Israel Noletto has published a new book examining the world of constructed languages entitled Glossopoese – O Complexo e Desconhecido Mundo das Línguas Artificiais. As you might guess from the title, the book is written in Portuguese, Noletto’s first language. He has graciously supplied The Conlanging Librarian with an English translation of the book’s description:
Many have probably already seen, heard or read something about languages like Esperanto, Quenya and Sindarin. Maybe some have seen films or read pieces of literature full of exemplars of the artificial languages. Yet, when people hear anything related to this, they frequently react out of total surprise, and ask questions like: That language was invented by an individual, how so? Is it a mixture of other languages? Is it a code? In Glossopoesis – The Complex and Unknown World of the Artificial Languages, the author researches the available literature and the various communities throughout the world and the Internet. As a result, the answers to the forementioned questions have been found, and a new scientific perspective on the Glossopoesis has been developed.
When asked if he plans an English translation of Glossopoese, Noletto replied “I definitely plan on translating my book into English, although I don’t see it happening any time soon, since I’m already involved in a number of other conlanging related researches to make our secret vice more well-known and scientifically respected in my own language right now.” An extremely admirable goal! Glossopoese definitely has the potential to spread the word to the Portuguese-speaking world about the art and science of language creation. In the meantime, Noletto’s important new work should spur those English-speakers with an interest in conlanging to brush up on their Portuguese.
Israel Noletto is well-qualified to pen a book on conlanging. On January 26, 2009, he was the first person to host a “conlang event” in the Brazilian state of Piauí. Actually, this was his final essay defense for his degree in “‘Letras/Inglês’, a University course focused on the English Language and Literature.” (Click here for his posting in Portuguese.) It would also appear that conlanging runs in his family. (Click here for a rough English Google translation of that page.)
So, Parabéns! on publishing the book and Obrigado! for the efforts on behalf of conlanging. (Note: I’m hoping those mean “Congratulations!” and “Thank you!” respectively. I had to look them up online.)
I had the oddest experience today. I work at a large metropolitan library and was walking down the hall today when a patron saw me and said, “Saluton! I was reading about you in a book today.” This particular patron was vaguely familiar, but I hadn’t really had the opportunity to speak with him for a couple years. Not since I worked in a different department. Well, my brain started spinning, and I finally asked, “Do you mean Arika Okrent’s In the Land of Invented Languages? He said, “Yeah. Can you say hello in your chipmunk language?” Unfortunately, I’ve been away from Drytok for a while, so I couldn’t oblige him…the shock of being asked to speak it out-of-the-blue notwithstanding. We talked for a while; I told him about Arika’s new book I heard she was working on, and I encouraged him to check out the posting at the Language Creation Society page of the actual LCC presentation of Drytok’s first public appearance. All in all, a great way to brighten up a Monday! 🙂
Our twtpoll received 38 responses. The question, you might remember, was:
Who has had the most impact/influence/inspiration on you in your own conlanging?
The single person with the most votes was JRR Tolkien with 14; however, the “others” received more votes overall. Here is the raw data:
Other – 15 votes (39%)
JRR Tolkien (Quenya, Sindarin, etc) – 14 votes (37%)
LL Zamenhof (Esperanto) – 5 votes (13%)
John Quijada (Ithkuil) & Sonja Elen Kisa (Toki Pona) – 2 votes each (tie) (5% each)
Marc Okrand (Klingon) – 0 votes
I will admit I cast my one vote for Tolkien.
The comments left by those responding to “other” were the most interesting pieces of information to come out of the poll. There were 13 in all. Some were general:
- No-one has had any significant impact
- various fantasy novels with naming languages, but not Tolkien (haven’t read him)
- No one, really. I just read somewhere that artificial languages existed, and I thought it was a neat thing to do.
Others named persons who were influential. One comment on the previous post said, “I think only to have conlangers here is a bit of an issue. I mean… my philosophy teacher was a big reason for me to start conlanging…” This is exactly why I was so glad we got the following responses to the “other” category:
- Von Wahl (Occidental-Interlingue)
- Suzette Haden Elgin (Láadan)
- Kindaichi Haruhiko, linguist of Japanese
- Farrell Ackerman
- M.A. Foster
- (Latin), ? (?), Elzinga (Tepa)
- Rick Morneau (Latejami)
- David Peterson (Kamakawi)
- Edward Nelson Bridwell
- Jan van Steenbergen for his “historical bogolang” Wenedyk
The links are all my own, and the comments are typed here as they were at the poll. If any links point to the incorrect person, I sincerely apologize. That being said, I was fascinated to find that someone attached to MAD Magazine (Edward Nelson Bridwell) was instrumental in coming up with a “language” for Superman. I was glad to see our own David J. Peterson (or Mr. Dothraki as I like to call him) was mentioned. Suzette Haden Elgin is one conlanger that deserves more mention. All in all, a nice collection of esteemed names, both linguistically and conlanguistically.
Thanks for taking part in the poll! Head over to twtpoll.com/r/nl7r0j to see the colorful graph created by twtpoll from our data.
Here is the url to a twtpoll posted via the LCS Twitter account over at Fiat Lingua: http://twtpoll.com/nl7r0j. The topic is “Who has had the most impact/influence/inspiration on you in your own conlanging?” Very small sampling (8 votes as of mid-afternoon, July 25), but I personally hadn’t heard of Von Wahl before, creator of Occidental-Interlingue. I had heard of the language before, but not its creator. Just goes to show you can always learn new things.
Twtpoll is a free application for posting polls to Twitter. The final tally from the Fiat Lingua poll will be published here.
This third in the conlangers extraordinaire series highlights one of the best known “professional” conlangers. As a side note, having an email exchange with Dr. Okrand was one of the coolest things about creating the Esperanto, Elvish, and Beyond exhibit
Marc Okrand is Director of Live Captioning at the National Captioning Institute (NCI) in Vienna, Virginia, near Washington, DC. Celebrating his 25th year at NCI in 2005, Okrand is a pioneer in the use of closed-captioning for live television broadcasts. He has a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley, where he specialized in Native American languages. His dissertation, a grammar of Mutsun, remains a seminal work in the study of Costanoan languages. He taught linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and was a post-doctoral fellow in the Anthropology Department of the Smithsonian Institute.
Dr. Okrand’s link to conlanging came about through a chance meeting in California while on assignment for NCI’s first major live captioning event, the 1982 Academy Awards. Okrand met a long-time friend for lunch who was working with Harve Bennett, Executive Director of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The movie needed a linguist to create some dialogue in Vulcan to be dubbed over Leonard Nimoy and Kirstie Alley speaking English. Okrand was recruited for the job and remembers driving home from the set one day thinking, “Oh, my God, I just taught Mr. Spock how to speak Vulcan!” Those four lines in Vulcan were to be just the beginning.
Two years later, Bennett was working on Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and called upon Okrand’s expertise again. The assignment this time was to create a language for the alien warrior race of Klingons. James Doohan, who played Star Trek’s Scotty, had actually coined a few words of Klingon for the first Star Trek movie. Okrand took the sounds of those words as a starting point and created the language known today as Klingon. On set for the filming of Star Trek III, Okrand had veto power over takes (although he learned to use this power sparingly) if the actors mispronounced their Klingon lines. During this process, the language evolved into a “real” language. After the film, Klingon took on a life of its own. Okrand wrote three books about the language (including the essential Klingon Dictionary), recorded language learning audiotapes, and worked on a CD-ROM game related to learning Klingon. He also shows up from time to time at the Klingon Language Institute’s annual qep’a’
In addition to Vulcan and Klingon, Okrand also created the Atlantean language for the 2001 Disney animated feature Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Atlantean is based, in part, on Indo-European roots to give it an ancient quality. Okrand also got to work with Leonard Nimoy again on this project. It is rumored that the character of the linguist in the film, Milo Thatch (voiced by Michael J. Fox), is based on Marc Okrand because the filmmakers didn’t really know what a linguist should look like and decided to use Dr. Okrand as a model.
LCS is hiring a conlanger to create a new artisitic language for a major TV studio! For all the details go to conlang.org/jobs.
The Conlanger’s Library Homepage has received a slightly new look. Being a sub-domain of the Language Creation Society (LCS), I felt it was appropriate to provide a more visible connection with the society’s page. Therefore, you’ll see a new “disclaimer” and the LCS logo proudly displayed front-and-center.
An even bigger change took place in the About pages. The Who Did This? page has finally been filled in. Turn there to learn more about me. I’ve also brought Arcimboldo’s painting into the About pages as well.
This is the second in a series of tributes to conlangers extraordinaire:
Carsten Becker (also known as guitarplayer on ZBB), a native of Germany, started conlanging after reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and being amazed by “all the Quenya in there and the detail given to it.” He happened upon Mark Rosenfelder‘s Language Construction Kit while doing Internet searches for material on Tolkien’s languages. This was in 2002, and, in December 2003, Carsten began work on his conlang Ayeri after two previous abandoned attempts known as The Nameless Language and Daléian. Carsten states that “since then, Ayeri has been gradually growing, and my ultimate goal is to make it a comfortably usable (private) language — which I think is a common goal of many conlangers.” An in-depth Ayeri Coursebook was written in 2005 by Carsten and was made available on his website in a professional-looking PDF format. It included the three separate Ayeri writing systems as well as a full grammar and dictionary. Carsten is revising the Ayeri grammar to reflect changes made in the past few years and is planning on tackling the entire Coursebook next; however, information is readily available on the web at Tay Benung: The Ayeri Resource. The site includes a grammar, dictionary, texts, information on the scripts, and even recordings in Ayeri! Tay Benung is Ayeri for “The Web.”
(Photo courtesy of Carsten Becker and first appeared in the Conlang Exhibit of 2008. Quotes taken from an email to The Conlanging Librarian.)
This post begins a series highlighting conlangers extraordinaire. These will be based on people who were featured in the Esperanto, Elvish, and Beyond exhibit. In keeping with the last post thanking Ketumak, we begin this series with…
Mark Rosenfelder a.k.a. “Zompist” of Illinois (USA) has been creating languages and worlds since he was in grade school. One of Zomp’s major gifts to the conlanging community is his Language Construction Kit (LCK) (featured in the Conlang Reference section of the Library). Often the first stop for beginning conlangers, the LCK has now been translated into Portuguese and Italian. The LCK provides a step-by-step approach to creating one’s own language compiled from resources while Mark was attempting to learn linguistics on his own. Topics as diverse as what sounds to use in a conlang to how to construct language families and dialects are covered. The Zompist Bulletin Board, one of the Internet’s main forums for conlangers and con-worlders, is yet another of Mark’s contributions.
Mark’s monumental online work, Virtual Verduria, began as a Dungeons & Dragons setting in his college days. It is the result of over twenty years of tinkering with concepts as diverse as language, history, chemistry, biology, and mythology. Virtual Verduria provides myriad details of Mark’s fantasy world of Almea (from the creation of its planetary system to the evolution of its indigenous inhabitants) and includes comprehensive maps, native stories, and myths of the various nations. There are a dozen individual languages or language families with grammars, vocabulary, and text samples. Mark has succintly explained how he does all this by saying, “I have no kids and I don’t watch TV.”
Although Zomp’s day job may be as a programmer, he has assured himself a spot in the Pantheon of Conlangers with his selfless activities in support of the Art.
(Note: Mark supplied two photos for the exhibit. The one displayed here is the one used in the exhibit and one which Mark himself labeled “less serious.”)