31 May 2008

time to write a few books maybe

I had so much fun producing the 'zine that I am toying with the idea of compiling some books. One idea is a compilation of my favorite articles from Journal of Planned Languages.

Lulu.com makes it possible for reclusive hermits to produce good-looking publications without having to deal with printers face-to-face. Sweet! Y'all should write some books or 'zines too. Go on, don't be shy, it's perfectly safe

when used as directed. But contact your doctor right away if you experience hives, bleeding gums, or fainting spells as these may be signs of a rare but serious side-effect...

28 May 2008

Book of the Week #2

Here's another book in my collection. This one is a quirky auxiliary language proposal. Not as quirky as aUI or Babm, but moderately odd. Rawson Universal Language, copyright 1962 by "The Rawson Associates." It's a softcover book, 198 pages, 18.5 cm tall. According to WorldCat the author's name is Perry B. Rawson (his name does not appear in the book); they list the publisher as Ashbury [sic] Park, N.J.: Rawson Associates, 1962. This book is quite scarce and I consider myself blessed to have stumbled across a specimen.

This language is like a hybrid of UNI and Dutton Speedwords. All of its words are written in upper-case letters and they are mostly abbreviations of English or international words. SVP means "please" (from French), NP means "newspaper."

You can click on the thumbnail above for a larger view of a text specimen. The book is illustrated by utterly random bits of clip art, and the English portions are written in a breathless unpunctuated style. Somehow (through some psychic gift) I can visualize the author sitting in an older house in Asbury Park smoking something, listening to jazz on his vacuum-tube radio while the summer breeze pushes in through the curtains, tapping his feet in time to the music while he assembles this book.

All the words are 1 to 3 letters long. Some of the 2-letter words are dedicated to ideas that don't seem like they would come up very frequently: AP = unscrupulous, GU = guitar, RN = redhead.

As a system of stenography (or a tool for encoding one's diary) this might have been quite useful, but the idea that millions of people around the world would try to communicate using sentences like T BB VKP+ BM A BP AKA VFJ2 TQ is incredible; how do auxlang creators convince themselves of such things? Granted, it does look remotely like cellphone text messaging, but the abbreviations are a lot more arbitrary.

27 May 2008

poll results

How old were you when you started creating language(s)?

4 answered younger than 10,

30 said 10 to 17,

7 said 18-29,

3 said 30-64,

none said 65 or older.

That's 44 votes, which makes me suspect a few people voted more than once, because I doubt that 44 different people read this blog. It's possible but I doubt it.

The results are mostly similar to what I expected. I thought there might be a few votes in the >=65 category. (It seems possible that the idea of langmaking would occur to somebody for the first time during retirement. If such people exist maybe they didn't happen to see this poll while it was running.)

25 May 2008

dictionary collector's blues

A dictionary of the Mikasuki (a.k.a. Miccosukee or Elaponke) language was published a couple of years ago. Unable to find an online source for buying a copy, I contacted one of the authors, who said it's unlikely that I will ever obtain this book. The tribe doesn't want outsiders to have it.

How strange. It seems illogical. But I wonder if creating the illusion of having a secret language makes Mikasuki more attractive to the kids in the tribe. What kid doesn't love a secret language? If hiding the dictionary from outsiders somehow helps to keep the language alive, I wouldn't want to interfere with that.

24 May 2008

first unbiased review of zine

The first non-partisan review of the zine has appeared, in the form of feedback left by someone who bought a copy on eBay. He wrote: "Scholarly good read. Look forward to more."

In other zine news, I received a custom-made rubber stamp today. It says PRINTED MATTER (PERIODICALS). Look out world, I'm a real publisher now— I've got a rubber stamp to prove it!!!

Just LOLing at myself. It's a beautiful day, I think I'll go outside and curse at the weeds.

23 May 2008

Invented Languages is published

I hereby declare that the first edition of Invented Languages is officially published.

See glossopoeia.org for more information.

From the first batch of 10 test copies that I had made a few weeks ago, I will be selling a few signed and numbered specimens on eBay this weekend. These will be valuable collectors items in a century or two. Long after you die, your heirs will thank you for buying one.

21 May 2008

Book of the Week #1

Welcome to Book of the Week. In this series of posts I will introduce you to some of the books in my collection.

Good Flag, Bad Flag
compiled by Ted Kaye
North American Vexillological Association, 2006
ISBN 0-9747728-1-X

One of the smallest books in my collection. Only 16 pages. But very useful for anyone creating a micro-nation. Presents five all-important principles (which should only be violated on rare occasions by people who know what they're doing). For example, "the flag should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory" and "never use writing of any kind or an organization's seal."

Learned a new word from the cover of this book: vexillological, which leads of course to vexillology. Gotta love English and its infinitely expandable vocabulary.

20 May 2008

calling Javant Biarujia

If you are Javant Biarujia, please contact rick at harrison dot net

(Strange way to try to contact somebody? I figure maybe someday he'll google his own name and find this.)

You can read about Javant's personal langauge here.

07 May 2008

Invented Languages magazine update !!!

Journal of Planned Languages is toast. I have decided to give the magazine project a new name and it is the plain and simple, self-explanatory Invented Languages. It needs to have a name that can be understood by the general public when they see it on the newsstand among the other hobby magazines like Model Railroading and Popular Communications.

I have completed the final steps prior to printing. Saturday I went to a plant nursery and bought five young pine trees; Monday I planted them on the land I occupy. (This is my attempt to offset the environmental impact of doing a hardcopy publication. I challenge those who use web-servers to do something similar. Web-servers and the air conditioning systems that keep them alive consume electricity and pump waste heat into the environment 24/7, not to mention the impact of mining the raw materials and assembling the circuit boards.)

The trees are named aUI, Brithenig, Ceqli, DiLingo and Esperanto.

Assembling this magazine has been an internal struggle of epic proportions. The part of me that enjoys communicating with the outside world was at war with the reclusive part of me during the whole process. Exhausting.

Anyway, I‘m exploring the options for printing now, and expect to be mailing out copies by the end of May.

04 May 2008

Modern Timucua

I live on a rural piece of land in the area where Timucua was once the predominant language. One of the many, many things on my “list of things to do” is attempting a micro-revival of this language. I have 2 acquaintances who say they would be willing to learn at least a few phrases of it, so at least in theory, it's possible that a few sentences of the old language could be heard here again.

Possibly, perhaps. It would be a lot of work. Gaps in the known lexicon would have to be filled in. In the 1993 edition of A Grammar and Dictionary of the Timucua Language, Julian Granberry indicates some uncertainty about exactly how f and b were actually pronounced. Anyone attempting a revival of the language would have to make arbitrary decisions about such matters, but how? Based on what authority?