Feedback & reviews
The following are reviews from conference attendees. They have been edited only slightly (for format & typos) and possibly with editors' notes in the form "[Ed. notes]" for clarification, but otherwise left uncensored. To add your own, please contact Sai. You will remain anonymous if you prefer, and we can send your feedback only privately to the presenters if you prefer as well, but by default it will go here, with your name on it.
Reviews are listed in the order they were received.
Review #1: John Clifford
First thoughts as they start to gel:
Last year's LCC was very good -- astoundingly so considering how rapidly it was made up. This year's was even better and not just because there was more of it, though that helped. The extraa day took off some of the prressure and also gave room for more socializing, which is important for those of us (damned near all) who work primarily in solitude.
Some background. I am not a game player: I play solitaire and cribbage but never D&D or any computer games (I couldn't even get excited about PacMan on my K-Pro). I am (also? or is the same thing) not into fantasy, even the bits that can be passed off as sci-fi (though I have read all about Pern and Amber and there are, of course, Star X and Star Y and all the Hobbitry). So conworlding and thus artlanging is not to my taste -- and the languages that result are unpleasant (must every exotic language have masses of velar fricatives -- or backer -- and other such impedimenta? it often seems so).
That said, I thought that Jim Henry's game was at least an interesting long step toweard a good pedagogical tool (of the sort you can sneak on someone with), judging from his presentation and comments about the games played. I was less charmed by Conlanging 101, which seemed heavy-handed and pretty po0intless (at least the point was never revealed). Some people did seem to take it in a lighter spirit and least had a good time at it. Of course, I am of the mind that developing a vocabulary and grammar without some sense of what message you want to send -- i.e., without settling a number of semantic issues first (or at least simultaneously)-- is unrealistic and counterproductive. And this just gave us some English text without context. some people built interesting contexts, however, so maybe the game worked for some.
And interesting contexts were the order of the day. While the resulting languages were grating on my ears, the problems that they came up with and the processes they went through (and the amount of erudition displayed and used in all that) was awesome in all the artlang papers: Sadkin, Peterson, Boozer, Burke, and Sotomayor. The notion of historical lingusitic background seems to have been in the air and received really good applied treatment as well as theoretical discussion; I suppose that Salo's talk fits into that, too, even if this session did not have an official theme.
I really like Jim Gang and Clint Hutchinson and I enjoyed their talks, but both of them seemed off topic. Stenography is, at best, neography, not a constructed language in any interesting sense (however interesting it is as itself) and Verbotomy (I'm signed up) is a classic joke pattern systematized, not a language construction at all. Gang's advice on selling you conlang is, if not unnecessary, merely standard selling technique brilliantly presented. I suppose I take Quijada's paper as a model of what these sessions might strive to be and, with the exception of the two just mentioned, everything this weekend made the grade in spades (I obviously don't speak about my own stuff).
The two panels, collapsed to one, did not work so well and slid into a general discussion of everything, which was probably a more profitable way to end things. Next year, I suggest that panels start with a good position paper, so that there is a set content to discuss. That means, probably, narrower topics: using conlanging in intro to linguistics or critical thinking or ..., say. The bits of personal experience were nice.
I sum a great convention (Hell, all of them have some things that don't quite work; this one had fewer than many do and more good stuff to boot).
Review #2: Anonymous
Here's my review of the speakers from LCC 2. I want to remain
One of the best talks, and very professionally presented. Especially nice was the discussion of doublet pairs of words due to borrowing from other languages. I would have liked to have seen a fuller discussion of morphological and syntactic change, however, and how these can come about. As it was, he sort of glossed over those areas.
A great discussion of linguistic aesthetics. There were some PA problems,which weren't his fault, of course. I'm familiar with Ithkuil, and would have liked a fuller discussion of his own aesthetic choices in creating that lang.
Sadkin might be the first person, that I've heard of anyway, to create and describe an artistic conlang for an academic thesis. She was very soft spoken and hard to hear at times, but her talk was fascinating. I definitely want to see more Tenata.
First a comment on the speaker: What a beard! He should be very proud. Glossotechnia is a great idea and I watched the game played at lunch on Saturday. Especially fun are the "neutralize phonological distinction" and wild cards. The whole game seems very analytic oriented, however, but I'm not sure how to remedy that.
Sorry, but I don't remember much of this talk at all. Not particularly memorable, I guess.
Drushek is the most innovative conlang I've seen in years. The whole talk wowed me. At the end, I wished he could have kept speaking on it. I wanted to know more about the physiology of the creatures that speak the language and their culture, which is outside of conlanging per se, I suppose. Maybe in future Lccs you could allow for more discussion of biological and cultural influences on conlangs. But get this guy back next year--I want to see what he's come up with by then.
The Lincoln intro was a nice touch, especially the "eleven score and eleven years ago." A physically impressive guy--six-four at least, with a lot of presence. His talk was very technical, but at times his voice broke and I had trouble hearing him. Most interesting was the discussion of Mohawk(?) gender and its progression and how he used that in his conlang. I would have liked to have heard more on the conlang (Noyatowa?) itself, especially the nounless aspect of it.
[Ed. Jeff injured his leg earlier; the voice breaking was a result of the poorly suppressed pain.]
[Jeff: I'm not quite 6'4"; I'm about an inch shorter than that. Also, the ankle is mostly better now, but still gives me problems on stairs. There was a tear in my right anterior talofibular ligament.]
I'm more of an artlanger, with some interest in engelangs, so this talk wasn't really my cup of tea. But a language tailored to the Daoist philosophy is a fascinating idea.
A fascinating example of an experimental conlang. Kelen is sort of the counterpart to the nounless lang discussed earlier and impressed me just as much. She seemed nervous, however, and it showed. Someone asked about how such a verbless system could evolve and I wanted to hear more about that. Maybe she can go into that next year.
Another very professional presentation. He talked less about his own language game and more about popularizing conlangs and conlanging, which is something every conlanger should learn to do. We're a secretive, inbred hobby traditionally, and it was a breath of fresh air to see someone trying to push us out into the light. Kudos!
What do you get when you cross a conlanger with a court reporter? Clint Hutchinson. His talk wasn't as in-depth or engaging as some of the others, but his strategies for shorthanding were very clever. His was a nice lightweight topic to end the conference talks.
Review #3: Jeff Burke
David's presentation was particularly helpful for me, especially his discussion oflanguage contact. His discussion of doublet word-pairs mirrors a situation in my own conlang family.
Being largely self-educated in linguistics, it was nice to see a pro confirm some of my own instincts about how languages interact.
Review #4: Matt Haupt
Had a great time, great experience, took home some fuel for my conlang fire
Sai and Alex,
Just wanted to personally email and thank you for another enlightening and informational LCC! This one was, IMHO, even better than the last, and I'll give a bit of feedback as to why: a broader range of talks, a better range of speakers (meaning, we had some very engaging and entertaining speakers, as well as some very academic and dry speakers), more from conlangers about their conlangs, and some actual workshops! OH, one more thing: Glossotechnia is AWESOME. I really think there was something for everyone at this year's LLC; it was accessible for budding conlangers, and the linguists were able to learn something new and interesting about languages out there and conlangs as well. The short talks from conlangers on their conlangs also provided insight, entertainment, and perspective (I am still laughing about Drushek and marvelling over Nohyatowa and Tenata!).
Thank you for providing a meaningful and worthwhile activity and gathering for our particular vice!
Comments posted elsewhere
[Ed.: Slightly cropped for topic-relevance, privacy, and brevity.]
CONLANG-L: LCC2: Meeting our Community
From: Donald Boozer
I haven't seen that much posted on LCC2, so I would like to add my 2.5 cents concerning the event. It has been a little over a week now, so the initial euphoria has had time to wear off, but, you know what, I'm still euphoric. Sai, Alex, David, and the others responsible for bringing this to fruition did a marvelous job. The conference was larger than last year (a trend?), included an international slate of speakers (O! Canada) and conference attendees (including the "virtual" attendees via the IRC), and included a great variety of talks and activities (both during the conference and during the afterhours). One thing that struck me was that everyone I met was as interesting and friendly in-person as they are online.
The LCC2 is a great way to reinforce that conlangers (whether they be artlangers, engelangers, auxlangers, etc., etc...personally, I don't know whether I agree with this 'Balkanization' of conlanging..but that's for another post) are Human Beings. We are more than just postings on a listserv. During the final roundtable discussions, it was stressed that participants would like to see MORE interaction at LCC3: dialogues or skits in conlangs, "forced socialization" (i.e., formal informal get-togethers), another LCC Relay and it's presentation in-person at the conference. In this age of "virtual" communities, LCC gives us the valuable opportunity to remember, and relish in the fact, that we are a "real" community as well. We are composed of individuals, but individuals who are social animals. IMHO, LCC gives us a venue within which we can experience the joy of conlanging with others of our kind. Don't misunderstand, I value the "virtual" comaraderie of CONLANG and ZBB, but the actual physical presence of someone and the ability to hold a conversation (not back-and-forth postings) is invaluable in this day and age. So, I look forward to LCC3, the final formation of the LCS, and welcome the opportunity to continue being a part of the wider conlanging community. Fiat lingua!
From: David Peterson
<< IMHO, LCC gives us a venue within which we can experience the joy of conlanging with others of our kind. >>
I certainly must echo Donald's sentiments. When it comes to communication, nothing beats face-to-face. Hopefully LCC3's being (tentatively) in Rochester will bring a new crowd, since I realize many East Coast conlangers have had to miss out on the LCC due to its unabashed West Coast-ed-ness, so hopefully we can fix that with an East Coast locale.
I also wanted to add (I'm going to do a write-up of my own later, but I'm still visiting) that one thing I found useful was being able to bring a laptop. Part of the fun of meeting people is being able to share your work, but conlangs don't transport easily. Laptops do, however. In an ideal world, we'd all have a large computer, like the one on board the Enterprise, and little handheld slates that connected to that computer, and could call up anything contained therein, but as we don't, laptops seem to do the trick. For future LCC's, if you can bring all your many files with you (or computerize or scan in some of the non-electronic files you have), you should; they're well worth sharing!
From: Jim Henry
> The conference was larger than last year (a trend?),
Probably being announced earlier gave more people a chance to plan vacation around it and save money for the trip.
> One thing that struck me was that everyone I met was as interesting and friendly in-person as they are online.
In some cases more so.
> During the final roundtable discussions, it was stressed that participants would like to see MORE interaction at LCC3: dialogues or skits in conlangs, "forced socialization" (i.e., formal informal get-togethers),
The main thing, I think, is to have some informal after-hours programming in addition to just having dinner at a restaurant. We had such at LCC2 (hanging out in the recreation room at the dormitory, playing pool and Glossotechnia and talking), but it was arranged at the last minute and probably some people who would have enjoyed it didn't hear about it.
I'd like to thank the people who playtested Glossotechnia at LCC2, especially those who gave me feedback on improving the game play: David Salo, Jeff Burke, Lila Sadkin, and Alex Fink. I haven't had time to write up the results of those games or the couple of games I played with younger cousins at the family reunion this past weekend -- I've been busy with the inverse translation relay -- but sometime soon I hope to put up a Glossotechnia web page with a list of cards in the deck, rules, and so forth.
ZBB: The Inevitable Post-LCC2 Thread
vohpenonomae (Jeff Burke)
I'm waiting at Denver for my plane to board. In short, LCC2 was a blast--lots of good talks, an interesting exercise in vocabulary, and I met up with quite a few ZBBers (Kode, JohnQPublic, Saizai, Spack, Alioth, Milami, Con_Quesa, and probably some others I'm forgetting; sorry). On the plane from SF I ran into Lila Sadkin, another conference speaker; we sat together and had some good discussions; she says she'll be joining the ZBB shortly.