Conlang Derivatives: My humble opinions

Derivative languages have arrived to toki pona! We have an English Creole and a phonetic ‘relex’

Which of course got me thinking about derivatives & conlangs, again.

What might derivative mean?

  • you write a Calculus textbook in Huttese (derivative to the words and syntax of the created language)
  • you write or translate a Star Wars story in Huttese (derivative to the story)
  • you write a dictionary and grammar in Huttese (derivative to the defining works)
  • you write a better Huttese, say with more pronouns (derivative to the language’s structure)
  • you relex Huttese (and turn it back into English, ha!)
  • you finish Huttese (by adding all the missing grammar, vocabulary, etc)

Depending on the language, there are documents where language creators express displeasure at any or all of these.

Translations and FanFic. Translating a copyrighted work, or using the characters and plot line of copyrighted work, can and should be something the author can prevent with copyright, or orderly allow with a creative commons license.

Grammar Guides and Dictionaries. Competing grammars and dictionaries are a good thing. Creating a good language requires the participation of many people.  To the extent that they break new ground, they will fail unless the community sees them as standard makers.  To the extend they codify, elucidate, exemplify the existing language, I think they are a very good thing.  Telling the difference should be up to the community.

Unfinished Conlangs. Finishing a language is similar to creating a competing grammar guide or dictionary.  I think, a good idea should not go to waste.  In order to complete a language, one must convince the community that your version is the heir to officiality– the new standard.

Competing Dialects. Derivative languages will fail unless the promotion of the original language is horrible botched, or maybe if it is abandoned.  Be it evil or holy, this activity is moot.

Original Novels, Poems, Newspapers, Magazines, Songs, Podcasts in a Conlang. The mere existence of these shows that the language was successful beyond all imagination.  Personally, I think language creators should do everything they can to encourage this, including allowing people to make money off their works.

[I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice. If you feel the urge to think for yourself about law, medicine or hair cutting, please report immediately to the Ministry of Thought for remediation]

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