Logpalaver was a constructed language developed by the scholar Hieronymus Findorff in the 1740's. Logpalaver wasn't primarily meant for everyday use by the common man, but Findorff envisioned its application in the fields of business, law, and diplomacy and politics. His basic premise was that much of communication was ambiguous and prone to misunderstandings, when done with conventional languages. He wanted to overcome this deficiencies by creating an extremely logical method of palaver -- hence the name.

Logorder Edit

Logorder was a variant of Logpalaver which Findorff developed for military use. His rational was that in a war or combat situation, commands issued and reports received had to be unambiguous, precise, and terse. To achieve the latter, Findorff introduced a specialised vocabulary of military terms which were deliberately short.

He also omitted some grammatical features from Logorder, like the conditional perfect (for example, "I would have attacked, if the weather had been better"), because he couldn't "... see any use in speculating (in a combat situation) what could or would have happened, had the circumstances been otherwise."

Papers Edit

While it is unclear from the notes of Findorff which are today available to us, over what timespan he developed the concept of Logpalaver, it is certain that in 1748 he published three papers regarding the matter.

The first paper was titled A few considerations regarding the need for clear and precise written and spoken communication beyond the features currently available with common languages, and in it he explained the need for a language like Logpalaver and explained the benefits which would be gained from its widespread use. While he didn't use the term "Logpalaver" in this paper and speaks only of a hypothetical language to use, all the examples Findorff used can be matched 1:1 to Logpalaver concepts (like the a-ka clauses).

The second paper was called A proposal for a universal language with countless applications in the fields of trade, jurisdiction, diplomacy, etc. between all the nations and peoples on Mlejnas to improve communication, eradicate misunderstandings, and provide a peaceful environment for the well-being of mankind. (Perhaps it was the slightly bombastic title which contributed to the lack of widespread acceptance of Logpalaver.) In this paper Findorff described the language in detail with all its grammatical concepts and a short, but useable wordlist of about 500 different words.

The third paper finally was called jan li kama tan nasin pi kama suno li kama tawa ma Sinale li awen lon ni, and was, except for a short introduction, written completely in Logpalaver and was supposed to serve as a full-fledged example for the usefulness of Logpalaver. Namely, jan li kama ... was the translation of a particular contract from Findorff's father's business correspondence.

Concept Edit

Findorff's concept of Logpalaver was founded on the principles of clarity and unambiguity.

Many natural languages allow a lot of leeway in interpreting the meaning of their statements. For example, in the sentence "John gave Henry his money", it's unclear whether the money is John's or Henry's. Even worse examples can be found in German, where the pronoun "sie" can mean either the female 3rd person ("she"), or the 3rd person plural ("they"). To make matters more confusing, "ihr" can mean both "her" and "your" (in the plural sense.)

Findorff used a fairly strict grammar system which aimed to eliminate most of the ambiguities present in the natural languages.

He also tried to reduce the possibility of misunderstandings, for example by eliminating several letters from the alphabet ("b" or "d", eg), because they sounded too much like other letters ("p" or "t" in this case). This culminated in a kind of "checksum", which Findorff called the "rune word", which was supposed to be added to every sentence. In total, there was a set of 12 "rune words", of which one was chosen depending on a fairly complicated formula with the tense, the subject's position in the sentence, and other grammatical factors determining the choice. A rune word not matching the sentence to which it was attached would indicate an error in transmission. (Or, more likely, an error in calculating the rune word.) Findorff never explained, how one should deal with rune words in spoken conversation. It is questionable whether the use of the "magic ciphers" would have actually reduced or increased the confusion of Logpalaver talkers.

At the same time, one of the drawbacks of Logpalaver was the limited vocabulary Findorff provided with it. With only about 500 words available, Logpalaver speakers were forced to constantly use large amounts of compound words. While Findorff gave comparatively easy and clear rules for their composition, this filled Logpalaver documents with very unwieldy constructs which weren't always easy (or as unambiguously, as Findorff had wished) to understand:

For example, in Logpalaver "conclusion of a contract" was rendered as lon-ma-wan-li-kepeken-e-toki-sama, literally meaning "document-law-agreement-two-or-many-made-final".

In his first paper, Findorff suggested that the universal language might use its own script. This should also help to avoid misunderstandings, namely by making all the letters clearly different from each other (avoiding similarities like "I" and "l"), and by making letter with different sounds also look different. At one point, Findorff stated: "There is nothing to warrant the fact that 'Q' looks almost like 'O', but sounds nothing like it."

Success Edit

Logpalaver turned out to be far from a big success. Authorities were loath to use the new universal language, because they feared that the importance of their own languages might be diminished. Without backing from governments and administrations, private entrepreneurs also had little motivation to employ Logpalaver for their own uses.

Findorff may in part have been responsible for the ultimate failure of Logpalaver since he pushed very hard -- probably too hard -- with the dukes of Cardu Mar and Vin-Dan to make them accept Logpalaver as a language for the use in official documents.

In 1751, Findorff also had a falling out with his lifelong friend Jardamar, the earl of Hornungsgard. Jardamar had founded a school for law and jurisdiction of the highest reputation in Hornungsgard, and Findorff had hinted in not-too subtle terms that Jardamar was opposed to the use of something so elegant as Logpalaver since it would avoid many legal complications and might ultimately put Jardamar's scholars out of business. Understandably, this helped little in gaining the earl's support to adopt Logpalaver officially.

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