[download Reading] In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and The Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build a Perfect LanguageAuthor Arika Okrent – 91videos.co

I think I would really enjoy sitting down for a cup of coffee and a discussion with this author She is a linguist and linguistics is a favourite subject of mine She knows a thing or two about the Library of Congress classification schedules too or at least the P section of them, linguistics languages , which appeals to my inner cataloguing nerd Plus, she is just interested in words and their history and in the psychology of people who strive to build better languages.I was absolutely gobsmacked at how many artificial languages are lurking out there and how often that particular bee seems to get into someone s bonnet Mostly, the creators seems to be altruists Esperanto was going to be the language that allowed us all to understand one another and prevent future wars Many of these language developers were hoping to express pure concepts and keep prejudice and politics out of things Unfortunately for them, language just doesn t work that way One of the best uses of language is politicking Also unfortunate is the tendency of these men and I think we can say that it s mostly men who attempt this to be unable to let go and let their languages run free, to change during regular use Their rigid attempts to control the people using their languages seemed to negate any positive uses for their creations.I was amused as the author s type A, gung ho attempt to learn Klingon If I had been at that particular conference, I would have been right at her side competing to my heart s content I loved that in her author note at the end of the volume, she listed both PhDs and her Klingon 1st level pin as her accomplishments.What I found a bit freaky I returned to work on Monday having read the book on the weekend and the very first volume that I picked up to catalogue was written in Esperanto I ve been working on a big collection of materials by and about H.G Wells and am busy with translations right now That little piece of synchronicity was amusing. This book was the perfect balance of everything humor, information, history, thought provocation, etc And the exact book I needed to get me out of the rut of non reading I ve been in the last 2 months.It s a look into the amusing world of invented languages, ones invented by a single person as opposed to a language arising organically through a community of users who create it on the fly, evolving it to their needs And there have not been a shortage of them an estimated 900 in the last 900 years Almost all of these are complete failures, if you define a failure of a language as one that isn t used by anyone But what drives these people to create them in the first place, against all odds of mass adaption Well, first of all, it takes a hell of an eccentric to come up with a language and have the guns to stick with the laborious task of creating a full vocabulary, rules, syntax, etc These folks are usually dreamers They were unsatisfied with natural languages for various reasons inconsistencies, illogicality, difficulty, imprecision, etc so they set out to create a language of their own that would be free from these flaws.This book follows five main invented languages as well as covering many other competing ones in lesser detail Wilkin s Philosophical Language, Esperanto, Blissymbolics, Loglan, and Klingon Each one had a different history, a different ideal that the inventor wanted to achieve, and a different outcome in terms of real world use.But what makes this book head and shoulders above most other books that cover a fascinating subject is 1 Unlike some books written by a journalist who has dabbled in a weird subculture, Arika Okrent is herself a linguist that just happens to be a really good writer, and so she isthan equipped to bring out subtle insights without getting too technical for the layman things like what made this language unique, and why did it succeed fail I particularly enjoyed the section on why the many flaws and imperfections in natural languages are actually necessary and or good for certain things usability for example And she sthan just a distant academic voice, throughout the book she makes a good effort to learn each language that she talks about, and when available, immerses herself in the subculture of its speakers Esperanto, Klingon Even though she is an academic, there is no sober stuffiness here, her enthusiasm for her subject is evident on every page.2 The book is hilarious I laughed through many parts of it, especially the part where she described going out to a restaurant with a bunch of Klingon speakers who have sworn to speak only Klingon that day, and how she died of shame as they started to order in their made up language, pointing and grunting at the menu despite the poor waiter s confusion.But the humor isn t a cheap one It would be easy to just poke fun all day at this cast of characters they definitely give her plenty of material But because she relates to them to a degree , she sees through to what drives them, what makes them devote so much time to such a futile enterprise And so the humor is very good natured, very balanced and genuine, and in a way, it s as if she s having a good chuckle at herself at times.3.She doesn t just highlight these languages and the people behind them, providing factoids and interesting tidbits good for dinner party conversations No, at the beginning of each chapter she gives a timeline of the key events before and after This allows you to see that these languages weren t invented in a vacuum, but that they represented a real continuity sprung from a certain context These inventors were idealists, but idealists within their time, and so the languages they invented reflected these dreams the need for an ultimate order to the world for example Wilkins , or the need to circumvent the duplicity of words Blissymbolics She s somehow able to tell very human stories through the medium of linguistics. In the Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent is a book ostensibly about invented languages like Esperanto that is filled with love for the beauty and inventiveness of natural languages Okrent gives us the tour we d expect of funny invented languages like Esperanto and Klingon she even attends a Klingon convention She has sport with many of the creations For the childish mind the temptations of Volap k are great If you think the word p k is funny, then you will love how it figures into all kind of other words related to the concept of language like p ked, sentence I can t help throwing in another example here To succeed Pl p n.But the book is much smarter than this It gives a history of invented languages in a historical context, showing how the form and function of the languages fit in with the scientific or linguistic fads of the time In the 17th century, scholars were just discovering the power of mathematical notations to reveal concrete truths and permit international debate Many became convinced that nonmathematical concepts could be expressed in similar ways, resulting in a language where every concept had to be looked up and its meaning made precise, through a table, and then all the concepts jammed together into an unreadable sentence The language failed, but the table gave us Roget s Thesaurus In the late 19th century, scholars were mesmerized by the idea of Proto Indo European as an ancestor of most European languages and wanted to create easy to learn languages that drew on those commonalities of which Esperanto was the most successful among hundreds of attempts In the 1960s, some people wanted to have a human language with precision and unambiguity of computer languages, which led to Loglan As Okrent goes through these examples, she is really giving us a history of what people think their languages should be The attempts at invented languages could be roughly said to progress from systems that are very unnatural unspeakable assemblages of numbers or letters to systems that seek to combine all of the inventor s favorite aspects of natural languages For example, one language created by a feminist fantasy author includes words like radiidinnon holiday, a time allegedly a holiday but actually so much a burden because of work and preparations that it is a dreaded occasion and requires a syntactic structure indicating the speech act being performed statement, question, command, request, promise, warning Both Klingon and Lobjan a fork of Loglan are essentially composed of elements from obscure natural languages that some linguistics nerds found interesting and wanted to play with.This is simultaneously a quirky book about silly languages, a respectful book about language communities, and an informative book about linguistics muchthan I expected it to be. The author looks at the history of invention surrounding well, invented languages And if you like languages at all, then it s fascinating Although I could have wished for a little better organization The author seems to jump about in time here and there, which can be confusing And there is some repetition of information, as if she forgot she already told us that.Oddly, I was at least a third if not halfway through the book before I realized the author was a woman It was an odd experience having to make that shift in my head What finally clued me in Her reference to her husband But of course then I had to stop and reread that, and realize. no, she still didn t say she wasn t a man who happened to have a husband But of course flipping to the author bio and author picture on the back dust flap. well, that was pretty definitive And you might think Arika would ve made me think it was most likely a woman And yet..No, somehow I didn t really notice the author s name Did not read her bio before reading the book Did not see her picture before starting to read the book.And yes, even though I know linguistics is one science where there are a lot of women. somehow I still thought it was a man writing it for a good way into the book.End tangent.So the author starts out learning about Klingon and going to a Klingon convention excuse me, conference And that part was interesting, and then she leaves us there to backtrack and talk about all these other languages that were invented before Klingon Which is kind of shame, because I found the discussion of Klingon culture that is, the culture of human Klingon speakers, not actual Klingons and the discussion of Esperanto culture to be, actually,interesting than the history of the people who invented the languages in the first place.But that was interesting too A lot of men with ideas that natural languages just weren t doing it for them, and thought they could do better.And not too far into it, I started to think. you know, these languages probably have a huge male bias to them Like, there s one chart of bodily functions and I did not see menstruation on there I bet he left that concept out of his language.Or there d be languages where the default is male and to make female or woman , you had to add something As in English.So I was thinking that would be a really interesting study to do and wondering if I was capable of doing it without a linguistics or women s studies degree.And then somewhere after the point where I realized the author was a woman, she starts talking about Laadan And of course I knew about that language already, because I loved Suzette Haden Elgin s book before I knew it was a series And of course the first words she uses in discussing her female oriented language is. menstruation And to form the male version of like man and boy, you first start with the default of female and turn it male.So yea, female linguists noticed that male ness before I ever conceived of it And it s nice to know not all invented languages are male in origin Even though I sort of already knew that.And, in the end, I gotinterested in Esperanto, Laadan, and Klingon As the three languages that I consider most useful to knowabout Considering two of them are alive and well, and the other is gendered differently.I downloaded an Esperanto learning app on my iPhone I did not do a Klingon one, because that COSTS MONEY STUPID PARAMOUNT GREEDMONSTERS GRR.I did not look for a Laadan app I kind of assumed there wasn t one Searched Does not appear to be one So, in short LANGUAGES AWESOME SQUEEE Fantastic book I have been in love with languages since childhood, and this book fed my obsession fully It is amazingly well researched and the writer is clearly knowsabout languages than any person should, but the writing feels natural and not academic dry, is full of humor and keeps you turning the pages to learn what other crazy stuff people have come up with, and what it can teach us about how language and the human mind work One of the best non fiction books I ve read this year, and I enjoyed every minute reading it. Whatever happened to Esperanto is it still ticking And Volap k, does anyone still speak it Here s the low down on invented languages, starting with the mystical Seventeeth and enlightened Eighteen centuries, when serious attempts were made not only to name BUT TO ORDER every word out there in wholly new languages that would be not only rational but would unpack our now we know unpackable universe Then came the One Worlders the rise of nationalism in the Nineteenth Century provoked a reaction in Esperanto, Ido, Volap k and other invented languages that were meant to cross national boundaries, be easy to learn, simplify grammar, and generally pull humankind together Those movements generally went into decline after the Second World War However, don t accept the blithe assumptions that English has become the world s lingua franca and that s that A lotis going on and new invented languages are popping up all the time, though often, as with the Blissymbol system, they find uses other than pure communication Blessedly, author Akira Okrent knows just when to stop shy of entering the realm of computer languages, so if you re looking for a taste of Fortran, Cobal or Linux, go elsewhere A recurring theme in this insightful work is that no perfect language can be obtained because by the time one can be compiled, the social uses of it change and prompt either schisms or evolutions in the invented language SPOILERS An example of breach is Loglan, whose adherents so strongly rebelled against its conservative founder that they came up with Lojban, originally meant to incorporate changes the master would not permit For the record, these are both difficult and complicated languages and would probably have any old school Esperantist shaking his kapo or her kapa in dismay Esperanto itself is an example of a created language refusing to remain static, as younger speakers casually drop the n accusative ending of nouns much as English speakers commonly dismiss with terminal g from our words, and slang expressions and colorful idioms continue to bloom and grow.You can probably see that I enjoyed Akira Okrent s book very much If you like books about language, you probably will too. Delightful, fascinating, funny This could have been written for me.I read this over a year ago and can t stop recommending it to anybody who will listen to me While writing up my thoughts on something else tonight, I realized that Okrent s book has become the gold standard for a particular strain of my non fiction reading.So I thought it only fair that I state in public that I loved this book, and wish it had been twice as long Even longer If I could, I would have this book s babies I m not a linguist I don t even have a knack for languages But I am fascinated by linguistics, and I ve always been fascinated by conlangs like Esperanto and the evenexotic Volapuk And I ve long been really, really fascinated with the various medieval efforts to reconstruct the perfect language of creation All of which feature prominently in this book.The author s scholarly training shines in the way she cleverly organizes the discussion into distinct eras, each distinguished by the prevailing motivations for the men and women behind the constructed languages of that time It s quite effective But while the organization is clear and methodical, the tone and delivery are never dry or high or academic At times funny, at times poignant, the book never loses sight of the fact that a book about language is a book about people who love language Some of the major players in this book are, or were, well, odd ducks But the author never descends into elbow ribbing ridicule.She veers close to it in the opening chapter when she describes her first interactions with Klingon speakers, but when the book returns to Klingon much later, we see and share a fondness for the Klingon enthusiasts thanks to a journey through centuries of mostly failed attempts to change the way we communicate with one another.Which is really the ancient story of people seeking connection with one another And I think the author s approach brings that to the fore. Here Is The Captivating Story Of Humankind S Enduring Quest To Build A Better Language And Overcome The Curse Of Babel Just About Everyone Has Heard Of Esperanto, Which Was Nothing Less Than One Man S Attempt To Bring About World Peace By Means Of Linguistic Solidarity And Every Star Trek Fan Knows About Klingon But Few People Have Heard Of Babm, Blissymbolics, Loglan Not To Be Confused With Lojban , And The Nearly Nine Hundred Other Invented Languages That Represent The Hard Work, High Hopes, And Full Blown Delusions Of So Many Misguided Souls Over The Centuries With Intelligence And Humor, Arika Okrent Has Written A Truly Original And Enlightening Book For All Word Freaks, Grammar Geeks, And Plain Old Language Lovers I m not much of a linguist in the technical sense, though I do enjoy learning languages and especially doing translation , so I wasn t sure if reading a book about invented languages might be too technical Luckily, it isn t In the Land of Invented Languages is actually a really easy read, with apersonal than professional analysis of the languages discussed although it does go into some details about how each one works, why it s effective or not, how much it s used, etc.Better, Okrent actually participates or participated in some events based around these languages, like Klingon and Esperanto, so she has an insider view to some extent, anyway It s kind of fun reading about how she got hooked on learning Klingon, and her mixed feelings about hanging round with the other Klingon speakers While she mostly talks about why these invented languages aren t really successful, she does so with sympathy and an eye to how they create communities and cultures, and also a deep appreciation for the coolness of conlangs and the communities around them Even if that coolness is a very geeky, linguistic coolness, obviously It s an absorbing and entertaining read, which is also pretty informative, and I found myself wanting to share it immediately For those with a bitknowledge, I think you might wantdetail about the technical workings of some languages, but as a survey of invented languages and their communities, I think it s pretty awesome.Originally posted here. This was a hoot Even though some parts were penetrable only by a linguist like the author, I really enjoyed it Okrent is a very good writer and knows how to choose and lead up to the funniest aspect of a constructed language or of the inventor I learned a ton of random facts, and I thought I knew it all, having a decent knowledge of Esperanto Turns out, there arethan 900 known invented languages One that was invented to express a woman s perspective is Laadan and has words like this radiidin, non holiday, a time allegedly a holiday but actually so much a burden because of work and preparations that it is a dreaded occasion esp ly when there are too many guests and none of them help Okrent gets into the wildly varied reasons people invent a language and why natural languages areflexible She covers some languages like Klingon, invented only for artistic fun in depth I loved the part about the U.S Office of Nuclear Waste Isolation asking semiotician Thomas Sebeok in the 1980s how to post warnings that would last 10,000 years on waste storage sites He recommended all known languages, pictures, icons, all sorts of symbols, and having the keepers every 250 years rethink the warnings based on current messaging He also recommended creating a spooky mythology around the site that would be passed on from priest to priest beyond the time they could be expected to know the reason for it All they would know is the curse Too many great tidbits to describe here I laughed all the way through.