Invented Languages: From Wilkins’ Real Character to Avatar’s Na’vi

Angela Carpenter is a professor in the Cognitive & Linguistic Sciences department at Wellesley College. She earned her Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, with a dissertation titled “Acquisition of a natural vs. an unnatural stress system”. Since joining the faculty at Wellesley in 2009, she’s taught an undergraduate capstone course on conlanging, amongst her many other teaching and departmental responsibilities.

Abstract

Angela Carpenter taught an undergraduate course on conlanging at Wellesley College during the fall semester of 2015. Collected in one .pdf are the final papers of the students from her course. In each paper, the student has documented their conlang and presented a text in that conlang. The document also contains links to audio recordings of the included texts.

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Patterns of Allophony

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

In this paper, William S. Annis illustrates the most common sound changes that occur with vowels, stops, fricatives and sonorants. This information is presented in graphical form, so readers can see what happens with each sound in a variety of circumstances. This paper should be useful to those evolving sound systems for naturalistic conlangs.

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A Conlanger’s Thesaurus

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

A Conlanger’s Thesaurus is a basic wordlist which has been annotated with notes on common paths of grammaticalization, cross-linguistic polysemy and other information mostly from the work of lexical and semantic typologists. The collection itself isn’t innovative in any way, but rather collects this information in a convenient format. Its intended use is to act as a guard against relexing your native tongue in your conlang.

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The Contemporary Esperanto Speech Community

Adelina Solis received her bachelor’s degree in linguistics from Scripps College in 2011. This paper was written as part of her fulfillment of her degree. Since then, she has completed a 10-month term as an English teacher in Vietnam through the Fulbright program. She is fluent in English, Spanish, and Italian, and has studied French, Russian, Vietnamese, and American Sign Language. Beyond languages, her interests include art, creative writing, and steak.

Abstract

This study examines the contemporary Esperanto speech community. I begin with a review of the history of universal language movements, the history of language creation, and the development of Esperanto in particular. Then, drawing from 13 interviews with Esperanto speakers and preexisting literature, I address: who comprises the Esperanto speech community, the norms adhered to and ideologies held by members of the speech community, reasons for membership in the speech community, and the speech community’s objectives. Findings show that anyone who speaks the language may be a member of the speech community if they self-identify that way. Speakers are found all over the world, and can be of any age and gender.

Though Dr. Zamenhof’s (Esperanto’s creator) goal for world peace is not critical to the ideology of many contemporary Esperanto speakers, most value the international exchange that participation in the community provides. Some people learn Esperanto because of its founding ideology, while others do because they recognize that with it they can access more people and more information than they could if they did not speak Esperanto. To maximize Esperanto’s effectiveness, it is important to maximize the number of speakers, though current Esperanto speakers disagree about the best way to make this happen.

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