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WikiProject Constructed languages (Rated Start-class, High-importance)
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In her LiveJournal blog, Elgin writes:

About "Based on the extremely cursory evidence presented, I'd actually argue that it has two tones: high and low" .... I understand, and I understand why you say so. (I've had several off-LJ e-mails making the same proposal.)

In the formalisms I work with, calling absence of tone "low tone" is an unnecessary complication; just "absence of tone" is enough. The phoneme that carries no high tone represents the neutral, baseline pitch for the language; calling it a tone seems to me to be superfluous. I may of course be wrong, but that's my perception of the situation.

For many linguists, as she acknowledges there, it makes more sense to speak of two tones. I've expanded the tone section to mention this difference in formalisms.

The section proposead an analysis in four tones and long vs. short vowels. But since the "long vowels" always have changing tone, never level tone -- that would be two high or two low/unmarked-tone vowels in a row -- those "long vowels" are never distinguished by length alone. Therefore length is not phonemic. Thnidu (talk) 17:03, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

I never understood why people have been analyzing it as 4 tones anyway. Her tone system is basically the same as Navajo, and I think she is pretty up-front about that, although it's peculiar to hear her saying that it has "only one tone"; I assume she knows what she's talking about, but a system like Navajo/Laadan is what Ive always heard described as having two tones, not one (or four). Soap Talk/Contributions 18:44, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Audio file(s), please[edit]

Could we please get an audio file or two added to this article? At the minimum, I'd like to hear the name of the language. A sample text or two would also be good. Thanks. -- (talk) 15:35, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

So if it is supposed to test the hypothesis...[edit]

... what is the conclusion? Ignoring the pseudoscientificness of the hypothesis for a moment, what exactly are the findings? Surely she's come up with some result other than creating a pretty language that lends itself to Sci-Fi. (talk) 15:49, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

I've seen her describe the Láadan experiment as "a failure" but I'm not really clear on what she means by that — whether it didn't turn up the results she was expecting (women really do think differently and all Earth languages are biased in favor male thinking) or whether it was impossible to draw any conclusions at all. Soap 16:18, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
It may simply mean that the experiment is mostly being ignored by linguists and other people with clout, and is mostly getting attention from feminists with linguistic interests, planned-language scholars, and science fiction readers. (By the way, don't call it "sci-fi" unless you are trying to be deliberately insulting.) --Orange Mike | Talk 20:55, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
I think 'a failure' in that it wasn't used and thus (presumably) the need it was intended to fill never actually existed (gender bias of this sort doesn't exist or is at least irrelevant to most women's concerns). (talk) 15:41, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
Or more simply, that whatever value-added is there (and I find it fascinating conceptually) was unable to overcome the inertia of people (especially English-speakers, since most of the information you will find about it is in English) unable or unwilling to learn another language. That does not mean "the need it was intended to fill never actually existed (gender bias of this sort doesn't exist or is at least irrelevant to most women's concerns)"!!!! --Orange Mike | Talk 16:48, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
I think she probably misspoke. An experiment that fails to support your hypothesis is not a failure. An experiment that was conducted incorrectly is a failure. That the language has not caught on after 10 years indicates by the standards she says she laid out that the hypothesis was probably incorrect. Of course nothing like this can really be an entirely scientific experiment.500Afs (talk) 08:17, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Her references to it as a failure were very direct and bitter in a panel at WisCon in 2006 which I transcribed and put on the FeministSF wiki some years back. She was comparing it, I think a bit unfairly, to Klingon, in that Klingon, a language of a warlike culture, has thousands of speakers while Láadan, meant to encourage nonviolence, has very few. Her conclusion was that women did not need the language or were not ready for the revolution it potentially could express or encourage. She said that her message, in her fiction, of goodness and harmony did not have mass popular appeal for television, and so the language did not catch on. --Lizzard (talk) 21:34, 1 December 2013 (UTC)


As a follow-up, was it really designed to test the hypothesis at all? Everything I am reading suggests it was designed to be better at expressing the thoughts of women, not that it was designed to shape the thoughts of anyone. Say what you want about the essentialism of this premise, but it is not Saphir-Worf. The page is currently very poorly referenced; is there a source for her language being based on Saphir-Worf? Ligata (talk) 09:48, 9 April 2017 (UTC)


A WikiProject rates this article as being of high importance. I think that should help indicate that the article is notable. The subject is obscure because it is in a rather obscure field, but it does seem to be a first in that field as well as having a rather unique purpose as a constructed language.500Afs (talk) 08:17, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Long time listener, first time caller here: I landed on this page because I actually had heard about Laadan through (I think) an NPR radio piece in the last year; in any case, I was glad to find the entry here. Apparently there is a word in the language for the state of being "upset but nothing can be done about it." Was hoping to find confirmation. Anyway, this all is meant to constitute a piece of evidence in favor of notability. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:20, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Isn't saying "A WikiProject rates this article as of high importance and therefore it is of high importance" like saying "I am important because I say I am important?" Because that's what it sounds like to me. I'm not saying it isn't notable, but the reasoning behind that to me seems flawed logically. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:22, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

While the subject is certainly notable, I concur that we've got a prime morsel of circular reasoning there. --Orange Mike | Talk 01:38, 6 January 2013 (UTC)


Some elaboration on the tense system would be helpful. For example, how to handle mixed-tense sentences like "I think(present) that he will run(future)." or "I arrived(past) on Monday, and will leave(future tense) on Thursday.". In addition, how to differentiate between "come" and "go". (talk) 20:35, 30 January 2013 (UTC)