what brought you to conlanging?

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Amorris25
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what brought you to conlanging?

Post by Amorris25 » 08 Nov 2019 01:56

Hello everyone! I'm a master of linguistics major at TAMUC and I am doing a term paper for sociolinguistics. I have chosen to explore the many motivations for learning conlangs. I'd really appreciate any folks that could respond with conlangs they speak or are learning, and what brought you to learn that/those conlang(s). You're all awesome! Thank you in advance for anyone taking the time to read this.

For clarity, from my prospectus:

The aim of this study is to explore the sociological significance of conlangs in global and micro communities. The research will be aimed at exploring a small handful of well established and well known conlangs including (but not limited to) Esperanto and Klingon, and looking for uniting factors that led to their creation and subsequent community practice. Special attention will be given to conlangs popularized in movies, and the individuals and communities that have adopted their use.

Thanks again!
Cheers,
Angie

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Re: what brought you to conlanging?

Post by Pabappa » 08 Nov 2019 02:33

Nice to meet you.

This community is mostly about sharing our own work with each other, so, although some people may indeed have learned Esperanto and Klingon, I suspect most here are mainly fluent in their own work and in those of the many collaborative projects.

I myself have only looked intently at one language that originated outside this community, Láadan by Suzette Haden Elgin. It's not as famous as those other two, but for me, that was a big part of the appeal ... I've never been one to follow fads, and so, even within a small group such as conlangers, my interests tend towards the exotic.
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Re: what brought you to conlanging?

Post by dva_arla » 08 Nov 2019 05:50

I started becoming a conlanger chiefly and primarily through Mark "Zompist" Rosenfelder and his book, the Language Construction Kit. His website (should you need it for research):

www.zompist.com

As for learning conlangs... I haven't. Though should I manage to complete my own conlang, I should be obliged to study it.

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Re: what brought you to conlanging?

Post by Reyzadren » 08 Nov 2019 13:02

Amorris25 wrote:I'd really appreciate any folks that could respond with conlangs they speak or are learning,
Does that mean you want answers written in a conlang instead of accepting answers in English? :P
Amorris25 wrote:The research will be aimed at exploring a small handful of well established and well known conlangs including (but not limited to) Esperanto and Klingon
So, does this mean that your research excludes users who don't use "well established and well-known conlangs"? If so, then I might not be a suitable respondent for your study.
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Re: what brought you to conlanging?

Post by Amorris25 » 08 Nov 2019 17:06

Reyzadren wrote:
08 Nov 2019 13:02
Amorris25 wrote:I'd really appreciate any folks that could respond with conlangs they speak or are learning,
Does that mean you want answers written in a conlang instead of accepting answers in English? :P

[xD] English would be preferable haha

Amorris25 wrote:The research will be aimed at exploring a small handful of well established and well known conlangs including (but not limited to) Esperanto and Klingon
So, does this mean that your research excludes users who don't use "well established and well-known conlangs"? If so, then I might not be a suitable respondent for your study.

I will take all answers. Research kind of forms itself around my responses. For the purposes of turning in an assignment they mandate that the topic be as focused as possible, which in my case meant picking a subsection of types of conlangs and saying "that's the variety i'll look at" BUT that does not mean that the final paper will reflect what I said I would do. The communities, the responses, and the people are the most important part of what I'd like to look at. I can (and likely will) modify the paper. I posted the prospectus aim much for transparency for ethical reasons~ I never want to misinform or mislead anyone in the pursuit of social science.

Thanks for your questions!

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Re: what brought you to conlanging?

Post by Amorris25 » 08 Nov 2019 17:07

dva_arla wrote:
08 Nov 2019 05:50
I started becoming a conlanger chiefly and primarily through Mark "Zompist" Rosenfelder and his book, the Language Construction Kit. His website (should you need it for research):

www.zompist.com

As for learning conlangs... I haven't. Though should I manage to complete my own conlang, I should be obliged to study it.
Thank you very much!

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Re: what brought you to conlanging?

Post by Amorris25 » 08 Nov 2019 17:15

Pabappa wrote:
08 Nov 2019 02:33
Nice to meet you.

This community is mostly about sharing our own work with each other, so, although some people may indeed have learned Esperanto and Klingon, I suspect most here are mainly fluent in their own work and in those of the many collaborative projects.

I myself have only looked intently at one language that originated outside this community, Láadan by Suzette Haden Elgin. It's not as famous as those other two, but for me, that was a big part of the appeal ... I've never been one to follow fads, and so, even within a small group such as conlangers, my interests tend towards the exotic.
Nice to meet you as well! I have great respect for people who conlang, so I'm excited to be working on this.
Absolutely I understand that this board isn't the acquisition niche, but I am happy to get responses from any one here not just those who fit "right in" to the bounds of my research as I am genuinely interested in conlanging and how it intersects with social aspects of life and community.

I am going to add Láadan to my research list. Pop conlangs are only used as part of my research to narrow down the scope of the study, but they are ALL welcome and fantastic. Thank you for response!

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Re: what brought you to conlanging?

Post by Ælfwine » 08 Nov 2019 17:45

I like alternate history and worldbuilding and conlanging was a natural extension of that.
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Re: what brought you to conlanging?

Post by yangfiretiger121 » 08 Nov 2019 18:02

I'm an avid roleplayer, both tabletop and play-by-post. Thus, my introduction to conlanging came through the now-defunct Skaran Empire roleplay setting, which housed the language that became Old Common in the Wolmors Galaxy. I guess one could say the Empire isn't, truly, dead because the Galaxy is its spiritual successor. Other than that, I'm rather proud of Abyssal (image below), which may have been for the same setting and is computer-unfriendly without a custom font.

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Re: what brought you to conlanging?

Post by lsd » 08 Nov 2019 19:16

conlanging is not the activity of learning conlangs but building conlangs...
conlangs have no real ambition to be used as a languages that build a community, but as an autonomous activity or an autistic hobby that no one can really understand... except comparing with the hobby of an other conlanger...
many people have a group tropism that is why we can see communities of conlangers, like we can see communities of mockup builders... but there is no shared conlang in those groups...
perhaps are you not in the good forum...
here is a forum for technical helps, or sometime a place to rest after the hard effort of conlanging, to speak of one's difficulties, discouragements or little achievements before go back to work..
better to see in esperantist forums where sharing a language is the cement of the group that build a real new society...

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Re: what brought you to conlanging?

Post by Amorris25 » 08 Nov 2019 20:18

lsd wrote:
08 Nov 2019 19:16
conlanging is not the activity of learning conlangs but building conlangs...
conlangs have no real ambition to be used as a languages that build a community, but as an autonomous activity or an autistic hobby that no one can really understand... except comparing with the hobby of an other conlanger...
many people have a group tropism that is why we can see communities of conlangers, like we can see communities of mockup builders... but there is no shared conlang in those groups...
perhaps are you not in the good forum...
here is a forum for technical helps, or sometime a place to rest after the hard effort of conlanging, to speak of one's difficulties, discouragements or little achievements before go back to work..
better to see in esperantist forums where sharing a language is the cement of the group that build a real new society...
I appreciate your perspective, candor, and tips. I certainly am not hoping to clog the board- so please accept my sincerest apologies if I have done anything to disrupt flow.

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Re: what brought you to conlanging?

Post by Amorris25 » 08 Nov 2019 20:20

Ælfwine wrote:
08 Nov 2019 17:45
I like alternate history and worldbuilding and conlanging was a natural extension of that.
That's wonderful! What kind of worldbuilding are you into? My spouse enjoys alt history and worldbuilding as well and uses it for writing.

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Re: what brought you to conlanging?

Post by yangfiretiger121 » 08 Nov 2019 20:26

Amorris25 wrote:
08 Nov 2019 20:18
lsd wrote:
08 Nov 2019 19:16
conlanging is not the activity of learning conlangs but building conlangs...
conlangs have no real ambition to be used as a languages that build a community, but as an autonomous activity or an autistic hobby that no one can really understand... except comparing with the hobby of an other conlanger...
many people have a group tropism that is why we can see communities of conlangers, like we can see communities of mockup builders... but there is no shared conlang in those groups...
perhaps are you not in the good forum...
here is a forum for technical helps, or sometime a place to rest after the hard effort of conlanging, to speak of one's difficulties, discouragements or little achievements before go back to work..
better to see in esperantist forums where sharing a language is the cement of the group that build a real new society...
I appreciate your perspective, candor, and tips. I certainly am not hoping to clog the board- so please accept my sincerest apologies if I have done anything to disrupt flow.
Isd's post was uncalled for because this is the only appropriate forum on this site for a topic like this. Thus, you didn't disrupt flow, but Isd has done so.
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Re: what brought you to conlanging?

Post by Ser » 08 Nov 2019 21:48

As Pabappa said, this forum is mostly for people who make their own conlangs, who typically don't learn them even then, not people who learn others' conlangs such as Esperanto or Klingon. By the way, although Pabappa mentioned his interest in Láadan to give you an answer more relevant to you, he has been actually involved much, much more in making his own languages and in participating in relevant online groups like this one. The way you worded your question affected his answer.

I got into conlanging because a decade ago I joined an Internet forum for people who like natural language scripts (the Latin alphabet, Devanagari, Sumerian cuneiform, etc.) in order to discuss my struggles learning Mandarin Chinese at the time. A lot of people on that website happened to do conlanging, so I got on the wagon and tried it, and then never left it.

I have never had any interest in any famous conlangs like Interlingua, Quenya, Esperanto, etc. This goes along my general dislike of fiction, including fantasy and sci-fi literature and TV shows / films. I mostly conlang because I find linguistics interesting, and I feel some aesthetic satisfaction from the conlangs I make. I do think you need a culture and setting for a conlang to be actually viable (usable), because language unavoidably reflects culture at least in some basic sense (such as having a way to identify fingers because speakers have fingers), but then again I never get far into detail in my conlangs to need to make something elaborate.

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Re: what brought you to conlanging?

Post by Reyzadren » 08 Nov 2019 22:34

Amorris25 wrote:
08 Nov 2019 17:06
I will take all answers. Research kind of forms itself around my responses. For the purposes of turning in an assignment they mandate that the topic be as focused as possible, which in my case meant picking a subsection of types of conlangs and saying "that's the variety i'll look at" BUT that does not mean that the final paper will reflect what I said I would do. The communities, the responses, and the people are the most important part of what I'd like to look at. I can (and likely will) modify the paper. I posted the prospectus aim much for transparency for ethical reasons~ I never want to misinform or mislead anyone in the pursuit of social science.

Thanks for your questions!
Alright, here's my answer: Nothing brought me to conlanging. I have been doing it since I was a kid. However, I am more of a conworlder than a conlanger, and it is a fictional language to be used in that world, so of course its world needs its own languages.

As for learning other languages, I have no interest in learning "popular" conlangs or auxlangs, though I appreciate their own uses. I learnt my conlang and I am fluent in it.
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Re: what brought you to conlanging?

Post by Salmoneus » 08 Nov 2019 22:59

I don't wish to discourage you, but you might be surprised how little overlap there is between people who build (/make/write/whatever the verb is) conlangs and people who are interested in using conlangs. To be honest, we're lucky if anyone else here is even interested on a theoretical level in what we've done, and very few people learn even a sentence or two in someone else's conlang, let alone attempting to learn it wholesale. (even people who try to learn their own conlangs are a minority). Indeed, because we're - if you'll excuse the hubris! - relatively speaking "experts" on conlangs, there's often a degree of snootiness toward the sort of mass-media conlangs that people actually learn. [though with increasing awareness, the quality of these is certainly increasing]

Although, of course, hardly anyone outside conlanging communities learns a conlang either. So... I guess statistically we might be more likely to, on average? But not as much more likely as you might assume...


You may not wish to share, but it might be helpful if you gave a sense of your level of knowledge here, so that people could make appropriate helpful suggestions that neither patronised you nor came across as gibberish...

One thing I'd say, if you're not aware already, is that there's quite a psychological and cultural difference between fans of 'artistic' languages like Klingon, Dothraki, Quenya, etc, and fans of 'auxiliary' languages like Esperanto. The former tend to be driven by their interest in a broader work (star trek, GOT, LOTR, etc), possibly with some side-interest in languages; the latter include some people who are just big language-learning fans (after you've learned ten real language, why not try Esperanto?), but also a lot of people who are ideologically motivated. Auxlangers (both makers and learners) often have not only different interests from the rest of us, but also different ideas about the world and about language. And then a third category are fans of 'logical' or 'philosophical' languages, like Lojban, who like auxlangers are often ideological, but with a different ideology (though some people are both, particularly when they start out - it's natural to imagine that the 'perfect' language is also the best one for everyone to speak, but as they get more understanding they realise that some of the goals of an auxlang (maximum learnability) and of a loglang (minimum ambiguity) are actually incompatible, and have to decide which way they want to go).

Anyway, you'll find it relatively easily, I'd have thought, to find Esperantists, but I wouldn't take their attitudes as very representative of those of Klingonists or Quenyaists. (if those are the right words? not sure what they call themselves in English).

Perhaps the most interesting case study are groups that learn a particular conlang for no apparent reason other than whimsy. There aren't very many of these - or rather, small groups have existed but generally haven't lasted long (iirc there was once a hyper-complicated online home rules Diplomacy game that developed its own language?). The most famous example of these is Talossan, which was the language of a fictional 'micronation', and for some years actually had a small but active corp of speakers. Of course, some of the more peculiar auxlang communities are probably driven as much by whimsy as by ideology - Toki Pona may want to revolutionise the nature of language and bring about world peace, but I think a lot of Toki Pona speakers are just into it because it's ridiculously cute.


-----------------

Anyway. Myself, like many children I played around with constructing 'languages' (actually at first just alphabets) when young, probably primarily inspired by the use of runes in The Hobbit, and by reading fantasy more generally. This probably became more solidified when I came across a weird book of 'elven [i.e. Tolkienian] linguistics', and later still when I stumbled across online communities dedicated to it.

I've never been particularly interested in learning any conlangs. I like Quenya, and I also have a weird affection for Volapuk (Esperanto's much uglier, more characterful, predecessor). But I've little talent for or interest in language learning in general, and when I've tried, real-world languages have been at the top of the list.

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Re: what brought you to conlanging?

Post by Amorris25 » 09 Nov 2019 00:26

Salmoneus wrote:
08 Nov 2019 22:59
I don't wish to discourage you, but you might be surprised how little overlap there is between people who build (/make/write/whatever the verb is) conlangs and people who are interested in using conlangs. To be honest, we're lucky if anyone else here is even interested on a theoretical level in what we've done, and very few people learn even a sentence or two in someone else's conlang, let alone attempting to learn it wholesale. (even people who try to learn their own conlangs are a minority). Indeed, because we're - if you'll excuse the hubris! - relatively speaking "experts" on conlangs, there's often a degree of snootiness toward the sort of mass-media conlangs that people actually learn. [though with increasing awareness, the quality of these is certainly increasing]

Although, of course, hardly anyone outside conlanging communities learns a conlang either. So... I guess statistically we might be more likely to, on average? But not as much more likely as you might assume...


You may not wish to share, but it might be helpful if you gave a sense of your level of knowledge here, so that people could make appropriate helpful suggestions that neither patronised you nor came across as gibberish...

One thing I'd say, if you're not aware already, is that there's quite a psychological and cultural difference between fans of 'artistic' languages like Klingon, Dothraki, Quenya, etc, and fans of 'auxiliary' languages like Esperanto. The former tend to be driven by their interest in a broader work (star trek, GOT, LOTR, etc), possibly with some side-interest in languages; the latter include some people who are just big language-learning fans (after you've learned ten real language, why not try Esperanto?), but also a lot of people who are ideologically motivated. Auxlangers (both makers and learners) often have not only different interests from the rest of us, but also different ideas about the world and about language. And then a third category are fans of 'logical' or 'philosophical' languages, like Lojban, who like auxlangers are often ideological, but with a different ideology (though some people are both, particularly when they start out - it's natural to imagine that the 'perfect' language is also the best one for everyone to speak, but as they get more understanding they realise that some of the goals of an auxlang (maximum learnability) and of a loglang (minimum ambiguity) are actually incompatible, and have to decide which way they want to go).

Anyway, you'll find it relatively easily, I'd have thought, to find Esperantists, but I wouldn't take their attitudes as very representative of those of Klingonists or Quenyaists. (if those are the right words? not sure what they call themselves in English).

Perhaps the most interesting case study are groups that learn a particular conlang for no apparent reason other than whimsy. There aren't very many of these - or rather, small groups have existed but generally haven't lasted long (iirc there was once a hyper-complicated online home rules Diplomacy game that developed its own language?). The most famous example of these is Talossan, which was the language of a fictional 'micronation', and for some years actually had a small but active corp of speakers. Of course, some of the more peculiar auxlang communities are probably driven as much by whimsy as by ideology - Toki Pona may want to revolutionise the nature of language and bring about world peace, but I think a lot of Toki Pona speakers are just into it because it's ridiculously cute.


-----------------

Anyway. Myself, like many children I played around with constructing 'languages' (actually at first just alphabets) when young, probably primarily inspired by the use of runes in The Hobbit, and by reading fantasy more generally. This probably became more solidified when I came across a weird book of 'elven [i.e. Tolkienian] linguistics', and later still when I stumbled across online communities dedicated to it.

I've never been particularly interested in learning any conlangs. I like Quenya, and I also have a weird affection for Volapuk (Esperanto's much uglier, more characterful, predecessor). But I've little talent for or interest in language learning in general, and when I've tried, real-world languages have been at the top of the list.
You're not discouraging me at all, I love language, and I love learning. You're giving me good information and I am learning so it is worthwhile.

I appreciate your suggestion here to provide my own level of knowledge. I'm a 2nd year linguistics student (general linguistics and TESOL). I was an anthropology undergraduate so my focal point in caring about language is in the people who use it. Although I have been peripherally aware of conlangs and conlanging for a few years, I did not get a formal introduction until my first graduate course. They kind of glossed over it but I thought I really needed to learn more about this. I have been doing self-led research but I am generally at an introductory/novice level of understanding. It is completely okay to assume I'm a novice- because I am.

I understand the basic concepts of language building blocks, and I have a remedial understanding of the process of language creation. I began with reaching out to my own online social circle before venturing here. Through my own social groups, I have 2 friends who have created conlangs for their writing with limited vocabulary and terminal use. I also have an acquaintance who has an interest in learning Klingon. I completely understand that these two concepts are different, and certainly that the social aspects of language motivators are on different wavelengths. Certainly the motivators are different.

I truly appreciate the feedback. There is a lot of information about conlangs but at the same time there is very little information on conlanging and conlangs in a sociocultural context by way of googling, and there aren't even many academic/peer-reviewed papers available about the social aspect of conlangs. So I feel like the best way to learn about motivation and what one gives and gets (socially, or personal satisfaction) from learning and/or creating a conlang is from talking to the communities with interest and experience.

While the topic of my paper (originally) focused on pop culture conlangs, I care about learning about motivators for conlanging and how it intersects with social aspects of your lives.

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Re: what brought you to conlanging?

Post by lsd » 09 Nov 2019 11:54

the only common point I see between conlangs and society is the deep nature of the conlangers ...
It seems, if I believe the different threads on the self-description of the members of the forums of conlanging, that the turn of the spirit necessary to the development of the innate faculty of conlanging is related to a problem of sociability ...

Many here and elsewhere are willingly describing themselves as tendencies that carry them aside from the majority society (aspergers, autistics, sexual minorities, etc.)...

But perhaps it is a common feature with other activities that require a long time of concentration without interaction with society ... Like science, or art, ...

The opposite of the faculties that found a social ferment as the ability to language is surprisingly almost opposed to the ability to build a language ...



But in our time the manipulation of society by the elites pass by the will of its splitting into opposing groups for easier handling...
And we come to the fact that minorities are more favored than the majorities that have been boned using this bias...
In this context activities like conlanging are more easily put forward... but maybe not for the good of all...

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Re: what brought you to conlanging?

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien » 09 Nov 2019 20:55

I first became interested in conlanging with my discovery of Latin at a young age. I was fascinated by the tables of morphology (the noun cases, the conjugations) and it disappointed me that English had no parallel. Once I started learning Latin in middle school, my interest only increased. My first attempts at conlangs were Latin-based and not particularly interesting, but later when I started studying Proto-Indo European I became interested in combining my love of Latin and languages in general with my love of fantasy. For me, conlanging has always been tied to conworlding (and I was conworlding before I ever started conlanging). I had maps of made-up worlds with unusual-sounding toponyms, but I hadn't coalesced any of it into a conlang until then. (Reading LOTR was part of it--I loved Quenya and Sindarin and what Tolkien did inspired me). From then on, I've been working mainly on a single conlang with Indo-European grammar and an original vocabulary, spoken in my conworld. I enjoy sharing it with others, but it's not intended to be of any practical use, just fun. [:)]

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Re: what brought you to conlanging?

Post by Amorris25 » 10 Nov 2019 05:00

lsd wrote:
09 Nov 2019 11:54
the only common point I see between conlangs and society is the deep nature of the conlangers ...
It seems, if I believe the different threads on the self-description of the members of the forums of conlanging, that the turn of the spirit necessary to the development of the innate faculty of conlanging is related to a problem of sociability ...

Many here and elsewhere are willingly describing themselves as tendencies that carry them aside from the majority society (aspergers, autistics, sexual minorities, etc.)...

But perhaps it is a common feature with other activities that require a long time of concentration without interaction with society ... Like science, or art, ...

The opposite of the faculties that found a social ferment as the ability to language is surprisingly almost opposed to the ability to build a language ...



But in our time the manipulation of society by the elites pass by the will of its splitting into opposing groups for easier handling...
And we come to the fact that minorities are more favored than the majorities that have been boned using this bias...
In this context activities like conlanging are more easily put forward... but maybe not for the good of all...
Thank you, this is wonderful insight.

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