The more I think about this book, the more I like it. I realized that my childhood fantasy about building a new language is no longer as fantastic as it was. But, knowing more about all those passionate inventors is very much interesting. Perhaps, it is some psychological satisfaction seeing others’ work when you know you can’t do that and don’t want to do that now.
I dont remember what my purpose was in having dreams about developing a new language. Perhaps, its just a childish desire. Perhaps, I was frustrated with the “nature” of a natural language at that age itself! May be, it has something to do with the language troubles with those cousins who spoke a different tongue.
Whatever it might be, reading through this book, I realised how many different reasons can exist for people to decide on developing a new language.
Take Esperanto – its the language of peace. It wants to be the platform for enabling people of different cultures and languages to communicate. However, there are languages like Klingon (Star trek) or Tolkeinish stuff – which are primarily created for fiction. But, then, Klingon and its cult following is a different story again – as the author mentioned, its like “art for art’s sake”. Can you imagine, there is even a “woman’s language” which enables a woman to express her feelings in a versatile and verbose way compared to existing languages. There are these “logical” languages, which are spoken with “logic” 😉 There is Ogden’s “simple english” which is like a entry point for non-english users in to English. There are these symbolic languages like “Blissymbolics“. There are “philosophical” languages like that of Wilkins’.
It was very interesting to know about groups of “ConLang” (Constructed Languages) developers and enthusiasts, their passion for what they are doing etc. I did not imagine that there is so much of analysis, study, online help etc for the developer enthusiasts. I am still in the process of exploring these things. So, perhaps, might write more on ConLangs soon.
The most interesting part is the story of revival of the modern Hebrew language. In a way, perhaps, this is a misfit in this group since its not an “invented” language like others. But then, how it was reborn as a “spoken” language is a very inspiring story – if languages had lives and had some societies among themselves, modern hebrew might have been idol worshipped among those societies and it would have walked with a halo behind its head.
Will talk more about modern hebrew later … but, it was amazing to see so many perspectives about development of a language. After every night that I slept reading this book, I woke up muttering to myself – words, language, relations, power, expression, symbols – randomly.The day began with getting confused with the purpose of language and the usefulness/uselessness of it. It began with questions left unanswered. Was I dreaming about things? I dunno.
I still am clueless. 😦 Is it the inability of my brain or the inability of my ability to express? Why am I not able to answer these questions that my day gives me, after the night reading? Should I keep experiencing this hangover time and again? 😦