Categories
Analysis English Language

Is a Collaborative Conlang Even Possible?

Gary Shannon is a retired software engineer who has been interested in invented languages since first learning Pig Latin somewhere around 1950. He studied Esperanto briefly in 1960, but found himself more interested in “fixing what was wrong” with the language than in actually using it. He has been interested in collaborative language creation for at least 50 years, and has participated in numerous joint language creation experiments and projects.

Abstract

Historically, whenever several people become involed in the creation of a constructed language a new class of problems arise that don’t exist in projects conducted by a single individual. Very often the group splinters over disagreements about design goals and what was to be a single, common constructed language becomes two or more different languages. What causes these collaborative projects to fail? Is it even possible for a collaborative conlang project to succeed, and what conditions would have to be met for success?

 

Version History

 

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

Categories
Conlang Descriptions English Language

Section V: Noun-Verbs

Madeline Palmer was born in Anchorage, Alaska in 1980 and lived there for most of her life until moving to Washington State, eventually attending the University of Washington, Seattle, earning a double-major degree in linguistics and anthropology. She then attended the New York University as a graduate student in linguistics, focusing primarily upon Celtic languages, a field which has long interested her. The idea for Srínawésin came to her about twenty years ago when she read a novel and began to wonder why dragons never spoke in their language in any story, legend or tale she had read. This thought led to thinking about what their language would sound like and this simple question spawned a lifelong interest in language in general and specifically how a draconic language would sound and function. This paper is the accumulation of all of that work.

Book Abstract

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred: A Grammar and Lexicon of the Northern Latitudinal Dialect of the Dragon Tongue

This series of papers sets out to describe and detail Srínawésin, the language spoken by dragons. As part of the paper’s fictional background it is adapted from original notes written by Howard T. Davis, a linguistics student at the University of New York from 1932 to 1937, the author attempts to present this language in a readable form for linguists as well as laypeople to give Mr. Davis’ work as wide an audience as possible. Section I includes an overview of the draconic worldview, mindset, and physical characteristics which give this language several “unique” features. In Sections II through VII the author explains the phonetic sounds which comprise the language, the morphology of the words, the ways in which verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs and possessives are created as well as how sentences are constructed in grammatical form according to Davis’ notes. Section VIII includes several dialogues in Srínawésin, songs, legends, poems and discussions between Davis and his sources while Sections IX and X comprise an extensive lexicon, breaking down how words are derived from the original root forms, as well as a thesaurus of root forms according to their class structure.

 

Section Abstract

Section V: Noun-Verbs

Although virtually all words in Srínawésin are inherently verbal in nature many are used as “noun-verbs” i.e. verbs used as nouns. Nouns in Srínawésin are virtually identical to verbs with the exception of having a unique set of prefixes and a restricted number of verbal endings which indicate that they are being used as what humans would call a “noun” vs. a “verb.” Section V goes over how “nouns” are conceived of by dragons; the manner which they are derived from their original verb roots in Srínawésin, how they maintain their verbality despite being functionally nouns; the various prefixes which are attached to “nouns” in order to facilitate their function within a sentence, such as object and subject prefixes, by-means-of, proximals, locatives, adjectival superlative and contrastive prefixes and the tense-inflection inherent in these prefixes; as well as the way pronouns are created and the predatory concept of gender in the language. This section serves as the basis for any use of noun-verbs and along with Section IV form the heart of this language.

Version History

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

Categories
Conlang Descriptions English Language

Exolang Phonology: Vixzrinddyig

Paul Hartzer has been interested in science fiction since the time he started reading; his first “favorite book” was Madeleine L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time. He has been writing fiction, on and off, ever since. His first published novel, The Search for the Rabbit, a sequel to Lewis Carroll’s Alice books, appeared on Lorien House in 1988 under the pseudonym P. Luc Valloglise. He holds a Master’s Degree in Linguistics from Michigan State University. He currently lives in Metro Detroit, Michigan, with his wife, son, and four cats.

Abstract

Natural language phonology is restricted by human anatomy. Likewise, conlangs with a spoken component which are intended to be spoken by humans begin with similar phonetic parameters, although they can include sounds not typically used in natural languages. Exolangs are not similarly limited by restrictions of human anatomy. However, with this freedom comes a new challenge: Just as details of human anatomy contribute to our phonetic parameters, exolang phonetic profiles ought likewise to be justified by anatomical characteristics of the sentient species using it. Also, from a practical level, there is the danger in making an exolang so alien it becomes inaccessible to human audiences. Vixzrinddyig was designed for an alien species whose articulatory system is similar, but not identical, to that of humans. As a result, its phonology is comprehendible to humans but alien nonetheless. This article discusses the linguistic strategies used in devising the phonology profile of Vixzrinddyig.

Version History

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

 

Categories
Conlang Descriptions English Language

Section IV: True-Verbs

Madeline Palmer was born in Anchorage, Alaska in 1980 and lived there for most of her life until moving to Washington State, eventually attending the University of Washington, Seattle, earning a double-major degree in linguistics and anthropology. She then attended the New York University as a graduate student in linguistics, focusing primarily upon Celtic languages, a field which has long interested her. The idea for Srínawésin came to her about twenty years ago when she read a novel and began to wonder why dragons never spoke in their language in any story, legend or tale she had read. This thought led to thinking about what their language would sound like and this simple question spawned a lifelong interest in language in general and specifically how a draconic language would sound and function. This paper is the accumulation of all of that work.

Book Abstract

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred: A Grammar and Lexicon of the Northern Latitudinal Dialect of the Dragon Tongue

This series of papers sets out to describe and detail Srínawésin, the language spoken by dragons. As part of the paper’s fictional background it is adapted from original notes written by Howard T. Davis, a linguistics student at the University of New York from 1932 to 1937, the author attempts to present this language in a readable form for linguists as well as laypeople to give Mr. Davis’ work as wide an audience as possible. Section I includes an overview of the draconic worldview, mindset, and physical characteristics which give this language several “unique” features. In Sections II through VII the author explains the phonetic sounds which comprise the language, the morphology of the words, the ways in which verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs and possessives are created as well as how sentences are constructed in grammatical form according to Davis’ notes. Section VIII includes several dialogues in Srínawésin, songs, legends, poems and discussions between Davis and his sources while Sections IX and X comprise an extensive lexicon, breaking down how words are derived from the original root forms, as well as a thesaurus of root forms according to their class structure.

 

Section Abstract

Section IV: True-Verbs

This section of “Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred” begins to delve into the heart of the grammatical system of the draconic language: true-verbs. Although in Srínawésin all words are inherently “verbs,” this section explains the difference between the common “verb” and the “true-verb”, i.e. a true-verb is one which can have a direct object, requires an aspect marker and other features which make it closer to what a human would consider a “verb.” Section IV goes over the possibly unique approach to ergativity in Srínawésin; the morphology of true-verbs, both intransitive, reflexive and the two main types of transitive; aspect and tense systems; an introduction to the class structure used by dragons to describe their environment; the draconic person and number structures as well as command and optative forms commonly used in everyday speech. This section contains most of the essential concepts inherent to any draconic communication and all further grammatical concepts are based on the rules underlying true-verbs.

Version History

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

Categories
Conlang Descriptions English Language

Section II: Phonetics and Phonology and Section III: Morphology

Madeline Palmer was born in Anchorage, Alaska in 1980 and lived there for most of her life until moving to Washington State, eventually attending the University of Washington, Seattle, earning a double-major degree in linguistics and anthropology. She then attended the New York University as a graduate student in linguistics, focusing primarily upon Celtic languages, a field which has long interested her. The idea for Srínawésin came to her about twenty years ago when she read a novel and began to wonder why dragons never spoke in their language in any story, legend or tale she had read. This thought led to thinking about what their language would sound like and this simple question spawned a lifelong interest in language in general and specifically how a draconic language would sound and function. This paper is the accumulation of all of that work.

Book Abstract

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred: A Grammar and Lexicon of the Northern Latitudinal Dialect of the Dragon Tongue

This series of papers sets out to describe and detail Srínawésin, the language spoken by dragons. As part of the paper’s fictional background it is adapted from original notes written by Howard T. Davis, a linguistics student at the University of New York from 1932 to 1937, the author attempts to present this language in a readable form for linguists as well as laypeople to give Mr. Davis’ work as wide an audience as possible. Section I includes an overview of the draconic worldview, mindset, and physical characteristics which give this language several “unique” features. In Sections II through VII the author explains the phonetic sounds which comprise the language, the morphology of the words, the ways in which verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs and possessives are created as well as how sentences are constructed in grammatical form according to Davis’ notes. Section VIII includes several dialogues in Srínawésin, songs, legends, poems and discussions between Davis and his sources while Sections IX and X comprise an extensive lexicon, breaking down how words are derived from the original root forms, as well as a thesaurus of root forms according to their class structure.

 

Section Abstract

Section II: Phonetics and Phonology and Section III: Morphology

These two sections detail the phonetic, phonological and morphological ways in which Srínawésin functions. Section II covers the phonetic and phonological processes of the language, how the language is pronounced with the orthography used, how sounds behave and contract when brought together, deletion of syllables in certain contexts, stress patterns and a section on how dragons’ physiological characteristics give them particular accents when speaking human languages. Section III covers the morphological characteristics of the language with comparisons to human languages, the way verb-roots are formed, the ways in which various words are derived from verb-roots and the possibly unique tense-inflection of affixes inherent to the verbal structure of the Dragon Tongue.

Version History

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

Categories
English Language Interviews

An Interview with Paul Frommer

Fredrik Ekman is a middle school language teacher living in Sweden. He has previously worked as a free-lance journalist, specializing in computers and information technology. Fredrik’s interest in constructed languages is mainly focused on artistic conlangs, and on conlangs as a tool for teaching and learning. He has also written about Edgar Rice Burroughs, and has been called “a premier Swedish ERB collector and scholar”. He is a contributing member of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Amateur Press Association (ERB-APA), and he often writes in that forum about the languages invented by Burroughs.

Abstract

During the past three decades, several languages have been created for movies and tv series. One of the most well-known is Klingon (Star Trek). As of March 2012, the latest example is Barsoomian, created by Paul Frommer (well-known for designing the Na’vi language spoken in Avatar) for the movie John Carter. The movie is adapted from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ 1912 novel A Princess of Mars, and the language is based on the Martian words found in that novel and its ten sequels. In this interview, one of his first about this new language, Frommer talks about the background and process of developing the language, as well as some of its linguistic features.

Version History

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

Categories
Conlang Descriptions English Language

Introduction, A Note on the Terminology and Linguistic Methodology of This Paper, and Section I

Madeline Palmer was born in Anchorage, Alaska in 1980 and lived there for most of her life until moving to Washington State, eventually attending the University of Washington, Seattle, earning a double-major degree in linguistics and anthropology. She then attended the New York University as a graduate student in linguistics, focusing primarily upon Celtic languages, a field which has long interested her. The idea for Srínawésin came to her about twenty years ago when she read a novel and began to wonder why dragons never spoke in their language in any story, legend or tale she had read. This thought led to thinking about what their language would sound like and this simple question spawned a lifelong interest in language in general and specifically how a draconic language would sound and function. This paper is the accumulation of all of that work.

Book Abstract

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred: A Grammar and Lexicon of the Northern Latitudinal Dialect of the Dragon Tongue

This series of papers sets out to describe and detail Srínawésin, the language spoken by dragons. As part of the paper’s fictional background it is adapted from original notes written by Howard T. Davis, a linguistics student at the University of New York from 1932 to 1937, the author attempts to present this language in a readable form for linguists as well as laypeople to give Mr. Davis’ work as wide an audience as possible. Section I includes an overview of the draconic worldview, mindset, and physical characteristics which give this language several “unique” features. In Sections II through VII the author explains the phonetic sounds which comprise the language, the morphology of the words, the ways in which verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs and possessives are created as well as how sentences are constructed in grammatical form according to Davis’ notes. Section VIII includes several dialogues in Srínawésin, songs, legends, poems and discussions between Davis and his sources while Sections IX and X comprise an extensive lexicon, breaking down how words are derived from the original root forms, as well as a thesaurus of root forms according to their class structure.

 

Section Abstract

Introduction and Section I

This publication of the Srínawésin series includes Madeline Palmer’s introduction and the (fictional) account by which she came upon the original notes which this paper is based upon. Section I is an introduction to the draconic mindset, physical characteristics, worldview, “philosophy,” views on time and other factors which not only condition how their language has evolved and is used but which also makes them a wholly different and extremely difficult species to understand for the Qxnéhiréx or “Humans.”  This section also has the recital of the draconic “creation story” in Srínawésin as well as in English, a basic overview of the various types of draconic dialects as well as the history of the language and its evolution over time.
 

Version History

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

Categories
English Language Essays

The Birth of a Planet (and Three Languages)

Roger F. Mills was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 1934, served in the US Army from 1956-59, and received his B.A. rather belatedly from New York University in 1964. He attended graduate school in linguistics at the University of Michigan, receiving his Ph.D. in 1975. His main professional interest has been the historical/comparative study of languages of the Indonesian area. He created his first serious conlang in 1976, then devoted much more time to conlanging from 1999 to the present. He is long retired from the fray and now lives in Saugatuck, Michigan, a tiny but amusing resort town on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Abstract

This article provides personal reminiscences of the author’s life as a conlanger, with side-trips into conculturing and world-building. Essentially, it details how he got from where he was to where he is today.

Version History

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

Categories
English Language Reviews

From Elvish to Klingon: Exploring Invented Languages, A Review

Don Boozer has been interested in invented languages ever since discovering Dr. Seuss’s On Beyond Zebra in his elementary school library in the 1970s. Boozer’s previous articles include “I Want to Speak Elvish! Teens and the World of Imaginary Languages” (VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates. August 2007), “Speaking in Tongues: Literary Languages” (Library Journal, Reader’s Shelf column. September 15, 2006), and “Playing God: If Language Is a Divine Punishment, Why Are ‘Conlangers’ Creating More of Them?” (The Linguist Magazine: Official Journal of the Chartered Institute of Linguists [UK]. July/August 2006). A librarian by trade, Boozer created the exhibit Esperanto, Elvish, and Beyond: The World of Constructed Languages which appeared at the Cleveland Public Library in 2008 and the 3rd Language Creation Conference in 2009. Boozer currently serves as Secretary/Librarian of the Language Creation Society and maintains The Conlanger’s Library online.

Abstract

From Elvish to Klingon: Exploring Invented Languages, a collection of essays edited by Michael Adams (University of Indiana, Bloomington) and published by Oxford University Press, is a welcome addition to the small but growing corpus of works on the subject of invented languages. The essays contributed by experts in their fields run the gamut from popular culture journalism to erudite scholarship in tone. Topics as diverse as invented languages in video games, the “invented vocabularies” of Nadsat and Newspeak, and revitalized and reconstructed languages like Modern Hebrew are covered. With its thought-provoking ideas, interesting facts, and in-depth coverage, From Elvish to Klingon should appeal to a wide audience; and everyone should find at least one essay that speaks directly to his or her curiosity.

Version History

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

 

Categories
Analysis English Language

Léon Bollack and His Forgotten Project

H. S. Chapman is a Justice of the Peace in Wales, U.K. He speaks Welsh, and has a good understanding of Breton and Cornish. He learned Esperanto in 1967, and has used it on his travels in some fifteen countries since then. He has a reading knowledge of both Ido and Interlingua.

Abstract

León Bollack (1859–1925), creator of the language project Bolak or Langue Bleue, has been neglected in recent decades. He was born in the same year as Dr. L. L. Zamenhof, creator of Esperanto, but, while the two men were Jews and both wanted a more peaceful world, their approaches to language creation differed widely. The fact that Bollack invested huge sums in his unsuccessful project shows that finance is not the only problem facing the creator of an auxiliary language.

Version History

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