Teaching Constructed Languages to Children

Clark   Monday, September 08, 2003, 01:02 GMT
I am a Conlanger; that is to say that I love creating different language from existing languages, or just from scratch with no (or very little) help from other languages.

There have been Esperantoists who have taught the language to their children, and they speak Esperanto as a first, a native, language.

This brings me to my main point: if I invent a fully functional language, that canexpress a full range of thoughts, expressions, ideas, etc, just like any other natural language, and taught it to my children, would this be legal? Could someone charge me with some sort of child endangerment?

I wonder because if only two parents and one or to children speak the language, nd the parents have not had the opportunity to teach their children a natural language because they live somewhere desolate (like Montana in America, or in the Australian outback, or in the deserts of Mongolia), would anyoone think that this would be unfair to the children when they grow up?
Ryan   Monday, September 08, 2003, 02:36 GMT
I've heard before that there are families teaching their children to speak Klingon, the Star Trek conlang. I think it's perfectly acceptable for parents to teach their children to speak any language they wish, and that it is up to the school system to teach children in the language of instruction, English in this country.

Clark   Monday, September 08, 2003, 03:41 GMT
What if the children do not know any English at all (if they were in America)? The teachers would have no way of knowing what was going on in the child's mind.

On the other side (I am playing the devil's advocate here), children are very good at learning foreign language.

Also, I think the only problem that would arise in this situation is if the parents who taught their children a "home-grown" constucted language, did not put them through a regular school curiculum.

Or, what if the children were home-schooled, and the parents translate all the material into the Conlang? Would this be child endangerment? If one answers "yes" to this question, would it still be child endangerment if there were a whole colony of speakers of this particular Conlang? Possibly upwards of 100 people (50 couples).
Jim   Tuesday, September 09, 2003, 01:56 GMT
I don't know about the legality of it (neither in California nor anywhere else in the world), I think it should be legal, my guess is that it would be. However ...

Would you want to do that to your kids? I'd bet they'd grow up wishing that you'd taught them something more useful. Not that I'm trying to make fun of your idea but I wouldn't like it if my parents had done that to me.
Ryan   Tuesday, September 09, 2003, 03:39 GMT
Right. Languages are only useful because of their ability to communicate to other people. If you teach them a language that other people don't even speak, then you taught them something useless. If you taught them Esperanto, at least they could communicate with other Esperanto speakers, so I find nothing wrong with that. If you teach your children "Clarkish," then you haven't endangered them but rather just filled their head with useless information. It's not like they won't be able to learn English or whatever language because they learned "Clarkish," so it's not like you endangered them, however.

Clark   Tuesday, September 09, 2003, 04:43 GMT
Well I hope you two do not think that I would do this!!! I am still very interested in the legality of this subject. I would like to know what a lawyer or judge would have to say about a situation like this.

If I were to tach my children a Conlang, I would also teach them my native language because I do not think that it is morally right to deny people of an education as simple as learning from society. I feel that if this were to happen, the people who taugh their children this language would be guilty of keeping their children from being able to experience any culture outside of their parent-enduced one.

I have the same sort of feeling about home schooling. I think that the only way one should ever have to be home schooled is if the parents involve their children in groups and are able to interact with peers of their own from the very beginning.

I feel very strongly about this as I have seen many people who have been home schooled their whole lives and their social skills are next to nothing. There is a 16/17 year old piper in my pipeband who was home schooled, and when I went to introduce myself to her after doing so with her father, she literally hid behind her father. Her brother, who is not in the band, is even weirder.

Anyways, if I had to answer my own question as to the morality of teaching a "home-grown" Conlang to one's children, I would say no; it is not morally right. Unless the language is learned along with the native language of the parents (and this is considering that the native language of the parents is spoken by a community of people who speak the same language, whether it be naturla or constructed).
Wingyellow   Wednesday, September 10, 2003, 00:12 GMT
I will teach my son C++, Java, etc.
Tremmert   Thursday, September 11, 2003, 10:14 GMT
Heh heh - 'Good morning son. void main().'
'yes parent class. return 0'
'health == good ? you_are_fine() : go_to_doctor'

Actually the main problem I have the idea of teaching children a language like Klingon instead of English (not as well as) is that I think any constructed language may lack some of the elements in real languages which develope children's thinking - of course this may not be true.
Simon   Thursday, September 11, 2003, 11:27 GMT
"Hi my name is John and my parents brought me up to speak fluent Klingon." Why not teach them real languages? There are plenty out there.
Clark   Thursday, September 11, 2003, 16:33 GMT
There are some people who really feel strongly about Conlangs. Good on them, but I think that if one was to teach their children a Conlang that the parent(s) had invented, they should make sure that the language is as expressive a their own, and that there is just as much vocabulary as their own.

And this can be done, as is seen with many Conlangs from round the world.
Ryan   Thursday, September 11, 2003, 22:35 GMT
Simon, people just identify with "Klingon culture," I guess.

.   Saturday, September 13, 2003, 15:33 GMT
Just one problem - there are no Klingons so it doesn't exist...
Ryan   Sunday, September 14, 2003, 01:41 GMT
How do you know? They might exist. Ha ha ha! There are a lot of planets out there.