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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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Analysis English Language Updated

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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Analysis English Language Esperanto Language

How international Is your word?

Johan Derks was born in 1940 to Dutch middle-class parents in Utrecht, the Netherlands. He learned Esperanto at the age of fifteen in secondary school. Johan studied theoretical physics (1957-1965) and sociology (1973-1979), and taught mathematics in Uganda and statistics in Cameroon, for a total of four years. Following his return to the Netherlands, he taught mathematics at various levels. He has been active in various fields such as the peace movement in the sixties and Amnesty International. Since 2005 he is a husband in an Esperanto-based marriage to a Serbian Esperantist, Svetlana Milanović.

Abstract

The concept of “international word” has never found any generally accepted definition. The definition may contain vague quantifiers such as ‘several’ or ‘the majority’. Its meaning may even depend on the language to which it is applied. Therefore it seems impossible to conduct any scientific research on the situations and conditions on why certain words are international and others not.

The interactive program “How international is your word?”, published by J.H. Derks on the site www.esp-evoluo.org, tries to make up for this omission by offering nine quantitative definitions which can be presented in a table with two entries. The first entry allows you to choose between three methods, i. e., counting the number of languages which adopted the word concerned, adding the numbers of native speakers or adding the “virtual academic values” of the languages concerned which entails accepting a Rawlsian definition of language value. The second entry allows you to choose an input base for the statistical calculation needed to compute the “degree of internationality” either starting from the “fifteenth rule” in the Esperanto grammar or from 28 European languages or from 51 languages in the world all over.

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Conlang Descriptions English Language

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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Analysis English Language

The Linear Aspects of Syntax: Ideas for Your Conlangs

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

As part of an effort to encourage conlangers to explicate the syntaxes of their languages, this paper discusses several of the most common linear order generalizations found in natural languages. Among those discussed are the linear order generalizations surrounding heads, the order of verbal arguments, ordering of elements with certain information statuses, and ordering by “weight”.

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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?

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Conlang Descriptions English Language Essays

The Universal Character

Cave Beck (1623 to ~1700) was born the son of a baker in London, educated in Cambridge and Oxford, and spent much of his adult life working as a schoolteacher in Ipswich, England. In 1657 he produced his Universal Character, one of the very first attempts to formulate and publicise a universal language. It was published simultaneously with a French version, but neither seems to have sold readily, and there is no record of Beck ever publishing anything else.

Andy Drummond is a writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland, and has published four novels. The study of foreign languages at university enticed him in later life to investigate past attempts at creating universal languages, one of which he explored more thoroughly in his novel A Handbook of Volapük (2006). His interest in Cave Beck stems from a paper on 17th Century universal languages, which he delivered at a 2011 conference to mark the 400th anniversary of Sir Thomas Urquhart.

Abstract

The Universal Language of Cave Beck is primarily an a priori language based around a lengthy (but restrictive) list of core vocabulary and a set of simple grammatical rules. The vocabulary comprises some four thousand “primitives”, root-words which were deemed to cover all essential usage, and from which all other possible words might be derived by the application of prefixes and suffixes. These (English) words are simply arranged in alphabetical order and assigned a number from 1 to 3996. In addition to this long list, Cave proposed the continued use of around 60 Latin prepositions (sub-, super-, pro-, etc.), and of around 180 simple invented monosyllables (e.g. sef, taf, tem, sorc) for “commonly used” words (such as because, good, art, water).

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