Learning a language that doesn't exist?

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Learning a language that doesn't exist?

Postby Rhamos Vhailejh » Tue 12 Jan 2010 4:58 pm

Some people might argue that this should go in the conlang section, but I would disagree. If anyone who matters (by which I mean mods and such) disagrees with me, then feel free to move it.

So I've been thinking about something interesting for a few days now. Say you took two people and put them in the middle of nowhere (but with the necessary provisions for survival like a cabin and electricity and stuff). Both of these people set out understanding that they cannot speak any language that either of them knows, and they both have to invent words and create a new language as they go along and use only these new, improvised words until their return to society. And they aren't allowed to agree on any new, improvised words before their arrival in the middle of nowhere. Let's say they stay there for six months. Do you think they could have cooperatively created a fully functioning language in that time? And do you think they could not only create, but also simultaneously learn that language, being able to effectively recall words and phrases in spontaneity, and be able to use it in the future as well? I would like to think that the answer to all three questions is yes.

But what are your thoughts? Personally, I find the idea of "learning" a non-existent language (which is basically the idea here) to be extremely intriguing and fascinating. It's something I would like to test one day.
~ Rhamos Vhailejh
Antellieksijim arrvvi'keödetval kyrrhessö'ällkunnön. Tuntooi'åhešška hänessa'etevåmus. Suuluejj køramiienjim tyysyvöl'työjennön.
Projects: Old Dwojin (discontinued), Modern Duojjin, Pзhowз, Elemental, and an unnamed conlang (hiatus)
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Re: Learning a language that doesn't exist?

Postby Declan » Tue 12 Jan 2010 5:39 pm

A pidgin in other words. I would say yes, but the grammar mightn't be formalised in such a short time.
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Re: Learning a language that doesn't exist?

Postby Yaziq » Tue 12 Jan 2010 9:13 pm

They might have a problem in clarifying the semantic domain of the words they invented. For instance, if one of the participants began using a noun as a verb. He/she might use the word "fire" to mean "make a fire". Various misunderstandings might persist throughout the duration of the experiment which would not doom the whole thing. It would be interesting when it was all over and they could go back to using real languages and clear up the misunderstandings.
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Re: Learning a language that doesn't exist?

Postby Rhamos Vhailejh » Wed 13 Jan 2010 5:24 am

A pidgin in other words.

Is this really how pidgins are made? I figured it was a little more collaborated than that.

but the grammar mightn't be formalised in such a short time.

Yes, they very well mightn't. :D

They might have a problem in clarifying the semantic domain of the words they invented. For instance, if one of the participants began using a noun as a verb.


This is a really good point, and you're absolutely right. I would find it interesting to see how well they do manage to clarify said semantic issues. Perhaps they'd do surprisingly well. Although I'm sure pair A&B may acquire the skill faster and/or better than pair C&D; everyone's different. I was thinking that perhaps to minimalize these misunderstandings, you could pair two people who have the same native tongue (especially if they're monolingual). This way, they would probably be inclined to come up with something that is semantically similar to that which they are already familiar. Also, they'd be able to communicate in their common native tongue in a situation of life or death (heaven forbid :? ). I think that's a decent reason to break the immersion. lol

It would be interesting when it was all over and they could go back to using real languages and clear up the misunderstandings.

That it would. I wonder if it'd be weird to communicate in English again after all that immersion.
~ Rhamos Vhailejh
Antellieksijim arrvvi'keödetval kyrrhessö'ällkunnön. Tuntooi'åhešška hänessa'etevåmus. Suuluejj køramiienjim tyysyvöl'työjennön.
Projects: Old Dwojin (discontinued), Modern Duojjin, Pзhowз, Elemental, and an unnamed conlang (hiatus)
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Re: Learning a language that doesn't exist?

Postby Declan » Wed 13 Jan 2010 6:45 pm

Rhamos Vhailejh wrote:
A pidgin in other words.

Is this really how pidgins are made? I figured it was a little more collaborated than that.

The major difference is amount of people, and I don't know is that even a difference in this case. As far as I know, pidgins form when groups of people (often traders, like Basque and Icelanders) need to communicate, and they don't speak a mutual language. The lexicon is taken from mainly one language.

I also seem to remember hearing about a sign language being developed by deaf children in America during the 19th century. I cannot find anyway information about it however.
Native: English
Very good: Irish
Reasonable: German, French
Very basic: Latin.
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Re: Learning a language that doesn't exist?

Postby Rhamos Vhailejh » Thu 14 Jan 2010 4:03 am

So a pidgin really is made like this, just typically with a larger base of people? Freaking FASCINATING! :D
~ Rhamos Vhailejh
Antellieksijim arrvvi'keödetval kyrrhessö'ällkunnön. Tuntooi'åhešška hänessa'etevåmus. Suuluejj køramiienjim tyysyvöl'työjennön.
Projects: Old Dwojin (discontinued), Modern Duojjin, Pзhowз, Elemental, and an unnamed conlang (hiatus)
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