February 12, 2009

Call to Conlang

by Noah Wardrip-Fruin · , 9:24 pm

This March 21-22, at Brown University, there will be the 3rd (almost-annual) conference on constructed languages (CONLANGs). The organizers are accepting proposals and suggestions for sessions — in addition to all that’s already in store. More below!


Glossopoesis and Glottotechnia:
The Art and Science of Language
The Third Language Construction Conference

The Language Construction Society and the Brown Department of Literary Arts is pleased to announce the 3rd (almost-annual) conference on constructed languages (CONLANGs). The conference is open to contributions and discussions about all forms, techniques, and especially motivations for creating languages, whether as works of art, subsidiary components to literary efforts, solutions to communication problems, research tools, or teaching tools. We particularly look forward to the interaction of language creators and interested writers of fiction and poetry.

The conference will be held on the Brown University Campus in Providence Rhode Island March 21-22, 2009. Traditional conference sessions and literary readings are limiting for the kinds of broad interaction that we would like to foster so we are planning on several types or participation, so that everyone will be able to contribute:

We have been lucky to be able to schedule the conference in the Brown/RISD Hillel House, and as we overlap with the Brown vacation, we have access to the building as a whole, meaning that we have room for posters, presentation sessions, impromptu meetings, and formal readings. We will even be able to enjoy the garden, weather permitting!

We will make every effort to document the proceedings as fully as possible in images, sound and video, and to make these available on physical media and the internet.

Providence is a frequently overlooked gem. The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is an art school with a great small museum; Brown has some great library collections, and a beautiful campus; Benefit street, a few blocks from the conference location, has one of the highest concentrations of restored colonial homes in the country; Johnson and Wales University downtown has a fantastic cooking and hotel school, so that good food and restaurants are abundant, and the presence of university students also means that there’s good food cheap for those on a budget.

We are accepting proposals and suggestions for sessions (tell us what you want, even if you can’t do it all yourself, as we may be able to make it happen) immediately. We will be updating the site and sending further announcements with more practical details and program news.

Register now!

This is a great opportunity to meet interesting people, learn and share knowledge, and have fun with a group of people in a small city with the amenities of a much larger one, due to its fascinating history, friendliness to artists, world-class educational institutions, and enthusiastic citizens.

2 Responses to “Call to Conlang”

  1. Brian Barker Says:

    As the “International Year of Languages” comes to an end on 21st February, you may be interested in the contribution, made by the World Esperanto Association, to UNESCO’s campaign for the protection of endangered languages.

    The following declaration was made in favour of Esperanto, by UNESCO at its Paris HQ in December 2008. http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/ev.php-URL_ID=38420&URL_DO=DO_PRINTPAGE&URL_SECTION=201.html

    The commitment to the campaign to save endangered languages was made, by the World Esperanto Association at the United Nations’ Geneva HQ in September.
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=eR7vD9kChBA&feature=related or http://www.lernu.net

  2. Noah Says:

    Sai Emrys, LCC3 co-organizer, sends word of three elit-oriented presentations planned for the conference:

    John Cayley
    Reading Unreadable Chinese: A Brief Introduction to Xu Bing’s Book from the Sky

    Between 1987 and 1991, the Chinese graphic and fine artist, Xu Bing
    (born, Chongqing, 1955, and a MacArthur laureate), designed a
    ‘vocabulary’ of four thousand characters which appear, in terms of
    their graphic form and structure, to be Chinese, but which are
    entirely unreadable in terms of natural linguistic signification. None
    of them appear in Chinese dictionaries, and they do not relate to any
    living or dead, spoken or unspoken language on earth. During the same
    period, Xu personally carved (in reverse) the pear-wood type from
    which he eventually had his Tianshu (or Book from the Sky) set and
    hand-printed in a small book-making factory in China. As a conceptual
    art work and printmaking tour de force, Xu Bing’s Tianshu has been
    seen by some critics and scholars as one of the most important works
    of late 20th-century Chinese art. This talk will briefly introduce Xu
    Bing’s work based on my recent extended essay and description of his
    book. In particular, I will address questions of the relationship of
    Xu Bing’s non-language to linguistic practice and language art.

    Diana Reed Slattery

    Wikiuniversity offers a wry definition of Xenolinguistics: “the
    scientific study of languages of non-human intelligences. Publications
    in this field tend to be speculative as few people have made the claim
    to have understood an alien language, at least not reliably.” The
    encounter with aliens and their languages is also an aspect, though by
    no means a universal one, of the psychedelic experience. Terence
    McKenna’s experiences of a hyper-intelligent, multidimensional form of
    visual language in the DMT experience; of the teaching voice of the
    Logos in high-dose psilocybin trips; and of glossalalia-like
    utterances experienced as the underpinnings of language develop these

    It is within this barbarian discourse that I frame my own tale of how
    I became a xenolinguist, through the construction and investigation of
    the Glide model of a dynamic visual language, and speculate on the
    feedback system of the co-evolution of language and consciousness.
    Glide, according to its myth of origin in the story-world, is a
    psychedelic language. Psychedelics provided the means to emerge from
    the cocoon of natural language into what could be understood as both a
    pre-linguistic state of direct apperception of the world around and
    inside us, and as a post-linguistic (post-natural language) realm of
    evolutionary forms of language. States of extended perception were
    used in the conception, design, and implementation of LiveGlide, and
    in learning how to read the writing produced.

    Mary-Anne Breeze (mez)

    Twitterwurking is the product of an online residency completed at New
    Media Scotland by the code poet Mez Breeze. The residency consisted of
    poetry production in the form of “tweets” using the social networking
    software Twitter. Each tweet involved the use of the invented
    code-poetic hybrid language mezangelle. To mezangelle means to take
    words/wordstrings/sentences and alter them in such a way as to extend
    and enhance meaning beyond the predicted or the expected. It’s similar
    to making plain text hypertextual via the arrangement and dissection
    of words. Mezangelling attempts to expand traditional text parameters
    through layered/alternative/code based meanings embedded into
    meta-phonetic renderings of language.

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