Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Summary/Overview of this blog: myself, conlangs and miscellaneous related phenomena.

Hey there!

Anyone interested in learning about my constructed languages and their progress now has a place to find them!

The purpose of this blog is to explore my very purposeful language creation endeavors, and how they relate to my attempts to get the most out of this life, and how in the world that relates to conlanging.

While perhaps indirect, I will also comment regarding my observations/learnings in the general areas of cognitive science, science and technology studies, critical thinking, and bridging the gulf between creativity, analysis, and living a highly directed, purposeful life. And I do believe it *is* possible to *actually* get the most from ones life here on Earth, and to do the best, *and* to practically apply even the most abstract truths. This is all expressed in how I go about conlanging, and what I choose to include in each language, as well as what *not* to include.

Somehow I think things about alternate reality games might make it into this blog.... Any other conlangers find the ARG concept fascinating?

Here is the summary of my active languages so far:

*Note*: All of my languages are and forever will remain in the public domain, as I have positively come to disbelieve in the legitimacy of intellectual property precisely because I do believe in a from of natural law based property rights.

(Baseline) Bipentahexadecimal (BPHD/BBPHD): A hypothetical "first language" of humanity, originally conceived of for my conculture/religion (satire)/self-criticism/catharsis of Koulikovianism, which has since developed into a conlang project proper. BBPHD is contrast with Ancient BPHD and Modern BPHD, both of which appear in the fictional saga; Baseline is the only fully speakable version.
-Purpose: to apply as many linguistic tools as possible to promote deliberate, specific, critical and scientific thinking.
-I call this "the scientific language."
-Note: there are two versions of this language: traditional, for all formal communication, and "quick speak" for intense/urgent situations! Note that you can gauge the relative level of thought of a community by observing their relative reliance on Formal vs. Quickspeak forms! They have very different grammar and usage rules, and entirely different lexicons; I imagine that if a whole civilization were to speak this language that this disparity would also a way of gauging the relative stratification of society.... There is also parallel gestural way of communicating which I am keeping in mind at every stage, but which will likely be the *last* component of the language I focus on developing, given my relative lack of experience at making three very different systems somehow completely match up with each other (speaking + writing non-alphabetically + gestures).

Coderific: I watched the first Futurama movie, and there was a special feature on the DVD about Futurama and math, so I watched it, and suddenly got this idea for a language that just looked like bunches of squiggles on paper, with an impression that I wanted it to do something with codes, and Coderific was born!
-Purpose: to be as fluidly encodable via as many means of communication as possible while still achieving as high a level as naturalness of communication as possible, so that even someone completely disabled while only having the conscious control of their diaphragm, or eye blinks, could still communicate quite comfortably in this language! (*key point to note* if anyone ever finds a student of this language in such a state! Learn the language, visit them, and let them speak to you!!!)
-I call this "the encoding language." The script now looks roughly similar to a heartbeat readout.

Pre/Mono: So, I had all these colangs, right? And I got stuck in various places making them (having very specific purposes to achieve will do that to you, running to the limit of your own understanding and/or knowledge of linguistics, or else the relative patience and revision that conlanging requires), so of course, in my frustration, a brilliant flash of insight occurs to me that I should create yet another language! And Pre/Mono is the result, the language most influenced by my own personal randomness.
-Note: originally named Mono, I found out there was a *pre-existing natural language using the same name*, but I liked the name, so I figured I'd come up with a combination not likely to be found elsewhere; yes, the slash is a necessary part of the name. But you may speak it as either "pre" or "mono" if you'd like.
-A preliminary font of this language is available! Anyone who decides to improve on this, or knows any basic tips for me to do so, please share!
-Note: a purpose emerged along the way: I got myself to begin developing the grammar, morphology, and lexicon by translating segments of the Christian Bible-- I'm very interested in being able to read the Bible in its original languages... another procrastinated project-- and thought that, since language and culture are inextricably linked, that perhaps I could appeal to an already existing culture with this language: those seeking to learn and live the Bible as originally written. (watch them come beating down my door now! :-) But in the case that this is you, please contact me! I'd like to know) This emergent purpose has subsequently begun influencing the language, and I even started to see some superficial resemblence between how this language looks and Hebrew and Greek... pretty interesting considering this purpose emerged only later, though this is by no means the first time I've experienced such serendipity in my projects, including conlangs! I'm sure I'll mention more examples of these in subsequent posts.

Impressions: a touch-based language meant for intimate communication between friends. In my world/experience, people don't seem to touch very much, and when they do, they sequester it largely to romantic/sexual contexts, or otherwise keep such touch relatively superficial, i.e. other than intimate. This is my way of contributing to bridging this gulf of personal space between people that is often experienced-- both deaf and/or blind individuals can use this language as well as hearing/seeing people can, bridging the gulf between those communities.
-Note: this is designed to be shared between people of all ages and relational qualities, from enemies to complete strangers to intimate partners, and the levels of touch keep this in mind.
-Purpose: Intimate, clear, friendly communication. This honestly started when a friend kept trying to point things out to me, many of which time and again went by unnoticed, and I realized if they had *touched me* the specific communication would have been clear, so I started figuring out how to make it even *more* clear by turning it into a language; it was quite a pleasant feeling and conlang beginning.
-Notice: I think it would be cool to learn about all the other touch-based conlangs out there-- please send links and info my way! Or anything concerning any other relevant topics I've expressed interest in.

I will call those my original conlangs. Now onto languages variously inspired by Star Trek (credit to various authors and artists who came up with the species and language samples which variously inspired the following):

Tzenkethi: There was something quite mysterious and deadly-seeming of this very infrequently mentioned species. So I came up with an intimidating combination: a no vowels, verb only language. And I cannot describe how fun working this language has been!
-Purpose: to sound intimidating. To communicate with *deadly precision*; I'm also trying to keep it both as creative and analytical as possible, so you can deliver an engineering thesis, or compose the most beautiful of love poetry, or speak on every topic under the sun as wonderfully as possible. An impossible combination? That's what makes this so *fun*.
*Universals violated:
-Lexicon of only actions words (*no indirect getting around this!* I'm creating a complex set of referentials to make up for not having verbs like "to be red," or "to be the subject of a verb," etc.! i.e. I'm forcing myself not to cheat! So something like "red" might be expressed through a combination of six referentials and particles based on verbs "to bleed," and "to see," for example, though it's likely the eventual verbs will be far richer and more precise than these examples)
--Am I missing something? No adjectives, adverbs, nouns, or their equivalents... possibly other things, too; under development. (I suppose my only question at this point: is "verb only" too vague a description?)
-No vowels, though their are some voiced consonants, and what I can only call "tones," including those which only vary the shape of the mouth during certain unvoiced fricatives.

Vulcan: Language of the peace-loving, logical folks whose emotions would rule them were it not for their strict discipline to all things rational. (or so they claim)
-Origin: I got ticked off at how loosely they use the word "logic"; so I decided to make this the foundation point of my imagination of their language.
-A musical *and* logical language!

Others variously undeveloped: Bajoran (some sort of cross between Ancient Egyptian, Punjabi, and Chinese, I'm sure), Dominionese ("the propagandistic language"!), Fabrini (for my Last of Our So-Called World Wars novel!), Ferengi (base-36 number system!), Tholian (*yes*, with all the screeches and clicks intact!).
-They will all stay as consistent with Star Trek canon as possible, though the final speakable/writable versions may have some variations. They will all include far more non-English sounds to make them more "alien" than anything the actors ever pronounced.

*Note: these languages are all meant to be used. I think the Star Trek ones are my only artlangs, though I don't quite know how to classify Pre/Mono; it's sort of it's own thing.

I also have something else for only those so interested to find.

This is an overview; all languages will eventually get a series of detailed articles as I develop them. I'll also try to include any insights on the language creation process I might have. Something that is interesting to note is that everyone except my fellow conlangers that I've mentioned my conlanging to has been either dismissive or critical about my choice to engage in this endeavor. Combined with my experience of the (yes, I will say it) relatively narrow commonalities and mutual interests between various conlangers I've come to know, or otherwise externally observe, lead me to decide to create a blog specifically about my conlanging projects. (previous blog divisions: personal blog/journal, fiction projects, nonfiction projects; also, I actually could not decide what else this topic/set of topics might fall under!)

Hope this summary/intro has you inspired. I always like comments/discussion, so questions, comments, criticisms, imaginations, personal insights, etc., go for it! I'm hoping this will be one of my more constructive, happy corners of cyberspace in terms of comment-based discussion.
-Only guideline: please think before you post! It's the only real posting rule I ever feel the need to positively broadcast, possibly because it seems to generally be the one least followed... so, by all means, follow it! Other than that and basic courtesy, anything goes, from pleasant to harsh to ridiculous, concise or long; whatever.

Till next time,
Gabriel (the purposeful conlanger, or trying to be)

P.S. At one point in my life, I was convinced that all the worlds problems stemmed from lack of communication and miscommunication. Then, a couple years ago, one of my friends convinced me that it was lack of commitment, as relative patience and commitment in a relationship would clear up any lack of or mis-communication. I'm sure this relates to my language fixation not insignificantly. Anyone else relate?