Is a Collaborative Conlang Even Possible?

Gary Shannon is a retired software engineer who has been interested in invented languages since first learning Pig Latin somewhere around 1950. He studied Esperanto briefly in 1960, but found himself more interested in “fixing what was wrong” with the language than in actually using it. He has been interested in collaborative language creation for at least 50 years, and has participated in numerous joint language creation experiments and projects.

Abstract

Historically, whenever several people become involed in the creation of a constructed language a new class of problems arise that don’t exist in projects conducted by a single individual. Very often the group splinters over disagreements about design goals and what was to be a single, common constructed language becomes two or more different languages. What causes these collaborative projects to fail? Is it even possible for a collaborative conlang project to succeed, and what conditions would have to be met for success?

 

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