Talk:Constructed language

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search


How is this "extreme moonbattery"?--Krejtalk 20:30, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

It isn't. Time to purge that overused category, I think. SophieWilder 20:34, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

The idea that auxiliary languages would "kill" natural languages[edit]

I find it hard to believe that the successful introduction of an auxiliary language would naturally doom all other languages. If you look at actual cases of linguas francas throughout history, you get much more of a mixed bag. From actually strengthening dialects and local varieties (Switzerland with Swiss High German as the lingua franca and Norway with the two Norwegians as linguas francas) to the lingua franca being used in politics media and educated folk in the public sphere but hardly anybody anywhere else (South Africa, some other African nations) to the lingua franca being brutally imposed by violence and through an all-encompassing monolingual public education system (France, USA vis-a-vis native languages, much of Latin America). I think the main factors are public policy and the attitudes towards bilingualism. In the anglosphere many people seem to believe blingualism does not exist or is if anything some weird transitional state of immigrant communities, even though it quite comfortably and stably exists even with Native American communities, such as the Navajo, where Navajo has made gains without endangering English proficiency. A lingua franca can even be a dead language (Latin in Western Europe is the most blatant example, but the ancient Middle East had its fair share of dead linguas francas) and as Esperanto or other proposals are "born dead" by design (i.e. there are no native speakers), there is - to me at least - no reason why it cannot stay that way, given the right public policy decisions. Of course, Esperanto has already fucked this up to some degree, as there are indeed Esperanto native speakers (all of them - of course - bilingual), some of them even in the second or third generation. However, I think it is safe to assume that any artificial language that gets a significant amount of native speakers over a significant amount of time will start changing and evolving and will lose some (or all) of the characteristics it was "designed" with. Just look at Creole languages. They evolved from "barely language" Pidgins, but they are now as complex (and some would say illogical) as any other natural language. The same, I'd daresay would happen to any artificial language. Pizzameister (talk) 18:58, 16 March 2016 (UTC)

Navajo is something of an outlier, compared to the status of most other Native language, hundreds of which have died already. As you note, public policy has something to do with this. The attitudes of the cultures involved are also strongly in play, and most Native communities were too demoralized to value their languages or resist pressure to abandon them in favor of English. English itself is a major trade language and lingua franca. I question the long term viability of languages in places where many of the people achieve high proficiency in English, such as through Scandinavia. People there get used to reading English magazines and websites and watching English entertainments. If they have something to tell the world, they know they'll reach more people with English than with Finnish. English starts to displace the original languages spoken there from one realm of public discourse, which is how it starts. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 22:30, 16 March 2016 (UTC)
I don't think Finnish is going anywhere. Finnland even has a five percent Swedish speaking minority and they aren't going anywhere either. I would bet, but the bet would probably have to run a century or two, so... Pizzameister (talk) 19:19, 17 March 2016 (UTC)
In the short term of a century or two, I don't think Finnish is going anywhere. On the other hand, the retreat from realms of public discourse is the beginning of language death. If enough Finns are proficient enough in English to follow a feature film shot in the language, what incentive does the Finn have to film anything in Finnish? It also seems to me that there are dozens of European music performers who write lyrics and perform in English rather than their native tongues. The sky is not falling yet, obviously, but the trend seems cause for slight concern. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 03:42, 20 March 2016 (UTC)
I think the trend is more in the opposite direction. Local dialects have made a resurgence in many places (even France is slightly changing its restrictive "French only" policy) and before we play the requiem for Finnish, there are quite a few other European languages that appear to be dying (Romansh, Irish, Basque, Catalan, Sorbic) yet refuse to do so for some mysterious reason. For all the (limited) accounts we have, Etruscan survived the demise of any political entity advocating its use and total Latin dominance for several centuries, well into the 1st century AD. And again, unless the state is actively promoting eradication policies (or in a more drastic case, killing native speakers) and especially if the language is still taught in schools, there appears to me to be little cause for concern. Pizzameister (talk) 15:23, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
I will admit also that I find it hard to cry terribly when languages die. I regret it personally, because languages are interesting to me, and the loss of interesting languages is a loss to my hobby. On the other hand, language death and failure to retain them is something that never happens without the consent of the language community. What happens is that people choose to use another language for important functions. They stop creating new literature for the language; then, they use the dominant language in public occasions and for transaction of routine business. The old language retreats to the homes of the speakers and is not much used in public any more. Eventually children stop acquiring it, and at that point it's mostly game over. The process has been fairly well documented. My desire to see languages preserved does not change the fact that you can reach more people in English than in Chickasaw. So who am I to tell people that they ought to be studying Chickasaw to keep it alive for my amusement? - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 16:14, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
Do you really think the languages currently on the brink of extinction or already gone have speakers that care any less about them than the languages currently not dying out? I mean there have even been cases of people teaching their children languages with exactly zero native speakers. So the argument of languages being dropped when they stop being useful may be part of the answer, but it is not the whole answer. Pizzameister (talk) 15:12, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
Not the whole answer, of course; but the key is not the attitude of the last speakers of a moribund language, but the attitude of their children and grandchildren. To thrive, languages need to be acquired during the key period of childhood where true native fluency is achievable. When the language is spoken by mostly elderly people, and their grandchildren's peers have no inclination in acquiring it, the language becomes 'that gibberish that Grandma talks in with her elderly friends', and the younger people can live their lives in the new language without any need of the old. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 00:55, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

Toki Pona and arbitrary vocabulary[edit]

Not sure if you can have an a posteriori language and talk about its vocabulary being arbitrarily chosen. Almost all Toki Pona words have well established etymologies. Most of the words retain a large chunk of the meaning of that etymon, but are phonetically altered to fit the phonotactic rules of Toki Pona.

Words were taken from Chinese (some from Mandarin and some from Cantonese), Croatian, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Finnish, French (some from Arcadian French), Georgian, Japanese, Latin, Swahili, Tok Pisin and Tongan.

I believe it was a mistake not to include an etymologic chapter in the official book. In my view, this broad spectrum of source languages makes Toki Pona a real World Pidgin.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

The sources of the words are, at minimum, difficult to recognize given the phonology they're made to conform with. I have, however, pointed this out in the text now. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 14:58, 19 April 2016 (UTC)
"Arcadian"? I think you mean Acadian.--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 23:08, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

The Toki Pona root words etymologies are findable at Jansegers (talk) 14:30, 8 December 2018 (UTC)

Thanks for the link, up until now I wasn't aware of this conlang, even though I`m fascinated by linguistics.--Don Juan (talk) 14:39, 8 December 2018 (UTC)

Name of the article[edit]

The article should be rewritten and renamed to "Constructed Language" as many of the languages listed, such as Lojban, aren't auxillary languages.'Legionwhat do you want from me 17:57, 6 December 2016 (UTC)