May 11th, 2006

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Constructed languages; conlang conference link...

At you'll find a set of abstracts for the talks that were presented at the April 2006 conlanging conference I mentioned recently. The titles are:

"Conlanging and the Linear Aspects of Syntax"
"Language as Growth-in-Time"
"The Medium and the Internet Conlanger: Vision, Venue, and Play"
"Semantic Primes: aUI to Esperanto with Stops Along the Way"
"Non-Linear Fully 2-Dimensional Writing Systems"
"Case, Aspect, and Argument Structure: One Conlanger's Investigations"
"Down with Morphemes: What Word and Paradigm Morphology Can Teach Us About Language Creation"
"Applying Concepts from Cognitive Linguistics to Your Conlang"

Plus brief descriptions for two panels: "Conlang Teaching" and "Conlang Aesthetics"
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Linguistics; stylistics; sf poetry being made, 2nd round...

Back in the fall of 2005 I did a post that started with this sentence: "I thought it might be interesting to watch a science fiction poem in the process of being made; it's worth trying, despite the maxim about sausage." And then, with your help, a long poem called "Unintended Consequences, Heaven Knows" -- about obligatory school prayer that led to Extreme Prayer Tournaments and got out of hand -- got written, over the course of several months. [Links, if you weren't here for that and want to review it, are at the end of this post.]

That sf-poetry-being-made-by-a-group process worked so well -- and was so interesting, and taught me so much -- that I'd like to try it again, with a briefer (still untitled) poem this time.

Here's my sixth draft....

Untitled water poem

That was the week when the cheapest choice on the water list at Chez Bling
was twenty-four dollars and forty cents a bottle.
That was the week when NorthDeltamerican Airlines doubled the price
of water served on transatlantic flights.
That was the week when the statistics for Earthwide deaths by thirst
were made exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

And that was the week when we celebrated,
my parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary.

We sat round the table that night,
my parents and we three daughters.
There was filet of sole.
There were tiny whole lettuces.
There were potatoes, roasted in olive oil.
There was sharp cheese and dark chocolate.
There was a beautiful dark bread.
And there was fine water --
a separate glass for each one of us.
My father can afford
a separate glass for each one of us.

That was the week when Delano Harg won the Nobel Prize
for his work in secriculture,
for the fruits and vegetables that grow with almost no water at all.
That was the week when crude water hit
four hundred dollars a barrel
on the international market.

My mother gave my father a journal with a heavy leather cover,
smooth and thick as butter,
and a handsome fountain pen.
My father gave my mother a gold necklace
strung with a dozen tiny crystal vials.
Inside the vials, the water gleamed pure and and precious.
Enough to drive a thirsty child mad.

My sisters said nothing at all. But I’m not like that.
I stood up and I looked straight at my father and I said,
"And does the card read, 'Let them drink champagne'?"

Over to you.

Links to the posts and coments for "Unintended Consequences, Heaven Knows"

The first post is at ; the fifth one is at ; the seventh one, where you helped me figure out a way to handle a grotesque image without giving up a word I really wanted to keep, is at ; the most final draft is at . A link to an index for all the entries is at .