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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.

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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.

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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.
 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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English Language Reviews

Review of Hildegard of Bingen’s Unknown Language: An Edition, Translation and Discussion

Jim Henry was born in 1973 in Decatur, Georgia, and has lived in the Atlanta area most of his life. He started creating constructed languages in 1989 after discovering Tolkien’s Quenya and Noldorin (in The Book of Lost Tales rather than his better-known works), but his early works were all vocabulary and no syntax. In 1996, after discovering Jeffrey Henning’s conlang site and the CONLANG mailing list, he started creating somewhat more sophisticated fictional languages; and in 1998, he started developing his personal engineered language gjâ-zym-byn, which has occupied most of his conlanging energies since then, and in which he has developed some degree of fluency. He retired recently after working for some years as a software developer, and does volunteer work for the Esperanto Society of Metro Atlanta, Project Gutenberg, and the Language Creation Society.

Abstract

Sarah L. Higley’s book on Hildegard’s Lingua Ignota discusses the language itself and the surviving documentation of it in detail, as well as placing it in the context of language creation through the centuries and the modern artlangs with which Higley thinks it fits better than with the glossolalia, philosophical languages, or auxlangs with which it’s been compared by previous scholars. In the process, she gives perhaps the best scholarly account of modern artlanging as of the time of writing.

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Analysis English Language

Case Marking and Event Structure: One Conlanger’s Investigations

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.

Here, Matt has written up his LCC1 presentation. You can view a video of that presentation here.

Abstract

This paper explores how arguments are distinguished using case marking in different languages, with particular reference to the ways in which case marking is affected by factors such as animacy, definiteness and specificity, the aspect of the clause (perfective versus imperfective), and the event-type of the predicate (including whether it is stative or dynamic, telic or atelic, durative or punctual). The paper includes both a typological and an autobiographical component. I begin by briefly illustrating how case marking interacts with argument and event structure in various natural languages. I then show how my own efforts at language construction have been informed by these phenomena, and how my attempts to invent a unique yet naturalistic case system have broadened my understanding of argument and event structure in natural languages.

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