2nd Language Creation Conference Part Two

The second day started off with Jeff Burke. Now, Jeff Burke was supposed to talk at the 1st LCC, and I was really excited about his talk, but an accident befell him and he wasn't able to show! Jeff has done a lot of research on Native American languages, specifically Algonquian and Iroquoian, and has created his own conlang based on his favorite parts called Noyahtowa. He gave a talk about evolutions and changes of pronominal prefixes within some native American languages and why they were interesting for a conlanger. Good stuff!

Next was John Clifford, who spoke last year about aUi and Toki Pona; conlangs with a degree of popularity. John has a Masters in Lingusitics and a PhD in Philosophy abd has been a college professor, so he knows how to teach and he's pretty fun to talk to. This year he spoke about the problems of success with your conlang; success meaning more and more people discussing and speaking your language. The main problem he spoke of was losing control over your conlang, and how one might build-in some restrictions on a conlang so as to keep your control.

Sylvia Sotomayor spoke next about her conlang, Kelen, and her experiment with building a conlang that has no verbs! Sylvia is another linguist who studied at Berkeley and, if I remember right, her conlang was also a project for one of her classes. Pay attention, if you're still in school and reading this! Here's a link to the handout for her talk, and of course you can go here for the Powerpoint and audio.

Right before lunch we heard James Gang talk about Verbotomy, which wasn't so much conlanging, as inventing words and playing with language a bit. This was a lot of fun! And it does help you think about language in new ways, which is what conlanging does most of the time, too. As I am writing this I just added a Verbotomy widget to my blog and you can go to Verbotomy.com to see some more of this fun game.

After lunch on Sunday, our last talk of the day was Clint Hutchison, who spoke to us about, of all things, shorthand, and "Universal Semantic Markers." It was a great talk for thinking about orthography and having one character represent a connection or concept. For more on this, go to the LCC website, media page.

There was a panel next, on the conlang "relay" which had actually taken place prior to the LCC, in which conlangers basically played a game of "Telephone." This is a game, for anyone who has not heard of it, where everyone sits in a circle, and the first person whispers a phrase to the person to his left, and that person whispers it to the next person and so on until it comes back to the first person. Inevitably, someone mishears the whisper, and the phrase begins to change. The first person then reveals what the original phrase was, and what the final phrase was, and everyone has a good laugh. Well, in this case, the original phrase was translated into a conlang, and enough rules and vocabulary of the conlang are given/explained so that the person can translate it, and then they translate the phrase or story into their conlang and the process repeats. In the panel we went through the several conlangs involved in the relay, and how the story of "The Talking Rock" got changed subtly in each step. Each participant had to read the story in their conlang, as they translated it. It was informative, enlightening, and really funny. I hope to participate in next year's relay!

There was another workshop on vocabulary and another panel after this, about incorporating conlangs into your life, and spreading the good conlang word, which I hope I'm doing a bit of with this blog, but I had to leave. I did check them out later at the LCC website, though.

The second LCC was,IMO, even better than the first. Of course, it was easier to pack in more content and speakers when you have two days instead of one, but I really loved the mix of technical talks, fun activities (workshops, Glossotechnia, Verbotomy, the relay panel) and talks on and about individual conlangs.

One of the things I realized about my own conlang, after thinking about John Clifford's talk, was that I might want to REALLY simplify my proto-language. The other thing I did was I started making my own card game, so that I could wrap my head around linguistic principles better, and better see how a change in one part affects the rest. Both these ideas yielded rich results! I'll be posting more about this card game, Make A Lang, and the proto-language to Fauleethik I developed, very soon. Stay tuned!

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