What does “natlang” mean?

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eldin raigmore
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What does “natlang” mean?

Post by eldin raigmore »

I think it almost always means “natural language”, but, I can think of two other possibilities (three possibilities in all).

It could mean “national language”; that is, any language which is the official national language of some currently-existing national-state.

It could mean “native language”; that is, any living language which some living speakers acquired as their L1, and other future-speakers are currently in the process of acquiring as their L1s.

Or it could mean “natural language”, that is, any language which was
Edit: NOT
invented or designed by a small number of known people,
Edit: but rather arose by unknown means or by so many people most of them have to be anonymous, and then evolved naturally.
Edit: VERY IMPORTANT EDIT
….

Some say there are between about 4000 and about 7000 currently living* natural languages; depending on how one counts them and how one decides whether two speech-communities speak different varieties of the same language, or instead speak different languages.

*(For these purposes I think a language which is no longer in use is a dead language, even if some of its speakers are still living: And, a language which is no longer being acquired as an L1 is a moribund or “dying” language.)

Of those 4000ish-7000ish languages, around about 2000 have been well-documented; or, at least “adequate reference grammars” for them have been published. (I don’t know what makes a reference grammar “adequate”. Must it include a sizable portion of the language’s lexicon ?)

….

Clearly, most natural languages are no longer living languages.
In particular they are no longer anyone’s native language.
And the vast majority (at least 90%-95%) of currently living native languages, have never been national languages.
And others are no longer national languages; and most never will be national languages.

….

How many of us, and who among us, has read or heard or seen a use of “natlang”, wherein the speaker or writer could have plausibly meant “national language” or “native language”, rather than “natural language”?
Edit: (I have; so “at least one of us”. But I can’t remember where or when or who.)
Last edited by eldin raigmore on 10 Feb 2024 17:31, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: What does “natlang” mean?

Post by Creyeditor »

I have seen it meaning "natural language" but also "naturalistic conlang", which is confusing.
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Re: What does “natlang” mean?

Post by WeepingElf »

Creyeditor wrote: 08 Feb 2024 13:22 I have seen it meaning "natural language" but also "naturalistic conlang", which is confusing.
Yes. It means 'natural language', but I too have seen it used as 'naturalistic conlang', which is just plain wrong.
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Re: What does “natlang” mean?

Post by Arayaz »

WeepingElf wrote: 08 Feb 2024 14:09
Creyeditor wrote: 08 Feb 2024 13:22 I have seen it meaning "natural language" but also "naturalistic conlang", which is confusing.
Yes. It means 'natural language', but I too have seen it used as 'naturalistic conlang', which is just plain wrong.
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Re: What does “natlang” mean?

Post by Salmoneus »

I have never ever seen it used to mean "national language" or "native language". And I think eldin has a typo because presumably he's missing a "not" from his definition of "natural".

Nor have I ever seen it used to mean "Nativity language", "Natal language", "natatorium language", "language spoken only by people called Natasha", nor "NATO language", to pre-empt eldin's next set of questions.
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Re: What does “natlang” mean?

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien »

I have a friend named Nat, and if he were a conlanger, his conlangs would be known as "Natlangs". At least, that's my logic. [:D]

But seriously, I think the whole point of the term "natlang" is that it sits in opposition to "conlang". It's also not really a term used outside of the conlanging community. (That said, neither is "conlang"; trust me, the lay person has no idea what that is).
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Re: What does “natlang” mean?

Post by WeepingElf »

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 09 Feb 2024 19:25 I have a friend named Nat, and if he were a conlanger, his conlangs would be known as "Natlangs". At least, that's my logic. [:D]

But seriously, I think the whole point of the term "natlang" is that it sits in opposition to "conlang". It's also not really a term used outside of the conlanging community. (That said, neither is "conlang"; trust me, the lay person has no idea what that is).
Yep. Only conlangers know what a "conlang" is, and only conlangers call natural languages "natlangs" [;)]
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Re: What does “natlang” mean?

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien »

When I was explaining this hobby to my friend, I used the phrase "fictional language"; that seemed to make more sense (i.e. conjuring images of Tolkien, Dothraki, etc.) But yes, we need more mainstreaming of conlangery [:D]
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Re: What does “natlang” mean?

Post by Arayaz »

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 09 Feb 2024 23:11 But yes, we need more mainstreaming of conlangery [:D]
I don't know; I rather enjoy being on the fringe of hobbies...
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Re: What does “natlang” mean?

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien »

Arayaz wrote: 10 Feb 2024 00:01
KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 09 Feb 2024 23:11 But yes, we need more mainstreaming of conlangery [:D]
I don't know; I rather enjoy being on the fringe of hobbies...
True. I just sometimes feel like all my hobbies are pretty fringe. [xD]
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Re: What does “natlang” mean?

Post by WeepingElf »

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 09 Feb 2024 23:11 When I was explaining this hobby to my friend, I used the phrase "fictional language"; that seemed to make more sense (i.e. conjuring images of Tolkien, Dothraki, etc.) But yes, we need more mainstreaming of conlangery [:D]
I don't like the "con" words much, and I prefer referring to my creations as "fictional languages", especially considering that it is a very different kind of language-making than the construction of an auxiliary or logical language. However, the "con" words are established usage within the community, and trying to get rid of them would be fighting windmills.
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eldin raigmore
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Re: What does “natlang” mean?

Post by eldin raigmore »

Salmoneus wrote: 08 Feb 2024 16:39 …. And I think eldin has a typo because presumably he's missing a "not" from his definition of "natural".
….
You are right! I have edited that post.

….

BTW: Thanks, everyone who has responded!
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Re: What does “natlang” mean?

Post by elemtilas »

It is a z/OS option that specifies the "national language" of the given runtime environment. Maybe that's what you were thinking of?
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eldin raigmore
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Re: What does “natlang” mean?

Post by eldin raigmore »

elemtilas wrote: 12 Feb 2024 03:37 It is a z/OS option that specifies the "national language" of the given runtime environment. Maybe that's what you were thinking of?
Could be! Except I don’t remember reading about z/OS !
Nevertheless; could be!
….
Thanks!
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