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Analysis Conlang Descriptions English Language Essays

The Sehlerai Language

James R. Russell is Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies at Harvard and worked previously at Columbia and the Hebrew University (Jerusalem, Israel) as professor of pre-Islamic Iranian languages and religions. He is also in Slavic, shamanism, and Rapa Nui studies. He is an artist, book designer, and motorcyclist, and plays the guitar so-so.

Abstract

Sehlerai is an international language invented by the 19th century Armenian polyglot eccentric of Smyrna Bedros Tenger(ian). This is the first substantial study of it in any language, though limited by the paucity of sources (and these are here studied in depth for the first time). Bedros was the only man in the Near East who ever invented a universal language, complete with the idealistic trappings of the Viennese Enlightenment.

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Analysis English Language Updated

The Contemporary Esperanto Speech Community

Adelina Solis received her bachelor’s degree in linguistics from Scripps College in 2011. This paper was written as part of her fulfillment of her degree. Since then, she has completed a 10-month term as an English teacher in Vietnam through the Fulbright program. She is fluent in English, Spanish, and Italian, and has studied French, Russian, Vietnamese, and American Sign Language. Beyond languages, her interests include art, creative writing, and steak.

Abstract

This study examines the contemporary Esperanto speech community. I begin with a review of the history of universal language movements, the history of language creation, and the development of Esperanto in particular. Then, drawing from 13 interviews with Esperanto speakers and preexisting literature, I address: who comprises the Esperanto speech community, the norms adhered to and ideologies held by members of the speech community, reasons for membership in the speech community, and the speech community’s objectives. Findings show that anyone who speaks the language may be a member of the speech community if they self-identify that way. Speakers are found all over the world, and can be of any age and gender.

Though Dr. Zamenhof’s (Esperanto’s creator) goal for world peace is not critical to the ideology of many contemporary Esperanto speakers, most value the international exchange that participation in the community provides. Some people learn Esperanto because of its founding ideology, while others do because they recognize that with it they can access more people and more information than they could if they did not speak Esperanto. To maximize Esperanto’s effectiveness, it is important to maximize the number of speakers, though current Esperanto speakers disagree about the best way to make this happen.

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Analysis English Language Esperanto Language

How international Is your word?

Johan Derks was born in 1940 to Dutch middle-class parents in Utrecht, the Netherlands. He learned Esperanto at the age of fifteen in secondary school. Johan studied theoretical physics (1957-1965) and sociology (1973-1979), and taught mathematics in Uganda and statistics in Cameroon, for a total of four years. Following his return to the Netherlands, he taught mathematics at various levels. He has been active in various fields such as the peace movement in the sixties and Amnesty International. Since 2005 he is a husband in an Esperanto-based marriage to a Serbian Esperantist, Svetlana Milanović.

Abstract

The concept of “international word” has never found any generally accepted definition. The definition may contain vague quantifiers such as ‘several’ or ‘the majority’. Its meaning may even depend on the language to which it is applied. Therefore it seems impossible to conduct any scientific research on the situations and conditions on why certain words are international and others not.

The interactive program “How international is your word?”, published by J.H. Derks on the site www.esp-evoluo.org, tries to make up for this omission by offering nine quantitative definitions which can be presented in a table with two entries. The first entry allows you to choose between three methods, i. e., counting the number of languages which adopted the word concerned, adding the numbers of native speakers or adding the “virtual academic values” of the languages concerned which entails accepting a Rawlsian definition of language value. The second entry allows you to choose an input base for the statistical calculation needed to compute the “degree of internationality” either starting from the “fifteenth rule” in the Esperanto grammar or from 28 European languages or from 51 languages in the world all over.

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Analysis English Language

The Linear Aspects of Syntax: Ideas for Your Conlangs

Doug Ball began conlanging in 1994, primarily working on a language he calls Skerre. His conlanging interest led him to discover the field of linguistics and ultimately to a career as an academic linguist. Holding degrees from the University of Rochester (BA) and Stanford University (PhD), he is currently a member of the Department of English and Linguistics faculty at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. There, he teaches classes on general linguistics, theoretical phonology, theoretical morphology, and theoretical syntax as well as Native American and Polynesian languages.

Abstract

As part of an effort to encourage conlangers to explicate the syntaxes of their languages, this paper discusses several of the most common linear order generalizations found in natural languages. Among those discussed are the linear order generalizations surrounding heads, the order of verbal arguments, ordering of elements with certain information statuses, and ordering by “weight”.

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Analysis English Language

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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Analysis English Language

Léon Bollack and His Forgotten Project

H. S. Chapman is a Justice of the Peace in Wales, U.K. He speaks Welsh, and has a good understanding of Breton and Cornish. He learned Esperanto in 1967, and has used it on his travels in some fifteen countries since then. He has a reading knowledge of both Ido and Interlingua.

Abstract

León Bollack (1859–1925), creator of the language project Bolak or Langue Bleue, has been neglected in recent decades. He was born in the same year as Dr. L. L. Zamenhof, creator of Esperanto, but, while the two men were Jews and both wanted a more peaceful world, their approaches to language creation differed widely. The fact that Bollack invested huge sums in his unsuccessful project shows that finance is not the only problem facing the creator of an auxiliary language.

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Analysis English Language

Case Marking and Event Structure: One Conlanger’s Investigations

Matt Pearson received his Ph.D. in Linguistics from UCLA, and currently serves as Professor of Linguistics at Reed College (Portland, Oregon), where he teaches syntax, typology, morphology, semantics, and field methods. His research on word order and clause structure in Malagasy has appeared in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory and other publications. In 1996-97 Matt created the alien language for the NBC science fiction series Dark Skies. Matt’s naturalistic artlang Okuna, developed over more than 20 years, earned a Smiley Award from David Peterson along with a mention in his book The Art of Language Invention.

Here, Matt has written up his LCC1 presentation. You can view a video of that presentation here.

Abstract

This paper explores how arguments are distinguished using case marking in different languages, with particular reference to the ways in which case marking is affected by factors such as animacy, definiteness and specificity, the aspect of the clause (perfective versus imperfective), and the event-type of the predicate (including whether it is stative or dynamic, telic or atelic, durative or punctual). The paper includes both a typological and an autobiographical component. I begin by briefly illustrating how case marking interacts with argument and event structure in various natural languages. I then show how my own efforts at language construction have been informed by these phenomena, and how my attempts to invent a unique yet naturalistic case system have broadened my understanding of argument and event structure in natural languages.

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