March 31, 2010
I’m reading again Lojban for Beginners, to continue with my study. I slowed down with my learnings with Smart.fm because all that vocabulary slips my mind. (I want to start writing, but without some things, like connectors or attitudinals, I can’t write anything I want.)
Of course, I can’t forget the most widely known conlang ever existed (as it was commented in the past post): Esperanto. It’s by far the conlang with the largest community. According to the wiki:
Total speakers Native: 200 to 2000 (1996, est.);
Fluent speakers: est. 100,000 to 2 million (in about 115 countries)
That’s just astonishing.
It was created in 1887 (!!!!) by L. L. Zamenhof, to be an international auxiliary language. He took many elements from the European languages (syntax, vocabulary, etc.) to develop it.
However, it’s criticized partially because of that: it’s not that culturally neutral, as it has not elements from oriental languages.
Of course, not every conlang was intended to be an international auxiliary language; some were invented as a scientific experiment (most of them based on the Sapir Whorf’s hypothesis). Lojban it’s one example, though it can be used as an auxiliary as well.
Sonja Elen Kisa is a linguist who developed Toki Pona (the funny yellow no-eyed guy there => it’s its logo), based on Taoist philosophy, trying to be as minimalist as possible. It has only 120 words, that represent simple concepts. It’s grammar is really simple (just a few rules), and more complex concepts can be achieved combining the basic words (for example, Toki means language and Pona, good). And is really easy to learn!
She has also designed Oou. The reason for developing it is unclear to me… it’s just insane. It has no consonants at all, and 11 vowels. It has only a few words (each one has several meanings), and a really strange alphabet. Here are some examples (with their corresponding meanings) extracted from its page:
*_ =!&_ ?
I take drugs.
I help drugs.
I eat trees.
You help trees.
I eat the sofa.
You help the sofa.
=_ ^^/~ ?
I love you.
You love me.
I love myself.
I avoid myself.
I avoid you.
I flatten myself.
I flatten you.
March 17, 2010
Constructed languages (conlangs) have always been a really interesting topics for me.
The first ones I met were, as a fan of Tolkien’s universe, Quenya and Sindarin (between many others he developed). The elvish languages are as beautiful as the elves themselves, as Tolkien wanted when he started developing this languages. Here you can hear a recording of Tolkien reciting the poem “Namárië“.
They have also a beautiful alphabet, called Tengwar, as you can see in this Quenya example:
The aim of this languages is purely artistic. They were used in literature, (fantasy, in this case), but there are many constructed languages in science fiction too. The most famous perhaps, is Klingon, of the Star Trek’s series. There is a really significant number of Klingon speakers, and you can also set your Google language to it. There were many others, like Na’vi (of James Cameron’s Avatar).
Other people created languages with other ends. Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is the reason of many of the scientific ones (including lojban). I hope I’ll write a post about that hypothesis in the future.
Suzette Haden Elgin created Láadan (that’s the link to wikipedia, this is the official page), a language designed to be better in communicating and expresing ideas and views of woman. It has many words to be unambigous when refering to emotions about what someone is saying. It was also used in science-fiction series Native Tongue.
This is extracted from their official page:
I became aware [...] of the feminist hypothesis that existing human languages are inadequate to express the perceptions of women. This intrigued me because it had a built-in paradox: if it is true, the only mechanism available to women for discussing the problem is the very same language(s) alleged to be inadequate for the purpose.
In the next post, I’ll be commenting about other languages (artificial or not).
co’o lo tcidu
(I’m really busy to be studing lojban, but I didn’t stopped!)