Languages and Linguistics

I've always been fascinated with languages, in all their various guises and implications. If you think about it, language is kind of science-fiction just by itself: you can take thoughts from one mind and transfer them to another. Add writing and you have something really incredible: you can think the thoughts of someone thousands of miles away, or who has been dead hundreds of years.

Pages on the various philosophical matters associated with linguistics are all over the web, and I'm sure they can do a better job than I can of explaining things. I think, though, that I'll eventually have some stuff to say about it in my Opinions and Rants section, if I ever get to writing it/them. But in simpler terms, it certainly does fascinate me, the ways we encode thinking into language, and particularly the way different languages do it differently from each other. This can be particularly true for constructed languages, since they were designed to do what they do.

In the constructed language community, I'm known for my work on the Klingon language. Yes, Klingons have a language, and yes, it's a real language; follow the link for more information. I studied it from pretty early on, and was one of the earlier crowd to attain proficiency in the language. I am officially “Grammarian” for the Klingon mailing list, which I guess is mostly honorary because I don't participate in that list very much these days.

Before Klingon, I started my forays into the wonderful world of constructed languages with Esperanto, and participated on some forums for that, particularly soc.culture.esperanto back when netnews was still worth reading. A more current and more active interest of mine is Lojban, a “logical” language, based on first-order predicate logic. My involvement there is a little more extensive than I sometimes realize; I sometimes root through the wiki and the archives and find a whole lot of stuff that I said, and very big and fruitful discussions that arose from it.

And of course, as something of a science-fiction and fantasy fan, I naturally did some studying of J.R.R. Tolkien's languages. More stuff about me and all these languages can be found (or will someday be found) on this site, through the menu on the left. The links I'm putting in these paragraphs are all to external sites (I am using different styles for local and external links; watch for it). And also studied various other constructed languages, and some natural languages (especially Hebrew, Welsh, ASL, and Sanskrit), and other aspects of linguistics... I'd better cut this short here and pick it up on the appropriate pages, from the menu.

On the subject of Tolkien languages, though, I have this translation of this Hebrew document defending the “new” Hebrew translation of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings against critics who prefer the “old” translation. Intriguing reading, for anyone interested in language translation. It's far from a perfect translation (my translation of the article, I mean), but it gets most of the key points across. (It's kind of a standalone page, so it doesn't conform to the formatting of the rest of the site.)

Language stuff relates closely to writing systems, which is another section.