Suzette Haden Elgin
rohina at shaw.ca
Sun Feb 9 14:18:35 EST 2003
>Native Tongue is great.
See, this is why we love the list. Everyone is generally so right-thinking.
Of course it is great.
>I actually have a copy of Elgin's grammar of
>Laadan (? is that the language's name? Er, it's been a while), even though
>I know I'll never bloody get around to learning it.
I made a concerted effort with my friend to learn the language, but we were
frustrated by a couple of things. 1) the book is full of typos, which plays
merry hell with the inflected endings of the words, and it took me ages to
figure out why I was so often "wrong" about verb forms. 2) the vocab list
in the book has a number of depressing omissions (eg, no word for "play"),
and we were constantly frustrated by not being able to say things we wanted
to say. This is particularly annoying, since that's the stated purpose of
the language. We ended up coining a lot of terms, many of which we use in
talking to one another. 3) I know Elgin claimed the opposite, but the word
order of the language is really counter-intuitive for native speakers of
most Indo-European languages, so that made it really hard to learn. 4) We
had problems with pronunciation (a minor issue I suppose), because,
annoyingly for a supposed linguist, Elgin had clearly written the
pronunciation guide as if everyone has a North American accent. Problem 4)
is symptomatic of 5) the book, despite her claims of inclusiveness, is,
like so much else, Northern Hemisphere centric. So she does things like
name the months after what happens in each, and makes no allowance for the
fact that in no way can January be described as "snow month" in Australia.
>I read the sequel, The
>Judas Rose, & thought it was good but not as good, & didn't bother to read
>the third one because I've heard so many times how awful it is. Have you
Yes, and I had the appalling experience of receiving an email from Elgin
about the book when I posted my opinion on the (now defunct, I think) Women
SF&F list. Basically, she abandons Laadan in the book. Given that the
language is what so many of us liked about the first two, this is a major
problem. She told me in the email that she did this because of her
disappointment that no-one had picked up her language and used it. I
responded by explaining our difficulties, but apparently that just wasn't
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