Posts tagged ‘Conlang’

July 10, 2012

The Teune Language

Conlang Creation

Introduction

I am working on the creation of a language. It is called Teune, which means tongue in the language. Language creation is a long hallowed past-time for a select group of individuals. The practice gained some international recognition with the creation of Esperanto, an international auxiliar language. Such languages were meant to foster international communication, but I see such intentions as misguided.

Auxlangs

An international auxiliary language, otherwise known as an auxlang, is usually a simplified pidgin consisting of the scattered remnants of several other remnants. The most famous example, Esperanto, is very simplified and easy to learn. Unfortunately, the simplicity of such languages does not enhance their popularity much.

Artlangs

An artlang is a language created just for the purpose of creating a language. These languages often rival the complexity of natural languages when developed enough. My language, Teune, will be of the artlang variety. I do not expect any large population of individuals to learn the language and speak it. I do this mostly for the gratification of crafting an intricate system.

Languages are, at their core, systems of rules. These systems are highly intricate, and extremely detailed. They are adaptive and possess teh ability to change and morph as time passes by. The creation of Teune will be such a system. It shall be an intricate beauty, filled with its own systems and subsystems and rules and meta-rules.

After I complete the teune language, I will begin work on detailing the culture of the Teune People. The Teune people, as of yet, do not exist on paper. But eventually, the culture will be flesched out enough that I may write some small works of fiction about them. I hope to accomplish this within my own lifetime.

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June 10, 2012

The Appeal of Language Creation

“Mein Gotlieb fur die Sieveruntbahredfurkahlt!” — Joseluis

I have often been attracted to the idea of composing my own language, and have also made several abortive attempts towards realizing that dream over the years. I have made half-baked languages based off of Spanish, Latin, English, German, the whole gamut. I’ve even tried to make other languages completely from scratch, but every time something has stopped me from continuing with the current language project that I had started.

The main impetus which drives someone to create a language is mainly an artistic one. For the individual who loves language and who also holds the sensibility of an artiste, the opportunity to create beauty out of the myriad sounds of language gives rise to a certain set of emotions that can only be described as “Divinely Inspired.” It is a different type of enjoyment that is felt by the conlanger than the individual who acquires most of his enjoyment through the use of some other already existing language. The writer or poet of a natural language loves the images and meanings and the new concepts that he or she may be able to evoke, all of which are evoked through the mechanism of a particular language, the medium of creation that they have chosen.

The conlanger, on the other hand, is less concerned with particular meanings and artistic diversity than he is with the artistic diversity of the medium itself. Language, by definition, is a highly complex system of rules and usages, but these rules and usages may certainly take other forms to describe the same meanings, and it is these other forms that so interest the conlanger, who is therefore much more likely to incorporate exotic forms in his conlangs.

Upon realizing this, I have come to the conclusion that my particular artistic sensibilities, while certainly attracted to the creation of an artificial language, are also combined with the appeal of creating novel forms through some already existing medium. This results in a paradox of sorts, for the person with both of these sensibilities truly wants to create an artistic language, and also truly wishes to create beautiful works of literature and art in the language that he or she hopes to create.

The problem, however, is that a language as a medium for expression is not capable of expressing very much, simply because of the complete lack of native speakers and individuals who speak that language. Furthermore, the idea of creating forms and innovative concepts necessarily belies a deep-seated desire for those forms and concepts to be understood by an audience. As a result, there is a large difficulty in accomplishing both goals with regards to creating an artificial language and having artistic works realized in that very same language, as anyone attempting to do both has both the challenge of convincing enough other individuals to learn the language in order to form a self-sustaining community, as well as developing the language enough to create forms and other artistic literary endeavours of sufficient literary merit.

Insofar as this applies to me, my hand has been forced to compose literary forms in the medium that I most well understand, namely, the English language. And while I am saddened that I probably will not be able to create my own works in another language to an extent that they will be picked up on and enjoyed by other individuals who take it upon themselves to learn my language, I am also grateful that the language I do understand well happens to be English. I look out upon the almost infinite vista of English composition and literature, as well as the still evolving colloquial forms of speech all around me, and I am in awe of the truly astonishing opportunities that are presented to me. And all because I am a native speaker of such an extraordinary language.

To illustrate, an unabridged dictionary of English contains over one million lexical items. If we compare this almost blatantly excessive amount of possible English vocabulary with some other language such as Spanish, which only contains about 300,000 lexical items in its entirety, it becomes clear that one may differentiate between many more shades of meaning in English than in any other language.

And for good reason, too. English is like a black whole that sucks everything into and onto its already substantial mass. It is like the Borg on TV, repeating to other languages, “You  will assimilate. Resistance is futile…” Out of all the other languages giving blowjobs to the minds of men, English is the one hooker that sucked Johnny dry.

Given this daunting situation, it is hard to conceive of a single individual conlanger creating in his spare time a language that no one will learn, and still being able to give it the amount of expressive power of English, to say much less of any other language. Understandably, then, it only for the art that conlangs are created. But that should be enough.

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