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Today we talk about a bunch of wacky and wonderful auxlangs.

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9 Responses to “Conlangery #95: Weird Ideas for Auxlangs”

  1. Vítor De Araújo

    Yay, new episode!

    As someone whose hearing seems to be slowly getting worse as time passes, I can very much appreciate the need for redundancy in language. 🙂

    As for making an auxlang so difficult that everyone would be on an equal standing, I once played with the concept as a jokelang, but it never got beyond a note or two. (The language was to be called Difiscile (from Portuguese ‘difícil’ “hard”) as a “tribute” to an auxlang called Fasile (from Portuguese ‘fácil’ “easy”), whose webpage seems to be gone (but the Wayback Machine has some of it.)) I would still like to create a language around this idea [mainly as a satire of Esperanto reform proposals ;)], though my ideas for the project are very different nowadays.

    Reply
  2. shanoxilt

    Hi, everyone.

    I’m one of the people from the Solresol website (Sidosi.org). These days, the Solresol community is aiming for an artistic language rather than an auxiliary language. Part of this is due to Esperanto’s ascent and part of it is due to the schism between Sudrean Solresol and Gajewskian Solresol.

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  3. AlucardNoir

    Well, I think most physicists hope you are wrong and the universe has a simple basis at it’s core. That and every single mathematician I have ever had the “pleasure” of meeting keeps on saying mathematics is a universal language.

    As for PIE being a bit too complicated, well, compared to English most IE languages are very complicated, PIE is just a step further, not really that far of a stretch grammatically. Now, it’s morphology is something else entirely.

    PS. Stop bashing Esperanto’s rhyming pronouns.

    Reply
    • admin

      Even if we can reduce the universe to a very small number of physical properties and laws, I think there is general agreement that reducing everything to those concepts would be needlessly tedious for normal conversation. We don’t want to have to describe things down to the subatomic level everytime we tell someone we’re going to the bathroom. Linguistics has things to reveal about how human beings categorize the universe, not about how the universe actually is.

      Also, mathematics is only a “language” in a rather abstract, metaphorical sense. In order to apply mathematics to people’s real world knowledge, you necessarily have to define the variables in a natural human language. Otherwise, the symbols used in math only cover a limited semantic area, mostly certain logical relations.

      Reply
      • AlucardNoir

        Don’t know if we’d have to go as far as subatomic particles, but at least some standardization can be done based on fundamentals, like Plank’s natural units – that if multiplied or divided by whatever base you intend to use to scale them would make for rather universal units.

        Also don’t know if you’ve seen the tv show Fringe but there are some guys there called Observers that seam to do just that, or at least they did it in the one episode their notes get deciphered. A written only language based on the fundamentals of the universe, hmm, now that I think about it I even think Stargate did something similar in one of it’s earlier seasons – but yeah, I don’t think it would be feasible, or at the very least something we could speak.

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  4. Jyri

    There are actually natural languages that function somewhat similarly to the classifying languages in part of their lexicon. It’s relatively common among many Papuan languages to have a small group of highly generic verbs such as “do”, “say” and “hit” and to build loads of more specific predicates from these by adding nominal adjuncts to them or serialising them with other verbs.

    An extreme case is Kalam which reportedly has less than 100 verb stems in the whole language and has to build most of its actually used complex verbs with the help of nominals and serialisation. For example, the generic verb glossed as “perceive” appears in the following constructions among others:

    consume perceive = taste
    take perceive = feel
    eye perceive = see
    ear perceive = hear
    thought perceive = think
    thought many perceive = worry
    thought good perceive = like
    liver perceive = be sorry
    arm break perceive = count

    These aren’t very predictable at all and you absolutely have to learn them as independent lexical tokens. Some of them, like “be sorry” and “count”, are very culturally dependent and quite far from the nominal meaning of the generic verb at the base. The system can’t be understood to represent any objective classification of the world.

    Reply
    • admin

      Wait “arm break perceive”? How do these people count!?!

      Anyway, this is interesting, but as you say, it’s a part of the lexicon. Even in English (or probably any language that is used in graduate schools) we have long chemical names that work exactly like some sort of oligosynthetic classifying language — but it covers a very limited and specialized semantic range, and I doubt they are common even in chemistry papers (I don’t really know — I imagine they may cite the full name once, if at all, and then define an abbreviatory convention).

      Reply
      • wm.annis

        Many languages of PNG go up the arm after they finish with the fingers and hand for counting higher numbers.

        Reply
        • admin

          Ah, I see so “perceive a piece of the arm” makes sense shifting to “count”. Interesting.

          Reply

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