1Re: [langmaker2] What's New at LangMaker.com? 6/25/99
- Jul 2, 1999
>From: "Jeffrey Henning" <Jeffrey@...>I took a look at the notes, etc., and would like to offer some thoughts.
>Updated the Folkspraak page, which still interests people, despite being
>dormant for three years. We need someone to go through the Folkspraak notes
>and make some decisions and breathe some life back into this project.
>LangMaker.com - Invent Your Own Language
First, my thoughts about English. English is essentially a dead language.
Modern "English" is really Franglais, though it does have some surviving
English elements, esp. in its vocabulary. On grammatical questions, I
suggest that Franglais should carry less weight than more traditional German
tongues. On the other hand, _real_ English ie, Old English, should be given
considerable weight, for psychological and artistic reasons.
I think Icelandic, due to its conservative nature, also should be given
weight disproportionate to its number of speakers.
If Folkspraak is to have a future, it must have a loyal following, and to
acquire this, it must touch emotive strands in our collective Teutonic soul.
(Pardon the sentimentalism.) That means it must retain a typically Germanic
"phenotype", and this will not be done merely by producing a de-Latinized
"English." What are some features that will give Folkspraak a distinctively
We can start by preferring k to c in our orthography. C is evocative of
Latin and romance languages. K is evocative of German, a language closer to
the tongue and spirit of my/our Anglo-Saxon ancestors than is the latter's
bastardized descendant, Franglais/"English."
Another typical German trait is the presence of short vowels. We can debate
what those short vowels should be, but there should be some. Some
suggestions: a as in cat; i as in sit (perhaps we could write this as -y-
to differentiate it from i as in machine?); also Germanic-sounding is the
vowel sound in English book and the Deutsch u-umlaut. I suggest we
represent both these sounds by the same symbol, and let speakers decide
which pronunciation they prefer to use. After all, linguistic
decentralization is also a Germanic tradition, and we can allow a certain
amount of leeway and still be mutually intelligible.
I think the ai in maister looks too latinish--like maistro. What if we tried
the German meister? Then a as in ate could be ey, ej, or even ae--someone
will think of something.
If all major Germanic tongues have different words for a given concept, I
don't think circumlocutions are the best idea. After all, our ancestors
found it desirable to have _some_ word, so let's take a vote. And if we can
not reach a consensus on our favorite, perhaps we can reach a consensus on
which words are our least favorite, and so arrive at the word which is
disliked by the fewest persons! And if all else fails, we can cast lots.
On romance loanwords: I think these should be a last resort, regardless of
what is in current usage. Borrowing these words is a bad habit best
avoided. Just look what's happened to English! Germanic has a remarkable
genius for compounding, which might be why some people (Germans?) have
compared it to ancient Greek. Germany and Iceland have often sought and
found Nordicisms for Latinish scientific and technological terms; and,
before 1066, English had a remarkable facility for finding Germanic
equivalents for ecclesiatical terms. Often these were compounds, but not
always: I have read that the word for cross was rood.
Will a single declension and single conjugation be sufficient, or, out of
aesthetic considerations, should we employ more than one of each--though
always regular and easily identifiable, of course?
Artistry or beauty is as important as ease of learning for earning a conlang
or auxlang a loyal following. Of course, beauty can be subjective, and
perhaps only a native speaker of a Nordic tongue can be emotionally moved by
our Teutonic root stock. But certain words, phonemes, affixes, and
grammatical customs are beautiful to us, and that is as important as any
practical consideration. Otherwise, we would all be content to learn
Franglais, Esperanto, or other swear words. ~alypius
PS--does anyone know where to find "black letter" fonts--not the simulated
black letters one sometimes sees in modern "English," but the kind used in
Germany before WW II, some of which were almost unrecognizable to the