To ask a (stupid) question

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To ask a (stupid) question

Postby kaenif » Fri 29 May 2009 2:39 pm

Is it good for me to create a conlang, without any linguistics knowledge?
Is it better to learn, then create, or learn through working on it?

(These questions really sound stupid :P )
Can you recognise this character?
Nope, it's not shāng. It is a 囧 with a hat which 囧ed its chin off!
囧囧囧囧囧囧囧囧囧!
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Re: To ask a (stupid) question

Postby linguoboy » Fri 29 May 2009 3:25 pm

kaenif wrote:Is it good for me to create a conlang, without any linguistics knowledge?
Is it better to learn, then create, or learn through working on it?

Whatever you do, you'll learn through working on it. I guarantee there are myriad aspects of language you've never even considered because you haven't tried to build one yourself.

Ask yourself this: What do you think the benefits would be of approaching conlanging as a relative naïf versus the benefits of having a grounding in linguistics first? To me, the benefit of not making the same noob mistakes as every other beginning conlanger would outweigh whatever small chance there was of coming up with a novel idea that I wouldn't've if I'd known more to begin with. After all, you're burdened with preconceptions about how language should be either way, except that if you learn linguistics, these preconceptions are based on an empirical analysis of actual languages instead of some folk model you've partly inherited and partly built up through your own fumbling attempts to make sense of the languages you've learned.
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Re: To ask a (stupid) question

Postby Jayan » Fri 29 May 2009 9:54 pm

I agree...mostly.

I think that it is invaluable to have linguistic knowledge before creating a conlang. But you can't become an expert in every field of study. So, no matter what, your language is gonna have some weak/unrealistic part(s). For example, I am fairly weak on phonology/phonetics and in syntax; that shows in my conlang. I'm trying to learn as much as I can in those fields in order to implement that knowledge in my conlangs, but it's difficult. I would say that, if you have enough patience, go ahead and start working on a conlang; if you wait until you have a totally solid understanding of linguistics, you'll be waiting forever :) . But make sure you also study. Take a linguistics course (if there are none in your area, The Teaching Company has an excellent one [imho] ), and as you learn, change you conlang to make use of that knowledge. I think you'll be surprised how quickly your conlang morphs.

Also, remember: this is a conlang. You can make it as realistic/unrealistic as you like. Just because some of us *glares at linguoboy* are obsessed with ultra-realistic ones, doesn't mean that you have to be.

Oh, and those questions aren't stupid :) . I think every normal newcomer to the world of conlanging asks them. I know I did (almost made me stop conlanging :? ).

Does that help?
Native/Fluent: English (on a good day :P)
Pursuing fluency: Dansk
Entertaining self with: 日本語
Up next: русский язык
Eventually: Gaeilge|Deutsch|Kiswahili|Suomi
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Re: To ask a (stupid) question

Postby linguoboy » Fri 29 May 2009 10:21 pm

Jayan wrote:Also, remember: this is a conlang. You can make it as realistic/unrealistic as you like. Just because some of us *glares at linguoboy* are obsessed with ultra-realistic ones, doesn't mean that you have to be.

Huh? Far from being "obsessed", I could take or leave conlangs. I've still yet to find one as interesting as most natlangs I've studied, and I'll never find one as complete.
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Re: To ask a (stupid) question

Postby locuroso » Mon 01 Jun 2009 8:15 pm

It definately couldn't hurt. One thing about conlanging that I have learned is that in creating a language it can help you to understand how different languages work. It will also help you grasp different concepts such as noun declensions, which I was completely at a loss to when I first started.
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