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Re: I need help creating my conlang

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  • Bruno Barcelos
    Thanks you all for posting... Let me tell you all something: Montreal is supposed to be kind of a code of english... I know that would be boring, so I want to
    Message 1 of 22 , Mar 2, 2009
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      Thanks you all for posting...
      Let me tell you all something:
      Montreal is supposed to be kind of a code of english... I know that would be
      boring, so I want to have some things which are different, like the verbs
      don't change depending on the pronoun, like

      I am - Et ik
      He is - Ni ik

      and the verbs which end in consonant have two ways of writing in the past:

      I was - Et ike or Et ikke

      Also I intend to create (with suggestions) a counting system not based on a
      well-known language...

      Those things are there to make the language sound more natural...
    • Philip Newton
      On Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 14:59, Bruno Barcelos ... So... you want to have a counting system that s not found in any (well-known) natural language... so that your
      Message 2 of 22 , Mar 2, 2009
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        On Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 14:59, Bruno Barcelos
        <bruno.barcelos.alves@...> wrote:
        > Also I intend to create (with suggestions) a counting system not based on a
        > well-known language...
        >
        > Those things are there to make the language sound more natural...

        So... you want to have a counting system that's not found in any
        (well-known) natural language... so that your language will sound more
        natural... right?

        Cheers,
        --
        Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
      • Paul Kershaw
        ... I read this two ways, and I figure Bruno might have meant the first way. The first read: He s just talking about the words, and possibly details like the
        Message 3 of 22 , Mar 2, 2009
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          > On Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 14:59, Bruno Barcelos
          > > Those things are there to make the language sound more natural...
          >
          > So... you want to have a counting system that's not found in any
          > (well-known) natural language... so that your language will sound more
          > natural... right?
          >
          > Cheers,
          > --
          > Philip Newton

          I read this two ways, and I figure Bruno might have meant the first way.

          The first read: He's just talking about the words, and possibly details like the base. Remember that he commented that the other words ought to be "inspired by" German, Latin, or Japanese. So maybe...
          0 = Ook 1 = Uff, 2 = Da, 3 = Klu, 4 = Cha, 5 = Me, 6 = Meuff, 7 = Meda, 8 = Meklu, 9 = Mecha, 10 = Dame, 11 = Dameuff, 12 = Dameda, etc. (i.e., base 5)

          This could also have a quirk like "Me" representing a place-holder shift and thus requiring context for interpretation. I don't think this is done in any natural languages** (but maybe I'm wrong):
          25* = Meookme
          26 = Meookmeuff
          124 = Chamechamecha
          125 = Meookmeookme
          145 = Meookmechame
          3,456,134 = Meklumechamemeookmechamechameookmechame
          That would still be plausible as a natural language, especially in a culture that counts often (and therefore would be highly aware of number systems), but doesn't count high very often (and therefore wouldn't be bothered by many repetitions of "ookme").
          * A one's-place "ook" could be left off without loss of comprehensibility, or it could be added, making 5=Meook, 10=Dameook, etc.
          ** Although in English at least, it's sometimes done to read larger numbers in terms of digits only, e.g. "3456134=three-four-five-six-one-three-four OR three million four hundred fifty six thousand one hundred thirty four," but I think the latter is considered "correct" by the great majority of speakers. And besides, in IE languages of which I'm aware, we do chunk in terms of units like this, but it's at the thousands level, not the tens (i.e., we group at thousands, millions, billions/milliards, trillions/billions, etc., and then read the three digits at that level using numbers 1-999), and each thousands level has its own name (even if the US and the UK can't fully agree at 10^9 and above ;) ).

          The second read: The counting itself is not based on any natural language. Maybe numbers are devised by listing the fewest primes that can be summed to make the number:
          1 = Uff, 2 = Da, 3 = Klu, 4 = Kluuff OR Dada, 5 = Kluda, 6 = Kluklu OR Meuff, 7 = Bra, 8 = Meklu OR Brauff, 9 = Brada, etc.
          ... or numbers are expressed in balanced ternary, or whatever. :)

          -- Paul
        • Paul Kershaw
          ... To clarify: Japanese, for instance, uses a DIFFERENT term for different place holder levels (so 1543 is thousand, five hundreds, four tens, three ); the
          Message 4 of 22 , Mar 2, 2009
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            ----- Original Message ----
            > From: Paul Kershaw <ptkershaw@...>
            > This could also have a quirk like "Me" representing a place-holder shift and
            > thus requiring context for interpretation. I don't think this is done in any
            > natural languages** (but maybe I'm wrong):

            To clarify: Japanese, for instance, uses a DIFFERENT term for different place holder levels (so 1543 is "thousand, five hundreds, four tens, three"); the quirk here would be using the SAME term for different place holder levels, thus requiring specifically indicating number places holding 0 (so while English 1,000,000 is simply "a million," this putative language would require "uffmeookmeookmeookmeookmeookme" [and the number would be 15625 base 10]).

            (Another alternative: "me" by itself means "0", and 5 = "uffme." So 1,000,000[5] = uffmemememememe.)

            *Are* there any languages that have the same term for all place holders?

            -- Paul
          • Eugene Oh
            I didn t quite get that -- do you mean, using me in place of all the various words for thousand , hundred etc.? And is it just me or is chamechamecha
            Message 5 of 22 , Mar 2, 2009
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              I didn't quite get that -- do you mean, using "me" in place of all the
              various words for "thousand", "hundred" etc.?

              And is it just me or is "chamechamecha" just a really funny word?

              Eugene

              2009/3/2 Paul Kershaw <ptkershaw@...>

              > ----- Original Message ----
              > > From: Paul Kershaw <ptkershaw@...>
              > > This could also have a quirk like "Me" representing a place-holder shift
              > and
              > > thus requiring context for interpretation. I don't think this is done in
              > any
              > > natural languages** (but maybe I'm wrong):
              >
              > To clarify: Japanese, for instance, uses a DIFFERENT term for different
              > place holder levels (so 1543 is "thousand, five hundreds, four tens,
              > three"); the quirk here would be using the SAME term for different place
              > holder levels, thus requiring specifically indicating number places holding
              > 0 (so while English 1,000,000 is simply "a million," this putative language
              > would require "uffmeookmeookmeookmeookmeookme" [and the number would be
              > 15625 base 10]).
              >
              > (Another alternative: "me" by itself means "0", and 5 = "uffme." So
              > 1,000,000[5] = uffmemememememe.)
              >
              > *Are* there any languages that have the same term for all place holders?
              >
              > -- Paul
              >
            • Paul Kershaw
              ... I ll try to explain again. :) By my understanding, basic Japanese numbers (that is, not considering the complexities based on what s being counted) is
              Message 6 of 22 , Mar 2, 2009
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                ----- Original Message ----
                > From: Eugene Oh <un.doing@...>
                > To: CONLANG@...
                > Sent: Monday, March 2, 2009 2:02:31 PM
                > Subject: Re: I need help creating my conlang
                >
                > I didn't quite get that -- do you mean, using "me" in place of all the
                > various words for "thousand", "hundred" etc.?
                >
                > And is it just me or is "chamechamecha" just a really funny word?
                >
                > Eugene

                I'll try to explain again. :) By my understanding, basic Japanese numbers (that is, not considering the complexities based on what's being counted) is numeral + place for each place, so 432 would be, basically, "four hundreds, three tens, and two." My putative thrown-out-there number system would use "me" to mark a number place, with the same word for each place, so 432 would be, basically, "four ME three ME two" -- in other words, "me" would indicate a shift downward, and the only way to know how many digits the final number will have is to wait until the entire number has been read. Thinking about it somemore, it seems like it would be more natural to do it in reverse: 432 would be 2 ME 3 ME 4 (cognitively: two, then times 5: three, then times 5 again: four).

                As words go, chamechamecha has a wonderfully silly mouthfeel. :)

                -- Paul
              • Garth Wallace
                ... Isn t that what they yell on Dragonball Z when they throw fireballs?
                Message 7 of 22 , Mar 2, 2009
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                  On Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 11:02 AM, Eugene Oh <un.doing@...> wrote:
                  > I didn't quite get that -- do you mean, using "me" in place of all the
                  > various words for "thousand", "hundred" etc.?
                  >
                  > And is it just me or is "chamechamecha" just a really funny word?

                  Isn't that what they yell on Dragonball Z when they throw fireballs?
                • Sai Emrys
                  On Sun, Mar 1, 2009 at 11:35 AM, Bruno Barcelos ... This is a mailing list. You can do anything here than you can by email (except file attachments). That
                  Message 8 of 22 , Mar 2, 2009
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                    On Sun, Mar 1, 2009 at 11:35 AM, Bruno Barcelos
                    <bruno.barcelos.alves@...> wrote:
                    > I created a site for it which has some words and such and also explains how
                    > you can help, but I don't know if I can post site adresses here.

                    This is a mailing list. You can do anything here than you can by email
                    (except file attachments).

                    That includes links to whatever.

                    > Here's what I need for now:

                    IMHO as someone who's taught two classes about how to create a
                    language: that's not really what you need.

                    #1: Decide why you want to make a language, and what kind of language
                    you want it to be.

                    There are LOTS of different things people intend, and they result in
                    different languages.

                    #2: Go through a systematic bootstrapping. Start with phonetic
                    inventory - then phonology, phonotactics, word stem creation,
                    morphology, full word creation, syntax, etc.

                    I strongly recommend you read (in order):
                    * http://www.zompist.com/kit.html
                    * http://www.angelfire.com/scifi2/nyh/how__all.html
                    * http://www.nkuitse.com/conlang/glosses/howto.html
                    * a college-level intro linguistics textbook (e.g. Language Files is
                    pretty decent and common)
                    * Describing Morphosyntax by Thomas Payne


                    You've got the initial spark, which is great, but you appear to as yet
                    be totally naïve about the process and linguistics behind making a
                    language.

                    You'll find that as you learn more, you will both be better able to
                    express what you want, and have inspiration for much more
                    sophisticated & deep kinds of things you will want to do.

                    Making a language is a very, very different project than merely making words.

                    You have inspiration to do this. You just need to learn how to put it
                    into practice, just like everyone else here did at some point in their
                    conlanging career.


                    Also, please understand that you are emailing a list of thousands of
                    people who, for the most part, make their OWN languages. We discuss
                    our own work and each others', exchange ideas and linguistic help, and
                    occasionally even work on collaborative projects (like Kalusa), but
                    for the most part, YOU YOURSELF have to do 99.99% of the work
                    involved. We're here to support each other, not to do each others'
                    work.

                    You can think of it somewhat like a forum for artists or engineers.
                    It's very helpful to have feedback on ideas, learn new things, have
                    your work appreciated and appreciate others'... but you're the one who
                    has to make stuff if you want stuff made. :-P

                    (Unless, of course, you're paying someone for their services... but
                    that's extremely rare)

                    - Sai
                  • Herman Miller
                    ... I like the analogy to bootstrapping. It s easy to create a simple sketch of a language without going into all the tedious details. Then you start doing
                    Message 9 of 22 , Mar 2, 2009
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                      Sai Emrys wrote:

                      > #1: Decide why you want to make a language, and what kind of language
                      > you want it to be.
                      >
                      > There are LOTS of different things people intend, and they result in
                      > different languages.
                      >
                      > #2: Go through a systematic bootstrapping. Start with phonetic
                      > inventory - then phonology, phonotactics, word stem creation,
                      > morphology, full word creation, syntax, etc.

                      I like the analogy to bootstrapping. It's easy to create a simple sketch
                      of a language without going into all the tedious details. Then you start
                      doing translations and find out what's missing.

                      It definitely helps to have a good idea of the sound patterns of the
                      language before you get too far into word-building. The later you make
                      those decisions, the more work you might potentially have to revise or
                      at least review.

                      Another thing to keep in mind if you want to design a naturalistic
                      language is that many of the rules and word forms in a language at any
                      given point in time are the natural outcomes of historical processes
                      applied to earlier forms of a language. You don't need to start out with
                      a history for every word and every sound in the language, but it helps
                      to have an idea of how certain features come about.
                    • Sai Emrys
                      ... FWIW: I don t mean to imply that this is the only way to go about it, just that it is the one I would most recommend to a novice who wants to create
                      Message 10 of 22 , Mar 2, 2009
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                        On Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 7:10 PM, Herman Miller <hmiller@...> wrote:
                        > I like the analogy to bootstrapping. It's easy to create a simple sketch of
                        > a language without going into all the tedious details. Then you start doing
                        > translations and find out what's missing.

                        FWIW: I don't mean to imply that this is the only way to go about it,
                        just that it is the one I would most recommend to a novice who wants
                        to create something that approaches being a real language rather than
                        merely a jargon.

                        There are certainly other approaches. I for instance tend to spend a
                        lot of time on meta constraints and then work that top-down in an
                        abstract way ( before then proceeding again bottom-up within those
                        constraints. This however is a definite sign of my being an
                        engelanger, and IMHO is an advanced technique that can only really be
                        done by someone already familiar with the necessary linguistics and
                        who has some decent idea of the range of possibilities to use as
                        tools. A conlang-naïve linguist could probably do it, but not someone
                        who knows neither.

                        The standard approach does this too, but only very briefly (in the
                        'purpose' stage), eg by vaguely sketching the conculture involved or
                        the aesthetic / feel one wants and keeping that in mind during the
                        bootstrapping.

                        Also, mind that this is only a broad sort of structure. IRL it
                        definitely is a matter of many, many passes of going back and changing
                        things that you only just learned / realized / whatever and so on;
                        it's an organic iterative process.

                        But you have to start somewhere, and this order gives a pretty good
                        way to do it.

                        - Sai
                      • Peter Bleackley
                        ... My tip is to read up about other people s conlangs. Take a look at Kelen http://www.terjemar.net/kelen.php Check out Teonaht
                        Message 11 of 22 , Mar 3, 2009
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                          staving Bruno Barcelos:
                          >Thanks you all for posting...
                          >Let me tell you all something:
                          >Montreal is supposed to be kind of a code of english... I know that would be
                          >boring, so I want to have some things which are different, like the verbs
                          >don't change depending on the pronoun, like
                          >
                          >I am - Et ik
                          >He is - Ni ik
                          >
                          >and the verbs which end in consonant have two ways of writing in the past:
                          >
                          >I was - Et ike or Et ikke
                          >
                          >Also I intend to create (with suggestions) a counting system not based on a
                          >well-known language...
                          >
                          >Those things are there to make the language sound more natural...

                          My tip is to read up about other people's conlangs. Take a look at Kelen
                          http://www.terjemar.net/kelen.php
                          Check out Teonaht
                          http://www.frontiernet.net/~scaves/contents.html
                          Read around David Peterson's languages
                          http://dedalvs.free.fr/
                          and of course, Tolkien's
                          http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/
                          If you're really desperate, you might even want
                          to take a quick glance at Khangaþyagon
                          http://wiki.frath.net/Khanga%c3%beyagon
                          It's a bit naive in places, but other people have
                          found some of its features interesting.
                          Also look at some Translation Relays to see
                          samples of large numbers of conlangs in action.
                          Once you've read around a bit, you'll suddenly find you have a lot more ideas.

                          Pete
                        • Herman Miller
                          ... True -- one of the last things I did to Jarda was to add the phoneme /ɲ/ (or /J/ for those who prefer X-SAMPA), and even now I still make revisions to
                          Message 12 of 22 , Mar 3, 2009
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                            Sai Emrys wrote:

                            > Also, mind that this is only a broad sort of structure. IRL it
                            > definitely is a matter of many, many passes of going back and changing
                            > things that you only just learned / realized / whatever and so on;
                            > it's an organic iterative process.

                            True -- one of the last things I did to Jarda was to add the phoneme /ɲ/
                            (or /J/ for those who prefer X-SAMPA), and even now I still make
                            revisions to Minza phonology. I undid the ğ/j merger recently because I
                            preferred how it was before -- but it was a mess to undo. But from my
                            experience with Tirelat and Minza, I wouldn't recommend massive changes
                            in phonology -- my next language might make minor changes here or there
                            but I'll try to get things like the sound inventory and the stress
                            system nailed down fairly early on.
                          • Israel Noletto
                            A new Brazilian fellow, bem-vindo! (welcome!) Want help, right? Nothing will please you more than conlanging yourself. Besides all the excellent websites our
                            Message 13 of 22 , Mar 4, 2009
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                              A new Brazilian fellow, bem-vindo! (welcome!) Want help, right? Nothing will
                              please you more than conlanging yourself. Besides all the excellent websites
                              our fellows have already recommended, I'd like to suggest you read the
                              following books as they may give you lots and lots of new and interesting
                              ideas about different languages, language change and conlanging, they still
                              help me a lot.

                              Historical Linguistics by Lyle Campbell
                              http://www.livrariacultura.com.br/scripts/cultura/resenha/resenha.asp?
                              nitem=786777&sid=98220823211212432554465225&k5=89D6E8E&uid=

                              The Search for the Perfect Language by Umberto Eco
                              http://www.livrariacultura.com.br/scripts/cultura/resenha/resenha.asp?
                              nitem=216016&sid=98220823211212432554465225&k5=17D65148&uid=

                              Línguas do Mundo by Charles Berlitz
                              http://www.livrariacultura.com.br/scripts/cultura/resenha/resenha.asp?
                              nitem=56279&sid=98220823211212432554465225&k5=2A2F71FA&uid=

                              Grammar of Modern Indo-European: Language & Culture, Writing System &
                              Phonology, Morphology and Syntax by Carlos Quiles
                              http://www.amazon.com/Grammar-Modern-Indo-European-Phonology-
                              Morphology/dp/8461176391/ref=pd_bbs_5?
                              ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236173883&sr=8-5



                              cheers,

                              Israel Noletto
                            • Bruno Barcelos
                              Some corrections: a (from a nice day ) is Ki (same as number 1), and verb Vuk means actually to thank , verb to love is Ahkt , so the sentence is: Keo
                              Message 14 of 22 , Apr 13, 2009
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                                Some corrections: "a" (from "a nice day") is "Ki" (same as number 1), and
                                verb "Vuk" means actually "to thank", verb to love is "Ahkt", so the
                                sentence is:

                                Keo ik ki kire keo (too many "K"s) miset Et ahkt sti

                                see ya...

                                mail me:: montreal.conlang@...
                              • Linvi Charles
                                what?
                                Message 15 of 22 , Apr 13, 2009
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                                  what?
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