the ethics of language tampering and the sociolinguistics of conlangery

Posted by Panu Petteri Höglund on 4:15 7/26/01

In reply to: (none)

Mark, I wonder if it is ethical to tamper with the languages now that you have made them public. This regards especially Verdurian - I doubt if Barakhinei and Ismain have acquired much of a following, but there may be so many fluent Verdurian speakers out there already that they are already - by sheer numbers, and especially if they have already started communicating in the language - be more justified than you to define what is good Verdurian. This is part of what is so great about Internet for conlangers - you might create a community or pool of speakers unwittingly, and as soon as there is a pool of speakers which functions as a community, sociolinguistically speaking you have lost your copyright or at least your right to major revisions.

I am not being cheeky, I am just addressing a supremely interesting sociolinguistic problem.

Mark responds:

I understand the problem-- if nothing else, I don't want to further harm the fluency of the one fluent writer of Verdurian, myself. :) For instance, despite temptation, I haven't modified the inflections of Verdurian in over 20 years.

I don't think we quite have a "pool of speakers" yet... let's see some more postings in Verdurian first. :)

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