OK, so at the time of writing this I’ve not yet quite made it home, but I’m still sitting on the train, now in the 9th hour of my travel … I am pretty much exhausted and desperately want to be home in my own bed. I’ve almost made it, though, I’ve just left Frankfurt, and now it’s only about an hour to go. The train ride has so far been rather uneventful and smooth – not quite as smooth as on my way to Groningen, but still rather good: If my connecting train in Frankfurt hadn’t been itself 10 minutes late, I would’ve missed it because my train from Cologne to Frankfurt was about 10 minutes late as well.
So how was LCC4 in my impression? First off, I already said it, it’s seemed like an incredibly geeky thing to do. Says Henrik Theiling: “It’s pretty nice having a drink with people who like fricatives!” — Me: “I’ve had a beer with someone who knows about fricatives before.” — He: “Well, but how often do you do that with twenty people?” Indeed. On the first evening, we had a welcome dinner in Groningen’s inner city in a restaurant called De Gulzige Kater, which was very tasty and very saturating. Saturday evening for me also featured hunting for not-too-fast food with Jan and Tam and after having pizza and beer, meeting up with the group (ca.
30 20 25 people) re-assembled again in a very quaintly decorated pub near Martini Tower whose name I’ve forgotten. Conversations about language interests and observations, as well as private life and experiences have been had aplenty, and it was nice to get to know each other a little more personally that way. Anyway, it’s nice to see people you otherwise only communicate with over the internet. Mostly. Nobody was downright scary, and although I hadn’t assumed so, I still had mixed feelings when I stood in front of the restaurant. I, for one, don’t meet a group of 30 20 25 half-strangers for dinner so often, after all.
On Saturday morning, we heard a couple of talks, had a cold buffet for lunch, and in the afternoon heard some more talks and also had a little panel discussion on which trends or tendencies the four of us discussers as well as the audience have noticed over the last couple of years in the conlanging fora of our choice. We came to the conclusion (I think?) that there is much more turnover of people on the ZBB than on Conlang-L, that elitist phases somehow happen on both forums, and that biting the newbies is maybe also due to simply getting frustrated about explaining the same things to new people all over again and again. Sunday morning of course had some more talks. Because I had to catch the train and with that starting my ten-hour train odyssey through Western Europe to go back home at around 1:30 PM, I didn’t have time to also attend the afternoon session (with yet more talks) and the revelation of the LCC4 relay, so I left the conference center at around 1:10 PM, and received a very kind goodbye at that.
I must admit I did not pay close attention to all of the talks, but certainly David prove again that he is a good speaker and also that there’s gone more thought into Dothraki than it seems from the materials online. Lykara did a nice job (and also one semi-relevant to my literature studies) as well, namely on some of the earliest takes on artificial languages in literature – in literary satires of the 18th century. I am also still kind of fascinated with the ZBB’s collaborative conworld, Akana, presented by Jan Strasser and Tam Blaxter, who also did a nice job fitting a complex subject into a half-hour long presentation, in spite of assembling the whole of the talk from bits each one prepared individually only on Saturday evening, as far as I understood. Njenfalgar showed fun ways to make up throwaway languages to borrow names and the one or the other word from (something Ayeri very much lacks, alas!). Christophe also did a brilliant talk on suffixaufnahme/surdéclinaison which (a) showed how awesomely weird Basque is, and (b) left me wondering whether or not Ayeri’s relative pronouns are a case of surdéclinaison if you look at them closely, or whether it’s just multiple bracketing inflection on the rightmost element. Oh well, you can find the slides of most talks online anyway.
So, was it worth skipping class on Friday morning and spending a good part of my monthly budget (as a student) for travel and accomodation in one weekend? I would say yes, probably. And now I’m scared of having to catch up on my homework reading duties for the coming week. That will have to wait until tomorrow, though, fortunately.
Last but not least, here are a few photos I took on Saturday:
PS: If you want to read something nice in German: I read Ruhm. Ein Roman in neun Geschichten by Daniel Kehlmann on the way to Groningen. It’s 200 pages and I read it in about 5 hours. The book is a bundle of witty short stories (Sonya and Philip: I guess you could call that an album as well?) about 9 characters that are strongly interwoven, and I found it a pleasure to read.
- Transferred photos from my Google account to my own server because of Google+.