Trompe l’Œil Conlanging—Or How to Fake Depth in a Conlang

Sylvia Sotomayor has been conlanging since she read Tolkien at an impressionable age. She is best known for the Kēlen language, which won a Smiley Award in 2009. She is currently the Treasurer of the Language Creation Society, and keeps the membership rolls and the LCS Lending Library.

Abstract

In this short essay, longtime conlanger Sylvia Sotomayor illustrates some simple ways to give one’s conlang the illusion of depth.

Version History

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Posted in English Language, Essays. Tags: . Comments Off on Trompe l’Œil Conlanging—Or How to Fake Depth in a Conlang »

Qaʃn̩ħeoħelə awo Nħeoħelə: A Grammar and a Cultural Reference for the People of Ħelə

Ariel Robinson is an analyst out of Boston, MA. Since graduating from Wellesley College with a degree in Cognitive Science and Linguistics, she’s leveraged her ability to “translate” complex concepts from one domain into another, including how geopolitics affect businesses and end-users’ emotions affect hackers and cybercrime.

Abstract

This paper describes a culture, language, partial lexicon, and creation myth Robinson originally created as a student at Wellesley College. Of note are the close ties between the spiritual underpinnings of the People of Ħelə and the phonetic inventory, where each vowel represents one of the four elements and the characteristics with which it is associated. The language is highly morphemic—rooted in Robinson’s study of Semitic languages—which was helpful in word formation in the beginning but posed a larger challenge during the second revision and expansion of the content. Though she wasn’t completely sure as a college student how she might use her creation in the future, Robinson has been percolating and has plans to incorporate the language and culture into a future novel.

Version History

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Posted in Conlang Descriptions, English Language. Tags: . Comments Off on Qaʃn̩ħeoħelə awo Nħeoħelə: A Grammar and a Cultural Reference for the People of Ħelə »

Xyric Folk Tales, Version 1

Raymond Scherer first became interested in linguistics when he took Spanish for the first time in the 8th grade. Since then, he has engaged in a few language creation efforts and created the Xyric language as part of a school project, but has since expanded it. He currently studies German and Spanish but has aspirations to study other languages once he becomes fluent. He plans to study aerospace engineering in college.

Abstract

This is a collection of various folk tales in the Xyric language. This collection contains five different short stories, including their creation story in which the Great Boulder creates the world. It also includes a story about a man saving his son, a man becoming the wind, a swearing pet, and a woman that raises birds.

Version History

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Posted in English Language, Literature. Tags: . Comments Off on Xyric Folk Tales, Version 1 »

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.

Version History

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Posted in Analysis, English Language. Tags: . Comments Off on Me Nem Nesa: A Phonological Analysis of Dothraki »

Designing an Artificial Language: Anaphora

Rick Morneau is a long-time language creator who lives in rural Idaho. In the early 1990s, he wrote a series of essays on language design that proved to be quite influential in the early language creation community. Their quality has endured since their original publication, and continue to be read and enjoyed by language creators the world over.

Abstract

This essay discusses anaphora and how they can be implemented without ambiguity in an AL.

Version History

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Posted in English Language, Essays. Tags: . Comments Off on Designing an Artificial Language: Anaphora »

Designing an Artificial Language: Syntax

Rick Morneau is a long time language creator who lives in rural Idaho. In the early 1990s, he wrote a series of essays on language design that proved to be quite influential in the early language creation community. Their quality has endured since their original publication, and continue to be read and enjoyed by language creators the world over.

Abstract

This essay discusses syntax, and how certain aspects of syntax can differ among natural languages. It also teaches how to use a modified version of Backus-Naur form to define the syntax of a language, and provides a complete syntax for an AL that is extremely flexible while also being extremely simple and easy-to-learn.

Version History

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Posted in English Language, Essays. Tags: . Comments Off on Designing an Artificial Language: Syntax »

Names Aren’t Neutral: David J. Peterson on Creating a Fantasy Language

David J. Peterson received a BA in English and Linguistics from UC Berkeley in 2003 and an MA in Linguistics from UC San Diego in 2005. He created the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for HBO’s Game of Thrones, the Castithan, Irathient and Indojisnen languages for Syfy’s Defiance, the Sondiv language for the CW’s Star-Crossed, the Lishepus language for Syfy’s Dominion, the Trigedasleng language for the CW’s The 100, and the Shiväisith language for Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World. He’s been creating languages since 2000.

Abstract

This essay, written originally for the defunct publication Unbound Worlds, is aimed at fantasy authors who aim to invest their fantasy worlds with linguistic verisimilitude. Peterson discusses best practices and pitfalls to avoid in this essay intended as an introduction to the art of language invention.

Version History

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Posted in English Language, Essays. Tags: . Comments Off on Names Aren’t Neutral: David J. Peterson on Creating a Fantasy Language »

Designing an Artificial Language: Universals: Recommended Reading

Rick Morneau is a long time language creator who lives in rural Idaho. In the early 1990s, he wrote a series of essays on language design that proved to be quite influential in the early language creation community. Their quality has endured since their original publication, and continue to be read and enjoyed by language creators the world over.

Abstract

This article provides a brief description of linguistic universals, and then recommends some books that discuss universals in much more detail.

Version History

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Posted in English Language, Essays. Tags: . Comments Off on Designing an Artificial Language: Universals: Recommended Reading »

Designing an Artificial Language: Arabic Morphology

Rick Morneau is a long time language creator who lives in rural Idaho. In the early 1990s, he wrote a series of essays on language design that proved to be quite influential in the early language creation community. Their quality has endured since their original publication, and continue to be read and enjoyed by language creators the world over.

Abstract

This essay discusses how to design a language with a morphology similar to Arabic and other semitic languages.

Version History

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Posted in English Language, Essays. Tags: . Comments Off on Designing an Artificial Language: Arabic Morphology »

Designing an Artificial Language: Morphology

Rick Morneau is a long time language creator who lives in rural Idaho. In the early 1990s, he wrote a series of essays on language design that proved to be quite influential in the early language creation community. Their quality has endured since their original publication, and continue to be read and enjoyed by language creators the world over.

Abstract

This essay discusses how to design the surface morphology of a language (i.e. the “shapes” of words) such that the words are easy to pronounce as well as computer-tractable.

Version History

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Posted in English Language, Essays. Tags: . Comments Off on Designing an Artificial Language: Morphology »