Author Topic: What happens when a conlanger dies?  (Read 1161 times)

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Offline `Eylan Ayfalulukanä

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What happens when a conlanger dies?
« on: August 31, 2011, 02:59:40 pm »
A lot of people have created constructed languages, usually for some personal project. When that person dies, or is otherwise linguistically incapacitated, that language essentially becomes stagnant and dies.

But if a conlang becomes popular and 'widely used' (like Klingon or Na`vi), what happens when their creator is no longer able to create? I Na`vi, we have a panel that might be able to step in and take over, but not all conlangs have this.

Any history on this?

Any ideas for the future?

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Offline archaic

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Re: What happens when a conlanger dies?
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2011, 04:56:52 pm »
The speakers are all sad and mark the occasion, and the anniversary each year there after.

Is Frommer unwell?  :-X
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Offline Kamean

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Re: What happens when a conlanger dies?
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2011, 05:21:05 pm »
The speakers are all sad and mark the occasion, and the anniversary each year there after.

Is Frommer unwell?  :-X
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Offline `Eylan Ayfalulukanä

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Re: What happens when a conlanger dies?
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2011, 09:27:29 pm »
Maweya Na`viyä I do not know K. Pawl's state of health, and I seriously doubt he is spxin. However, Pawl, nga sì oe zene trro tiverkup So, this is really a long-range, speculative question to encourage a discussion on the topic.

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Offline wm.annis

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Re: What happens when a conlanger dies?
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2011, 09:52:10 am »
So few conlangs have speakers that for the vast majority, this question is moot.  I'm only aware of one non-auxlang that was preserved after the creator died, David Bell's magnificent ámman îar, and that took the intervention of a fan and the LCS.

Auxlangs that expect to survive pass control over to committees for safe-keeping, as Zamenhof did for Esperanto (though he did that for several reasons).  In the case of Tolkien's languages, people fight about them while data is released in a slow, slow trickle.

Klingon and Na'vi are strange, since they were work-for-hire.  Unless a studio decided to appoint a new person to handle them, I'd expect the KLI to become the defacto guardians of Klinging and LN.org to do so for Na'vi, with some individuals or small groups fracturing off to follow their own impulses.

Prrton's Korsaya is attempting to preserve and develop a large but abandoned Vulcan project.
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Offline Kamean

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Re: What happens when a conlanger dies?
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2011, 10:40:18 am »
Maweya Na`viyä I do not know K. Pawl's state of health, and I seriously doubt he is spxin. However, Pawl, nga sì oe zene trro tiverkup So, this is really a long-range, speculative question to encourage a discussion on the topic.
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Offline Dreamlight

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Re: What happens when a conlanger dies?
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2011, 10:31:01 pm »
The creator of Esperanto, L. L. Zamenhof, died in 1917.  Nowadays the language is regulated by the Akademio de Esperanto.

The languages of Tolkien seem to have a stronger following than ever, decades after his death.

It is doubtful in my mind that Na'vi will tank after Frommer leaves this world.
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Offline `Eylan Ayfalulukanä

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Re: What happens when a conlanger dies?
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2011, 11:18:02 pm »
The creator of Esperanto, L. L. Zamenhof, died in 1917.  Nowadays the language is regulated by the Akademio de Esperanto.

The languages of Tolkien seem to have a stronger following than ever, decades after his death.

It is doubtful in my mind that Na'vi will tank after Frommer leaves this world.

Hopefully, that is not for a long time!

But I think there is enough interest here to keep some kind of community going long-term.

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Offline Key'ìl Nekxetse

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Re: What happens when a conlanger dies?
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2011, 09:22:48 am »
But without someone to say that things are valid or not, could the language still be developed?
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Offline Ftxavanga Txe′lan

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Re: What happens when a conlanger dies?
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2011, 04:34:26 pm »
But without someone to say that things are valid or not, could the language still be developed?

I guess it depends on the language. In the case of Tolkien, for example: now that he is gone, no one ever dares to make unfounded assumptions about his languages (if someone does he is most likely going to be criticized on all sides); and the eventuality of letting someone else other than Tolkien develop the languages of Middle-earth is simply unthinkable. Despite the severe lack of vocabulary and of attested grammatical elements (in Sindarin's case, and also with the various other languages Tolkien developed few), the Master is the only one who has anything to say on the matter, even so long after his death.

Now I think Na'vi works with a whole different concept, and I don't believe the same thing is likely to happen with it, even if Frommer were to pass away - which, of course, would be unbearably dreadful.

Offline Yawne Zize’ite

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Re: What happens when a conlanger dies?
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2012, 06:51:20 pm »
I'm not so sure about Na'vi. Successful auxlangs survived their creators' deaths because they aren't, at bottom, "about" their creators. Once they get started, they're tools for communication owned by their speakers in common. If I want to make up an Esperanto word using known derivational elements, of which there are many, I can without worrying about how Zamenhof would have constructed the word. New roots appear on a regular basis despite attempts to use "native" roots instead of blindly borrowing from English. There are even fringe movements dedicated to establishing new pronouns. No matter how much I learn about Quenya, I will never have the "ownership" stake in it that every komencanto has in Esperanto. It's Tolkien's language that I am playing with, and I'd best not forget that even while writing about cell phones and computer viruses.

30 years from now, assuming Na'vi is still popular,will Na'vi be Frommer's language or will it be everyone's language? I think that will determine whether it becomes an undead language like Elvish or a living language like Esperanto. Na'vi as it is now would die, or at best become undead, unless someone took over Frommer's role as dispenser of canon. A small conlang and its community can survive that way; the Volapük movement is currently lead by its sixth cifal (chief), the fifth successor in an unbroken line. It's not full "life," defined as having first-language speakers, but the alternatives are to die or to cede control to the users as a whole, and neither makes for art.

One further terrifying thought regarding conlangs made for hire; does the studio have the right to hand the language over to a new author the same way they'd hand a movie series over to a new director?

 

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