Case 8: Meet the Conlangers, left
(Top left) Suzette Haden Elgin
Author and Creator of Láadan
Born in Missouri in 1936, Dr. Elgin has had a distinguished career as a writer, artist, linguist, verbal self-defense trainer, grandmother, publisher of the Linguistics & Science Fiction newsletter, and founder of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. In 1980, she first came to widespread attention with her book The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense. Elgin’s place in the conlanger’s pantheon, however, was assured with the creation of Láadan, appearing in her Native Tongue Trilogy: Native Tongue, The Judas Rose, and Earthsong. Láadan is a language created by women for women.** The novel is set in a future where women have been subjugated to serve only as linguists for male-dominated companies dealing with various alien races. However, being linguists, the women begin to create a language to more accurately reflect their thoughts, feelings, and desires and to free them from a male-dominated, aggressive way of expressing themselves. (Photo courtesy of Suzette Haden Elgin)
**[ADDENDUM: In an email from Dr. Elgin to Don Boozer, 5/11/2008: "I have just one comment, about this sentence: 'Láadan is a language created by women for women.' It's true that it's a language created by women, but not just for women. In the trilogy it's made very clear that it was intended for men as well as for women, and I have been fighting this "women-only" myth for decades now. I don't know how it got started, but I take every opportunity I get to try to get the word out that it's a myth." I would like to thank Dr. Elgin for pointing this out and wanted to share her comment with viewers of the exhibit. -- D. Boozer]
The Babel Text in Láadan
1.Bíide eríli thi Doni daneth nede neda, i ndi with woho beth wáa.
2.Widahath memina with henedim, meredeb ben raboth Shinareha, i menómina ben núuha.
3.Ndi ben hin hinedim, "Wil mehel len udeleth menedebe i mehóowahal len beneth." Meduth ben udeleth menedebe hotheha udethu i doniyibometh hotheha dóshidihudethu.
4.Id ndi ben, "Wil mehel len miwitheth leneyóoda, i wil thi miwith wohíthiháalish woshumatheth aril mehan with woho leneth i hothehóo beth lenethohéwan."
5.Izh sháad Lahila láad Bi miwitheth i shumathethehéwan.
6.Di Lahila, "Bíi bre menashub mezhe with i ndi with wozhe wodanetheháa hith, ébre methad meshub ben menédeshub meshub ben beyeth wohoháath wa.
7."Wil dórawedeth Li dan benethoth mehen ra ben hin hinethehéwan."
8.Dórashidi Lahila beneth hin hinede Doniha o, i menóhel ben miwitheth.
9.Babel zha hothetho hiwáanehóo--bróo dórawedeth Lahila dan Donithoth woho núuha. Dóralolin Lahila beneth núude Donidim woho.
Translated by Amberwind Barnhart
(Top right) Carsten Becker
Creator of Ayeri
21-year-old Carsten Becker, a native of Braunschweig, Germany, started conlanging after reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and being amazed by "all the Quenya in there and the detail given to it." He happened upon Mark Rosenfelder's Language Construction Kit (www.zompist.com/kit.html) while doing Internet searches for material on Tolkien's languages. This was in 2002, and, in December 2003, Carsten began work on his conlang Ayeri after two previous abandoned attempts known as The Nameless Language and Daléian. Carsten states that "since then, Ayeri has been gradually growing, and my ultimate goal is to make it a comfortably usable (private) language -- which I think is a common goal of many conlangers." An in-depth Ayeri Coursebook was written in 2005 by Carsten and was made available on his website in a professional-looking PDF format. It included the three separate Ayeri writing systems as well as a full grammar and dictionary. Carsten is revising the Ayeri grammar to reflect changes made in the past few years and is planning on tackling the entire Coursebook next; however, information is readily available on the web at Tay Benung: The Ayeri Resource (benung.freehostia.com). The site includes a grammar, dictionary, texts, information on the scripts, and even recordings in Ayeri! Tay Benung is Ayeri for "The Web."
Carsten is currently in training as a publishing assistant for Westermann, one of the biggest publishers of textbooks in Germany and known internationally for their exquisite wall maps. Studying languages or linguistics sometime after finishing his training "is still at the back of my mind," Carsten admits, "as it could also be useful for getting on with my current job." And, not to mention, continuing to expand Ayeri.
(Photo courtesy of Carsten Becker. Quotes taken from an email to Don Boozer.)
The Babel Text in Ayeri
1.Ayeicanang sira matahaiyàn naranoin acama nay sira maríyàtang narániein acamaye.
2.Si tadayea ayeang ea mamangaiyàn mangasara cemanon, ea masahaiyàtang manga cong yaprihinnoea similin Syinar nay mamitaniyàtang adaea.
3.Manaraiyàtang, "Manga gumanoea! Sira manu-manu nermoieon rataneri nay napu-napu arètlei." -- Isarè, yam maríyàtang nermoielei yelangieon nay suvanolei miyungon.
4.Manaraiy tang: "Manga gumanoea! Sira vehaynang meaironin sitangaynyam caivo yaenonea sea eng grenarôn lenoea! Adauyi garanin aynena ang setaviyù nudenisa. Edaveanón isa sehangarò cadanya aynaris, ang setararì ranyain aynaris eirarya arecaea."
5.Nárya in Tay NAHANG ang masahaiyò manga avan arecaea silvyam aironaris nay enonlei saris ceynamang mavehiyàn.
6.Si tadayea ang masilviyòin ennyalei manaraiyòang: "Elinam mea ea setavarêng mangasara edanyaon? Ang yomaiyàtin ayearis amenye nay sira naraiyàtang naranoin amen. Le samiliyàtang adanyaon, le ming semaraiyàtang ennyaon! Ranyalei emimaya iyàtyam nay le semiraiyàtang ennyaon silei-ena ming niliyàtang."
7.Nay epang edanyaea ang manaraiyòin: "Manga gumanoea! Sahu, saru-saru manga avan arecaea teimyam naranoaris iyàtena."
8.Adáre ang Tay NAHANG ea materiyò iyàtaris eirarya arecain aícan nay sira ming masamiroíyàtang vehyam aironin.
9.Isiyà, edayal edáironin sira magaraiyà Babel: yanoyam adaea, ang Tay NAHANG sira mateimiyò naranoin ceynamena nay mangasara adaea ea materiyòang ceynamaris eirarya arecaea aícan.
Translated by Carsten Becker
(Bottom) “This exhibit is brought to you by the international conlanging community.”
Collaborative conlang projects are common on the Internet, but a venture like the exhibit you are currently viewing is unprecedented. The scale of the undertaking and the fact that it is designed for the general public (i.e., not only for other conlangers) is unique. The project was initiated by Don Boozer who wrote all the text for the exhibit (except where otherwise quoted). Any errors, factual, grammatical, or typographical, are his. Don was uniquely qualified to present this exhibit. He was a presenter at the 2007 Language Creation Conference; has published articles on conlanging in Library Journal, The Linguist (the official journal of the British Chartered Institute of Linguists), and VOYA (a journal highlighting library services to teens); and is currently working on several conlangs of his own including Dritok (an entirely voiceless language incorporating hisses, fricatives, clicks, and hand gestures for an imaginary species with no vocal cords).
One of the goals of the exhibit was “to put a face to the craft of conlanging,” and, towards this end, Don contacted a number of prominent language creators to request photos and biographical information. These conlanging celebrities graciously responded with enthusiasm and great humility and included Doug Ball (California), Carsten Becker (Germany), Måns Björkman (Sweden), Helge Fauskanger (Norway), Suzette Haden Elgin (Arkansas), Sai Emrys (California), Anthony Harris (Vermont), Sonja Elen Kisa (Canada), Marc Okrand (DC), David J. Peterson (CA), John Quijada (CA), Mark “The Zompist” Rosenfelder (Illinois), and Andrew Smith (New Zealand).
After writing the first draft of the text for the exhibit, Don posted a message on the CONLANG listserv asking for proofreading volunteers. A few hours later, a full complement of proofreaders from around the world had taken the challenge: Terrence Donnelly (Missouri), Dr. Dirk Elzinga (Utah), Sai Emrys (California), Arnt Richard Johansen (Norway), David McCann (London, England), Michael Poxon (Norfolk, England), Larry Sulky (Canada), and Steven Lytle (Ohio). Their critiques, suggestions, and error-finding added immeasurably to the exhibit. Don thanks them all...Aweras, Kutayang vās, Hannon le, Hantanye, Áala, Pona, qatlho', Hela, Dëkuy, Greid.
It is Don Boozer’s hope that this exhibit will inspire new conlangers and allow current ones to take even more pride in their creations. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.