Language Creation in Early Learning

Danny is a middle school English teacher based out of Baton Rouge and Denham Springs, Louisiana. He’s taught middle school for more than four years in both Louisiana and Massachusetts. He specializes in combining traditional English education with modern digital humanities pedagogy. While he still finds teaching rhetoric and informal/formal logic highly important in the classroom, he nonetheless includes the digital humanities in more than 50% of his instruction (He sometimes teaches his students through a virtual world after all). For Danny, the digital humanities is our present and our future. In this vein: to help his students visualize the settings, characterizations, and actions in a novel like The Call of the Wild, he’ll require his students to reenact a scene in a digital wolf simulation, and next explain their reenactments through the written word. Or, to teach his students narrative types, he may challenge his students to play games like Loneliness or Coma, and construct their own narratives based off their gameplay. You’ll witness his melding of traditional English education and the digital humanities in his study below, which investigates how conlanging impacts learning outcomes in a middle school English classroom.

Danny has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Loyola University New Orleans. In 2017, he’ll be a graduate candidate for a master’s program in English literature with a concentration in the digital humanities.

Abstract

This paper explores how conlanging impacts learning outcomes for middle school students in a structured English classroom. Starting in May and ending in the same month, 6th and 7th graders from Iberville Charter Academy in Plaquemine, LA created conlangs for their end-of-the-year English projects. 44 students participated. Danny Garrett, their teacher, oversaw the project, taught the necessary material for it, and studied the project’s pre- and posttest data. The data and highlighted student works are presented in this paper, framed in their proper historical, pedagogical, linguistic, and literary contexts. To protect student identities and statuses as minors, all student names are fictional and thus obscured in accordance with California law.

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Composing Lyrics in the World’s Least Lyrical Language

John Quijada spent more than thirty years creating the philosophical language Ithkuil, whose notoriety has been featured in The New Yorker magazine. He also writes the “Conlang Curiosities” column for the Language Creation Society’s Language Creation Tribune quarterly publication. He has a degree in linguistics, speaks five languages, has co-written a novel exploring the philosophical implications of quantum physics, and composes music, among many other hobbies and interests.

Abstract

Given the reputation of the philosophical conlang Ithkuil as perhaps the worst language in the world for composing poetry, the language’s author decided to challenge himself by using Ithkuil to write lyrics to progressive-rock songs. The paper describes the challenges involved and the detailed processes by which the author undertook the task. Along the way, he learned just how flexible the language can be for poetic composition, which in turn transformed what first seemed a tedious effort into a voyage of discovery and artistic fulfillment.

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Language X: A Controlled Experiment in Pidgin Creation

David J. Peterson received a BA in English and Linguistics from UC Berkeley in 2003 and an MA in Linguistics from UC San Diego in 2005. He created the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for HBO’s Game of Thrones, the Castithan, Irathient and Indojisnen languages for Syfy’s Defiance, the Sondiv language for the CW’s Star-Crossed, the Lishepus language for Syfy’s Dominion, the Trigedasleng language for the CW’s The 100, and the Shiväisith language for Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World. He’s been creating languages since 2000.

Abstract

In the fall of 2001, David Peterson ran a semester-long project to have participants create a pidgin on the fly. This paper is his final write-up of the project, and includes the full word list of the invented pidgin.

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Ma’alahi: Use of a Simplified Language to Test a Linguistic Hypothesis

Jeffrey R. Brown received a BS in Mathematics from Yale University and an MS from University of St. Thomas. He has held jobs too diverse for his professional life to be reasonably called a career—unless “unpublished novelist” can be considered a job title—though when making small talk he usually says he works as an engineer. He speaks about a half-dozen natural languages with varying degrees of incompetence, and has created Temenia, Sim-Arabic and Maʻalahi. He has been a member of the Language Construction Society since 2009. The work in the current article follows from his belief that conlanging is more than art; it is also a science.

Abstract

Ma’alahi is a constructed language derived from a single source language, Hawaiian, with a ruthlessly simplified Polynesian grammar. This makes it an appropriate candidate for investigating hypotheses about the ease of L2 language acquisition. An exploratory study was performed to determine whether grammatical features or external factors (social or personal) are more significantly correlated with perceived ease of learning and correct performance on translation tasks. Only external factors were shown to be significantly correlated.

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