(C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » 05 Nov 2018 19:21

All of the posts here so far this November are quite intriguing!
I shall lurk diligently until I have something to add!

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Lambuzhao » 10 Nov 2018 11:54

Axiem wrote:
04 Nov 2018 22:00
elemtilas wrote:
04 Nov 2018 05:15
Do souls bop back and forth between two worlds only, or is this a more linear arrangement like 1 > 2 > 3 > 4?
Linear arrangement, though in Second Earth there's a lot of debate over whether it stops there or just keeps going to e.g. Third Earth and so on. There's probably even some people who, down on their luck, commit suicide in the hopes of being born as "someone better" in the Third Earth.
The reason why newborns cry is that they look an realize "Oh no, not againe!"

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Lambuzhao » 10 Nov 2018 11:55

eldin raigmore wrote:
05 Nov 2018 19:21
All of the posts here so far this November are quite intriguing!
I shall lurk diligently until I have something to add!
Lurk ever onward, MacDuff!
[;)]

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas » 12 Nov 2018 22:17

Axiem wrote:
04 Nov 2018 22:00
elemtilas wrote:
04 Nov 2018 05:15
Do souls bop back and forth between two worlds only, or is this a more linear arrangement like 1 > 2 > 3 > 4?
Linear arrangement, though in Second Earth there's a lot of debate over whether it stops there or just keeps going to e.g. Third Earth and so on. There's probably even some people who, down on their luck, commit suicide in the hopes of being born as "someone better" in the Third Earth.
A bit of a gamble, that!

What if suicide is, well, terminal? Either pouf into nothingness, or perhaps worse, repeat the exact life in Second Earth!
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by LinguoFranco » 14 Nov 2018 19:08

What are your thoughts on Fantasy Counterpart Cultures?

I'm working on a conworld set in the Bronze Age, and I want to capture a similar feel to the mythical Bronze Age like the Epic of Gilgamesh, where heroes accomplish impossible feats and take on deadly monsters. However, I don't want to rip off the Greeks, Egyptians, or Mesopotamian cultures, but instead develop the cultures organically from the ground up. I'm not against taking some influences from real life cultures, though.

Currently, there is a religon based on monolatry, and I have some rough sketches of maps and geography. What are your preferred methods of conworlding?

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas » 15 Nov 2018 03:28

LinguoFranco wrote:
14 Nov 2018 19:08
What are your thoughts on Fantasy Counterpart Cultures?
A useful tool. I'd say, somewhat hesitatingly, very useful for a beginner because a lot of the hard work is already done.

But like any tool, it can be turned into a (metaphorical) hammer. It can be misused. FCCs, in my opinion, should be the "basic recipe" to which you add bits of culture that yield something recognisable but still something new. Look at The World. At first glance, Auntimoany looks a lot like England. Germanic language. An Empress. A Parliament. Auntimoany Rules the Waves. And it's true. At its base, Auntimoany kind of started out as "England With Pirates". And while it's grown into a stable empire, it's also grown culturally. It has its own music, its own quirky take on parliamentary monarchy, its own rather different cultural pillars of religion & philosophy & mythology.

Is it still a counterpart England? I think it's perhaps, now, far more its own self than it was. I dare say Queen Victoria never wore a Daine's wing bone in her hair, either!
I'm working on a conworld set in the Bronze Age,
A good place to set a phantasy, in my opinion. And not just because The World is, effectively, a kind of bronze-/thaumopunk phantasy.
and I want to capture a similar feel to the mythical Bronze Age like the Epic of Gilgamesh, where heroes accomplish impossible feats and take on deadly monsters. However, I don't want to rip off the Greeks, Egyptians, or Mesopotamian cultures, but instead develop the cultures organically from the ground up. I'm not against taking some influences from real life cultures, though.
This is one way FCCs can be used as an effective tool. If we look at that general region, I'd say Mesopotamia is a great place to set a high phantasy. You've already got the powerful kingdoms vying for regional authority with wild lands beyond where epic battles against barbarians and monsters alike can take place; you've already got the Elder Folk (the Sumerians) who are legends and even myths in and of themselves and who have bequeathed the High Language and religion and things cultural like writing and music and agriculture; and you've got a whiff of the memory of far more ancient Old Ones in the form of whoever it was came before the Flood, maybe inhabitants of Gobleke Tepe? And you've got eternal Egypt off to the side.

Use FCC as a gentle tool, rather than a hammer. Tease out of these cultures certain aspects that you like; add them to the basic recipe of the cultures you're building within their fictional geographical locations and you'll soon have your own cultures that both recall & echo their prototypes, but also are unique creations.
Currently, there is a religion based on monolatry, and I have some rough sketches of maps and geography. What are your preferred methods of conworlding?
Good start so far! Beginning with a map is always a fine way to start out. Gives one a sense of location and space within which. Since you've got some ideas along religious lines, I'd consider a next move being the sorting out of some basic mythology. Who are the great cosmic powers? What is the source of the monsters the ancient heroes had to contend with? These are the types upon which your modern heroes will model themselves as they go off on their adventures of bronze age derring-do!

That pretty much describes how The World kind of took off. Some maps. Some languages. Some drawings of people. Some myths. Some stories. After a while, I find these things kind of build themselves. I just have to type it out, write it down or try to sketch it. It doesn't work that way for everyone; but if you find yourself on that wave, just catch it and see where it takes you!

Once you kind of get some ideas sort out, a structure to hang them on is a good idea. I rather favour the Three Pillars Model:

A fantasy world, which is a kind or subset of invented world or secondary world, is very much like the primary world in its basic structure and form. The geopoet or worldbuilder will consider numerous factors in making her world and you will see many parallels between the work of the worldbuilder and the primary world itself.

UPPER LEVEL PILLARS -- These are the clerestory, if you will:

maps
languages
races
history
characters

Other high level pillars are basics with respect to sophont beings:

culture
religion
history
social structure
kinship

LOWER LEVEL PILLARS -- Beneath these high level ideas are more basic ones upon which those are built. In the primary world, we view these more in terms of basic physical sciences.

Theology
Cosmology
Physics
Chemistry
Geology
Biology
Anatomy & Physiology
Sociology
Economics

FOUNDATIONS -- But there are layers of pillars yet lower down! These are the ideals that the geopoet wishes to convey through the medium of the artistically conceived world. These are the fundamentals upon which the secondary world itself is built.

What kind of world is this to be? What is the basic perception I wish for others to see as regards my work?

How similar or different is this world to be from known models (i.e., the primary world)?

Is this to be a world of stable & rational Law or is it to be a more chaotic and Lawless place?

What fundamental Laws of Reality shall be established?

What powers do these Laws confer on the inhabitants of this world?

Notice that it is the answers to these questions through which the geopoet will set the tone for all further worldbuilding work. For example, if I choose "more chaotic but not entirely Lawless", this allows me to envision a secondary world where natural laws and sciences exist, but those laws do not necessarily hold constant everywhere & everywhen. Loopholes may exist; the very fabric of reality may be stronger or weaker by location.

Hope that helps a little!
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by fruityloops » 05 Dec 2018 16:36

I'm doing some world building and i wanted to avoid the unfortunate implications of calling other completely different sapient beings as "races", opting to use "species" instead. my only real problem is how can i explain how hybrids happen between different species?

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Jackk » 05 Dec 2018 16:42

You could always sidestep the issue by saying "subspecies" I suppose.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » 05 Dec 2018 18:43

Jackk wrote:
05 Dec 2018 16:42
You could always sidestep the issue by saying "subspecies" I suppose.
[+1]
Or make them all one genus, and make the hybrids all sterile.

Odds are they’d have to all be one taxonomic family anyway, assuming their biology is anything like RL bio.

Members of different genera within that family probably couldn’t have offspring together—if their bio is like RL’s.

Members of different species within the same genus might be able to have offspring together, but the offspring would probably be sterile. And maybe females of one species could conceive offspring begotten by males of the other, but males of the first species could not fertilize females of the second.

Members of different subspecies within the same species might be able to interbreed and get fertile offspring; but just either not much want to, or seldom have the opportunity to.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by fruityloops » 05 Dec 2018 18:48

alot of my conworlds aren't really all that realistic but i might keep this in mind for some interspecies breeding.

since in my urban fantasy setting, demons aren't really a species in the traditional sense explaining why half demons can still reproduce young.

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas » 06 Dec 2018 00:21

eldin raigmore wrote:
05 Dec 2018 18:43
Jackk wrote:
05 Dec 2018 16:42
You could always sidestep the issue by saying "subspecies" I suppose.
[+1]
Or make them all one genus, and make the hybrids all sterile.

Odds are they’d have to all be one taxonomic family anyway, assuming their biology is anything like RL bio.

Members of different genera within that family probably couldn’t have offspring together—if their bio is like RL’s.

Members of different species within the same genus might be able to have offspring together, but the offspring would probably be sterile. And maybe females of one species could conceive offspring begotten by males of the other, but males of the first species could not fertilize females of the second.

Members of different subspecies within the same species might be able to interbreed and get fertile offspring; but just either not much want to, or seldom have the opportunity to.
And you could sidestep even further, if magic is a force in this world, that it will have curious and sometimes unpredictable effects on such liaisons.

Probably will also have some effect on intra-species mating, but probably not so much on account of evolution.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by LinguoFranco » 23 Dec 2018 22:32

I’m designing a panentheistic religion for my conworld and I stumbled upon a conundrum. According to panentheism, the universe is God, but is only a part of God, and therefore God transcends the universe and is also sentient.

The problem I’m having is the origin of evil. If all is God, but God is also transcendent, where does evil come from and why would he allow it to exist?

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus » 24 Dec 2018 01:10

LinguoFranco wrote:
23 Dec 2018 22:32
I’m designing a panentheistic religion for my conworld and I stumbled upon a conundrum. According to panentheism, the universe is God, but is only a part of God, and therefore God transcends the universe and is also sentient.

The problem I’m having is the origin of evil. If all is God, but God is also transcendent, where does evil come from and why would he allow it to exist?
Right, we'll just quickly solve The Problem of Evil, shall we? Let me see now, has anyone else written at all on this subject, do you think? [other than every theologian in every language, and a whole lot of philosophers].

But in all seriousness, the options are pretty straightforward, and most of the arguments are just for making one option more appealing than another.

If evil exists, then the universe (/nature/god/being/existence/brahman/fate/the laws of physics/whatever) must either:
a) be unable to prevent evil
or
b) choose not to prevent evil

In the first case, if the One is unable to do something, that means the One's power is limited. We then have to ask: in what way are the powers of Being limited? Three obvious answers:
i) there are things that are possible to do, but that Being cannot do - i.e. Being is a limited agent, and others can do things Being cannot do
ii) there are things that could have been possible to do, but that in fact are not possible, that Being cannot do - i.e. Being could have chosen any fate, but having chosen a fate, it is in some ways fixed
iii) there are things that are not, and could not ever be, possible for anything to do, that Being cannot do - i.e. Being cannot accomplish the logically imcoherent

In the second case, if the One chooses not to prevent evil (while having the power to do so), one of two things must be the case:
iv) Being is not interested in the amount of evil in the world;
or
v) Being actively favours the existence of evil

We can then dismiss ii) - while this is a good theory to explain why individual acts of evil are permitted, it doesn't explain why a better fate was not originally chosen, so one of the other answers is required in the big case.

This gives us four solutions to the Problem of Evil:
1: evil exists because there is no single Being that is able to act freely in all ways
2: evil exists because evil is a logically unavoidable consequence of the nature of the world
3: evil exists because world is uncaring and heartless
4: evil exists because the world is evil
to these we can add the obvious fifth solution...
5: evil does not exist

Broadly speaking, 1 is a view that might be found in some 'primitive', agonist worldviews (eg some forms of animism), in which the world is a ceaseless competition between rival forces, and in dualistic worldviews like classical zoroastrianism (in which one force is inherently evil and the other inherently good). 2 is the most view we might call 'theological'. 3 is very popular with modern atheists. 4... I don't know whether any major group has ever held 4? And 5 is what we might call the 'philosophical' response (which is also found in the more reflective, 'academic' parts of some theological approaches).


Talking specifically about panentheism, that seems to rule out 1. We can probably rule out 4 as implausible. 3 is an attractive option - whoever said that Nature had to be loving? - but pretty much speaks for itself. Leaving 2 and 5 as the ones worth going into in more depth.


There are various forms of 2. Generally, the approach here is to identify one or more Really Good Things, and then say that their existence logically precludes the absence of evil. The Really Good Things are then said to be more valuable than the evil that is necessary to produce them. There's any number of RGTs you could think of, but some of the ones that have been put forward in a Christian context include:
- free will. [if you cannot choose to hurt others, you do not have the freedom to express yourself morally]
- moral virtue. [if you cannot choose to err, there is no virtue in choosing not to]
- virture of character. [if you cannot ever face true adversity, there is nothing beautiful in your overcoming it]
- serenity. [if you cannot ever know suffering, you cannot experience the fullest joy, which contains in it not only joy but the knowledge of joy, which entails the true knowledge of the absence of joy (i.e. of suffering)]
- love and/or solidarity. [if others around you never know pain or danger, you cannot know what it is to sacrifice yourself for others; nor, if you can never know pain or danger yourself, can you know what it is for others to sacrifice themselves for you; if nobody knows pain, nobody knows what it is to have companionship in pain]
- understanding. [if the world is not coherent and rational, you cannot understand it; but if the world is coherent and rational, and actions have consequences inherent in the nature of the action, then it is difficult to see how evil cannot arise through natural causes]

No doubt you can think of other alternatives as well.

As for 5, perhaps it's easier to look at it from the opposite direction. Let's have a look at what has to be true in order for a statement like "I can see evil in the world" to be true.
First, there has to be such a thing as evil - good and evil have to be objectively valid concepts. Not everyone agrees with that. Second, given that things may appear good from one perspective but evil from another, your own perspective must in some way be privileged - what you see as evil must really be evil, even if it appears good from other points of view.

Take, for example, the Battle of the Somme. This was, from the point of view of humans, a bad thing: lots of people died. On the other hand, it was a pretty great thing for poppy seeds, or for rats, or for fungus, or for influenza viruses, etc etc. We, as humans, assume that objectively it was a bad thing, because we assume that the human perspective is the only one that matters, or at least that it matters the most. But it's not inherently necessary to believe that God cares more about humans than about poppies.

Now, you could try to rephrase this as a logical-coherence argument, by saying "why does God allow evil to happen to humans just in order to help the poppies - wouldn't it be better if no evil happened to either?", but that assumes that what we see as evil objectively IS evil, at least pro tanto - that what seems evil to me and good to you is evil in one way even if it's good in another (so why couldn't it be good in both?). But if you abandon the idea that humans straightforwardly perceive objective moral truth, then you no longer have to explain why Existence allows evil things to happen to us for the sake of others - instead, the question becomes "why do some good things APPEAR evil to us?"... to which the obvious answer is that humans have only limited understanding of the world.

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by sangi39 » 24 Dec 2018 01:11

LinguoFranco wrote:
23 Dec 2018 22:32
I’m designing a panentheistic religion for my conworld and I stumbled upon a conundrum. According to panentheism, the universe is God, but is only a part of God, and therefore God transcends the universe and is also sentient.

The problem I’m having is the origin of evil. If all is God, but God is also transcendent, where does evil come from and why would he allow it to exist?
Doesn't that assume that "God is all-good"? Maybe God isn't all good, but instead neutral, so there's an overall balance of evil and good throughout the universe.

One argument I've seen suggests that (for the "God is all-good" version of God) free will is the cause of evil. We have the ability to go against God's will and detach ourselves from God in some way or another (spiritually maybe) and as a result we bring evil into the world ourselves in a sort of karmic way (we act against God's will, eventually it'll bite us in the ass, because God doesn't intervene, in order to preserve free will). Since God contains that evil, though, he can be affected by it, but in this instance he separates himself from that evil and instead "saves" or "interacts with" only the good.

I get the feeling someone like Sal might have a better understanding of this, though.

EDIT: Seems Sal beat me to it anyway [:P]
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas » 24 Dec 2018 06:28

sangi39 wrote:
24 Dec 2018 01:11
LinguoFranco wrote:
23 Dec 2018 22:32
I’m designing a panentheistic religion for my conworld and I stumbled upon a conundrum. According to panentheism, the universe is God, but is only a part of God, and therefore God transcends the universe and is also sentient.

The problem I’m having is the origin of evil. If all is God, but God is also transcendent, where does evil come from and why would he allow it to exist?
Doesn't that assume that "God is all-good"? Maybe God isn't all good, but instead neutral, so there's an overall balance of evil and good throughout the universe.

One argument I've seen suggests that (for the "God is all-good" version of God) free will is the cause of evil. We have the ability to go against God's will and detach ourselves from God in some way or another (spiritually maybe) and as a result we bring evil into the world ourselves in a sort of karmic way (we act against God's will, eventually it'll bite us in the ass, because God doesn't intervene, in order to preserve free will). Since God contains that evil, though, he can be affected by it, but in this instance he separates himself from that evil and instead "saves" or "interacts with" only the good.

I get the feeling someone like Sal might have a better understanding of this, though.

EDIT: Seems Sal beat me to it anyway [:P]
You got it pretty close to spot on. In panentheism, (and I'm sure LinguoFranco just made an unintentional ommission), the universe subsists within God but is not God, as God is transcendent and exists apart from the universe.

And yes, evil comes into a good world through the erratic wills of people (be they humans or angels, or in the case of many of our worlds, other races of sophonts). And yes, evil has its consequences: spiritually, as you say, but also physical (the wages of sin are death (and illness)) and cosmic (the world is out of balance, after all!). It's not that every time you get a cold, you're paying for calling someone a bad name. It's just a symptom of a world off kilter.

And it is kind of karmic, Though it doesn't always seems like it! That's because evil (and its sequellae) also have their silver linings. Those who care to be open can find blessing & peace in adversity.

I think God can really only be "affected" by evil only in that he is disappointed when we choose that route to obvious (karmic) detriment. Some people learn from the experience, others never quite get it. As far as "saving interaction", the physician doesn't come to heal the healthy!
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus » 24 Dec 2018 13:23

I think the idea here is to discuss ideas, rather than to proselytise for one particular sect.

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas » 24 Dec 2018 15:58

Salmoneus wrote:
24 Dec 2018 13:23
I think the idea here is to discuss ideas
Got it in one, as usual!

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Shemtov » 27 Dec 2018 07:46

Question:
I want a group of Concultures to believe in a Ethnic Stereotype that another conculture they are enemies of, know of an herb that makes people diabetic if eaten, and that they feed prisoners of war that they want to sacrifice to their pantheon this herb, and when he or she is about to die, drain him of his or her blood, and the blood has enough sugar to make a literal blood-wine, which is a ritual beverage. If those holding the stereotype know about diabetes, but not its cause, or treatment, would they believe that the blood of a diabetic could be fermented? IRL could one make alcoholic blood-wine from a diabetic animal (just to establish how ridiculous this stereotype is)? Would collecting urine work and making urine-wine work? I'm not sure how ridiculous I want to make this stereotype, so I'm thinking about different ideas and whether the holders would believe in it.
Many children make up, or begin to make up, imaginary languages. I have been at it since I could write.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus » 27 Dec 2018 20:30

Shemtov wrote:
27 Dec 2018 07:46
Question:
I want a group of Concultures to believe in a Ethnic Stereotype that another conculture they are enemies of, know of an herb that makes people diabetic if eaten, and that they feed prisoners of war that they want to sacrifice to their pantheon this herb, and when he or she is about to die, drain him of his or her blood, and the blood has enough sugar to make a literal blood-wine, which is a ritual beverage. If those holding the stereotype know about diabetes, but not its cause, or treatment, would they believe that the blood of a diabetic could be fermented? IRL could one make alcoholic blood-wine from a diabetic animal (just to establish how ridiculous this stereotype is)? Would collecting urine work and making urine-wine work? I'm not sure how ridiculous I want to make this stereotype, so I'm thinking about different ideas and whether the holders would believe in it.
Historically, many ancient cultures did observe that urine from diabetics tasted nicer (this was then forgotten in Europe until the early modern era, presumably because of a decrease in urine-drinking fo some reason). I've never heard about making wine from urine, other than in jokes, but I presume it's possible in theory - probably wouldn't be easy, though. You'd presumably have to add sugar (even for diabetics), and you'd have to fiddle with the chemistry in other ways, I'd imagine. A big issue would be pH. Grape juice starts with a pH around 3.3, and wine ends up with a pH between about 3 and 3.6... urine has an average pH around 6. Urine also lacks the tannins that let red wines cope with high pHs - basically, you'd have to add quite a lot of acid to your urine. And what's the point, anyway? Urine ought to lack the complicated chemicals that break down in winemaking to produce flavour. Conversely, it's got a lot of other chemicals in it that aren't fun - there's a reason why, in the real world, urine isn't popular as a beverage, but is traditionally important in various industrial chemical processes.

As for blood, that's even weirder (and has an even higher pH), but I think the big problem is just: how do you make wine out of a solid? As you know, unles you're an extreme haemophiliac, your blood automatically solidifies with exposure to air.

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Shemtov » 27 Dec 2018 21:43

The stereotype is supposed to be disgusting- "Oh, that culture we've had beef with for 500 years, and our allies for a thousand, they get drunk off of POW's urine, and they see it as a religious act! What a disgusting people!"
Also, if the even in universe fictional herb gives the victim "the kind that kills children", they may suffer from ketoacidosis, which might make people believe it could be done.
Many children make up, or begin to make up, imaginary languages. I have been at it since I could write.
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