Siinyamda

Britton Watkins began his career in high tech in his native South Carolina before moving to Japan for much of the 1990s, where he worked for the Japanese company Mitani Shōji, the Apple subsidiary Claris, and eventually the German e-commerce infrastructure software firm, Intershop in various management roles. Since leaving Intershop and returning the to the US, Britton has been and independent consultant specializing in market strategy research and communication strategies for companies like Adobe, Fujitsu and Sony. In 2010 he became interested in conlanging and specifically the intersections of conlanging and film production. Most recently he’s also branched out into filmmaking itself with his husband of 12 years in the roles of writer, producer and art direction/production design.

In addition to his native Southern American English Britton is comfortable communicating in Japanese, Spanish and Na’vi, which was his first major “gateway language” into conlanging. He’s also studied Thai, Mandarin, French, some Latin and Cherokee. His core passions lie in orthography but he loves everything about human (and alien) language and in 2012 was very pleased to teach Zoë Saldana and several other Klingons their lines for Kronos in the JJ Abrams production, Star Trek Into Darkness.

Siinyamda is Britton’s first foray into fleshing out a conlang of his own design to the extent that it might begin to work for everyday communication and he is hopeful that it will live beyond the film for which it was created, Senn.

By day, William S. Annis is a mild-mannered Unix system administrator. By night (and most weekends) he is, by turns, a not very mild-mannered banjo player, a hobbyist language creator, a paid language creator, a reader of science fiction novels and linguistics papers, a terrible gardener, and an ok cook. He is one of the hosts of the Conlangery Podcast. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Abstract

DISCLAIMER: The following document includes topics not suitable for all ages and language not suitable for work (NSFW). Reader discretion is advised.
Siinyamda was created for use in the independent film “Senn” (2013). In addition to a grammar, lexicon and brief texts for the language, this paper discusses the design process for both the language and the writing system, and how that process was shaped by the needs of the film. The fictional internal history of the language is also described. The paper ends with examples of the several typefaces developed for the writing system.

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