09 April 2008

lang-making in prison

I try not to watch TV but sometimes I succumb to the temptation. A few weeks ago I was watching an hour-long program about life in Alaska prisons. A teacher working there mentioned that three of the inmates who attend his classes have IQs above 140 and are some of the most brilliant students he's had anywhere.

It started a train of thoughts in my head. Langbuilding takes time. Perhaps it would be a good hobby for those few prison inmates who would be interested in such things. No doubt a few are already doing it. (Poliespo for example.)

How would you spread the idea to more prisoners? (More than a million Americans are behind bars.) You'd need a book available through Amazon and other companies that are allowed to ship books to prisoners (most prisons won't accept books mailed in by ordinary individuals). Eventually this book might be banned from some prisons out of fear that a constructed langauge would be an unbreakable code that the inmates could use for nefarious purposes.

If you were langmaking in prison you'd want to keep as much of it as possible in your head. In that kind of environment you don't want to get emotionally attached to any possessions, including papers and notes.

Hmm, I might enjoy trying that, making a language entirely in my brain, not using paper or computer.

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