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Constructed Languages

  Tags: Conlang
 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
25 messages over 4 pages: 1 24  Next >>
rdearman
Senior Member
United Kingdom
rdearman.orgRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3869 days ago

881 posts - 1812 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, French, Mandarin

 
 Message 17 of 25
15 September 2014 at 8:55pm | IP Logged 
So nobody on this forum has learned Klingon? Somehow I thought someone would confess. I looked at numbers of speakers a few years ago and it seemed the number of Klingon speakers would outgrow the number of Welsh speakers but I haven't looked in a couple of years.
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Ari
Heptaglot
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 5215 days ago

2314 posts - 5695 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Cantonese
Studies: Czech, Latin, German

 
 Message 18 of 25
16 September 2014 at 8:59am | IP Logged 
I love conlangs in theory. A purposefully designed language can be a lot better at what
it's designed to do than a natural language could ever be, just like a purposefully
designed machine can be better than a naturally evolved creature. However, they all
have the problem of lack of opportunities for use and limitation of media. So in
practice, the only conlang I could see myself learning would be Esperanto, which is
like the vanilla conlang, being designed for nothing except being easy to learn
(=boring to study). Languages like Lojban or Toki Pona seem a lot more interesting to
me.

There's a second use for conlangs which I think linguists should use more, and that is
to explore what a language can and cannot be. By constructing weird languages that work
in ways natural languages don't, we could see if our brains are able to learn and use
them as languages, and thus shed light on what a language actually is, and possibly
even on whether all modern languages share an ancestor.
3 persons have voted this message useful



robarb
Nonaglot
Senior Member
United States
languagenpluson
Joined 3692 days ago

361 posts - 921 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese, English*, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, French
Studies: Mandarin, Danish, Russian, Norwegian, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Greek, Latin, Nepali, Modern Hebrew

 
 Message 19 of 25
16 September 2014 at 9:23am | IP Logged 
Ari wrote:
Languages like Lojban or Toki Pona seem a lot more interesting to
me.

There's a second use for conlangs which I think linguists should use more, and that is
to explore what a language can and cannot be. By constructing weird languages that work
in ways natural languages don't, we could see if our brains are able to learn and use
them as languages, and thus shed light on what a language actually is, and possibly
even on whether all modern languages share an ancestor.


Toki Pona does something like that to an extent- exploring the possibilities of a system that has fewer pieces
than any natural language. I learned some once, but I quit. It turns out that you can't be very precise in Toki
Pona, at least not in a way that other people will understand. The only way to express specific or complex
concepts is by groups of words like "akesi ma jelo suli" (non-cute-animal land yellow/green big) but there's no
way other people can know whether that means "iguana" or "komodo dragon" or "monitor lizard" or "big green
monster." (I'm not 100% sure this is correct Toki Pona, but that's the gist of what it's like.) I guess I don't have the
inclination to pare my communication down to the essentials like Toki Pona constrains you to. Maybe I should've
tried Lojban?
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garyb
Triglot
Senior Member
ScotlandRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3840 days ago

1468 posts - 2412 votes 
Speaks: English*, Italian, French
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 20 of 25
16 September 2014 at 10:35am | IP Logged 
Currently I don't see the point in spending time learning a conlang when that time could be spent working on a natural language. But I do have a certain amount of curiosity towards them so I wouldn't rule it out entirely. Maybe at some point in my life I'll decide to satisfy that curiosity, but it won't be soon. Similar for dead languages.

Edited by garyb on 16 September 2014 at 5:16pm

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Doitsujin
Diglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 3953 days ago

1255 posts - 2362 votes 
Speaks: German*, English

 
 Message 21 of 25
16 September 2014 at 10:41am | IP Logged 
I studied Esperanto for a while, but eventually gave up, because I couldn't find any interesting content that would have motivated me to continue. Also the more I looked into Esperanto's advanced grammar and morphology features the more I noticed its many weird idiosyncrasies.
IMHO, many other conlangs, for example, Interlingua, are much easier to intuitively grasp, at least for native speakers of Germanic or Romance languages who are familiar with at least one other language.

I also looked into Blissymbols, but I found the symbols too abstract for my taste. OTOH, they're used to teach disabled or handicapped people to communicate, which might be an indicator that I simply lack the required abstraction skills. (BTW, there's a very interesting Radiolab episode about the inventor of the language.)

I also find Ithkuil interesting, which is reportedly so difficult that even its inventor can't speak it fluently.
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Radioclare
Triglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
timeofftakeoff.com
Joined 3216 days ago

689 posts - 1119 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Esperanto
Studies: Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian

 
 Message 22 of 25
16 September 2014 at 10:45am | IP Logged 
rdearman wrote:
So nobody on this forum has learned Klingon? Somehow I thought someone would confess. I looked at numbers of speakers a few years ago and it seemed the number of Klingon speakers would outgrow the number of Welsh speakers but I haven't looked in a couple of years.


I think Benny Lewis once did a Klingon mission but I can't remember how successful he was. I'm sure the results are on his blog somewhere :)

It's very difficult to get an accurate estimate of the number of people who speak any constructed language.
2 persons have voted this message useful



dmaddock1
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4066 days ago

174 posts - 426 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, Esperanto, Latin, Ancient Greek

 
 Message 23 of 25
16 September 2014 at 5:02pm | IP Logged 
When I joined HTLAL years ago it was because I was interested in classical Greek & Latin. Initially skeptical of Esperanto (there was a lot of flame wars about it here at that time), I decided to try it out and quite like it. I'm a literature guy and Esperanto has the best corpus of quality literature of any conlang (by a long shot) so it is useful to me. I made a few attempts to find local Esperanto groups (in CT, USA) without much success. I'm sure I could find a Skype conversation partner, but that's not my style.

Since then I've also studied several living languages and honestly, Esperanto is not significantly less useful than the others. Even when I've been in Italy and Spain the utility I got from those languages was relatively small in the sense that I could've done everything in English if I wanted and achieved a similar result. Books I've read in Greek, Latin, Spanish, and Italian have all been available in very good English translations. The quantifiable return on time invested is not great. And like Jeff I've dabbled in Irish (and now Welsh) and the situation with those languages (and classical ones) is not so different from a conlang.

I think language learning enthusiasts over-stress the utility gains from learning a language, especially if you are a native English speaker. The benefits are largely subjective.

And as for purpose: we make our own purpose. I think gardening and knitting is a waste of time, but if you like it I encourage you to do it. Aliquando et insanire iucundum est

d.
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Xenops
Senior Member
United States
thexenops.deviantart
Joined 2458 days ago

112 posts - 158 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Japanese

 
 Message 24 of 25
16 September 2014 at 11:07pm | IP Logged 
I was looking for R-L materials of the Bible in different languages, and I found this:
productid=16585">https://www.olivetree.com/store/product.php ?productid=16585. And it's free!

While I appreciate that the Star Trek crew added validity to their series by constructing a language, I am not
interested in ST, and thus not interested in the language either.

Has anyone thought of constructing their own language? And of course, here is the link to the Construction kit:
http://www.zompist.com/kit.html I am interested in making my
own, my only concern is that all I know are European languages ( and Japanese), and thus I'm concerned that my
own language would reflect my limited knowledge. :(

Something I thought would be helpful is Greenberg's Universals, where he takes note of grammar trends that
occur in natural languages.


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