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Re: [elfscript] stop it please ! will you !

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    I m sorry, but I will not accept being included in this admonishment. As always, it was _Helge_ who dragged this discussion from matters of Tolkien s languages
    Message 1 of 8 , Sep 3, 2003
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      I'm sorry, but I will not accept being included in this admonishment.
      As always, it was _Helge_ who dragged this discussion from matters of
      Tolkien's languages into personal attacks. As always, it is _Helge_ who
      continues to drag matters further and further away from topic (either
      for this list or even for the discussion to which he is responding) as
      he gets increasingly desperate to score points. And as always, it is
      _Helge_ who continues to ignore invitations to move this discussion
      elsewhere.

      So far as I am concerned, this discussion is over. But that was true
      after my _first_ post, answering a question regarding grammaticality.
      As always, it is _Helge_ who is never content to let a post bearing my
      name pass without launching a renewed round of personal attacks. And I
      will _not_ remain silent in the face of his lies, misrepresentations,
      and demagoguery. Or in the face of attempts to equate our characters
      and responses.

      (Here's a suggestion: since Helge clearly cannot rest without having
      the last word, why doesn't he simply post something with precisely the
      same rhetorical and scholarly value as his usual posts, but _without_
      the lies, misrepresentations, and demagoguery, so that there will be no
      need to correct his claims? E.g., "neener neener neener"?)



      On Sep 3, 2003, at 9:42 AM, laurifindil wrote:

      > I don't suppose that your bashing is going anywhere (as usual).
      >
      > Elflscript is not the right place for it (and it never was).
      >
      > Try to stop it, everyone (except you both) is TIRED by this
      > "flame-War".
      >
      > Try Yoga fro a change. ;-)
      >
      > Edouard Kloczko
    • Michael Everson
      ... He does troll you pretty successfully, though. -- Michael Everson * * Everson Typography * * http://www.evertype.com
      Message 2 of 8 , Sep 3, 2003
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        At 10:19 -0400 2003-09-03, Carl F. Hostetter wrote:
        >I'm sorry, but I will not accept being included in this
        >admonishment. As always, it was _Helge_ who dragged this discussion
        >from matters of Tolkien's languages into personal attacks. As
        >always, it is _Helge_ who continues to drag matters further and
        >further away from topic (either for this list or even for the
        >discussion to which he is responding) as he gets increasingly
        >desperate to score points. And as always, it is _Helge_ who
        >continues to ignore invitations to move this discussion elsewhere.

        He does troll you pretty successfully, though.
        --
        Michael Everson * * Everson Typography * * http://www.evertype.com
      • Carl F. Hostetter
        ... That s one way to look at it, I suppose. ( Gee, it s a shame your store was robbed, mister. You did open your doors to the public, though.... ) Another way
        Message 3 of 8 , Sep 3, 2003
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          On Sep 3, 2003, at 1:42 PM, Michael Everson wrote:

          > He does troll you pretty successfully, though.

          That's one way to look at it, I suppose. ("Gee, it's a shame your store
          was robbed, mister. You did open your doors to the public, though....")
          Another way is that which I went on to state:

          "And I will _not_ remain silent in the face of his lies,
          misrepresentations, and demagoguery. Or in the face of attempts to
          equate our characters and responses."
        • Michael Everson
          ... I happen to agree with you, Carl. I think you re right. I think Helge doesn t listen to what you actually say. I also think he enjoys winding you up. I
          Message 4 of 8 , Sep 4, 2003
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            At 14:23 -0400 2003-09-03, Carl F. Hostetter wrote:
            >On Sep 3, 2003, at 1:42 PM, Michael Everson wrote:
            >
            >> He does troll you pretty successfully, though.
            >
            >That's one way to look at it, I suppose. ("Gee,
            >it's a shame your store was robbed, mister. You
            >did open your doors to the public, though....")
            >Another way is that which I went on to state:
            >
            >"And I will _not_ remain silent in the face of
            >his lies, misrepresentations, and demagoguery.
            >Or in the face of attempts to equate our
            >characters and responses."

            I happen to agree with you, Carl. I think you're
            right. I think Helge doesn't listen to what you
            actually say. I also think he enjoys winding you
            up. I don't know whether you need to defend
            yourself so vociferously,

            You know, it's possible to learn Gothic. People
            do. Tolkien did. It's possible to study the
            language to learn about Germanic linguistics,
            Gothic grammar, and to read the things that the
            Goths wrote to learn about them.

            It's also possible to make up new words in
            Gothic, to use them with other people. Tolkien
            did this in school, at least a little. What
            results may be well-formed, and it may be
            grammatical, if it follows the rules of grammar
            and morphology which we learn from Gothic. Is a
            Gothic word for "iuplausan" 'liquidize' (calqued
            on German "auflösen") Traditional Gothic? More so
            than if it were calqued on "pürieren" 'purée'
            perhaps) can only be Neo-Gothic, perfect,
            imperfect or not.

            Cornish is an interesting counter-example.
            Cornish died out as a native language at the end
            of the 18th century but has been successfully
            revived -- even if marginally -- in the 20th.
            People speak it to one another; some children
            have been raised with it alongside English.
            Neologisms are coined for it, like "lynnushe"
            'liquidize'. (As it happens there are competing
            orthographies for Cornish, which people argue
            about, but it's agreed that word-formation and
            borrowing and coinage are needed and useful.)
            Scholars who study Traditional Cornish limit
            themselves to the texts. That study sometimes
            informs Neo-Cornish, which, because it is being
            used productively. Good Neo-Cornish is something
            that a speaker of Traditional Cornish might
            accept. Nicholas Williams' translation of the New
            Testament in Cornish is probably the best example
            of Neo-Cornish one could hope for.

            Now, how does this relate to the study of
            Tolkien's languages? Well, there are different
            things people do. On one end of the spectrum we
            have people who are interested in the corpus of
            what I will call here Traditional Tolkienian
            (lumping all the languages together just for the
            sake of this argument). This is serious academic
            linguistic and literary work, and is important
            and satisfying and helps us to understand both
            the creator and his creations. It is "the proper
            study of Tolkien and his languages".

            Now from the beginning some folks have enjoyed
            writing new texts in Tolkienian, and some of
            those texts are quite good too. (Tolkien's Old
            English is great fun as well.) Of course people
            get frustrated when there is a gap in the record,
            whether a lexical or a grammatical gap. Does this
            justify inventing new things? Well, the INSTANT
            one does it is no longer Traditional Tolkienian,
            but it is Neo-Tolkienian. And there you're stuck.
            Because there's no "guarantee" that anything
            Neo-Tolkienian is authentic in any way. There is
            a much higher likelihood of the 25,000 words in
            Williams' English-Cornish Dictionary being
            accepted as authentic, because (1) we have a fair
            bit of Traditional Cornish, (2) we have Welsh and
            Breton and English and French and lots of
            information as to how to borrow from them into
            Cornish.

            Does the same obtain for Tolkienian? Could it? I
            think not. I think it's easy for people with "a
            little" linguistics to grossly overgeneralize,
            and to just make things up when it suits them.
            It's just as easy for people with "a lot" of
            linguisics to err. An infinite variety of
            Neo-Tolkienians is possible. And at the end of
            the day, what does it get you?

            Part of the study of Tolkien's languages
            naturally involves reconstruction and conjecture.
            So does the study of Proto-Indo-European. No
            reconstruction is anything but conjectural,
            however obvious the reconstruction might be.
            Authentic Tolkienian is found in the writings of
            the man himself.

            I'm going to make a complaint, to give this
            thread some ElfScript relevence. I once thought
            that I could use ElfScript to help us encode
            Tengwar and Cirth in Unicode. The reason for
            doing that encoding is ONLY to assist in the
            study of the primary sources. That the encoding
            could be used for other things is fine, but, for
            instance, no tengwar which are unattested will be
            entertained for encoding, however clever or
            useful they may be to a Neo-Fëanor. At the
            beginning I did get some good feedback on the
            Elfscript list, and will eventually get back to
            the encoding (living scripts like Cham and N'ko
            are taking precedence at present). Probably I
            will create a separate list for further
            discussion.

            Why? Because Jackson's films have thrilled
            millions, and Legolas is cute, and when the Elves
            speak it is sexy. (One might say that about many
            films. In "Shunkmanitu t'anka 'ob wachi" (Dances
            with Wolves) the Lakota does sound cool.) So
            ElfScript descends into alphabet magic: "How do I
            write 'I am eternally eternal' in Elvish? I am
            getting a tattoo on Friday."

            I think Professor Tolkien would not have approved.
            --
            Michael Everson * * Everson Typography * * http://www.evertype.com
          • Carl F. Hostetter
            ... Then neither do you know whether I _don t_ need to. Nor do I. ... It is possible to _study_ Gothic. It is possible to examine authentic texts in Gothic,
            Message 5 of 8 , Sep 4, 2003
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              On Sep 4, 2003, at 7:25 AM, Michael Everson wrote:

              > I don't know whether you need to defend yourself so vociferously,

              Then neither do you know whether I _don't_ need to. Nor do I.

              > You know, it's possible to learn Gothic.

              It is possible to _study_ Gothic. It is possible to examine authentic
              texts in Gothic, analyze and theorize about what those texts tell us
              about the language as it might have been spoken. It is possible to
              examine the traces of Gothic influence left in other languages, and
              incorporate theories derived from analysis of those remnants into
              broader theories about the language as it might have been spoken. It is
              possible to draw inferences about spoken Gothic from the theoretical
              results of the historical linguistics of the Germanic and Indo-European
              language families to which Gothic belonged.

              But no, it is _not_ possible to "learn Gothic", not in the sense that
              "learn" means when unqualifiedly applied to languages, such as "learn
              Japanese" or "learn German". _No one knows_ how Gothic was actually
              spoken. _No one knows_ for sure what was and what was not grammatical
              in spoken Gothic. _All we know_ is theory derived from _written_ Gothic
              and other theoretical results.

              And precisely the same is true of Tolkien's languages.

              > Tolkien did.

              Tolkien was able to write and speak (to some extent; we have only
              second-hand reports, not transcriptions, so know way of knowing what
              Tolkien actually said, or how artificial or rehearsed it was) sentences
              composed of words and grammatical devices according (for the most part)
              with the predominant theories of the day concerning Gothic (and, no
              doubt, with his own personal theories and convictions). Nor was he
              entirely successful even at that, even in writing, as he himself
              pointed out.

              > It's also possible to make up new words in Gothic, to use them with
              > other people.

              Strictly speaking, it is possible to make up new words that conform
              with theory regarding Gothic phonology and morphology. But those words
              are nonetheless _not_ "genuine" and "authentic" Gothic. Still, in the
              usual sense of the phrase "make up new words in a language", yes, what
              you say is true. Of course, the very fact that one would do this "to
              use them with other people" speaks volumes about the vast difference
              between (relatively) poorly attested languages like Gothic and
              Tolkien's languages and other, spoken languages: If I were learning
              Japanese with some other people, we wouldn't be making up new words to
              use amongst ourselves. Nor would I pretend to "know Japanese" (as many
              pretend to "know Quenya" or "know Sindarin") just because I can string
              together words I look up in a dictionary into sentences that happen to
              conform to broad syntactic models.

              > Is a Gothic word for "iuplausan" 'liquidize' (calqued on German
              > "auflösen") Traditional Gothic?

              I have no idea what you mean by "Traditional Gothic". "Traditional" is
              not a linguistic term. Is it "genuine" or "authentic" Gothic? No. Does
              it conform to theory regarding Gothic phonology and morphology? Yes.
              Might it turn up in some as-yet-undiscovered Gothic text? Yes. Might it
              never ahve existed in any form of Gothic ever? Absolutely.

              > Cornish is an interesting counter-example.

              Cornish is an interesting _case_. But there are also key differences:
              First, there are far more surviving Cornish texts than there are for
              Gothic. Second, Cornish texts are not nearly so artificial as written
              Gothic was when compared to the spoken language (Wulfilas's translation
              of the Bible being _heavily_ influenced by vocabulary and syntax of the
              Greek texts).

              > Cornish died out as a native language at the end of the 18th century
              > but has been successfully revived -- even if marginally -- in the
              > 20th.

              I don't know much about the specifics of the Cornish Revival, so at
              this point I can only ask questions: apart from the _lexicon_ of what
              you call Neo-Cornish, how much of the grammar is reconstructed or
              invented? In other words, is the body of surviving Cornish texts, and
              information regarding the spoken language, sufficient to exemplify
              broadly and in detail the phonology, morphology, and syntax of the
              deceased language, or did much of this have to be reconstructed from
              fragmentary evidence? I ask this because, to the extent that the latter
              is true, I would question the precision of the claim that "Cornish" --
              which term would have to be qualified -- has been "revived".

              > it's agreed that word-formation and borrowing and coinage are needed
              > and useful.)

              Of course; but that's because it was first agreed among the same group
              of people that "reviving Cornish" (see my reservations about those
              terms above) was a goal they wished to pursue in common. But neither
              word-formation nor borrowing nor coinage are "needed" or "useful" to
              those wishing to study Cornish.

              > Good Neo-Cornish is something that a speaker of Traditional Cornish
              > might accept.

              "Accept" as what?

              > Nicholas Williams' translation of the New Testament in Cornish is
              > probably the best example of Neo-Cornish one could hope for.

              Whoa now. If Neo-Cornish has _truly_ become a living, spoken language,
              then there must be a community of fluent speakers of Neo-Cornish, and
              _anything_ said by _any_ of them would be just as good an example of
              Neo-Cornish as any other. On the other hand, if Neo-Cornish is in fact
              an _artificial_ language, then indeed one person's productions could be
              said to be better than another's -- and the phrasing of what you just
              wrote seems to betray a level of artificiality to the language, and a
              privileged status to Mr. Williams. Against what, exactly, do you
              measure Mr. Williams's translation to decide that it is the "best"?

              I should note that these are _not_ rhetorical questions. They go to the
              very heart of a crucial distinction between a dead/poorly-attested
              language (including nearly all artificial languages) and a living one.

              > This is serious academic linguistic and literary work, and is
              > important and satisfying and helps us to understand both
              > the creator and his creations. It is "the proper study of Tolkien and
              > his languages".

              I don't agree with that statement at all, as it implies that there is
              something improper about the sort of activity that Helge and the
              majority of posters to Elfling enjoy, and there absolutely is not.
              (Helge _wants_ you to believe that I feel it is improper, but even he
              knows better.)

              What _is_ improper is to attempt to eradicate the distinction between
              that activity and the activity of scholarship, which Helge does with
              his frequent use and fierce defense of applying such terms as "genuine"
              and "authentic" to the products of his and others' efforts at writing
              "in Elvish". It is this and other such (dare I say unscholarly)
              attempts to falsify the distinctions and actual natures of the two
              spheres of activities that I have spoken out against, and _only_ this..

              > Of course people get frustrated when there is a gap in the record,
              > whether a lexical or a grammatical gap. Does this justify inventing
              > new things?

              Of course it does, _if_ your goal is to produce (what matches your
              personal sense of what constitutes) a complete grammatical system for
              use with others. What it does _not_ justify is taking the results of
              these inventions and attempting to pass them off as "genuine" or
              "authentic". Nor does it justify elevating the hypothetical to the
              level of fact or evidence.

              > Because there's no "guarantee" that anything Neo-Tolkienian is
              > authentic in any way.

              In fact, it is _not_ authentic in _any_ way.

              > There is a much higher likelihood of the 25,000 words in Williams'
              > English-Cornish Dictionary being accepted as authentic,

              As authentic _what_? As accepted Neo-Cornish? You bet! As authentic
              (what you call Traditional) Cornish? It most certainly is not. You
              yourself draw a distinction between Traditional and Neo-Cornish; they
              are not interchangeable.

              And let's be honest here: in the case of _any_ artificial language
              lacking a community of fluent speakers (only Esperanto has, to my
              knowledge, achieved this status), the work of one or more "authorities"
              on the language will not be subject to a "vote": they will in fact
              _define_ the language. You will have people who accept their authority
              citing them as sources and their writings as proof (How else could it
              be? By what other measure can you judge the authority or evidentiary
              status of elements of a non-native artificial language?) -- and as we
              have seen throughout the history of artificial languages, you will very
              often have _other_ people following _other_ authorities, with resulting
              schisms (of course, because the work of each such authority defines
              their own artificial language). The difference between a scholar of
              Cornish and a student or speaker of what you call Neo-Cornish is that
              the former accepts only the actual written evidence of Cornish as facts
              about the language, while the latter will accept the writings and
              productions of their authorities as facts about the language. And the
              difference between a scholar of Tolkien's languages and a student of
              Neo-Elvish is that the former accepts only the actual evidence of
              Tolkien's writings as facts about the languages, while the writings and
              productions of their authorities as facts about the languages.

              And there is not one thing wrong with that, so long as the students,
              and _especially_ the authorities, don't misunderstand or deliberately
              misrepresent the fact that they are _defining_ new languages, _not_
              speaking or reviving the pre-existing language.

              > I think it's easy for people with "a little" linguistics to grossly
              > overgeneralize, and to just make things up when it suits them.

              Yep.

              > It's just as easy for people with "a lot" of linguisics to err.

              Yep.

              > An infinite variety of Neo-Tolkienians is possible.

              Yep.

              > And at the end of the day, what does it get you?

              Indeed.

              > Part of the study of Tolkien's languages naturally involves
              > reconstruction and conjecture. So does the study of
              > Proto-Indo-European. No reconstruction is anything but conjectural,
              > however obvious the reconstruction might be.

              Indeed. But no scholar of Proto-Indo-European will ever pretend that
              those reconstructions are anything more than theoretical, or that we
              know how to speak Proto-Indo-European.

              > Authentic Tolkienian is found in the writings of the man himself.

              Exactly so.

              > Jackson's films have thrilled millions, and Legolas is cute, and when
              > the Elves speak it is sexy. (One might say that about many
              > films. In "Shunkmanitu t'anka 'ob wachi" (Dances with Wolves) the
              > Lakota does sound cool.) So ElfScript descends into alphabet magic:
              > "How do I write 'I am eternally eternal' in Elvish? I am getting a
              > tattoo on Friday."
              >
              > I think Professor Tolkien would not have approved.

              I think you are right.
            • BP Jonsson
              ... Nobody has contested that. ... And some are trying to do exactly the same with Tolkien s languages. You, Mr. Hostetter seem to find this morally
              Message 6 of 8 , Sep 6, 2003
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                "Carl F. Hostetter" <Aelfwine@...> wrote:

                >But no, it is _not_ possible to "learn Gothic", not in the sense that
                >"learn" means when unqualifiedly applied to languages, such as "learn
                >Japanese" or "learn German". _No one knows_ how Gothic was actually
                >spoken. _No one knows_ for sure what was and what was not grammatical
                >in spoken Gothic. _All we know_ is theory derived from _written_ Gothic
                >and other theoretical results.
                >
                >And precisely the same is true of Tolkien's languages.


                Nobody has contested that.


                >Tolkien was able to write and speak (to some extent; we have only
                >second-hand reports, not transcriptions, so know way of knowing what
                >Tolkien actually said, or how artificial or rehearsed it was) sentences
                >composed of words and grammatical devices according (for the most part)
                >with the predominant theories of the day concerning Gothic (and, no
                >doubt, with his own personal theories and convictions). Nor was he
                >entirely successful even at that, even in writing, as he himself
                >pointed out.

                And some are trying to do exactly the same with
                Tolkien's languages. You, Mr. Hostetter seem to
                find this morally reprehensible. I wonder why?
                Just as Tolkien knew what hat he was wearing
                when he pursued scholarship and when he pursued
                linguistic creation, so do I know what hat I'm
                wearing when I'm working as a scholar and when
                I engage in linguistic creation, whether a-priori
                or a-posteriori, and I'm sure that all other
                adult people know what hats they are wearing at
                any given time. So where is the problem?

                /BP 8^)
                --
                B.Philip Jonsson mailto:melrochX@... (delete X)
                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~__
                A h-ammen ledin i phith! \ \
                __ ____ ____ _____________ ____ __ __ __ / /
                \ \/___ \\__ \ /___ _____/\ \\__ \\ \ \ \\ \ / /
                / / / / / \ / /Melroch\ \_/ // / / // / / /
                / /___/ /_ / /\ \ / /Gaestan ~\_ // /__/ // /__/ /
                /_________//_/ \_\/ /Eowine __ / / \___/\_\\___/\_\
                Gwaedhvenn Angeliniel\ \______/ /a/ /_h-adar Merthol naun
                ~~~~~~~~~Kuinondil~~~\________/~~\__/~~~Noolendur~~~~~~
                || Lenda lenda pellalenda pellatellenda kuivie aiya! ||
                "A coincidence, as we say in Middle-Earth" (JRR Tolkien)


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Carl F. Hostetter
                ... May I remind you that my reply was to the claim that we can learn Gothic ? ... And you, Mr. Jonsson, are _completely_ wrong, as you would know if you had
                Message 7 of 8 , Sep 6, 2003
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                  On Saturday, September 6, 2003, at 05:21 AM, BP Jonsson wrote:

                  > "Carl F. Hostetter" <Aelfwine@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >> But no, it is _not_ possible to "learn Gothic", not in the sense that
                  >> "learn" means when unqualifiedly applied to languages, such as "learn
                  >> Japanese" or "learn German". _No one knows_ how Gothic was actually
                  >> spoken. _No one knows_ for sure what was and what was not grammatical
                  >> in spoken Gothic. _All we know_ is theory derived from _written_
                  >> Gothic
                  >> and other theoretical results.
                  >>
                  >> And precisely the same is true of Tolkien's languages.
                  >
                  > Nobody has contested that.

                  May I remind you that my reply was to the claim that we can "learn
                  Gothic"?

                  >> Tolkien was able to write and speak (to some extent; we have only
                  >> second-hand reports, not transcriptions, so know way of knowing what
                  >> Tolkien actually said, or how artificial or rehearsed it was)
                  >> sentences composed of words and grammatical devices according (for
                  >> the most part) with the predominant theories of the day concerning
                  >> Gothic (and, no doubt, with his own personal theories and
                  >> convictions). Nor was he entirely successful even at that, even in
                  >> writing, as he himself pointed out.
                  >
                  > And some are trying to do exactly the same with Tolkien's languages.
                  > You, Mr. Hostetter seem to find this morally reprehensible.

                  And you, Mr. Jonsson, are _completely_ wrong, as you would know if you
                  had read even just my most recent posts to this list, in which I have
                  _repeatedly_ denied that there is anything improper in doing so. My
                  issue is _only_ with the blurring of the line between scholarship and
                  creativity, specifically between fact and hypothesis: Tolkien never
                  attempted to pass his Gothic off as "genuine" or "authentic" Gothic.

                  (If anyone wonders why I feel so strongly the need, and claim the
                  right, to correct the charges and misrepresentations leveled against
                  me, how can you wonder after reading this? Here Mr. Jonsson, a
                  prominent contributor to this and other Tolkienian-linguistics lists,
                  lazily maintains a completely false opinion of me, because he can't be
                  bothered to read my words, but instead simply accepts the distortions
                  and misrepresentations fostered by Helge Fauskanger as true.)
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