P Arellond Nov 08, 2016 (10:05)

Thanks for your very interesting thoughts. Paul, Andre and others who have mentioned exactly what tends to stop the community from developing a spoken form of Elvish.

Tolkien himself was uninterested in that project as he mentioned in his speech to an Esperanto convention. His created languages were ‘art languages’ and the brilliance of his artistry is seen in ever-changing forms and tweaking.

As Paul said this artistry can act as a self imposed constraint on us as we try to write or communicate. Thus I think it is important that we see any sort of community attempt to create a spoken form of Elvish as consciously built on a different goal than Professor Tolkien had. We could never add to his artistry. Instead we would be consciously experimenting with it in a different manner than he conceived.

If we make ‘understandable communication” the goal that woud mean to to reduce the fascinating complexity and downsize to a beginner’s level of communication. Then we could have the confidence in using vocabulary that others will know what we are saying. Whether this can be beautiful Quenya remains to be seen. But the beauty of the sound of the language should continue to act as a control on the understandability.

(Copyright should not be an issue unless people want to sell something.Community Quenya would be more of an agreed upon framework for communication rather than a new invented language)
Perhaps we should start with only a beginning level, like the first textbook of any language introduction.

1. Agreeing on one form of the imperative. (A tule?)
2. Agreeing on one negation word. (La?)
3. Agreeing on one negation prefix (u?)
4. Agreeing on one basic first choice for a voculary word (such as tie for ‘way to use a recent example’)
5. Perhaps also having a default beginning level sentence structure which would be valuable especially in speaking because we would know when to expect the verb or the adverb. (I never had time for Sindarin but my impression was that the adverb comes after the verb as in Spanish?

For Community Quenya we could present something like that as a preference so that we can all more quickly understand a sentence when someone else chats or speaks.

6. Agreeing also on a basic sentence structure for specific questions like: Where are you from? What kind of work do you do? etc. (death for language learning comes from introducing too many ways to say things too early.)

These are just scattered ideas. The fun is in discussing. The goal is only a communication medium so we can more quickly and easily chat to each other and eventually even speak to each other.

Again, this is only a hobby and the goal is only to have fun. As Thomas said in his response. It is probably good to just start and let it develop slowly...

Tamas Ferencz Nov 08, 2016 (11:13)

I agree with most of what you said, Hjalmar. But I would caution against too much oversimplification, lest we lose variety which makes a language living and interesting. In other words, we need synonyms and alternative ways of saying things. The vocabulary is limited as it is anyway, and we will need all sorts of trickery to express what we want to express, most of the time.
Instead of calling it simplification, let's call it consistency. And I don't know if we necessarily need to agree on grammar upfront; I believe if we start using the language in (written) conversation, and the number of users increases (as we hope it would), the language will drift by itself towards a norm, as everyone will try to make themselves understood, and people will pick up usage and expressions from each other, thus enriching their own lexicon.

I agree that if the language and its users reach a critical mass, loanwords would be a way forward (I would prefer that approach very much to the creation of brand new roots). Loanwords do exist in Tolkien's languages, and they are a reality that happen every time two peoples speaking different languages come into contact; it's a natural way of development.

Tamas Ferencz Nov 08, 2016 (11:15)

So, you know, there's the Quenya Chat category, or the Sindarin Chat category - let's start using them. Start a conversation, come and join in, don't be shy, even the most trivial subjects will pose interesting challenges and create exciting discussions.

Andre Polykanine Nov 08, 2016 (20:40)

Oh yes, +P Arellond, I've completely forgotten to say one more thing: we do have at least two success stories about languages that initially had a rather limited vocabulary and now are full-featured official languages of two fabulous countries. I'm talking about modern Icelandic and modern Israeli Hebrew, of course.