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Conlang Descriptions English Language

NailScript: Text as Tuff as Nails…Literally!

Mattthew M. DeBlock received a BA in Chinese from Beijing Language and Culture University as an adult student. Before university, he worked as a Unix software developer, and afterwards as a business consultant in mainland China. He is obsessed with devising codes, data formats, and constructed scripts. A a jack-of-all-trades and “Mad Scientist” at heart, he loves inventing commercially worthless devices to challenge standards and seek strange synergies.

Abstract

Inspired by shoddy carpentry and cuneiform, NailScript is an attempt to devise the simplest most efficient way to write alphabetical text with a hammer and nails. Like cuneiform the nail heads allow directional distinction of lines. Unlike cuneiform, nails can also be laid down in layers upon each other with layer depth preserved and distinguishable. These aspects, along with the ability to fully set the nail leaving only the head visible as a “dot” provide some interesting possibilities.

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Conlang Descriptions English Language

Comprehensive Illustrated Pakuni Dictionary

Thomas Alexander has been interested in languages since his youth. He has a minor in German, spoke Esperanto as a home language for a number of years, and has dabbled in well over a dozen other languages. His conlanging interest is primarily in historical auxlangs, including Volapük and the Zamenhof reform Esperanto of 1894, but with fond memories of Saturday morning television, he also enjoys Pakuni from Land of the Lost.

Abstract

Pakuni was developed by the late Victoria Fromkin and was used in the 1970’s TV program Land of The Lost by Sid and Marty Kroft. A complete description of the language as used in the show has never been published, and a lot of the information on the internet included errors or words that were made up by fans later and were not part of the original conlang. This dictionary is the result of putting together the word lists that had been compiled or published previously and compared to a corpus of carefully transcribed examples of Pakuni from the show. The dictionary includes examples of how the words were used in the show and/or what episode the words were used from.

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Conlang Descriptions English Language

Sodna-lɛni: The Language of Motion

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

This is the grammar of the language Sodna-Leni: a new language, conceived and born in December 2012. While most languages feature an open class of verbs, Sodna-Leni has a fixed set of verbs whose primary semantics are motion-based. Consequently, all action in Sodna-Leni is described in terms of motion.

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Conlang Descriptions English Language

Grammar and Lexicon of Okuna

Matt Pearson received his Ph.D. in Linguistics from UCLA, and currently serves as Professor of Linguistics at Reed College (Portland, Oregon), where he teaches syntax, typology, morphology, semantics, and field methods. His research on word order and clause structure in Malagasy has appeared in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory and other publications. In 1996-97 Matt created the alien language for the NBC science fiction series Dark Skies. Matt’s naturalistic artlang Okuna, developed over more than 20 years, earned a Smiley Award from David Peterson along with a mention in his book The Art of Language Invention.

Abstract

Matt Pearson’s Okuna has long been recognized as one of the premier artistic language created in the modern era. This is the full grammar and lexicon of Okuna presented in one document.

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Conlang Descriptions English Language

Srínawésin: Lexicon of Verb Roots and Thesaurus

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

Srínawésin: Lexicon of Verb Roots and Thesaurus
To complete Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred, this final section is a user-friendly lexicon and thesaurus of the Dragon Tongue with approximately one thousand commonly used verb roots listed in alphabetical order. The first part is a lexicon of verb roots with each form of verbal, adjectival, adverbial and noun derivations according to class structure listed for many, but not all of the roots. The second section is a thesaurus listing the original verbal roots as noun-verbs, divided up into sub-sections for each of the thirteen classes of the language. The final part is a thesaurus of verbs divided up into various semantic themes such as Hunting, Stalking and Avoiding; Killing Dying and Eating; Personal Characteristics; Animal Descriptions; Flying Maneuvers and Actions and Living Patterns and Actions. This Lexicon and Thesaurus includes all verbal roots used in Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred to allow anyone who is interested full access to the language.

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Section VIII: Draconic Speech; Dialogues, Songs and Conversations

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 VIII: Draconic Speech; Dialogues, Songs and Conversations
The final section of this paper has no grammar, rules or standards of usage but instead is a presentation of the language itself, as a unified whole. It includes a variety of dialogues in the original Srínawésin and translated into English between Davis and several of his sources such as Moonchild, Bloody Face and Ash Tongue; as well as several draconic songs, poems and lyrical stories which Howard heard during his time among dragonkind. It also includes a variety of draconic “wise sayings,” which inevitably involve various predatory activities, as well as a short section on draconic riddles and word games which take advantage of several unique characteristics of the Language of the Kindred. This final section presents the language and situations that Howard T. Davis experienced and represents the truest accounting of draconic speech possible under the circumstances.

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Section VII: Sentence Structure and Speech Patterns

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 VII: Sentence Structure and Speech Patterns
All of the previous sections detailing Srínawésin have involved the way in which the language functioned grammatically, how it was pronounced, how verbs, nouns and adjectives were constructed and how they were modified. This section details not how Srínawésin functions but how it is used in everyday life by its draconic speakers. It includes word ordering, the use of evidential sentence enclitics, disjunctive and conjunctive usages, clauses, question words and speech patterns. It also explains more esoteric concepts such as three-dimensional directions and navigation inherent to a species which can fly, lunar and seasonal names, the various constellations and skywatching terms, poetic and lyrical forms and sensibilities, curses, figures of speech, insults, and various forms of non-verbal communicative strategies used by dragons in their everyday lives. This section ties together all the other more grammatically-based sections and all eight sections give a complete picture of how dragons speak, think, act and use their unique language.

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Analysis Conlang Descriptions English Language Essays

The Sehlerai Language

James R. Russell is Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies at Harvard and worked previously at Columbia and the Hebrew University (Jerusalem, Israel) as professor of pre-Islamic Iranian languages and religions. He is also in Slavic, shamanism, and Rapa Nui studies. He is an artist, book designer, and motorcyclist, and plays the guitar so-so.

Abstract

Sehlerai is an international language invented by the 19th century Armenian polyglot eccentric of Smyrna Bedros Tenger(ian). This is the first substantial study of it in any language, though limited by the paucity of sources (and these are here studied in depth for the first time). Bedros was the only man in the Near East who ever invented a universal language, complete with the idealistic trappings of the Viennese Enlightenment.

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Section VI: Verbal Modifiers, Adverbs, Adjectives and Possessive Forms

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 VI: Verbal Modifiers, Adverbs, Adjectives and Possessive Forms
Because of the verbal nature of all Srínawésin roots, what would usually be seperate grammatical points such as adverbs, adjectives and possessives are grammatically similar or even identical to each other in many cases. This feature comes from fact that they all modify verbal roots, so they all share similar characteristics. Section VI reviews how all the basic verbal modifiers in Srínawésin function, how adverbs are attached to verbs, the various voices and forms of adjectives which indicate the relative importance of the adjectival construction in the sentence, the unique way adjectival adverbs are used and how both alienable and inalienable possessive constructions are formed in the language, including inherent and implied possession. It also includes a section describing how the physiology of dragonkind creates unique semantic issues with the adjectives they use and the ways in which their extraordinary senses function within the context of their language.

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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.

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