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Recommendations for Conlang Software

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  • Raanan Robertson
    Does anyone have any recommendations for software programs (or websites) they ve used that are particularly helpful for constructing languages? (Apologies if
    Message 1 of 15 , Aug 24, 2014
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      Does anyone have any recommendations for software programs (or websites)
      they've used that are particularly helpful for constructing languages?
      (Apologies if I'm repeating a past thread, I'm sure I must be.)

      I imagine features like easy searchability (at the phonemic, phonological,
      morphemic, and lexical level), extensive categorization notation, and
      friendly visual interfaces that make categories and distributions more
      understandable. Maybe there are preexisting programs from transcribing
      natlang grammars, dictionaries, etc.?

      Thanks!
      ~Raanan
    • Mechthild Czapp
      To be honest: Everything I do in terms of conlang, I do with only a text editor. Fsor it feels that using dedicated software stifles my creativity.
      Message 2 of 15 , Aug 25, 2014
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        To be honest: Everything I do in terms of conlang, I do with only a text editor. Fsor it feels that using dedicated software stifles my creativity.


        Am Aug 25, 2014 um 01:13 schrieb Raanan Robertson <lanimilbus@...>:

        > Does anyone have any recommendations for software programs (or websites)
        > they've used that are particularly helpful for constructing languages?
        > (Apologies if I'm repeating a past thread, I'm sure I must be.)
        >
        > I imagine features like easy searchability (at the phonemic, phonological,
        > morphemic, and lexical level), extensive categorization notation, and
        > friendly visual interfaces that make categories and distributions more
        > understandable. Maybe there are preexisting programs from transcribing
        > natlang grammars, dictionaries, etc.?
        >
        > Thanks!
        > ~Raanan
      • Jörg Rhiemeier
        Hallo conlangers! ... I also use just a text editor. My conlangs live in HTML files. Simple, and unlikely to become unreadable in the foreseeable future. I
        Message 3 of 15 , Aug 25, 2014
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          Hallo conlangers!

          On 25.08.2014 16:25, Mechthild Czapp wrote:

          > To be honest: Everything I do in terms of conlang, I do with only a text editor. Fsor it feels that using dedicated software stifles my creativity.
          >
          I also use just a text editor. My conlangs live in HTML files. Simple, and
          unlikely to become unreadable in the foreseeable future. I have heard of other
          conlangers losing their lexicon because it was stored in a database format that
          no current software supports any more. I have also heard of conlangers losing
          their lexicon because the database it was stored in got corrupted.

          --
          ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
          http://www.joerg-rhiemeier.de/Conlang/index.html
          "Bêsel asa Éam, a Éam atha cvanthal a cvanth atha Éamal." - SiM 1:1
        • Pete Bleackley
          Remember the Fall of Langmaker. Pete Bleackley The Fantastical Devices of Pete The Mad Scientist - http://fantasticaldevices.blogspot.com ... From: Jörg
          Message 4 of 15 , Aug 25, 2014
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            Remember the Fall of Langmaker.

            Pete Bleackley
            The Fantastical Devices of Pete The Mad Scientist - http://fantasticaldevices.blogspot.com

            -----Original Message-----
            From: "Jörg Rhiemeier" <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
            To: CONLANG@...
            Sent: Mon, 25 Aug 2014 15:30
            Subject: Re: Recommendations for Conlang Software

            Hallo conlangers!

            On 25.08.2014 16:25, Mechthild Czapp wrote:

            > To be honest: Everything I do in terms of conlang, I do with only a text editor. Fsor it feels that using dedicated software stifles my creativity.
            >
            I also use just a text editor. My conlangs live in HTML files. Simple, and
            unlikely to become unreadable in the foreseeable future. I have heard of other
            conlangers losing their lexicon because it was stored in a database format that
            no current software supports any more. I have also heard of conlangers losing
            their lexicon because the database it was stored in got corrupted.

            --
            ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
            http://www.joerg-rhiemeier.de/Conlang/index.html
            "Bêsel asa Éam, a Éam atha cvanthal a cvanth atha Éamal." - SiM 1:1
          • Daniel Bowman
            ... I think langmaker ate some early Angosey, come to think of it. I have an incredible python-based hack that reads and writes to a series of text files.
            Message 5 of 15 , Aug 25, 2014
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              2014-08-25 10:32 GMT-04:00 Pete Bleackley <pete.bleackley@...>:

              > Remember the Fall of Langmaker.
              >

              I think langmaker ate some early Angosey, come to think of it. I have an
              incredible python-based hack that reads and writes to a series of text
              files. It's a 'just good enough,' but it works for me. That being said, I
              was excited about this site because it would be nice to be able to pull up
              vocab on my phone, for example.
            • Adam Walker
              That s why I always, always keep an up to date hard copy. At least then I can retype the whole thing if need be. I recently lost an entire thumb drive of
              Message 6 of 15 , Aug 25, 2014
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                That's why I always, always keep an up to date hard copy. At least then I
                can retype the whole thing if need be. I recently lost an entire thumb
                drive of documents and files when somehow ... well I think the directory
                got scrambled or something. I can see that the various files and folders
                exist, but none of them will open because they are "not found" when you
                click on them. Most of what's on that stick exists on other sticks, but
                there are some files I'm having to reconstruct, including some language
                files. All my most current info on Tvern El is on that stick, and several
                critiques of the first draft of my novel. But I have most of that in hard
                copy so I can reconstruct as time permits.

                Adam


                On Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 9:30 AM, Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
                wrote:

                > Hallo conlangers!
                >
                >
                > On 25.08.2014 16:25, Mechthild Czapp wrote:
                >
                > To be honest: Everything I do in terms of conlang, I do with only a text
                >> editor. Fsor it feels that using dedicated software stifles my creativity.
                >>
                >> I also use just a text editor. My conlangs live in HTML files. Simple,
                > and
                > unlikely to become unreadable in the foreseeable future. I have heard of
                > other
                > conlangers losing their lexicon because it was stored in a database format
                > that
                > no current software supports any more. I have also heard of conlangers
                > losing
                > their lexicon because the database it was stored in got corrupted.
                >
                > --
                > ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
                > http://www.joerg-rhiemeier.de/Conlang/index.html
                > "Bêsel asa Éam, a Éam atha cvanthal a cvanth atha Éamal." - SiM 1:1
                >
              • Dustinger Batailleur
                I mainly just use Google Drive. Accessible anywhere with an internet connection, and very unlikely to be lost since Google is such a major firm.
                Message 7 of 15 , Aug 25, 2014
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                  I mainly just use Google Drive. Accessible anywhere with an internet
                  connection, and very unlikely to be lost since Google is such a major firm.


                  On 25 August 2014 10:38, Adam Walker <carraxan@...> wrote:

                  > That's why I always, always keep an up to date hard copy. At least then I
                  > can retype the whole thing if need be. I recently lost an entire thumb
                  > drive of documents and files when somehow ... well I think the directory
                  > got scrambled or something. I can see that the various files and folders
                  > exist, but none of them will open because they are "not found" when you
                  > click on them. Most of what's on that stick exists on other sticks, but
                  > there are some files I'm having to reconstruct, including some language
                  > files. All my most current info on Tvern El is on that stick, and several
                  > critiques of the first draft of my novel. But I have most of that in hard
                  > copy so I can reconstruct as time permits.
                  >
                  > Adam
                  >
                  >
                  > On Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 9:30 AM, Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
                  > wrote:
                  >
                  > > Hallo conlangers!
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > On 25.08.2014 16:25, Mechthild Czapp wrote:
                  > >
                  > > To be honest: Everything I do in terms of conlang, I do with only a text
                  > >> editor. Fsor it feels that using dedicated software stifles my
                  > creativity.
                  > >>
                  > >> I also use just a text editor. My conlangs live in HTML files.
                  > Simple,
                  > > and
                  > > unlikely to become unreadable in the foreseeable future. I have heard of
                  > > other
                  > > conlangers losing their lexicon because it was stored in a database
                  > format
                  > > that
                  > > no current software supports any more. I have also heard of conlangers
                  > > losing
                  > > their lexicon because the database it was stored in got corrupted.
                  > >
                  > > --
                  > > ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
                  > > http://www.joerg-rhiemeier.de/Conlang/index.html
                  > > "Bêsel asa Éam, a Éam atha cvanthal a cvanth atha Éamal." - SiM 1:1
                  > >
                  >
                • Daniel Bowman
                  ... Can you search your dictionary with methods more sophisticated than Control+F on Google drive?
                  Message 8 of 15 , Aug 25, 2014
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                    2014-08-25 10:42 GMT-04:00 Dustinger Batailleur <dustfinger42@...>:

                    > I mainly just use Google Drive. Accessible anywhere with an internet
                    > connection, and very unlikely to be lost since Google is such a major firm.
                    >
                    >
                    Can you search your dictionary with methods more sophisticated than
                    Control+F on Google drive?
                  • Dustinger Batailleur
                    Not really, but it does seem to do the trick for me.
                    Message 9 of 15 , Aug 25, 2014
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                      Not really, but it does seem to do the trick for me.


                      On 25 August 2014 10:43, Daniel Bowman <danny.c.bowman@...> wrote:

                      > 2014-08-25 10:42 GMT-04:00 Dustinger Batailleur <dustfinger42@...>:
                      >
                      > > I mainly just use Google Drive. Accessible anywhere with an internet
                      > > connection, and very unlikely to be lost since Google is such a major
                      > firm.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > Can you search your dictionary with methods more sophisticated than
                      > Control+F on Google drive?
                      >
                    • Tony Harris
                      I actually do something similar, and am in the process of changing what I do. What I used to do: 1. New words accumulate on scraps of paper or in the notepad
                      Message 10 of 15 , Aug 25, 2014
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                        I actually do something similar, and am in the process of changing what
                        I do.

                        What I used to do:
                        1. New words accumulate on scraps of paper or in the notepad application
                        on my phone or mini-tablet, or wherever is handy.
                        2. Periodically I collate and transfer those into the 3"x5" spiral bound
                        notebooks that are the official authoritative sources for the Alurhsa
                        vocabulary.
                        3. The notebooks are used to update a spreadsheet, once kept in
                        Microsoft Access, then in Microsoft Excel, but most recently in
                        LibreOffice Calc.
                        4. A Perl script extracts the data from the spreadsheet and update a
                        MySQL database.
                        5. Additional Perl scripts produce searchable files, files for making
                        WordMate and StarDict formatted dictionaries, and printable dictionaries
                        in RTF format for import to LibreOffice Writer or Word.

                        What I now do:
                        1. New words still accumulate on scraps of paper or in the notepad
                        application on my phone or mini-tablet, or wherever is handy.
                        2. Periodically I still collate and transfer those into the 3"x5" spiral
                        bound notebooks that are the official authoritative sources for the
                        Alurhsa vocabulary.
                        3. The notebooks are used to update a formatted text file that gives me
                        a great deal of flexibility, including letting me put in word
                        definitions in more than just English (should I ever decide to produce
                        the comprehensive Esperanto-Alurhsa/Alurhsa-Esperanto dictionary, for
                        example).
                        4. A Python script uses the text file to populate a MongoDB collection.
                        5. Additional Python scripts produce searchable files, files for making
                        WordMate and StarDict formatted dictionaries.
                        6. Ultimately, another Python script will produce a LaTeX file which can
                        then be used to make PDF and printed dictionaries with much better
                        typesetting.

                        As for pulling up vocabulary on your phone, I highly recommend WordMate,
                        although GoldenDict isn't terrible either. Both can take StarDict
                        formatted files, although WordMate is happier with its own format. I
                        just gravitate towards StarDict because a) it's not a proprietary
                        format, and b) I can produce it on my Linux box without having to spin
                        up a Windows VM just to run WordMate's conversion utility. But,
                        WordMate is, in my opinion, a far nicer interface, so I stick with that
                        as the mobile app.

                        On the desktop, I'm old fashioned enough that I just produce a nicely
                        searchable text file, and run grep against it.


                        On 08/25/2014 10:37 AM, Daniel Bowman wrote:
                        > 2014-08-25 10:32 GMT-04:00 Pete Bleackley <pete.bleackley@...>:
                        >
                        >> Remember the Fall of Langmaker.
                        >>
                        > I think langmaker ate some early Angosey, come to think of it. I have an
                        > incredible python-based hack that reads and writes to a series of text
                        > files. It's a 'just good enough,' but it works for me. That being said, I
                        > was excited about this site because it would be nice to be able to pull up
                        > vocab on my phone, for example.
                      • Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
                        Personally I use Toolbox for the dictionary. The database is just a text file with some markers, so I back it up via Github. git being a decentralised version
                        Message 11 of 15 , Aug 25, 2014
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                          Personally I use Toolbox for the dictionary. The database is just a text
                          file with some markers, so I back it up via Github. git being a
                          decentralised version system, I have full synchronised copies of the
                          repository on Github itself, two computers and my smartphone. Nothing short
                          of a nuclear war would make me lose my work.

                          For the grammar, at the moment most of it is on my Blogpost blog, without
                          back-up. I'm thinking of how to set one up...
                          --
                          Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
                          President of the Language Creation Society (http://conlang.org/)

                          Personal Website: http://christophoronomicon.blogspot.com/
                          Personal Tumblr: http://christophoronomicon.tumblr.com/
                        • Jeffrey Brown
                          Mostly I use Word and Excel (for the lexicon). And many many pages of paper and pencil during the early stages, as well as occasionally a fine calligraphy pen
                          Message 12 of 15 , Aug 25, 2014
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                            Mostly I use Word and Excel (for the lexicon). And many many pages of paper
                            and pencil during the early stages, as well as occasionally a fine
                            calligraphy pen and india ink. I am sure there are more sophisticated tools
                            but I would rather spend my spare time with languages than with software.
                            Everything is backed up both on USB sticks and onto the cloud. If it all
                            disappears, such is the destiny of all that mortals produce...



                            On Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 7:57 AM, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <
                            tsela.cg@...> wrote:

                            > Personally I use Toolbox for the dictionary. The database is just a text
                            > file with some markers, so I back it up via Github. git being a
                            > decentralised version system, I have full synchronised copies of the
                            > repository on Github itself, two computers and my smartphone. Nothing short
                            > of a nuclear war would make me lose my work.
                            >
                            > For the grammar, at the moment most of it is on my Blogpost blog, without
                            > back-up. I'm thinking of how to set one up...
                            > --
                            > Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
                            > President of the Language Creation Society (http://conlang.org/)
                            >
                            > Personal Website: http://christophoronomicon.blogspot.com/
                            > Personal Tumblr: http://christophoronomicon.tumblr.com/
                            >
                          • Tony Harris
                            Forgot to mention my own grammar. That s just a LibreOffice document at this point, although some elements of it are in hypertext format on my very, very out
                            Message 13 of 15 , Aug 25, 2014
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                              Forgot to mention my own grammar. That's just a LibreOffice document at
                              this point, although some elements of it are in hypertext format on my
                              very, very out of date website. I might consider typesetting it using
                              LaTeX, and will certainly update the website (been saying that for
                              years... someday it'll actually happen!). But I think I won't ever move
                              to a fully Wiki/Hypertext/Online model for it, as I rather like the idea
                              of the grammar book format, even if it's done as an ePub or a PDF.

                              For other stuff, that's mostly original and translated texts done either
                              by hand, or in LibreOffice Writer. The Alurhsa font was done by Britton
                              Watkins using Fontographer on a Mac. I've looked into using FontForge,
                              but there's quite a learning curve for me as I'm not a font designer by
                              trade.

                              On 08/25/2014 10:57 AM, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets wrote:
                              > Personally I use Toolbox for the dictionary. The database is just a text
                              > file with some markers, so I back it up via Github. git being a
                              > decentralised version system, I have full synchronised copies of the
                              > repository on Github itself, two computers and my smartphone. Nothing short
                              > of a nuclear war would make me lose my work.
                              >
                              > For the grammar, at the moment most of it is on my Blogpost blog, without
                              > back-up. I'm thinking of how to set one up...
                            • Emanuelo Arbaro
                              I use two wikis: Idéopédia for the grammar and Idéolexique for the vocabulary (both in French). But I am learning XML to make my own searchable dictionary
                              Message 14 of 15 , Aug 25, 2014
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                                I use two wikis: Idéopédia for the grammar and Idéolexique for the
                                vocabulary (both in French). But I am learning XML to make my own
                                searchable dictionary (Gelota - French - English - Esperanto). I'll create
                                a PDF grammar when Gelota'll be in its 1.0 version ^^.

                                Like others, I think that use a software is dangerous and limits the
                                creativity.


                                2014-08-25 17:05 GMT+02:00 Tony Harris <tony@...>:

                                > Forgot to mention my own grammar. That's just a LibreOffice document at
                                > this point, although some elements of it are in hypertext format on my
                                > very, very out of date website. I might consider typesetting it using
                                > LaTeX, and will certainly update the website (been saying that for years...
                                > someday it'll actually happen!). But I think I won't ever move to a fully
                                > Wiki/Hypertext/Online model for it, as I rather like the idea of the
                                > grammar book format, even if it's done as an ePub or a PDF.
                                >
                                > For other stuff, that's mostly original and translated texts done either
                                > by hand, or in LibreOffice Writer. The Alurhsa font was done by Britton
                                > Watkins using Fontographer on a Mac. I've looked into using FontForge, but
                                > there's quite a learning curve for me as I'm not a font designer by trade.
                                >
                                >
                                > On 08/25/2014 10:57 AM, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets wrote:
                                >
                                >> Personally I use Toolbox for the dictionary. The database is just a text
                                >> file with some markers, so I back it up via Github. git being a
                                >> decentralised version system, I have full synchronised copies of the
                                >> repository on Github itself, two computers and my smartphone. Nothing
                                >> short
                                >> of a nuclear war would make me lose my work.
                                >>
                                >> For the grammar, at the moment most of it is on my Blogpost blog, without
                                >> back-up. I'm thinking of how to set one up...
                                >>
                                >
                              • Pete Bleackley
                                Whosoever would write software for conlanging, let him* first read my blog post on NOSQL for Conlangers
                                Message 15 of 15 , Aug 25, 2014
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                                  Whosoever would write software for conlanging, let him* first read my blog post on NOSQL for Conlangers http://fantasticaldevices.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/nosql-for-conlangers.html

                                  *Pronoun chosen on stylistic grounds. Substitute as applicable.

                                  Pete Bleackley
                                  The Fantastical Devices of Pete The Mad Scientist - http://fantasticaldevices.blogspot.com

                                  -----Original Message-----
                                  From: Emanuelo Arbaro <emanuelo.arbaro@...>
                                  To: CONLANG@...
                                  Sent: Mon, 25 Aug 2014 16:28
                                  Subject: Re: Recommendations for Conlang Software

                                  I use two wikis: Idéopédia for the grammar and Idéolexique for the
                                  vocabulary (both in French). But I am learning XML to make my own
                                  searchable dictionary (Gelota - French - English - Esperanto). I'll create
                                  a PDF grammar when Gelota'll be in its 1.0 version ^^.

                                  Like others, I think that use a software is dangerous and limits the
                                  creativity.


                                  2014-08-25 17:05 GMT+02:00 Tony Harris <tony@...>:

                                  > Forgot to mention my own grammar. That's just a LibreOffice document at
                                  > this point, although some elements of it are in hypertext format on my
                                  > very, very out of date website. I might consider typesetting it using
                                  > LaTeX, and will certainly update the website (been saying that for years...
                                  > someday it'll actually happen!). But I think I won't ever move to a fully
                                  > Wiki/Hypertext/Online model for it, as I rather like the idea of the
                                  > grammar book format, even if it's done as an ePub or a PDF.
                                  >
                                  > For other stuff, that's mostly original and translated texts done either
                                  > by hand, or in LibreOffice Writer. The Alurhsa font was done by Britton
                                  > Watkins using Fontographer on a Mac. I've looked into using FontForge, but
                                  > there's quite a learning curve for me as I'm not a font designer by trade.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > On 08/25/2014 10:57 AM, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets wrote:
                                  >
                                  >> Personally I use Toolbox for the dictionary. The database is just a text
                                  >> file with some markers, so I back it up via Github. git being a
                                  >> decentralised version system, I have full synchronised copies of the
                                  >> repository on Github itself, two computers and my smartphone. Nothing
                                  >> short
                                  >> of a nuclear war would make me lose my work.
                                  >>
                                  >> For the grammar, at the moment most of it is on my Blogpost blog, without
                                  >> back-up. I'm thinking of how to set one up...
                                  >>
                                  >
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