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11. What about other "artificial" languages like Loglan, Ido, etc.?

People create languages for a variety of purposes. J.R.R. Tolkien's languages of Sindarin and Quenya, for example, were created partly as a recreation, and partly to fulfil a literary purpose. Many languages have been created as international languages; only Esperanto has continued to grow and prosper after the death of its originator.

Many of the people who have attempted to promulgate international languages more "perfect" (i.e., more "international", more "logical", or whatever) than Esperanto have failed to understand that -- given a certain minimum standard of internationality, aesthetic quality, and ease of learning -- further tinkering not only fails to substantially improve the product, but interferes with the establishment of a large community of speakers. A language like, say, Interlingua might be (by some individual's criteria) "better" than Esperanto, but in order for it to be worth uprooting the established world of Esperanto and creating an equivalently widespread world community of Interlingua speakers, it would have to be visibly and profoundly an improvement over Esperanto of prodigious proportions. No international language project has yet produced such an obviously ideal language.

In the net community, one of the best known planned language projects is James Cooke Brown's Loglan (and its revised offshoot Lojban). While some enthusiasts do see Loglan and Lojban as competitors to Esperanto, the languages were conceived not as a tool to facilitate better communication, but as a linguistic experiment, to test the Whorf hypothesis that a language shapes (or limits) the thoughts of its speakers. They are thus deliberately designed to bear little resemblance to existing human languages. While Loglan and Lojban are unlikely (and, by design, perhaps unsuited) to succeed as international languages, both are interesting projects in their own right.

The address to write for Loglan information is:

The Loglan Institute
3009 Peters Way
San Diego CA 92117
USA

tel. (619) 270-1691
E-mail: loglan@compuserve.com

For Lojban, contact:

Bob LeChevalier, President
The Logical Language Group, Inc.
2904 Beau Lane
Fairfax VA 22031-1303
USA

tel. (703) 385-0273 (day/evenings)
E-mail: lojbab@access.digex.net
WWW page: http://xiron.pc.helsinki.fi/lojban/
WWW page: http://www.lojban.org/

Those interested in Mark Okrand's "Klingon" language can join a mailing list; to subscribe, send a message to:

listserv@kli.org

consisting of the body line:

subscribe tlhingan-hol Your_Real_Name

There is a general "constructed language" (Conlang) mailing list; to subscribe, send a message to:

listserv@brownvm.brown.edu

consisting of the body line (not subject):

subscribe conlang

There is also an "auxiliary language" (Auxlang) mailing list. The difference between this list and Conlang is that Auxlang deals more particularly with languages designed to enhance international communication, such as Esperanto. To subscribe, send a message to:

listserv@brownvm.brown.edu

consisting of the body line (not subject):

subscribe auxlang

Finally, fans of Tolkien's language creations can join a Tolkien-language mailing list. To subscribe, send a message to:

tolklang-server@dcs.ed.ac.uk

with the following subject line or body line (either will do):

subscribe tolklang Your_Real_Name

As for our own Esperanto newsgroup, many readers are interested in other planned languages, and discussion of these can often be informative and interesting. But politeness dictates that "Esperanto-bashing" in an Esperanto forum is inappropriate and should be avoided.


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