How to Not Verb

Logan Kearsley lived in multilingual Belgium for three years as a child, but didn’t realise other languages were cool before moving back to the anglophone United States, where he started conlanging at a still-young age and eventually studied Russian in high school. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Masters in Linguistics, and has had the opportunity to study a wide variety of languages while working to develop software for teaching and learning foreign languages at the university level and researching language pedagogy.

Abstract

“Can a language exist without verbs? What would such a language look like?” These are perennial questions in many conlanging communities. They do not, however, have a single unique answer. Whether a language can exist without verbs, or what that question even means, fundamentally depends on how one chooses to define “a verb”–something which is not universal between language or between linguistic theories. Under any given definition of “a verb”, however, a number of different strategies have been investigated by different conlangers over the years for eliminating the category from their languages. In this article, Logan Kearsley surveys some of the strategies that have been tried, with an analysis of which definitions of verblessness they do or do not meet, and provides reference materials and recommendations for other conlangers who may wish to tackle this kind of project themselves.

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Dothraki Relative Clause Structure

Caroline Elizabeth Melton has a BS in biology from the University of Memphis and an MA in linguistics from Stony Brook University. Currently a PhD student in biology and bioinformatics at the University of Memphis, she looks for any excuse to compare language change to biological evolution, to the exhaust of her professors.

Abstract

In this analysis, I aim to objectively assess the claim that Dothraki is a naturalistic language by comparing its case system and relative clause structures to known morphological and syntactic universals common to natural language.

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Me Nem Nesa: A Phonological Analysis of Dothraki

Sanjeev Vinodh is an undergraduate at UC Berkeley studying Linguistics and Cognitive Science. His interests include phonology, pragmatics, persuasive speaking, and p-alliteration. Sanjeev also teaches two classes at Berkeley: Magic: Theory and Deception, and Charisma: The Art of Genuine Connection.

Abstract

This paper provides an analysis of three phonological processes found in David J. Peterson’s conlang Dothraki (created for the HBO series Game of Thrones)—”r” alternations, vowel laxing, and stress assignment—including a discussion on the language’s typological tractability. This was Sanjeev’s final project for Linguistics 111, Phonology, taught at UC Berkeley.

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Le Lingue Artificiali de Il Trono di Spade: Analisi linguistica dell’Alto Valyriano e del Dothraki

Alida Castronovo was born on the 4th of April in 1992, in the city of Palermo, in Sicily. She attended the University of Palermo and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Languages and Modern Literature and Linguistic Mediation. She continued her studies at the same university and obtained a Master’s Degree in Western and Eastern Languages and Modern Literature.

Besides her passion for music and TV-series, her interests are to be found in linguistics’ field and in foreign languages. Her passion for languages has always accompanied her throughout her academic history, in which she studied several languages, such as English, German, Chinese and French.

Alida Castronovo è nata il 4 aprile 1992 a Palermo, in Sicilia. Ha frequentato l’Università degli Studi di Palermo, conseguendo una Laurea Triennale in Lingue e Letterature Moderne e Mediazione Linguistica. Ha continuato i suoi studi universitari presso l’Università di Palermo, conseguendo una Laurea Magistrale in Lingue e Letterature Moderne dell’Occidente e dell’Oriente.

Oltre ad essere una grande appassionata di musica e serie tv, i suoi interessi spaziano anche nel campo della linguistica e delle lingue straniere. La sua passione per le lingue l’ha accompagnata durante tutto il suo percorso accademico all’interno del quale ha studiato diverse lingue, quali l’inglese, il tedesco, il cinese e il francese.

Abstract

Nowadays, constructed languages are catching linguistic research’s attention more and more. But, such a complex field does not enjoy the prestige it deserves yet. The purpose of this thesis is that of demolishing, through knowledge, scepticism’s barriers that have always accompanied this form of art, by highlighting the way the TV-show Game of Thrones’ constructed languages (Dothraki and High Valyrian) are destroying the prejudice, little by little.

In Chapter I, basic concept concerning conlangs will be presented by investigating their origins, their propulsive thrusts and by providing noteworthy examples, such as Volapük or Esperanto.

Chapter II provides the analysis of the most famous examples of constructed languages created for literature and cinematography, such as Tolkien’s elvish language (Quenya), Paul Frommer’s Na’vi and Mark Okrand’s Klingon.

Chapter III offers an in-depth analysis on Game of Thrones’ constructed languages, Dothraki and High Valyrian, created by David J. Peterson. In this chapter, every linguistic aspect of these languages will be analysed, with detailed tables and explanatory examples.

Finally, in Chapter IV, we provide an analysis of Game of Thrones’ languages, whose aim is that of evaluating their linguistic adequacy from a typological point of view. In doing so, we refer to Greenberg’s typological classification of languages. Therefore, Dothraki and High Valyrian will be analysed and filtered through Greenberg’s Implicational Universals of Languages. (Italian Text)

Le lingue artificiali stanno acquisendo sempre più valore, attirando sempre più le attenzioni della ricerca linguistica. Un settore così complesso e articolato non gode ancora però del prestigio con cui lo si dovrebbe guardare. Obiettivo di questa trattazione è quello di abbattere, attraverso la conoscenza, le barriere dello scetticismo che da sempre accompagna questa vera e propria arte, mettendo in luce il processo di annientamento del pregiudizio che scompare anche grazie al successo delle lingue artificiali create per la serie tvGame of Thrones.

Nel Capitolo I verranno affrontati i concetti di base riguardanti il mondo delle lingue artificiali, indagandone origini, motivazioni e presentando alcuni tra gli esempi più noti, come il volapük o l’esperanto.

Nel Capitolo II verranno presentati i grandi esempi di lingue artificiali create per la letteratura o per la cinematografia, come la lingua elfica di Tolkien, il na’vi di Paul Frommer e il klingon di Mark Okrand.

Il Capitolo III scenderà più a fondo nell’analisi delle lingue artificiali create da David J. Peterson per la serie tv Game of Thrones, l’alto valyriano e il dothraki. In questo capitolo verranno analizzati tutti gli aspetti linguistici noti, correlati di tabelle esplicative ed esempi chiarificatori.

Infine, nel Capitolo IV viene proposta un’analisi delle lingue di Game of Thrones volta a valutarne l’adeguatezza linguistica da un punto di vista tipologico, facendo riferimento alla classificazione tipologica delle lingue che vede come suo principale teorico Joseph Greenberg. Le lingue in questione verranno, dunque, analizzate attraverso il filtro delle implicazioni postulate negli universali linguistici greenberghiani.

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Alternations: An Introduction (and Some Further Explorations) for Conlangers

Doug Ball began conlanging in 1994, primarily working on a language he calls Skerre. His conlanging interest led him to discover the field of linguistics and ultimately to a career as an academic linguist. Holding degrees from the University of Rochester (BA) and Stanford University (PhD), he is currently a member of the Department of English and Linguistics faculty at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. There, he teaches classes on general linguistics, theoretical phonology, theoretical morphology, and theoretical syntax as well as Native American and Polynesian languages.

Abstract

This essay explores the nature of alternations: variations in form across different contexts. In addition to providing a basic introduction of the phenomena in both English and in other languages, it considers several frameworks for understanding the behavior of alternations in natural languages. This essay also offers some recommendations for the creation of alternations in constructed languages and gives some examples to illustrate these recommendations. It is a revised and expanded version of a talk given at the 7th Language Creation Conference (July, 2017) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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Intro to Lexical Typology

Aidan Aannestad is one more name on the long list of people who discovered linguistics through Tolkien, and he’s been conlanging ever since that seventh grade discovery. He’s learned a lot about linguistics since then, though, and now holds a BA in it from the University of Texas and is partway through a graduate degree. He holds himself (and sometimes others) to a very high standard of realism in his work, and he’s always striving to get a more complete perspective on the enormous variety found in the world’s natlangs. His creative output is so far mostly limited to the minimally-documented, though fairly well fleshed-out Emihtazuu language and its ancestors, but he hopes to someday increase his productivity and make a full linguistic area with multiple interacting families. He also speaks Japanese, and will happily discuss its history and mechanics for hours with anyone interested. He’s been on-and-off a member of a number of conlanging communities, and these days is most likely to be found on one of the relevant Facebook groups or lurking in the conlang mailing list.

Abstract

This article is a reprocessing and rewriting of an article by Leonard Talmy on the field of lexical typology, with a focus on its relevance for conlanging. Lexical typology is the study of how languages pattern their lexemes, and how those patterns can vary across languages. This article specifically focuses on verbs, especially motion verbs, and presents a variety of ways that languages can handle motion and other kinds of state changes, with some notes on wider applications of the principles involved.

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Lingue pianificate tra fantasia e realtà

Sara Salis was born in Italy in 1995 and she speaks fluent Italian, English, and French, and will soon improve Spanish and Russian as well. She got her Bachelor’s degree in Linguistic Mediation in 2017, with a thesis about constructed languages, which she came to know thanks to the TV series Game of Thrones. Currently she is writing her first fantasy book and she plans on writing others in the future, if she is successful, perhaps inserting a naming language.

Abstract

In this thesis, Sara Salis compares High Valyrian with Latin, considering not only the language, but also the history and culture of the Roman Empire and the Valyrian Freehold. At the beginning, though, she analyses the features of a natlang, to verify whether they are shared by a conlang as well; furthermore, she explains the process of the birth of natural languages and the process of creating a conlang, pointing out the differences between the method to create different types of conlangs, such as Esperanto and High Valyrian. (Italian and English Text)

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Konstruierte Sprachen – Aufbau, Entwicklung und Vergleich am Beispiel von Hymmnos

Mathias Dietrich started studying Japanese studies and sociology at the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg in 2012. From 2015 to 2016 he studied abroad at the Senshū University in Tokyo. He will shortly finish he studies and receive his BA in 2018. He works as a freelance journalist for the German video game magazine Gamestar and first became interested in constructed languages after playing the playstation game Ar Tonelico which features Hymmnos, a language invented by Akira Tsuchiya.

Mathias Dietrich studiert seit 2012 Japanologie und Deutsche Sprache und Literatur an der Martin-Luther-Universitat Halle-Wittenberg. Von 2015 bis 2016 absolvierte er ein Auslandsstudium an der Senshū Universitat in Tokio. Seinen Bachelor-Abschluss wird er im Jahr 2018 erreichen. In seiner Freizeit arbeitet er als freier Autor fur das deutsche Videospielmagazin Gamestar. Sein Interesse fur konstruierte Sprachen entwickelte er, nachdem er das Playstation-Spiel Ar Tonelico spielte und mit der Sprache Hymmnos von Akira Tsuchiya in Kontakt kam.

Abstract

The expression of emotions plays a big role in Akira Tsuchiyas Hymmnos. After a short basic introduction to conlangs itself, this essay takes a short look on Tsuchiyas conlang and compares the aspect of expressing emotions with German using a theory by Norbert Fries who researched emotions from the perspective of linguistic semiotics. (German Text)

Der Ausdruck von Emotionen ist ein wichtiger Aspekt in Akira Tsuchiyas konstruierter Sprache Hymmnos. Nach einem kurzen Überblick über konstruierte Sprachen im Allgemeinen, gibt diese Arbeit einen Einblick in Tsuchiyas konstruierte Sprache und vergleicht den Ausdruck von Emotionen mit dem Deutschen anhand einer Theorie von Norbert Fries, welcher Emotionsausdrücke vom Standpunkt der linguistischen Semiotik aus untersuchte.

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Constructed Language: An Analysis of the Phonemic Sounds Influenced by Historical Stereotyping

Ashlie Devenney recently graduated from R.L Paschal High School in Fort Worth, Texas and will be attending A&M University. This research was completed through the AP Capstone program under the supervision of Ian Connally and with the assistance of Dr. Jessie Sams of Stephen F. Austin and David Peterson.

Abstract

The perception of constructed languages in film is not a topic that has been researched extensively in the past due to the scrutiny concerning the field of constructed languages as a valid field of study. An understanding of how humankind perceives constructed languages is vital in our understanding of how natural languages are perceived. The purpose of this research is to examine how the base phonemic sounds of a language (particularly constructed languages) affect how the listener hears and perceives a constructed language as well as how and why this perception is constructed. This study is done through a survey consisting of several languages wherein the participant rates the languages on certain qualities which establish how the participant feels towards the language. The research finds that a historical relationship between the beginnings of language construction and the listener’s perception of that language, discovered through an analysis of the phonemic sounds, exists in both constructed and natural languages. This finding will help those who create constructed languages determine what sounds need to consistently occur for their language to be perceived according to intention.

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Some aspects of the phonology of Ajitorujan

And Rosta (1967–) studied Linguistics at UCL (BA 1989, PhD 1997) and since 1996 has been working at the University of Central Lancashire, as a shop steward and a teacher of English Language & Linguistics, his research being in both the syntactic and, latterly, also the phonological halves of contemporary English. He began inventing a language in 1977 (starting with an alphabet) and was in 1991 one of the founders of the Conlang list and has been an active member of it ever since. In 1995–96, working at Roehampton University, he developed what would probably have been the first university module in Invented Languages, which was due to be taught in 1996–97, but due to a change of job this, as with so many others of his endeavours, came to naught. He was cooriginator of the term ‘engelang’, and it is to that sort of conlanging, particularly loglanging, that, despite some occasional desultory dabbling in artlanging, he has found himself continually drawn. His conlang Livagian is notorious for always remaining disappointingly and inutilely dismantled on the workshop floor and was in 2015 justly abandoned in favour of a less ambitious loglang that he dares to hope might erelong manage to see the light of publication.

Abstract

Published here as a historical curio is a facsimile of a first-year undergraduate assignment written in early 1987 on the phonology of a friend’s invented language. An explanatory preface has been added to accompany its publication.

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