Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

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Comparison and Criticism of Klingon, Vulcan, Atlantean, and Mutsun* (Okrand Languages)

Post by Bob »

Comparison and Criticism of Klingon, Vulcan, Atlantean, and Mutsun* (Okrand Languages).
( Mutsun is a Native American language of the Yok-Utian Family of California, by San Francisco)

...

For probably 2 years now, I've also run a group dedicated to the "Okrand Languages", his conlangs and natural languages on which he's done significant work. Though I suspect this includes Shakespearean English. It's also my group for his Klingon and Vulcan languages.

Okrand Languages Club: Klingon Language, Vulcan, Atlantean, Mutsun
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1964442153857834/

Which is the first and only of its kind, anywhere online. I also run the oldest and only online community for his Atlantean Language, some 20 years old now (a lifetime for most). I am in touch with the leaders of the largest online communities for Vulcan and Klingon, on an occassional basis throughout the years, and the last 3 years, even with their languages' creator.

...

Is the Klingon Language by Marc Okrand similar to the Atlantean Language by Marc Okrand?

I recently reviewed the Klingon Language in The Klingon Dictionary. They're both actually quite similar because they do all sorts of grammatically complex things but compensate for it by having only single noun and verb paradigms. Unlike real languages, which typically have at least 5, common and uncommon, and sometimes far more, plus irregular paradigms for high-frequency verbs and some irregularities in noun paradigms.

Both do things grammatically so different from English or any major world language that it would be a challenge to learn to speak them exactly as they're supposed to be spoken - especially if one were to speak more "grammatically complex" sentences.

I think Atlantean was designed so that it could be deciphered and used just from the corpus and without the need of a grammar and dictionary written by Marc Okrand. I think Okrand was aware that that might happen, given the fluke nature of the popularity of "The Klingon Dictionary" back in c 1985. That's the impression I get from recently reviewing the actual corpus, and then memories of my previous work on it and statements by Okrand (which I take with a grain of salt, at least).

They both notably have words that are too small for a natural language, without any discussion of tones or anything. This is especially glaring for Klingon. I think this is a design flaw.

Atlantean also notably lacks reduplication, very glaring for a language of its phonological sort.

Which is easier? I think Atlantean is overall harder because its subordinate clause word order is more the reverse of English. Klingon has a ton more verb affixes and its verb person inflection system is very exotic. But when it comes down to it, putting your subordinate clauses (relative clauses, adverbial clauses, etc) the reverse of English is a lot more hassle than anything Klingon offers. Atlantean also has always had a much smaller and less enthusiastic online or offline community, and had to be deciphered mostly by me: Okrand didn't put out a book or even put online a full or even basic grammar or anything like a dictionary (glossary).

Another notable difficult of Klingon is that there's a big difference between the original Klingon presented in The Klingon Dictionary and what's currently used and taught as Klingon. The original dictionary implies that the language has many more words and much more grammar than presented in The Klingon Dictionary - which is very realistic. But instead of allowing its users to make up additional words, Klingon language fans amateurishly have insisted on using only those words given in The Klingon Dictionary and the very small supplemental words given from c 1985 - 2020. Most Klingon students apparently don't notice this design flaw! But it's very glaring to me, I've studied tons and tons of languages of all sorts. See, people interested in Klingon aren't very good at language science, but become irate when told so, and everyone involved approaches the language like it's a silly game.

But an alien language would not be like that. Human languages would not do that, either. So in my approach to Klingon, I try to do for Klingon what I think should have been done years ago. Inasfar as I am able, this is all not exactly my specialization as a language scientist. But I can try, and I think when I do this sort of thing that I do a really great job. All things considered.

And then I treat Atlantean likewise and hope to eventually examine Vulcan and evaluate and use and develop Vulcan in a similar manner.

But it's a hard call which one is harder grammatically. Aside from the subordinate clause word order (which is like Japanese) , Atlantean is a lot like Latin but with postpositions and additional yet very rare cases.

...

After working with them both recently, the thought that came to mind is that they're like "puzzle languages" - they're quite distinct from most of the major languages that most people would study. But there's a lot of regional lingua franca or just exotic minority languages that would be more of a challenge in which to compose something, even roughly. Natural languages do grammatical things very like to whatever it is that Klingon or Atlantean do which is so hard to get a handle on if you want to approximate a translation into them.

See, the unspoken secret here is that - and this may be a pioneering scientific idea of mine - languages are really an extension of anatomy, not human intelligence, and this is why they all have such very complex grammars (contrary to popular belief and only recently discovered by language scientists). From my 15 years of studying many languages and getting my BA Linguistics, I even have misgivings about language scientists who would learn to speak or read Klingon, given how far removed it is from what I know of any natural language that I've studied. Even most conlangs I ever studied touched all the bases in a more satisfying manner.

So if you want to get at what human languages might be, Klingon could be used for certain things but I think it's quite far off the mark from studying any natural languages - or even most other conlangs (artificial or invented languages).

...

But how do Klingon and Atlantean compare to Vulcan and Mutsun (Native American, California, Yok-Utian)? I recently studied a sizeable 1946 reference grammar of a Yok-Utian Language, a dialect of Yokuts in an anthology by Hoijer.

However, I can't remember much of how Vulcan works. It's not especially exotic like Klingon, though, and it only does some weird things. I think he was even further constrained by the movies and occurences it was featured in. I think he did Vulcan first, and might have studied a lot more before he did Klingon. But I'm not sure.

Klingon is grammatically quite similar to Yokuts, though, and probably Mutsun, what with all the verb affixes doing different things. Some of the other odd and rare grammatical and semantic ideas, he got from somewhere else.

...

What all languages has Okrand ever studied?

I've studied a ton of languages but lack a PhD in Linguistics. I have a BA Linguistics. He did his PhD on a reference grammar of that Mutsun Language.

From what all I've seen in Klingon, Vulcan, and Atlantean, I think he's studied a lot of languages, maybe especially the major ones that most people study, and then is familiar with linguistic typology theory quite well and interested in it. But I also think there's a limit to the number and variety of languages that he's studied. I think part of the hype of his languages is that he keeps this secret. Which I don't really like because to me this is more about science than smoke and mirrors.

...
...

Explanation of the Style of the Above Essay

The above is all written in the style of a quick, impromptu essay, like a facebook post, and not like an academic article. I might remember wrong or get some things wrong in it. I welcome anyone to reply with corrections or alternative ideas, though I would ask they do so in a reasonably considerate and kind manner.

I may mention above, but I'm taking a break from spending several months studying and translating into Okrand's Atlantean Language to spend a week studying and translating into his Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun languages. This is for the occasion of the greatest annual Jewish day of mourning, this year July 28-July 29, recalling The Fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE. I notably have used Klingon since about 2018 to study this event, ancient language texts about it, and translate these into Klingon. ( Because I happened to own these accounts and because Klingon has associated themes of exotic or historic imperial tyranny. )

...

Further Explanation over the Choice of Texts

And anyone murmuring about my choice should consider that it's a somewhat famous (though actually very under-studied) historical event which was much better documented and preserved than similar events from a comparable time period (because of Christianity). It happens to be horrific, even taboo - the Klingons of Star Trek are like that. They run a vast inter-galactic empire usually hostile to that of the Star Trek heroes. There are things about empires of the past, present, and future, which no doubt people alive today would think tragic and horrifying.

No doubt, most people would get very upset and suspicious at my choice of topic for study - but consider that I am a language scientist and anthropologist and that history and prehistory is my bread and butter. I generally find other Americans extremely uncomfortable and embattled with my usual topics of study - history, prehistory, and non-Western majority peoples. I have an obligation as a scientist, however, to make responsible research choices and make available my findings in a sensitive manner. Most non-scholars do not understand all this. Within the amateur and professional study of history, enthusiasts usually are both interested in and quickly flare up over the really controversial or horrific topics. Which, thankfully, I usually avoid in my own posts and replies. Though I could not say that regarding my own writing and research.

...

Image: My facebook posts and website posts about Atlantean have a theme, among many, of c 1910s Silent Films. I used a Silent Film text scene image and a font imitating Silent Film era fonts (Nickelodeon) to make a title image for this post. Since it's interesting, I thought I'd share it here.

It's not such a good match for the additional languages of Klingon etc, however, it does reflect my broader interest in the prehistory and history of conlangs and science fiction. So by my impromptu writings, I would try to take you on "A Trip to the Moon" - though before any such thing had already happened. :) To the cutting edge, as it were, of science and research. Some will object, though, as I say above, that I speak of new or unfamiliar things. To which I would quote, "Sacrifices must be made in the name of science."

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Re: Comparison and Criticism of Klingon, Vulcan, Atlantean, and Mutsun* (Okrand Languages)

Post by elemtilas »

Bob wrote:
01 Aug 2020 05:30

Okrand Languages Club: Klingon Language, Vulcan, Atlantean, Mutsun
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1964442153857834/

Which is the first and only of its kind, anywhere online. I also run the oldest and only online community for his Atlantean Language, some 20 years old now (a lifetime for most). I am in touch with the leaders of the largest online communities for Vulcan and Klingon, on an occassional basis throughout the years, and the last 3 years, even with their languages' creator.


Explanation of the Style of the Above Essay

The above is all written in the style of a quick, impromptu essay, like a facebook post, and not like an academic article. I might remember wrong or get some things wrong in it. I welcome anyone to reply with corrections or alternative ideas, though I would ask they do so in a reasonably considerate and kind manner.
Couple suggestions:

This has the potential to be a really interesting and engaging essay, touching as it does on glossopoetic process. Unfortunately, I think the points you could be trying to make get lost in the incohesive style!

  • Invisible Facebook group links aren't helpful. Either make your group publicly viewable or don't bother with the link.
  • If you tend to "remember things wrong", it's a good idea to refresh your memory and update your post before hitting send.
  • Most importantly of all: please learn who your audiences are and write appropriately for each. We don't need a fully annotated academic article, all polished up and ready for peer review, but we do need an essay that is coherent and internally supporting. This "essay" is pretty incoherent, bopping as it does from this to that. It may work for your Facebook fans, but it's annoying here. Most folks here are at least as up to speed linguistically speaking as you. Don't insult them by writing a dumbed-down FB post!

Bob
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Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects, Grammatical Comparison

Post by Bob »

Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

Here is the link to my website where you can see my past work on these languages and then later this week my more recent yet small work on them:

Guide to "Any Language at All" Encyclopedic Website and Other Websites by Me
https://anylanguageatall411.blogspot.co ... w=flipcard

I'm a conlanger of 15 years who is also an independent scholar of language science. I have a minor scholarly specialty in conlanging but especially in conlangs and related phenomena in books, movies, and television of all eras. And as apart of that specialty, I am a unique expert on all the languages that Marc Okrand, inventor of Klingon, has ever made or studied. Though I could be way more into it. My greatest specialty as a scholar is actually in the language science of all 50 or so known logographic writing systems, very pioneering and controversial research.

I'm towards the end of spending several months translating into and otherwise creating scholarship on Marc Okrand's conlang "Atlantean" for the 2001 Disney movie "Atlantis: The Lost Empire". Since this past week I decided to take a break from that and spend a week doing entirely interlinear glossed translations and studies in the three other major conlangs and studied languages by Marc Okrand (PhD Linguistics, UC Berkley, USA):

Klingon
Vulcan
Mutsun (Native American, California: Yok-Utian)

I just finished the Klingon and Mutsun translations and am moving on to the Vulcan translation soon.

Notes on the Languages

Quick Overview

Klingon is a lot like Mohawk and a Northern Iroquoian language. The others are not as widely studied. Atlantean is a lot like Latin but with notable grammatical deviations. I forget what Vulcan is like but I'll soon be reminded. I think it's a lot like Russian, maybe. Yawelani Yokuts is grammatically a lot like English but with a ton of weird vowel suffixes for different moods and subordinate clause related gerunds. It also has a ton of noun cases. So it's like a non-Indo-European Russian mixed with Chinese and Bantu verb mood and aspect affixes.

As conlangs, Klingon, Vulcan, and Atlantean are notable for having all sorts of grammatical complexities but then compensating for them by not having multiple verb or noun conjugation paradigms, nor irregular verbs or nouns. Of them all, Klingon is the grammatically most complex one, though I think Atlantean is the most difficult to translate into because it has more exotic subordinate clause word order than Klingon. Surprisingly.

Klingon is noted for its concept of going totally against what is usual in human languages, whereas Atlantean is stated as being the opposite. I think what I remember of Vulcan is that it is like Klingon for this aspect of its concept and yet much constrained by various aspects of the movies in which it was presented.

Mutsun / Yokuts Languages (Native American, California: Yok-Utian)

I actually didn't use Mutsun but a related language, Yawelamni Yokuts (also Yok-Utian), because I own its 1946 short reference grammar, recently took grammatical and conlang notes on it, and even found a sizeable and charming dictionary for it online, the 2002 one by Vera. I might use Mutsun in the future though, as I have secured even more comprehensive reference grammar and dictionary resources for the same.

It's actually like "Imitation" or "Beginner's" Yokuts because of my lack of time and resources. So I took some time to make notes on the reference grammar that I have, and then used that and the dictionaries I secured, in order to make a quick approximation of the Yawelamni Yokuts language which would be useful for a beginner, as well as an advanced student, interesting to the language scientist, and interesting to the conlanger.

Klingon Language

Likewise, the Klingon of the translation is not usual "Klingon Language Institute Klingon" or "Modern Klingon": It's also more of a resource for beginners, language scientists, and conlangers. Instead, I looked up most of the words in only "The Klingon Dictionary" and use them to the best of my ability. Yet for words and grammar not in the dictionary or which I did not think I would find, I used a 20k computer-generated word list which I made about October 2018 to create new Klingon words in imitation of only those in the original printing of "The Klingon Dictionary".

So the result is both more realistic and more faithful to the original concept of Klingon as made very clear in "The Klingon Language Dictionary" of c 1985. I did this both to save time but also because I don't like "Modern Klingon". To put it briefly, "Modern Klingon" ignores the Klingon Language Dictionary's clear statement that Klingon contained many more words and grammar concepts than found in its pages, and instead restricts itself almost entirely to those very words and grammar concepts, plus a very few others added between 1985 and today.

I should also say that in the past I owned the entire corpus of the Klingon Language, some 10 books at the time, plus complete digital dictionaries of all known words, but donated them all to a public library. And so I hope to re-purchase them all but have not done so yet. And it is just as well, I remember them as being quite unrealistic and incongruous with respect to what is said very clearly about Klingon in the original 1985 "The Klingon Dictionary".

The Vulcan Language

Around 2007, someone made a Lulu.Com website book of all the Vulcan Language dictonaries and grammars presented on Mark Gardiner's "Vulcan Language Institute" website. I bought that book, not knowing it was not by him. So I will be using it, as it is quite a valued treasure of mine. I think it is even still for sale.

I think his website is still up in a slightly altered form. The grammar of the language is actually by Okrand, though most of the words were developed by Mark Gardiner of Oregon with a vast international team of amateur and professional scientists. It notably has a far larger vocabulary than Klingon and is actually conceptually much preferred to it by me. I am happily good friends with Mark Gardiner and regularly congratulate him on his contribution to science. Mark Gardiner is actually quite professional polyglot and amateur language scientist, having worked for the USA military. The Star Trek franchise is the best so far for conlangs because of its large and very dedicated fan base. This said, Star Trek conlangs other than Klingon have not taken off so much. Klingon has never had such very great numbers. And then there is the above criticism which I do not remember having ever heard from any corner. Though I have heard somewhat similar criticisms from some long-time Klingon Language fans.

Because of its larger and more historied online communities, around October 2018 I decided to take several months to do translation into and studies of the Klingon Language. Yet this has always been a tough choice for me because I really like the Vulcan Language a lot more. And it also has recently (the past two years) grown a sizeable and active online community, and even on my website of choice, facebook.

Vulcan is more like my ideal "developed famous conlang" (a conlang from a famous book, tv, or movie which has been expanded in grammar and lexicon to a notable degree). And this is something which I consider scientifically momentous and cutting edge, an idea which I expand upon in my webpage writings, Zompist Bboard posts, and elsewhere. I find Klingon much more disappointing in many ways, actually.

I have done more expansion and translation work into Okrand Atlantean than anyone else, actually. But I'm not that into it and haven't done much over the years. This recent project of the last few months has been unprecedented work since I did most of the work deciphering and making available online the language back starting in 2006.

I actually may have never completed or put online a translation into Klingon, only did lots of ground work for it back in October 2018. You'd have to check my website.

And we'll see what I do in the future.

Choice of Texts

For Klingon, I did a core text from Josephus about the slaughter and mine enslavements of The Fall of Jerusalem.

For Yawelamni Yokuts, I did a Yokuts (but not Yawelamni) star myth as told in "They Dance in the Sky - Native American Star Myths", 2007.

I recently studied a very excellent modern compendium of African myths as apart of my Okrand Atlantean Studies. So I think for Vulcan I will include the star myth of the Dogon (of West Africa), despite it being otherwise famous as apart of Atlantean and or maybe Alien Astronaut lore. The connection to Yokuts and Vulcan is that Vulcan and Klingon are both from the famous American tv and movie franchise "Star Trek", 1960s to today.

I specialize in the study of myth and ancient texts and languages and wanted one of my few translated texts into these languages to really be remarkable and be of a true classic, though not commonly studied ones. I thought about various Classical Chinese texts, including (the very large) "The Lotus Sutra" (Mahayana Buddhist, c 200s BCE Ancient India), of which I have a very new bilingual translation at hand, replete with the sort of philosophical terminology which I think would be a nice association with the Vulcan Language and in contrast to the ancient tyrannical, political corruption, and mining texts which I prepared and used around October 2018 for the study and translation into of Klingon.

Anyway, after that I still have some more translation work to do on Atlantean. I hope to gather up my translations of these other "Okrand Languages" and put them on my website and share the link here within the coming week.

Image: For a post image, I decided to use one that's more Native American themed than Star Trek themed to emphasize the concept (not mentioned above) that mockery of the study of Klingon, Vulcan, and Atlantean is actually much like mockery of the study of Native American or other minority languages due to the exotic grammatical concepts contained in them. It's also anti-poor because Klingon and Vulcan are actually more accessible than a lot of Native American languages, especially when they came out about 1985 and 1995.

Image

Here's some music to go along with this post. The Yokuts myth text is about The Marriage of Wolf and Crane. Now, I'm trying to avoid certain themes. But it's a little hard. So do be sure to read the explanation of the myth first. Myths can be ... intense and hard to understand without being a very experienced scholar. Fortunately, I have access to one.

The music video for this one is in imitation of 1930s cartoons, actually very important for the study of modern of modern cartoons and animation. Actual 1930s cartoons are more bizaare than this, even. It was a new format, so they did just about everything visually suprizing that they could. It's comparable to what's seen in myths - usually far from the ordinary.

Squirrel Nut Zippers - Ghost of Stephen Foster - High Quality
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sxFyu_U2go
Last edited by Bob on 04 Aug 2020 18:48, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

Post by Khemehekis »

Bob -- thanks for sharing this!

A note on Klingon -- Klingon now has more than four thousand words! So it's not "a very few" more words added since The Klingon Dictionary (TKD). There were 167 new words revealed at the last qep'a'! The thing is, compound words or altogether new roots invented by translators other than Marc Okrand himself are not considered canon, and the concept of canonicity is important in the culture of the human Klingon speaker community.
♂♥♂♀

Squirrels chase koi . . . chase squirrels

My Kankonian-English dictionary: 66,000 words and counting

31,416: The number of the conlanging beast!

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Re: Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

Post by sasasha »

Khemehekis wrote:
03 Aug 2020 08:54
There were 167 new words revealed at the last qep'a'! The thing is, compound words or altogether new roots invented by translators other than Marc Okrand himself are not considered canon, and the concept of canonicity is important in the culture of the human Klingon speaker community.
This is cool!

The mismatch between the request from KLI and Okrand's provided definition "bom; puk rur" ('singing falsetto') annoys me, though. The request was "sing by utilizing the next highest vocal folds above those used for speech and normal range singing".

This is not what singing falsetto is: falsetto is a harmonic produced with the actual vocal folds (only roughly half of them vibrate). It produces a flute-like tone with few harmonics.

The requested term seems by contrast to be about singing with the false vocal folds (which are anatomically 'higher' than / 'above' the true vocal folds), which can produce death metal growls, the vocal fry-eque edge heard on vowels in contemporary pop singing, and is behind various traditional throat singing techniques. That seems a bit more 'Klingony'!

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Re: Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

Post by Bob »

The last 5 or more years, my appraisals of Vulcan were quite off. I recently reviewed the language and it seems my memories of it date from around 2007 when I knew little of obscure or major modern languages.

It's still a masterpiece but its achievement lies in having combed all the television episodes, movies, books, etc of Star Trek to gather its words and word roots and in its historical linguistics and sociolinguistics and other complexities. Notably, though, Vulcan vocabulary is extensive and clever.

However, the language itself is very much like English with a few grammatical elements of Japanese. This is said by me with comparison to the many languages I have ever studied. A minority of human languages are like this. The Yok-Utian language family that Marc Okrand the creator of Klingon made, West African Niger-Congo Non-Bantu languages, Chinese, probably the Click Languages. Of those, Chinese and Click Languages are notably less like English. Almost anything traditionally labeled as linguistics typologically analytic.

I should make a book and a website about the language so that it's not all lost. It's the result of a c 1980 to Present collaborative effort among about 40 people of whom Mark Gardner was a leader. Not only do I specialize in conlangs from famous books, tv, and movies, but I also have had some survey of all other conlangs available. I think Vulcan is the greatest of all of them for its connection to the sophisticated art of the Star Trek shows, its history, and its collaborative effort. Though if it was all made by one person, the achievement would still stand.

That more people and conlangers do not flock to sing the praises of Vulcan seems to be indicative of a certain something. Regarding conlangers with a special grasp of the the big picture study of conlanging, David Salo (Tolkein languages guy for The Lord of the Rings movies) stands out, though.

And this is all a big deal because I'm quite certain that conlanging is the wave of the future, notably for language science.

I say all this with a BA Linguistics from Michigan State University from 2009 and some 15 years, on and off, of documenting and studying historical and famous book, tv, and movie conlangs, as well as examining those conlangs posted online, and with greater study being made of major and obscure modern and especially ancient and historical languages and especially their writing systems.

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Re: Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

Post by Bob »

Khemehekis wrote:
03 Aug 2020 08:54
...
I reviewed all those words about October 2018 and the above is based on my memory of that. I hope to review these words again in the future and then see what my opinion is then. My approach to the study of conlangs is to sandwich the study of others' conlangs, and the creation of my own, with years of intense study of ancient languages and languages of all sorts, especially obscure ones. Though my specialty in all that is in the study of writing systems and orthographies.

If I remember, I think most of those 4,000 words are available for free online. So unless 3,500 of them were added in the last 2 years, I think I've already surveyed them.

I am aware of "the human Klingon speaker community" and its "concept of canonicity". I refered to it in my above assessment of "1985 Klingon" and "Modern Klingon". 4,000 words nor whatever grammar we have for Klingon, though, is not realistic enough and it's not consistent with what Okrand himself originally wrote in The Klingon Dictionary. That the majority of the community refuses to make its own grammar and word additions is a really bad sign. I seem to be the only person who cares, so I point it out when I can and then sit back and see what responses I get. And so far, it's usually the same sort of stuff.

Me, I'm not actually a big strictler for canonicity and such. So if Okrand makes new words, I'll consider using them. But I have my own concept for different versions of the Klingon language and will try to share them in as gracious a manner as I can.

And part of what I've done with my projects is open up Klingon to other conlangers by making it more acceptable to do quick translations and to make up new words, new grammar, and otherwise add to the language. There really is very little interest, overall, in Klingon, and very little written in it. My work addresses all of this, even if it finds a small and disagreeing audience.

I'm actually a big fan of the Klingon language, all versions of it. But I'm also a language scientist who specializes in conlangs and have an obligation to point out this thing or that thing which may or may not be correct and which are often based on, sometimes faulty, memories of mine from extensive research done years ago.

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Re: Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

Post by Bob »

sasasha wrote:
03 Aug 2020 10:06
...

The mismatch between the request from KLI and Okrand's provided definition "bom; puk rur" ('singing falsetto') annoys me, though.

...
The Construction of Klingon Words

To help you out with this, I've studied Klingon words and their etymology quite a bit. And what I remember is that Okrand seems to put a lot of thought into each word with relation to the other existing words. There are conlangs that are better thought out, though. But still. But it seems he keeps his language-creation process mostly a secret.

I could be wrong. I suspect he has some word-creation process similar to natural languages or made with reference to them. Then he thinks of all the languages he's ever studied - it's not so clear how many or how in depth he's ever studied languages - and then comes up with something he thinks is good. I think he struggles with it all, though, and is not super super into it. Most conlangers are way more into their languages than Okrand has ever been into Klingon.

The Mindset of Famous Conlangs c 1950 to Present

I'm a rare expert on conlangs from books, tv, and movies, so I really should say in Okrand's defense - whatever his approach to Klingon has ever been or private thoughts - that he's been working on Klingon for a long time, since about 1985, 15 and 20 years now. Back in 1974 when the makers of the big hit American kids show "Land of the Lost", upon which Star Wars (sic, Star Wars not Star Trek) is based, they hired a professor of linguistics from UCLA University of California Los Angeles, Victoria Fromkin, to make an invented language which was used very extensively in their show. This was probably in imitation of the success of the 1950s or 1960s "Lord of the Rings" books. The old c 1974 and c 1985 mindset approach to these conlangs were that they were silly jokes that very few people would ever be interested in - which seems bizaare today in light of on-going documentation and study of the most obscure and exotic of languages - and so the trend continuing until today is that creators leave their languages for their fans to "puzzle over", to "document and decipher and expand". David Peterson mostly does this. I argue that such famous conlangers should instead make everything available from the get-go so that interested people can quick access and discuss the achievement. But I suspect that the employers want "something like what Victoria Fromkin did".

I have actually done a lot of unique work over the years documenting and deciphering conlangs from famous and historic books, tv, and movies. But there's a limit to my enthusiasm for such things and a sense of resting on my laurels in some respects. It is tiring, draining work which few undertake and fewer undertake serially. Which all adds to the tension between "regular conlangers" and "students of famous conlangs". "Famous conlangs", in this, are more like real languages, in that you actually have to work for them, especially certain people.

...

The Stigma of Conlanging and its Deep Racism and Anti-Science

And hanging over and influencing all this is the stigma of conlanging, a modern and historic reality. But I have the novel idea - I have not encountered it much elsewhere - that there is an unseen and usually unrecognized connection between studying and working on languages like Native American languages and working on conlangs. And I have presented that on this website on earlier this year on Zompist Bboard and my facebook groups of haunt and haute. So the stigma of conlanging is actually very racist, anti-science, and disgusting. Behind it is the idea that only English or some other such global language is worthy of any attention and that science is a nuisance and cannot really save us from such things as pandemics, cannot help us in our day to day lives.

...

The Many Values of Minority Languages

I argue instead for a brighter future where conlanging - and science - is more celebrated and less stigmatized. Native American languages reflect thousands of years of wisdom as well as prehistory and history. Many have few to no speakers, many have tons of speakers, especially in rural Canada and Latin America. But this is irrelevant to their value. Whatever position one takes with regards to whether minority peoples should be encouraged to maintain their minority languages and not adopt English, I take a stand that these languages are worth documenting and worth being made available to everyone for the sake of wisdom and science.

Behind languages like Klingon, Vulcan, and Atlantean are the grammars of many minority languages which have worthwhile things to say, even if they were to all die tomorrow and be replaced by English. They're interesting theoretically on many levels and their anthropological content in texts and etymology provides from each vast insight into human prehistory and humanity.

So I have to humor people who want to throw tomatoes at them other otherwise not take them that seriously. If there are few to carefully read my writings and catch the wave of the future, too bad for them. But I've made them available in keeping with scholarly excellence and do very well thereby, whether or when I might get my well-deserved reward for the same.

The Many Values of Ancient Languages

And what's more, the greatest languages of all time - such as Sumerian, Classical Chinese - are quite alien grammatically from any of the world's major or most-studied languages, like English or French. Though few may grasp the value of these written languages and their decipherment or continued study - their value is very great, I assure you from my own decades of studying them. And so the mockery of Klingon and Vulcan, or of any conlang, or its stigmatization is deeply racist, anti-science, destructive, and ignorant and will be something of which future generations will find very shameful, if the future is an improvement over the present situation in that regard.

( Modern Academia is notably selfish to the large degree to which it neglects to make more accessible free online - and in printed form - ancient language writings. If I said nothing about all such things, I would get more applause but not from future generations who hopefully will know better. )

And this has been my thought at least the last year or so. Which is part of why I generally prefer the non-anonymous communities of facebook, to make a stand against the stigma of conlanging, and often make reference to my facebook groups where my real-life identity is quite clear.

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Re: Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

Post by Bob »

Links About Vulcan Languages, Over Time

...

I did a quick survey using online and in-print materials of Internet Archive and online material about Vulcan Languages.

I notably searched:

old Zompist Bboard

new Zompist Bboard

Conlang Bulletin Board

Brown.Edu Conlang List

And just a little bit the major Vulcan Language facebook group:

Vuhlkansu

https://www.facebook.com/groups/151394342198570/

To summarize, there's been several Vulcan conlangs and pseudo-conlangs since Star Trek began. But the most elaborate for grammar and vocabulary is the Vulcan Languages of the Vulcan Language Institute. It's very similar to English grammatically but features many grammatical and other complexities which make it notable among all conlangs to ever exist.

I'm currently working on a very short translation into Vulcan and am going to gather quickly what all I can and then make something of it.

...

...

www.vulcanlanguage.com

http://home.teleport.com/~vli/vlif.htm

June 8 2003

https://web.archive.org/web/20030608030 ... i/vlif.htm

Lesson 20 -- Dependent Clauses (Coming soon!)

Like the Lulu.com book, it lacks material on any sort of grammatical subordination or complex sentences.

https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/the-vul ... dz7wg.html

https://web.archive.org/web/20061109085 ... essons.htm

Lesson 34 -- Introduction to Clauses (Coming!)

Lesson 35 -- Complex Sentences, Part 1 (Coming!)

Lesson 36 -- Complex Sentences, Part 2 (Coming in Early 2007!)

...

This one is from Britton Watkins, the guy who did the (monumental conlanging) indy film "Senn", the "Conlanging" documentary, and is working on the "Star Cruiser" video game conlang. I know this guy's work and it's off the scale.

http://korsaya.org/

Korsaya.org

http://web.archive.org/web/201903101900 ... rsaya.org/

...

I remember that the Memory Beta Star Trek wiki used to have links to the old Vulcan Language Institute's dictinary and grammar. But I can't find a History section for that wiki article.

...

Here's an old Zompist Bboard thread about the Vulcan Languages:

http://www.incatena.org/viewtopic.php?f ... lit=vulcan

http://home.comcast.net/~markg61/vlif.htm

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1694&p=73385&hilit=vulcan#p73385

https://listserv.brown.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A ... NG&P=R3241

https://listserv.brown.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A ... D=0&P=8485

https://listserv.brown.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A ... NG&P=R1114

http://www.stogeek.com/wiki/Category:Vu ... _Institute

https://web.archive.org/web/20120207015 ... _Institute

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6836&p=287017&hilit=vulcan#p287017

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5517&p=229814&hilit=vulcan#p229814

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=75&p=157591&hilit=vulcan#p157591

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1694&p=73390&hilit=vulcan#p73390

...

Further expect commentary from me:

Again, someone in one of the above webpages called Mark Gardner's Vulcan a "nooblang". There's some truth to that. But I would argue against it by presenting for consideration the extensive search of Star Trek tv episodes, movies, books, etc, necessary for the making of the language, its community over the years of 40 - 100 contributors of varying abilities with language science and foreign languages, its extensively and cleverly-devised further derived and invented vocabulary and those many ways in which the language is different from English. Notably, I think the language has word (or morpheme) sizes which are consistent with its phonology, which is a very sophisticated thing and something at which Okrand's Klingon and Atlantean fail.

That said, I think I'm going to do a little work toward developing a more complex possible grammar for the Vulcan Languages. And hopefully much more in the future, though not a whole ton more.

Me, I specialize in the study of conlangs and such from famous tv, books, and movies, so I think that these are the most interesting of all conlangs because they are those most closely associated with the arts and the sciences employed to produce those arts. So in my mind, Mark Gardner's and The Vulcan Language Institute's Vulcan Language is the greatest conlang of all time. Despite being so much like a relex.

One of the many profound and worthwhile points I was trying to make on Zompist Bboard, but which went over the head of its top admin, Mark Rosenfelder, is that there are things about the study of languages and writing systems which most conlangs fail to reflect and which should be welcome - my own conlangs and work with conlangs supply this need. I have studied many different languages intensely over the past 15 years, including many conlangs. Real languages are like the Vulcan Language Institute's Vulcan Language:

- They require a lot of work in being gathered from various sources,
- Not all of which are consistent.
- The major languages, and a few other language families of the world, are very grammatically similar to English.
- They have sizeable vocabularies and even available texts, unlike most conlangs I've seen on the old and new Zompist Bboard, which are mostly just stand-alone, super-complex grammars.
- And they notably reflect profound things about reality and thousands of years of prehistory and experience -- also in contrast to the vast majority of conlangs presented on the old and new Zompist Bboard. The Vulcan Language corpora so far are not that profound, though taken as a whole together with their associated tv and movie works and books, there's probably some insights in there as to the human condition.
- Vulcan notably has a historical linguistics and sociolinguistics complexity which few conlangs have.
- Actual languages are not just presented by language scientists, either. They're also presented by various sorts of non-language scientists. Often the most profound things about foreign languages are in texts made by non-language scientists due to the limited time frame and training of modern language scientists.
- Actual languages and writing systems, especially logographic writing systems, make reference to infinite complexities that stretch out in all directions. Vulcan, by being added to by a vast body of books and tv shows, appoximates that complexity far more than any other conlang I've ever seen.
- And the lack of grammatical complexity of Vulcan could even be argued for and this with respect to its other many complexities. The problem with very grammatically exotic conlangs, as implied above, is that they're too hard to translate into if you're fluent in English and maybe some languages like French. That said, I think elaborate and complex conlang grammars are great, but I recoil at how little welcome I was given on the new Zompist Bboard considering what I have seen of other conlangs presented on the new Zompist Bboard and the old Zompist Bboard. And this is with reference to surveys I have done of its conlangs now and at intervals of some years stretching back the past 15 years. You would think a person like me doing conlangs that I do would be welcome there, even if I have to explain every little excellence of my conlangs and that few carefully read what I write or even understand it. Imagine putting 15 years into conlanging and then receiving such outrageous treatment from its "sages".

So calling it a "nooblang" is I think a very ignorant thing, in most important regards. As I should, I call for greater study of the Vulcan Languages - all of them, from across the 1960s to present - by conlangs. Because I am a language scientist specializing in conlangs from famous books, tv, and movies, and think there should at least be a few more scholars like myself. But in lieu of that and greater interest on the part of conlangers, I would like to make the statement that I should be especially welcome and prized as being unique in my study of these things, if conlanging and language science are to be treated with the seriousness and dignity which they deserve and not as some joke and the plaything of apathetic amateurs.

You see, in language science, each language scientist (and I'm not a professional one, I just have a BA Linguistics and follow the writings of professionals very closely) has specializations. And it's not just something they master and teach, they also add to it and improve it. I bring all that to my conlangs and advocate for understanding of things which are seemingly rarely or previously misunderstood or less understood.

...

Anyway, so it says in this sub-forum's rules that I have to post something about grammar. Klingon grammar is out there and Vulcan Languages grammar is also out there. Etc. But glossed texts are forthcoming in the week, if commentary and discussion is not sufficient for the tastes of some.

The above all is just what I had time and enthusiasm to write, on a very strict (and intricate) research schedule which spans months, years, even decades.

...

Part of the problem with expanding Vulcan is that I'll have to use the same sources I'm using for Atlantean and Klingon but try to make them distinct. Maybe I should go get some Classical Chinese and Sino-Tibetan things. But it's grammatical subordination that I'm especially concerned about. But I don't think anyone will ever notice and Okrand Atlantean already has a very simple system set up to handle grammatical subordination. I worry too much over nothing, and have little time with which to make an elaborate grammatical contribution.

It is a big step forward that I have reviewed VLI Vulcan grammar and come to a new realization of its strengths and weaknesses from the vantage point of my intervening 15 years of intense and varied language and writing system research.

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Re: Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

Post by Bob »

It's funny that this 1968 grammar I'm reading for a Vulcan Language is saying there's evidentials like in Chinook because I've been putting Southeast USA Native American language evidentials in Pakuni the last few years and then recently drew from them for Atlantean, not by choice but because of something in the corpus indicating such. Maybe it's a c 1960s 1970s thing to find these languages interesting. I know of them because they were showcased in "Contemporary Linguistics, my Linguistics 101 textbook.

https://archive.org/details/Spockanalia ... 1/mode/2up

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Re: Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

Post by Bob »

For comparison with that 1968 short reference grammar, compare the 1947 reference grammar anthology "Linguistic Structures of America" by Hoijer, especially the Delaware and Proto-Algonquian ones.

https://archive.org/details/linguisticstruct0000unse

This is an older, (lamer) style of reference grammar that does not use interlinear glossing and then just otherwise uses older and clunkier terminology. And I always shudder when I hear anything about Native American languages because the language scientists working on them do very bad work compared to that done on other languages, on top of all the attitude and clannishness generally about them. It's like they're stuffing museum pieces. It's like Egyptology, they're all weighed down by tradition. The cutting edge of language science has to take a back seat to all the outdated and anti-accessibility traditions of Indian Language Studies. They also use really weird and outlandish phonetic notation systems. Native American and Indigenous New World Language Studies are also like an echo chamber, there's just very few scholars working on them. It's a very oppressive and sad environment. Some Native Americans go out of their way to antagonize people trying to study their language, setting up traps in the bibliography and harassing them over facebook. Even if you're also Native American, which I'm fortunate enough to be in this situation (Mohawk). Most Native Americans have typical non-language scientists ideas about how languages work - well, actually, far worse than that. There's a lot of mystical ideas about languages which tilt the scales against interest by any outsiders - as well as against anyone at all documenting or accessing the language in question. ( Which is a characteristic of language death that I've observed around the world and from historic documents. When a language is shrinking and becomes "a language of the gods" or "a language of fairy tales", it's on its way out. The speakers start setting up obstacles for people learning it until it's lost and "only spoken by the esteemed ghosts". ) I've been really steeped in the study of Native American languages the past 4 (!) years, so now I know all about it. Anybody got any questions, then, just find me on facebook by finding the R admin of the Okrand Atlantean Language facebook group.

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Re: Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

Post by sangi39 »

I've merged "Comparison and Criticism of Klingon, Vulcan, Atlantean, and Mutsun* (Okrand Languages)" into "Comparison and Criticism of Klingon, Vulcan, Atlantean, and Mutsun* (Okrand Languages)".

They don't seem to be different enough in terms of subject or content to warrant to separate threads.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.

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Re: Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

Post by Bob »

sangi39 wrote:
04 Aug 2020 02:38
I've merged "Comparison and Criticism of Klingon, Vulcan, Atlantean, and Mutsun* (Okrand Languages)" into "Comparison and Criticism of Klingon, Vulcan, Atlantean, and Mutsun* (Okrand Languages)".

They don't seem to be different enough in terms of subject or content to warrant to separate threads.
Oh, okay. But you got the titles wrong:

Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

Comparison and Criticism of Klingon, Vulcan, Atlantean, and Mutsun* (Okrand Languages)

One is about translations and the other are just short comparisons and criticisms.

I changed the title of the thread, "Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects, Grammatical Comparison".

I'm new to this website and haven't done much outside of facebook groups for more than a decade.
Last edited by Bob on 04 Aug 2020 18:49, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

Post by Bob »

Optional New, Supplemental and Alternative Grammar for the Vulcan Languages

Well, good news: I have created optional grammatical subordination rules for Vulcan. But they're hand-written so it might be a month or two before I share them here and elsewhere online. I based them conceptually on Klingon and as a contrast to Klingon and Marc Okrand's Atlantean and language of study Mutsun (Native American, California: Yok-Utian). By which I mean that I mostly defied earth language universals in making the rules. ( Which I think is interesting but not actually realistic. I think aliens would have similar grammar element frequencies as us. I very much consider grammar to be an extension of anatomy and governed by its own odd form of logic. )

These elaborations would just be for people who want something even less like a relex (a conlang very grammatically similar to English). VLI Vulcan is not a relex but like a relex in many ways.
Mark Gardner

...

I might make some further optional grammar that's more common and which has as its purpose making Vulcan much less like English. I have already made words from the grammatical words of Dorothy's 1960s Vulcan Language from the fanzine Spockanalia III (very clearly an inspiration for the VLI Vulcan Language we all here know and love). Though I notably have optional evidential particles for Land of the Lost's Pakuni Conlang (which I hardly even use, the particles). Because VLI Vulcan Languages and Dorothy's 1960s Vulcan are so typologically analytic, I'm going to pull from Classical Chinese and Chinese Languages and maybe more from Japanese. I wish I had more time and sophisticated resources for analytic languages, especially the Click Languages, but do not. ( VLI Vulcan Language Institute )
By the way, the use of o- for Honorific upsets me very much because it's a major feature of Japanese. To someone who studies tons of languages, this is very glaring. I should propose an optional alternative, actually. I also am thinking of offering an optional agentive / passive system via particles associated with the verb.
I should maybe also make some special optional "logic" themed grammar and vocabulary. I've studied different systems of logic from around the world but I'm not super into it. Logic varies culturally and Vulcans are not very realistic as a non-American culture. I should maybe also say that a lot of Vulcan languages by fans - I read a bit about them online on a wiki - thought that the Vulcan languages should in major ways be more "logical" than Earth languages. But this is mostly non-scientific thinking. Languages have their own odd form of logic and it's mostly probably an anatomic thing, an extension of human anatomy. But I'm not very strict about overall realism in invented languages, I prefer to just focus on little things and have something that's optionally easy to use.
...

While I'm at it, one of the down sides to VLI Vulcan is that while it draws from many sources (various books c 1960 to Present, movies, tv episodes), nowhere does it cite sources for each word. Someone should do that. I've done work on the Native American language 1600s Massachusett and for that, it's essential to regularly state where a word is from, at least by source and sometimes by page number or Bible verse. It's not so important for Vulcan but it's a consideration. That said, part of the draw (for everyone) is just how much sheer work was required by the 40-100 contributors to the VLI Vulcan language, of whom Mark Gardner seems always to have been a leader.

...

At the same time, I'd like to reiterate my idea that Vulcan grammar should even be simplified by people who find it too hard to work with. Its tripartite (or quadripartite) verb type system is far more realistic than what we see with Klingon (which has only one type of verb and hardly distinguishes its noun types, which are entirely semantic). Alas, such things are hard to actually translate into. Cutting corners is easy, you just make notes on all the grammar and then just follow certain things.
And then I also encourage everyone to include translations and glosses of whatever they write in Vulcan. But that's up to the person. For a more secret feel or to address people who even have words memorized, the alternative is a better match.

...


Critics of Vulcan among conlangers have been few throughout the years because there's not much interest among conlangers in any languages but their own. Ha. That said, if someone thinks a conlang is too much like English, it's not hard to make optional alternatives that make the language harder. But if you're going to compose in a language and you're fluent in English, how much harder can you even handle? I have 15 years of intense study of tons and tons of languages from all over time and history and prehistory - when I translate sizeable texts, I think elaborate grammar conlangs are really dumb and pointless. Real languages are not like that, they're things people learn usually as children and which are handled by their subconcious minds as part of their anatomy. So that's not what conlanging is about for me, but rather about scientific exploration and public outreach for my own vast scientific research and university degree in Linguistics, a BA from the exalted Michigan State University (from 2009).

The reason why more conlangers are not into Vulcan and celebrating it is because they're mostly amateurs or professonals with an amateur mindset with regards to conlanging. I specialize in the study of conlangs and totally think Vulcan is worthy of study and appreciation. The world of science, though, is just so very small. The people who would appreciate Vulcan the most are hindered by mindless and historic cultural taboos regarding fiction, language, and academia. So, congratulations, you're at the cutting edge. It's just "lonely at the top". I'm sorry to break the news to anyone who didn't know.

And I think I've said recently, but it's the connection to a vast corpus of modern art (tv shows, movies, books, merch) that makes Vulcan and such languages so very interesting and realistic and useful beyond other conlangs.

Image: For my work on the Star Trek languages, I pull from all the tv series and as much of the books as I can access (mostly from online citations and summaries). Here's a scene from The Original Series featuring the more fantasy concept of "3D Chess". Here Spock, second in command for the ship, is playing with the ship's medical doctor.

Alternative Image: The Burning of the Books, China. I have done extensive research on what books and writings have ever been made but have been lost. The notable irony of this event is that we still have tons and tons of writings in Classical Chinese from c 500 BC to c 1900. However, they go most unstudied yet are ironically more accessible to readers of English than the vast and uniquely valuable classics of India or (especially) Islam.


Alternative Image: The Death of Archimedes, ancient Roman art. Sorry, the last image was more cheerful and myterious. These are tragic yet intriguing.

Image

Image

Image

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Re: Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

Post by Bob »

Here's some music to go along with this post, for studying the Vulcan Languages and such. Whenever I do threads or posts, I usually include some song that's thematically or vocabulary relevant.

Lipps Inc. - Funkytown (lyrics), 1970s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liuCTk2nPG8

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Re: Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

Post by Bob »

I wanted to quickly say that for my recent massive expansions of Vulcan Languages grammars, as usual, I'm using the 1997 book "Introduction to Typology" about linguistic typology by Whaley. I use this book a lot while conlanging. I actually just made grammar additions about grammatical subordination and am now going to make grammar additions about grammatical coordination, chapters 15 and 16.

Maybe next time, in a few years, I will do this for Atlantean. Studying again those chapters (I have once or twice in the past read them both carefully through), I have realized how lacking in grammar are Atlantean, Vulcan, and even Klingon.

When I conlang, I only rarely give attention to this sort of thing. I focus on particular things when I conlang and usually make very small conlangs and conscripts. But because my research in linguistics is so pioneering, especially when I do things about logographic writing systems, wow, it's amazing conlanging. But it's always a struggle to explain just what's so amazing about it or even get it online. I also don't see the sort of non-logographic things in conlangs that I see in my own conlangs. For example, my etymologies are off the scale. But not in all ways.

The problem is, at least on Zompist Bboard, when I try to explain what makes my conlangs so great, I get boo'ed a lot by admins and members for "showing off my BA Linguistics" and "gloating about my research". Which I find baffling because it explains my approach to conlanging and what goes into them that really make them unique and something people could learn a lot from. But this is some sort of amateurism or lack of inter-disciplinary research or intra-disciplinary research, or all combined. Is it any surprise when we see the sort of low-quality scholarship that we do across the academic disciplines? At least for what I read, after a while, I have noticed glaring deficiencies, some of which are the result of systematic biases and other shortcomings. But be careful if you notice such things and want to make others aware of them: Western academics have the general mindset that everyone's research is perfect and in every way better and more worthy of attention than anything that went before it. And this is a huge problem.

Again, conlanging is a lot about science to me, not like hobby art. So I do lots of research, then I take breaks and do some conlanging while studying something else, then I go back to research and discoveries. And it doesn't take much to make amazing discoveries but not a lot of people do it. You've probably got to choose topics that are under-studied and or laboriously go over the work of others looking for errors or "unfollowed side-roads".

Conlanging does run on linguistics ( which I call language science ), so it baffles me if language scientists if ever language scientists are not given great welcome in conlanging communities. But if they've got a lot of amateur influence and mindset, well, I suppose it should not be that baffling. After all, when I began all this, I knew nothing, and now I'm 15 years into it and finding problems with the research of the cutting-edge scholars. So if there's some dis-connect, I suppose it should not cut me as it does. Unless you want to embrace mediocrity, well, there's going to be rough sailing and sand traps, I'm afraid.

...

I plan on saying what resources I used to make the optional grammar expansions and alternatives when I put that stuff online, probably within the next week.

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Re: Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

Post by sangi39 »

Bob wrote:
05 Aug 2020 19:25
I wanted to quickly say that for my recent massive expansions of Vulcan Languages grammars, as usual, I'm using the 1997 book "Introduction to Typology" about linguistic typology by Whaley. I use this book a lot while conlanging. I actually just made grammar additions about grammatical subordination and am now going to make grammar additions about grammatical coordination, chapters 15 and 16.

Maybe next time, in a few years, I will do this for Atlantean. Studying again those chapters (I have once or twice in the past read them both carefully through), I have realized how lacking in grammar are Atlantean, Vulcan, and even Klingon.

When I conlang, I only rarely give attention to this sort of thing. I focus on particular things when I conlang and usually make very small conlangs and conscripts. But because my research in linguistics is so pioneering, especially when I do things about logographic writing systems, wow, it's amazing conlanging. But it's always a struggle to explain just what's so amazing about it or even get it online. I also don't see the sort of non-logographic things in conlangs that I see in my own conlangs. For example, my etymologies are off the scale. But not in all ways.

The problem is, at least on Zompist Bboard, when I try to explain what makes my conlangs so great, I get boo'ed a lot by admins and members for "showing off my BA Linguistics" and "gloating about my research". Which I find baffling because it explains my approach to conlanging and what goes into them that really make them unique and something people could learn a lot from. But this is some sort of amateurism or lack of inter-disciplinary research or intra-disciplinary research, or all combined. Is it any surprise when we see the sort of low-quality scholarship that we do across the academic disciplines? At least for what I read, after a while, I have noticed glaring deficiencies, some of which are the result of systematic biases and other shortcomings. But be careful if you notice such things and want to make others aware of them: Western academics have the general mindset that everyone's research is perfect and in every way better and more worthy of attention than anything that went before it. And this is a huge problem.

Again, conlanging is a lot about science to me, not like hobby art. So I do lots of research, then I take breaks and do some conlanging while studying something else, then I go back to research and discoveries. And it doesn't take much to make amazing discoveries but not a lot of people do it. You've probably got to choose topics that are under-studied and or laboriously go over the work of others looking for errors or "unfollowed side-roads".

Conlanging does run on linguistics ( which I call language science ), so it baffles me if language scientists if ever language scientists are not given great welcome in conlanging communities. But if they've got a lot of amateur influence and mindset, well, I suppose it should not be that baffling. After all, when I began all this, I knew nothing, and now I'm 15 years into it and finding problems with the research of the cutting-edge scholars. So if there's some dis-connect, I suppose it should not cut me as it does. Unless you want to embrace mediocrity, well, there's going to be rough sailing and sand traps, I'm afraid.

...

I plan on saying what resources I used to make the optional grammar expansions and alternatives when I put that stuff online, probably within the next week.
Unfortunately, this has to be a short reply, but it's similar to my response here.

1) Whatever problems you have of the ZBB, leave them there
2) Do not put words in the mouths of other people, or assume their motivations or intentions, and then proceed to present them as fact without evidence of that.
3) You were criticised for self-aggrandising precisely because you kept referring to your work as "unique" or "worthy of special attention" relying on your BA as evidence of your apparent greatness within the field, and how very few people appreciate your work. Again, if this is a joke, stop it, because it's not funny. If it's serious, again, stop it. You've presented your qualifications, now present your research. Your BA does not exempt you from criticism.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.

Khemehekis
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Re: Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

Post by Khemehekis »

Bob wrote:
03 Aug 2020 20:51
And hanging over and influencing all this is the stigma of conlanging, a modern and historic reality. But I have the novel idea - I have not encountered it much elsewhere - that there is an unseen and usually unrecognized connection between studying and working on languages like Native American languages and working on conlangs. And I have presented that on this website on earlier this year on Zompist Bboard and my facebook groups of haunt and haute. So the stigma of conlanging is actually very racist, anti-science, and disgusting. Behind it is the idea that only English or some other such global language is worthy of any attention and that science is a nuisance and cannot really save us from such things as pandemics, cannot help us in our day to day lives.
Well, I agree that too many Americans deny science. Global warming denialism from the right, combined with a compulsive desire for bipartisanship for its own sake from neoliberal moderates in Congress that results in compromising with global warming deniers, is endangering the future of our planet. The one and only home of Homo sapiens terranus. (Homo sapiens kankoniensis, at least, shall survive.) Ageism and ableism prevent a lot of establishmentarian world leaders from listening to Greta Thunberg.

I've never encountered the thought that the stigma against conlanging is fueled by racism before -- that's an interesting insight, Bob. Do you think that the same racism that leads some jurors to convict innocent Black lads or some fliers to fear when they see an Arab-American at an airport leads people to disengage from the language of brown-skinned Kankonians, to say nothing of Greys, or reptoids, or Domeheads, or Klingons, or Daine, or Na'vi, or sapient cephalopods?
♂♥♂♀

Squirrels chase koi . . . chase squirrels

My Kankonian-English dictionary: 66,000 words and counting

31,416: The number of the conlanging beast!

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elemtilas
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Re: Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

Post by elemtilas »

Khemehekis wrote:
06 Aug 2020 00:09
Bob wrote:
03 Aug 2020 20:51
And hanging over and influencing all this is the stigma of conlanging, a modern and historic reality. But I have the novel idea - I have not encountered it much elsewhere - that there is an unseen and usually unrecognized connection between studying and working on languages like Native American languages and working on conlangs. And I have presented that on this website on earlier this year on Zompist Bboard and my facebook groups of haunt and haute. So the stigma of conlanging is actually very racist, anti-science, and disgusting. Behind it is the idea that only English or some other such global language is worthy of any attention and that science is a nuisance and cannot really save us from such things as pandemics, cannot help us in our day to day lives.
Well, I agree that too many Americans deny science. Global warming denialism from the right, combined with a compulsive desire for bipartisanship for its own sake from neoliberal moderates in Congress that results in compromising with global warming deniers, is endangering the future of our planet. The one and only home of Homo sapiens terranus. (Homo sapiens kankoniensis, at least, shall survive.) Ageism and ableism prevent a lot of establishmentarian world leaders from listening to Greta Thunberg.

I've never encountered the thought that the stigma against conlanging is fueled by racism before -- that's an interesting insight, Bob. Do you think that the same racism that leads some jurors to convict innocent Black lads or some fliers to fear when they see an Arab-American at an airport leads people to disengage from the language of brown-skinned Kankonians, to say nothing of Greys, or reptoids, or Domeheads, or Klingons, or Daine, or Na'vi, or sapient cephalopods?
The only real "stigma" attached to language invention, historically, is its weirdness, its hidden nature. There was a time, during the early Internet age, and certainly during the Usenet age, when you could regularly find people who would excoriate us for the strangeness of our art (or hobby, or whatever). This was hardly fueled by "anti-science", as Larry claims. If anything, it was just the opposite. People would regularly snarl "why do you waste time doing that when you can be studying real languages" or "instead of recording your own lunatic visions, you should become a real linguist and try to save a dying language". Even some more recent reviewers and comentators echo the mid century cry of "lunatic". Whether uttered by academic linguist or random internet blogger, the cries are fueled more by a sense of "science" than "anti-science" --- they say our art is useless (well, duh, who ever saw a Dutch Master do anything useful?*) and we should channel our energies more productively elsewhere.

The claim that language invention has attached to it a stigma of "racism" is quite ludicrous. No random internet blogger or linguistician has the first clue who we are as individuals. There can be no rational basis for the claim that "race" is fueling any kind of stigma against the art; either outsiders levelling accusations of racism towards us or behaving in racist ways against us. I've seen language inventors called many things, as above, but racist is not one of them. Rather I have the feeling that Larry is transferring & internalising his own delusions of what happened over in the Other Place into this essay.

I do concur with him that any such insinuations and stigmas placed on the art are disgusting. There's Reddit subs and internet forums for every known product of the human intellect, from the worst of sexual fetishes to the most sublime philosophies. While some of those may well be worthy of righteous excoriation, I hardly think an art like ours is deserving of such.

And of course, the stigma of strangeness & hiddenness is now long a part of ancient history past. I recall writing a while ago in this forum about the change in worldview and living experience of younger generations of language inventors. I still hold to that assessment, noting only that the oyster is only opened further since then!

1) Except adorn boxes of cigars?

Khemehekis
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Re: Klingon, Vulcan, and Mutsun: Quick Okrand Languages Translation Projects

Post by Khemehekis »

elemtilas wrote:
06 Aug 2020 04:02
The claim that language invention has attached to it a stigma of "racism" is quite ludicrous. No random internet blogger or linguistician has the first clue who we are as individuals. There can be no rational basis for the claim that "race" is fueling any kind of stigma against the art; either outsiders levelling accusations of racism towards us or behaving in racist ways against us. I've seen language inventors called many things, as above, but racist is not one of them. Rather I have the feeling that Larry is transferring & internalising his own delusions of what happened over in the Other Place into this essay.
Ummm, I don't think Bob means that people dislike a conlang because its creator is African-American or Jewish or Filipino or Chinese. If I read his post correctly, he means that the fictional peoples who speak conlangs are races not like Western, White, Protestant Homo sapiens. I bet your average racist wouldn't even hire an otherwise White-looking person if said applicant had elf ears, so maybe that even applies to Quenya?
I do concur with him that any such insinuations and stigmas placed on the art are disgusting. There's Reddit subs and internet forums for every known product of the human intellect, from the worst of sexual fetishes to the most sublime philosophies. While some of those may well be worthy of righteous excoriation, I hardly think an art like ours is deserving of such.
Agreed. Conlanging is not morally wrong. No wronger than eating your bread with the butter side down.
And of course, the stigma of strangeness & hiddenness is now long a part of ancient history past. I recall writing a while ago in this forum about the change in worldview and living experience of younger generations of language inventors. I still hold to that assessment, noting only that the oyster is only opened further since then!
Thanks for bringing that post back up, Elemtilas -- and I'm honored, as that post is in a thread I started! I enjoyed reading back over it. I first discovered the online conlanging community in the mid-nineties, as an eager teen-ager inventing Kankonian and Hapoish. I never got ostracized at school for conlanging, so I'll never know the experience of Xers and other prior generations.

While conlanging, I learned of such conlangs as Sulekhï/Merdian, Rokbeigalmki, Teonaht, Xara (sp?), Neelan, q^upl (sp?), Rhean, Gonardoi, Gevey, Verdurian, Mango, Talossan, Ilish, Ahua, Ceqli, Fith, Rikchik, aUI, Picture Language, and Tomato. Some, like Verdurian and Talossan, are still going strong; others, to quote George MacBeth, are "Creatures whose names we scarcely remember/Zebra, Rhinoceros, elephants, wart-hog/Lion, rats, deer".
♂♥♂♀

Squirrels chase koi . . . chase squirrels

My Kankonian-English dictionary: 66,000 words and counting

31,416: The number of the conlanging beast!

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