlanging and thus generate more paid jobs, I feel like kind of like a
                                          musician who's been asked to play at a party for "exposure". Sure, I'll
                                          consider creating conlangs for my friends, and I produce some for myself as
                                          a hobby. I can only speak for myself as far as taking you up on your
                                          collaboration effort, and I've already stated my points on that.


                                          > If people want to work on their own worlds and not anyone elses' I
                                          > understand, but I am not talk to them and why would I? They, and, ifyou are
                                          > one these people, you, are not who I am talking to and you knowing this are
                                          > must have some other motivation for confronting me and while there are many
                                          > reasons that could be none are positive so I wouldn't be proud of myself if
                                          > i were you.
                                          >

                                          I'm confronting you about incorrect statements you have made about language
                                          and some general attempt to suss out exactly what you want. If you don't
                                          want to learn from us, then why do you want to work with us. I really feel
                                          like you want a conlanger to be your monkey and do what you say, rather
                                          than being an equal partner and a source of expertise on something you
                                          admittedly don't know much about.


                                          > I do not consider "any" small change of wording to be deliberate, however,
                                          > doing it constantly and calling attention to it you make known it is
                                          > deliberate and as it is deliberate it becomes obvious that you are trying
                                          > to make it sound like I am saying something I am not. I have said with
                                          > every single time. Considering, I have also described the relationship I am
                                          > proposing and I am not offering money usage of the word for is wrong.
                                          > Perhaps you are hung up on trying to get it twisted to for because for
                                          > implies monetary exchange and hierarchical relationship. You make it even
                                          > more clear your intent to twist what I say by the beginning of your next
                                          > paragraph, "Even assuming this is an equal collaboration..." which shows
                                          > that I'm actually right in what I'm saying about you and your deliberate
                                          > twisting.
                                          >

                                          You constantly say it will be a collaboration, and that any conlanger would
                                          be working "with" you, but you bat away all the conlang-related advice we
                                          give. Any attempt to correct you on misconceptions about linguistics you
                                          scoff at as if you think you really know better than us.


                                          > As to the points raised in that paragraph. What is agreed upon does not
                                          > concern you and is only of concern to me and whoever I work with, but more
                                          > importantly I have already explained what I am looking for and what
                                          > "limitations" might be. Those limitations are what occur in every design.
                                          > Certain elements dictate certain other elements and thus limit them. Anyone
                                          > with any sense of continuity already knows thus and again I wouldn't want
                                          > to work with someone who doesn't understand this or wouldn't be willing to
                                          > work with considering those elements.
                                          >

                                          Let's see ... you are defining the culture of each of these races, at least
                                          to some extent, correct? Since culture affects language quite heavily,
                                          that will be a constraint on the conlanger. You also make some very
                                          specific claims about your languages, which will serve as constraints on
                                          the construction of the language. In one case, you make a claim about a
                                          language that will make it almost impossible to construct. Maybe you will
                                          give on these things, and I really hope you'd be willing to, but your
                                          attitude


                                          > As to what is language... the article you present as the qualities that
                                          > language must have and then you say quickly after they don't is idiotic.


                                          That article is talking about some foundational philisophical work that
                                          shapes modern linguistics. That a single bullet point on that list is
                                          misleading and I point it out is such does not wholly invalidate it. We do
                                          not throw out evolution because a few of Darwin wasn't right about how
                                          genetics works (and he wasn't).

                                          Linguistics is a science, and science is messy.


                                          > I'm not call you or the writer idiots, but that article is idiotic and is
                                          > a product of the thinking that is no longer considered proper when
                                          > discussing things. It hits the nail on the head with "Language is about
                                          > communication" which is funnily 9 on the list. He then goes on to go "Well
                                          > how do humans around me communicate." That's a fallacy (don't know which
                                          > one but i know it is one) What he is talking about is Human Language which
                                          > is a subset of Animal Language which is a subset of Language.


                                          I am a graduate student in linguistics at the University of
                                          Wisconsin-Madison, and have been studying linguistics more informally for
                                          years. There are people on this list with better credentials -- both
                                          formal in that we have a few with completed degrees on the list, and
                                          informal in that they've been looking at this stuff for a lot longer than I
                                          have -- that will probably agree with me that animal communication and
                                          human language are two fundamentally different things. Indeed, there is a
                                          fair bit of non-linguistic communication among humans -- we have
                                          pheremones, gestures and facial expressions (outside of their linguistic
                                          uses in signed language), and all sorts of social signaling in the clothes
                                          we wear, etc. If you are going to work with someone on a conlang who knows
                                          much about linguistics, you are going to have to accept that there is a
                                          formal, technical definition of language.


                                          > This very same thing happened in many other fields where once upon a time
                                          > people were like "This is what this is and this how we can tell" and then
                                          > they found something that was that thing and didn't fit their list of check
                                          > offs and or they found things that DID meet their list of check offs but
                                          > noone in their right mind would call it that.
                                          >

                                          I did mention that we are talking about technical definitions here. Saying
                                          you know better than linguists what a language is is a little like being
                                          one of those people who insist to astronomers that Pluto is a planet.
                                          People may still call it that, but astronomers have devised a *technical*
                                          definition of "planet" that happens to exclude it -- specifically IIRC: "a
                                          body orbiting a star that is large enough to clear similarly-sized objects
                                          from its orbit, but not large enough to initiate fusion at its core."

                                          The definition of "language" can be approached in different ways, but in
                                          the current circumstances I would consider it thus: "A system of
                                          communication using a number of arbitrary symbols in a systematic way to
                                          construct infinite possible meanings." (Others might argue with me on
                                          details, but that's the general gist of it.)


                                          > In the end, if it is a human centric line of thinking or what we know line
                                          > of thinking then it is most likely a bad definition and an inaccurate line
                                          > of thinking.
                                          >

                                          We may be wrong in our thinking about language, but unless I see evidence
                                          to the contrary, I am going to stick with the established view that other
                                          linguists have already tested and agreed upon. That's how science works.

                                          Since I seem to have gotten myself into a flamewar I'm going to extricate
                                          myself in the only way I've found works for me -- this is my final post in
                                          reply to you. Feel free to have the last word or to fight with other
                                          people if you must.

                                          One last thought:
                                          I'm almost certain that I will regret this, and that I'm probably breaking
                                          some rule on this list, but I'm rather angry, so:

                                          Mr Merlo, you are a troll. Please kindly fuck off.
                                        • Brian Woodward
                                          On Dec 6, 2012, at 19:28, George Corley wrote: [snip] ... George, what was that Chinese phrase you discussed on your Conlangery Shorts
                                          Message 20 of 26 , Dec 6 9:11 PM
                                            On Dec 6, 2012, at 19:28, George Corley <gacorley@...> wrote:

                                            [snip]

                                            > Saying
                                            > you know better than linguists what a language is is a little like being
                                            > one of those people who insist to astronomers that Pluto is a planet.

                                            George, what was that Chinese phrase you discussed on your Conlangery Shorts Podcast the other week? "Playing with an axe in front of somebody's door"?

                                            Brian
                                          • George Corley
                                            ... Alright, I ll pop in to answer that: it s °àÃÅŪ¸« ban1men2nong4fu3 to play with an axe in front of Lu Ban s door . Episode is here:
                                            Message 21 of 26 , Dec 6 9:14 PM
                                              On Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 11:11 PM, Brian Woodward <alarjac3@...> wrote:

                                              > On Dec 6, 2012, at 19:28, George Corley <gacorley@...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              > [snip]
                                              >
                                              > > Saying
                                              > > you know better than linguists what a language is is a little like being
                                              > > one of those people who insist to astronomers that Pluto is a planet.
                                              >
                                              > George, what was that Chinese phrase you discussed on your Conlangery
                                              > Shorts Podcast the other week? "Playing with an axe in front of somebody's
                                              > door"?


                                              Alright, I'll pop in to answer that: it's 班门弄斧 ban1men2nong4fu3 "to play
                                              with an axe in front of Lu Ban's door". Episode is here:
                                              http://conlangery.com/2012/11/26/conlangery-shorts-02-georges-favorite-chengyu/
                                            • Brian Woodward
                                              ... It seems to apply here. Brian
                                              Message 22 of 26 , Dec 6 9:25 PM
                                                On Dec 6, 2012, at 23:14, George Corley <gacorley@...> wrote:

                                                > On Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 11:11 PM, Brian Woodward <alarjac3@...> wrote:
                                                >
                                                >> On Dec 6, 2012, at 19:28, George Corley <gacorley@...> wrote:
                                                >>
                                                >> [snip]
                                                >>
                                                >>> Saying
                                                >>> you know better than linguists what a language is is a little like being
                                                >>> one of those people who insist to astronomers that Pluto is a planet.
                                                >>
                                                >> George, what was that Chinese phrase you discussed on your Conlangery
                                                >> Shorts Podcast the other week? "Playing with an axe in front of somebody's
                                                >> door"?
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > Alright, I'll pop in to answer that: it's 班门弄斧 ban1men2nong4fu3 "to play
                                                > with an axe in front of Lu Ban's door". Episode is here:
                                                > http://conlangery.com/2012/11/26/conlangery-shorts-02-georges-favorite-chengyu/

                                                It seems to apply here.

                                                Brian
                                              • Matthew Merlo
                                                George Corley I had this long reply to you and then I realized something when I woke up this morning... Anyone that thinks what you think and holds what you
                                                Message 23 of 26 , Dec 7 6:09 AM
                                                  George Corley
                                                  I had this long reply to you and then I realized something when I woke up this morning...
                                                  Anyone that thinks what you think and holds what you said about there being a fundamental difference between Language and "animal communication" is uneducated and should be ashamed to hold such an illogical and backward idea as accurate. Any college and school that has you as a graduate should equally be ashamed to have not been able to teach such simple and basic concepts such as evolution and logic. Further, any one in the linguistics field should be doubly ashamed if they hold and/or teach something that is so blatantly idiotic, illogical, backwards, and doesn't make any at all from a linguistics point of view.

                                                  And if it is indeed your entire field that holds such an opinion the entire educated world should be embarrassed to let such nonsense persist in the modern world.


                                                  As to "taking our advice" I can list about 20-22 pieces of advice and suggestions About 18 of which are bad or other irrelevant, about 5 of which are about money, a few that are immoral, and 2 that I can think of off the top of my head that I'm going to use. That is not something that ignorant people and people who do not listen would even know and it not what troll would say or do.

                                                  But no no you are right, I'm an uneducated fool who's just being ignorant and trolling you all. I don't want compatriots, but slaves to do my bidding, and this is because I hate all of you. That is why I am doing this I hate you. That makes the most perfect sense ever.

                                                  If anyone has anything relevant to say to me feel free to email me directly. I don't think I'll be dealing with these trite uneducated experts of language.
                                                • Brian Woodward
                                                  Immoral? How can you talk of immorality when you come to OUR place (on the Internet) and insult every thing about us? Conlanging is first and foremost a HOBBY.
                                                  Message 24 of 26 , Dec 7 7:05 AM
                                                    Immoral? How can you talk of immorality when you come to OUR place (on the Internet) and insult every thing about us? Conlanging is first and foremost a HOBBY. What you are doing is equivalent to going to a Civil War Reenactment and telling them they don't know anything about the Civil War; or going to a model airplane airfield and telling the people there they don't know how to make model airplanes fly. It is immoral and just down right stupid to go up to people who are experts or near-experts and tell them (after the self-admission of ignorance) that you know better than them.

                                                    Now you have already run off one of our members because of your foolishness, stupidity, and narcissism. It would now be best for you to take your leave and not come back.

                                                    Brian

                                                    On Dec 7, 2012, at 8:09, Matthew Merlo <durakken@...> wrote:

                                                    > George Corley
                                                    > I had this long reply to you and then I realized something when I woke up this morning...
                                                    > Anyone that thinks what you think and holds what you said about there being a fundamental difference between Language and "animal communication" is uneducated and should be ashamed to hold such an illogical and backward idea as accurate. Any college and school that has you as a graduate should equally be ashamed to have not been able to teach such simple and basic concepts such as evolution and logic. Further, any one in the linguistics field should be doubly ashamed if they hold and/or teach something that is so blatantly idiotic, illogical, backwards, and doesn't make any at all from a linguistics point of view.
                                                    >
                                                    > And if it is indeed your entire field that holds such an opinion the entire educated world should be embarrassed to let such nonsense persist in the modern world.
                                                    >
                                                    >
                                                    > As to "taking our advice" I can list about 20-22 pieces of advice and suggestions About 18 of which are bad or other irrelevant, about 5 of which are about money, a few that are immoral, and 2 that I can think of off the top of my head that I'm going to use. That is not something that ignorant people and people who do not listen would even know and it not what troll would say or do.
                                                    >
                                                    > But no no you are right, I'm an uneducated fool who's just being ignorant and trolling you all. I don't want compatriots, but slaves to do my bidding, and this is because I hate all of you. That is why I am doing this I hate you. That makes the most perfect sense ever.
                                                    >
                                                    > If anyone has anything relevant to say to me feel free to email me directly. I don't think I'll be dealing with these trite uneducated experts of language.
                                                  • Tony Harris
                                                    Might I suggest that before this particular flare up gets any hotter, this conversation might be better taken off-list?
                                                    Message 25 of 26 , Dec 7 7:51 AM
                                                      Might I suggest that before this particular flare up gets any hotter,
                                                      this conversation might be better taken off-list?


                                                      On 12/07/2012 10:05 AM, Brian Woodward wrote:
                                                      > Immoral? How can you talk of immorality when you come to OUR place (on the Internet) and insult every thing about us? Conlanging is first and foremost a HOBBY. What you are doing is equivalent to going to a Civil War Reenactment and telling them they don't know anything about the Civil War; or going to a model airplane airfield and telling the people there they don't know how to make model airplanes fly. It is immoral and just down right stupid to go up to people who are experts or near-experts and tell them (after the self-admission of ignorance) that you know better than them.
                                                      >
                                                      > Now you have already run off one of our members because of your foolishness, stupidity, and narcissism. It would now be best for you to take your leave and not come back.
                                                      >
                                                      > Brian
                                                      >
                                                      > On Dec 7, 2012, at 8:09, Matthew Merlo <durakken@...> wrote:
                                                      >
                                                      >> George Corley
                                                      >> I had this long reply to you and then I realized something when I woke up this morning...
                                                      >> Anyone that thinks what you think and holds what you said about there being a fundamental difference between Language and "animal communication" is uneducated and should be ashamed to hold such an illogical and backward idea as accurate. Any college and school that has you as a graduate should equally be ashamed to have not been able to teach such simple and basic concepts such as evolution and logic. Further, any one in the linguistics field should be doubly ashamed if they hold and/or teach something that is so blatantly idiotic, illogical, backwards, and doesn't make any at all from a linguistics point of view.
                                                      >>
                                                      >> And if it is indeed your entire field that holds such an opinion the entire educated world should be embarrassed to let such nonsense persist in the modern world.
                                                      >>
                                                      >>
                                                      >> As to "taking our advice" I can list about 20-22 pieces of advice and suggestions About 18 of which are bad or other irrelevant, about 5 of which are about money, a few that are immoral, and 2 that I can think of off the top of my head that I'm going to use. That is not something that ignorant people and people who do not listen would even know and it not what troll would say or do.
                                                      >>
                                                      >> But no no you are right, I'm an uneducated fool who's just being ignorant and trolling you all. I don't want compatriots, but slaves to do my bidding, and this is because I hate all of you. That is why I am doing this I hate you. That makes the most perfect sense ever.
                                                      >>
                                                      >> If anyone has anything relevant to say to me feel free to email me directly. I don't think I'll be dealing with these trite uneducated experts of language.
                                                    • Brian Woodward
                                                      You re absolutely right! I apologize for getting involved. Brian
                                                      Message 26 of 26 , Dec 7 9:30 AM
                                                        You're absolutely right! I apologize for getting involved.

                                                        Brian

                                                        On Dec 7, 2012, at 9:51, Tony Harris <tony@...> wrote:

                                                        > Might I suggest that before this particular flare up gets any hotter, this conversation might be better taken off-list?
                                                        >
                                                        >
                                                        > On 12/07/2012 10:05 AM, Brian Woodward wrote:
                                                        >> Immoral? How can you talk of immorality when you come to OUR place (on the Internet) and insult every thing about us? Conlanging is first and foremost a HOBBY. What you are doing is equivalent to going to a Civil War Reenactment and telling them they don't know anything about the Civil War; or going to a model airplane airfield and telling the people there they don't know how to make model airplanes fly. It is immoral and just down right stupid to go up to people who are experts or near-experts and tell them (after the self-admission of ignorance) that you know better than them.
                                                        >>
                                                        >> Now you have already run off one of our members because of your foolishness, stupidity, and narcissism. It would now be best for you to take your leave and not come back.
                                                        >>
                                                        >> Brian
                                                        >>
                                                        >> On Dec 7, 2012, at 8:09, Matthew Merlo <durakken@...> wrote:
                                                        >>
                                                        >>> George Corley
                                                        >>> I had this long reply to you and then I realized something when I woke up this morning...
                                                        >>> Anyone that thinks what you think and holds what you said about there being a fundamental difference between Language and "animal communication" is uneducated and should be ashamed to hold such an illogical and backward idea as accurate. Any college and school that has you as a graduate should equally be ashamed to have not been able to teach such simple and basic concepts such as evolution and logic. Further, any one in the linguistics field should be doubly ashamed if they hold and/or teach something that is so blatantly idiotic, illogical, backwards, and doesn't make any at all from a linguistics point of view.
                                                        >>>
                                                        >>> And if it is indeed your entire field that holds such an opinion the entire educated world should be embarrassed to let such nonsense persist in the modern world.
                                                        >>>
                                                        >>>
                                                        >>> As to "taking our advice" I can list about 20-22 pieces of advice and suggestions About 18 of which are bad or other irrelevant, about 5 of which are about money, a few that are immoral, and 2 that I can think of off the top of my head that I'm going to use. That is not something that ignorant people and people who do not listen would even know and it not what troll would say or do.
                                                        >>>
                                                        >>> But no no you are right, I'm an uneducated fool who's just being ignorant and trolling you all. I don't want compatriots, but slaves to do my bidding, and this is because I hate all of you. That is why I am doing this I hate you. That makes the most perfect sense ever.
                                                        >>>
                                                        >>> If anyone has anything relevant to say to me feel free to email me directly. I don't think I'll be dealing with these trite uneducated experts of language.
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