Conlangs are constructed languages
When I was about 18 I was fascinated by constructed languages. I’ve been fascinated lately by constructed languages. I lost all joy around linguistics in academic terms some time ago, but I recently found a wikipedia article I had read at some point and then forgotten over the years. The article was about ithkuil, an experimental language famous for being as informationally dense as possible.
As I was thinking about this, I had an idea for a conlang project:
Conlangs and music
- The existence of whistled languages implies that a purely tonal, non-spoken language can be constructed.
- A limited musical vocabulary can be shapen into a grammar. Solresol, a conlang created in the XIX century, is an example of it.
- However: given a 12-tone system, there is plenty of room for morphological considering that you have not only many more intervals but also more expressive possibilities.
- A 12-tone system allows for all the devices of classic harmony (modes, triad, seventh and extensions) to be integrated into grammar and syntax.
- Solresol is interesting, but also limited in expressivity. The idea that you can play words is fantastic, but lacks the rest of features of melodic development: rhythm, motifs, repetition, anticipation, suspentions, pedals.
- Imagine such a language where a solo can be translated into words - even if it’s gibberish and word salad. It’d be a great music inspiration tool, ear trainer and fun mnemotecnic tool for vocabulary (no pun intended). Sort of a palace of memory, in form of a language.
Maybe the best way to learn linguistics is conlangs
As it works now, Linguistics is teached (or at least was teached to me!) by taking existing languages and taking them appart. While this is mildly interesting, it never catched too much my attention. Plus, you have the problem of exploring the spaces of natural design posibilities of language by inference dependent on your particular knowledge of languages: a certain kind of morphosyntactic case can only apply to a certain language, and it so happens that linguists that are european or american (in the broad sense) tend to be natives of indoeuropean languages. This is remedied as much as possible by them, in usual cases, but it makes the field hard to teach and (potentially! ) prone to false inference by lack of knowledge. Anyway: teaching a language course by focusing on building a conlang sounds much more interesting, and could be a better way to internalize all aspects that form the potential space of linguistics.
Plus, you can use your Linguistics assignment on your future D&D session.
: I’ve never done proper linguistics research, despite my background, so I’m not sure of this - this is wild speculation.