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195217Re: On Creating Altlangs

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  • R A Brown
    Feb 19, 2013
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      On 18/02/2013 20:43, Jörg Rhiemeier wrote:
      > Hallo conlangers!
      > On Monday 18 February 2013 14:58:54 R A Brown wrote:

      >> I would classify Jörg's "Old Albanic" as an altlang.
      > Yes. The "what-if" assumption in Old Albic (not
      > "Albanic")

      OOPS - sorry!

      > is "What if we knew what language was spoken in the
      > British Isles before those lands became
      > Celtic-speaking?".


      > And of course, Old Albic is not at all a bogolang.

      It certainly ain't.

      >> My understanding is that Brithenig did start out as an
      >> altlang: What would modern British Romance be like if
      >> spoken Latin had survived the withdrawal of the
      >> legions? But IMO it did lean too far in the bogolang
      >> direction. It certainly gives that appearance.
      > Yes. Brithenig is not really a bogolang, but it gets
      > close, and is guilty of treading loose a wave of
      > bogolangs.

      I agree on both points.

      >> Indeed - and also whether it is a genuine altlang, i.e.
      >> the way a language might plausibly have developed if
      >> history had been different, or whether it is a
      >> bogolang, i.e. early Germanic with the sound changes of
      >> a Slavonic group.
      > Yes. That is a difference. Of course, we cannot say
      > that a bogolang was *impossible* - it is just very
      > unlikely,

      I cannot think of any actual examples among natlangs. The
      Slav influence on Romanian is obvious, and French acquired
      the front rounded vowels of neighboring Germanic, but
      neither are bogolangs. Creole are often cited as taking one
      language and applying the phonology of another, but the
      results certainly do not resemble bogolangs.

      On 18/02/2013 20:58, And Rosta wrote:
      > R A Brown, On 18/02/2013 13:58:
      >> Every so often I think if I ever the time, I might try
      >> to produce what I think a modern British Romancelang
      >> would be like;
      > If you ever do find the time, I'll read the results with
      > great interest.

      Thank you.

      > My first guess, made from a position of near-ignorance on
      > my part, is that it would be rather like northern French.
      > If that guess is along the right lines, then a further
      > question would be in what ways it might be expected to
      > differ from northern French.

      Certainly the way Vulgar Latin developed in northern Gaul
      would probably not be so different. My main criticism of
      Brithenig is that it does not IMO make sufficient allowance
      for influence from sister Romancelangs. The various
      Romancelangs of western Europe were always in contact and
      exercising some influence on one another. It's all very
      well having the Vulgar Latin of Dacia developing in
      isolation, but I don't think having the Vulgar Latin of
      Britain behaving similarly is likely.

      As for differences between a British Romance & norther
      Francien? Probably front rounded vowels would not have
      maintained themselves. The continental [ø] and [œ] had
      already given way to unrounded sounds in Old English, and
      the same happened later with Anglo-Norman borrowings, cf.
      bœef ~ beef. The Old English [y] eventually became
      unrounded, tho later the Anglo-Norman [y] became [iw].

      Old French had a rich set of diphthongs and a few
      triphthongs besides; later these all gave way to the
      monophthongs of modern French. I see no reason to suppose
      that a British romance would have behaved the same way.

      Old northern French also had the phones [θ] and [ð]; they
      are now lost in modern French. But as both Welsh & English
      retain them (including in Anglo-Norman borrowing such as
      _faith_), it is surely like that a British Romance would
      have retained these phones also.

      So, yes, one must IMO have regard to how Vulgar Latin
      developed in northern France, but I'm sure a British
      Romancelang would be quite distinctive from modern French,
      just as french is distinctive from neighboring Italian,
      Catalan or Spanish.

      On 19/02/2013 05:16, James Kane wrote:
      > I have done a Vulgar Latin descended from proto-Germanic
      > which isn't too bad because the cases and tenses of
      > proto-Germanic collapse nicely,

      Yep - and don't forget that Vulgar Latin had two cases,
      which were preserved in Old French and in Old Provençal.
      (Thinks: Would "Old Britannic" have preserved them?)

      > but there was a bit of tempering of the phonology.

      Yes - there usually has to be some fudging here because
      other languages rarely have the same phonetic inventory as
      Vulgar Latin.

      > Obviously altlangs are much more interesting to do but
      > bogolangs are good for beginners who wish to explore
      > diachronic sound changes without as much effort.

      Indeed - quite a good exercise for beginners and IMO more
      worthwhile than the "relex of English" which is often done.

      I guess my first conlang - whose details are now long
      forgotten - when I was about 10 or 11 was a bogolang.
      Essentially IIRC the root words were Old English gleaned from
      an etymological dictionary I had come across, and the
      morphology was based on French I found in text books
      belonging to my mother. But in bogolang, all those verb
      endings were still pronounced :)

      "language … began with half-musical unanalysed expressions
      for individual beings and events."
      [Otto Jespersen, Progress in Language, 1895]
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