Archive for the ‘resources’ Category

Afrihili: An African Interlanguage

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

By day, William S. Annis is a mild-mannered Unix system administrator. By night (and most weekends) he is, by turns, a not
very mild-mannered banjo player, a hobbyist language creator, a paid language creator, a reader of science fiction novels and linguistics papers, a terrible gardener, and an ok cook. He is one of the hosts of the Conlangery Podcast. He lives in
Madison, Wisconsin.

Abstract

Historically, the creation of IALs has been a European preoccupation. Afrihili is an African zonal IAL created by Ghanaian civil engineer K. A. Kumi Attobrah in the late 1960s. After a brief discussion of Afrihili’s relationship to Pan-Africanism, I move on to a survey description of the language based on the single published description of the language, Ni Afrihili Oluga. I identify the source languages for vocabulary and particular constructions where I have been able to locate them.

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Down with Morphemes: The Pitfalls of Concatenative Morphology

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

David J. Peterson received a BA in English and Linguistics from UC Berkeley in 2003 and an MA in Linguistics from UC San Diego in 2005. He created the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for HBO’s Game of Thrones, the Castithan, Irathient and Indojisnen languages for Syfy’s Defiance, the Sondiv language for the CW’s Star-Crossed, the Lishepus language for Syfy’s Dominion, and the Shiväisith language for Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World. He’s been creating languages since 2000.

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between an adherence to the main tenets of concatenative theories of morphology and the creation of less than realistic languages. The paper was written in 2009 and is based in part on the LCC1 talk “Down with Morphemes! What Word and Paradigm Morphology Can Teach Us about Language Creation”.

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Down with Morphemes: The Pitfalls of Concatenative Morphology

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

David J. Peterson received a BA in English and Linguistics from UC Berkeley in 2003 and an MA in Linguistics from UC San Diego in 2005. He created the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for HBO’s Game of Thrones, the Castithan, Irathient and Indojisnen languages for Syfy’s Defiance, the Sondiv language for the CW’s Star-Crossed, the Lishepus language for Syfy’s Dominion, and the Shiväisith language for Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World. He’s been creating languages since 2000.

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between an adherence to the main tenets of concatenative theories of morphology and the creation of less than realistic languages. The paper was written in 2009 and is based in part on the LCC1 talk “Down with Morphemes! What Word and Paradigm Morphology Can Teach Us about Language Creation”.

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Comprehensive Illustrated Pakuni Dictionary

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Thomas Alexander has been interested in languages since his youth. He has a minor in German, spoke Esperanto as a home language for a number of years, and has dabbled in well over a dozen other languages. His conlanging interest is primarily in historical auxlangs, including Volapük and the Zamenhof reform Esperanto of 1894, but with fond memories of Saturday morning television, he also enjoys Pakuni from Land of the Lost.

Abstract

Pakuni was developed by the late Victoria Fromkin and was used in the 1970′s TV program Land of The Lost by Sid and Marty Kroft. A complete description of the language as used in the show has never been published, and a lot of the information on the internet included errors or words that were made up by fans later and were not part of the original conlang. This dictionary is the result of putting together the word lists that had been compiled or published previously and compared to a corpus of carefully transcribed examples of Pakuni from the show. The dictionary includes examples of how the words were used in the show and/or what episode the words were used from.

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Sodna-lɛni: The Language of Motion

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Sylvia Sotomayor has been conlanging since she read Tolkien at an impressionable age. She is best known for the Kēlen language, which won a Smiley Award in 2009. She is currently the Treasurer of the Language Creation Society, and keeps the membership rolls and the LCS Lending Library.

Abstract

This is the grammar of the language Sodna-Leni: a new language, conceived and born in December 2012. While most languages feature an open class of verbs, Sodna-Leni has a fixed set of verbs whose primary semantics are motion-based. Consequently, all action in Sodna-Leni is described in terms of motion.

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2013: The Year in Conlanging

Friday, December 27th, 2013

This past year had some great conlanging activity. Here’s a round-up of some of the highlights:

Have I missed one? (Undoubtedly.) Feel free to add a comment to this post!

Happy conlanging in 2014!

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Peter Jackson

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

(Yes, I know it’s been a year since I posted anything here. Tempus fugit!)

desolation: devasation; ruin.

I had the experience of finally getting around to going to the theater recently and seeing (HFR 3D again) Peter Jackson’s most recent installment of The Hobbit epic, The Desolation of Smaug. I posted a review of the first film back on December 16, 2012. First, as stated in that year-old review:

SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!

You have been warned…

In re-reading that same review, I’m reconsidering a few statements made in 2012:

  • I’m planning on seeing the next two without question. I may be re-considering this, although I will (in the end) most likely see There and Back Again next year.
  • There were some parts that dragged on too long (more on that below) and some superfluous material,… My word, this year this goes double.
  • but, overall, it kept my attention, …snooore…Oh, I’m sorry, nodded off there…uh, yeah, not so much this year.

Okay, so that being said, what did I like in The Desolation of Smaug. This won’t be a long list:

  • Legolas: His presence in the movie was fine. After all, the Elvenking is his father; Legolas is a prince of the Woodland Realm. I’ll get into misgivings about Legolas below.
  • Tauriel: Believe it or not I was okay with Jackson’s made-up character. She conveyed the difference between the ruling Sindarin family and the Silvan Elf population quite nicely.
  • The Spiders: The evil insects and Bilbo’s initial encounter were spot on. I found it interesting that Bilbo could only understand the spider’s language after he put on the Ring.
  • Laketown: The town itself was an Alan Lee/John Howe art-piece come to life.
  • Bilbo’s initial encounter with Smaug: The first few minutes were great.
  • Languages: As usual, I enjoyed hearing faux Tolkien languages (or maybe neo-Tolkien languages) used on screen. For some misgivings, see below.
  • Bard: The Lake-man actually comes off alright, but once again a little too much Jackson-inspired backstory.

And that’s about it. It will say that it was nice to see Beorn represented (What was up with the eyebrows??), but he was introduced so suddenly and then exited so suddenly, he seemed far too superfluous. Undoubtedly, he is just being set up for an appearance at the Battle of Five Armies. By that time, many will simply say, “Where did this bear-guy come from?”

Unfortunately, and I say this as one who was hoping for the best, the movie was somewhat forgettable. I just saw it a few days ago, and even now it just collapses into a senseless, 2-hour-40-minute action sequence. I’ve read some reviews that tout this as a ripping, adventure-packed follow-up, and, yes, it is “adventure-packed” but the film rarely stops to take a breath. The characters are running and running and running some more. Quick scene, then back to the running.

Let me address some of those misgivings mentioned above. The barrel-riding sequence seemed interminable! Having the dwarves ride in open barrels was the first faux pas in my opinion. Rhett Allain over at Wired has written a great piece about the issues with standing up in floating barrels. I realize they had to be open to do the whole fighting sequence, but they really shouldn’t have. The dwarves, orcs, and elves action-sequence here went from bad to worse. And Bombur with his spinning arms-poking-out-of-the-barrel move was where I really started to just shake my head and sink further down in my seat.

When the orcs fell through the ceiling of Bard’s house in Laketown, I just started laughing. That was my true WTF moment! It was all just too farcical. The subsequent fight through Laketown by the orcs, then Bard being chased by the Master’s men, then… it was just all too much.

And then we come to the dwarves escapade on the Lonely Mountain. I was with them up for awhile. Even the suspenseful bit with the moon being the “last light” of Durin’s Day worked for me. Thorin’s big old boot saving the key. Nice cinematic touch. Bilbo going down the tunnel, meeting Smaug, the brief interchange between them…. then again… WTF? During the loooooong encounter with Smaug and the dwarves racing around, I kept expecting the score to break into the Benny Hill theme. (aka Yakety Sax). Oh, my, and the whole thing with the forges (I’ll admit it was cool to see the Forges of Erebor lighted up but what came next… shudder). And then trying to drown Smaug in gold??? I realize this was a little homage to Smaug’s epithet as “the Golden” but… really?! That’s how Jackson fits it in? Wired‘s Allain does a great piece about the melting gold, too.

The conlangs? Always nice to hear a well-developed conlang in a film but consider this? Why do Legolas and Tauriel seem to constantly switch back and forth between Sindarin and English (presumably meant to equate to Common Speech/Westron)? If they’re just talking between themselves, why not just speak in their first language? Same way with the orcs. Sometimes they use Black Speech/Orkish, sometimes the Common Speech? Pick one and stick with it! For additional info on the conlangs, check out David Salo’s blog that covers Black Speech, Elvish, Khuzdul, and Orkish.

This movie was such a disappointment. I was ready for Jackson fan-fiction. Even the dwarf-elf “love story” but even taken from a cinematic perspective, there were so many lost opportunities as well as long sequences that did nothing to advance the plot (like Beorn’s segment). Others have pointed out the movie’s shortcomings, including The Top 5 Most Preposterous Scenes in The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit 2 is Bad Fan Fiction, and The 6 Most Pointless Scenes in The Desolation of Smaug so there’s no need to belabor the point. Suffice to say, I’d really like to see the Smaug get stuck by Bard and the Battle of Five Armies (and Gandalf stopping it)… but seeing those scenes through Peter Jackson’s distorted lens may just be too much. I guess we’ll see when Hobbit 3 comes to theaters next year. (Fingers crossed)

Grammar and Lexicon of Okuna

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Matt Pearson is an associate professor of linguistics at Reed College, in Portland, Oregon. He specializes in syntactic theory and cross-linguistic variation, with an emphasis on the structure of Malagasy. He has been creating artlangs, and collecting examples of artlangs from SF/F literature, for many years. While completing his Ph.D. at UCLA, Matt was hired to design the alien “hive” language for the short-lived NBC show Dark Skies, and also did dubbing and dialog coaching for the show.

Abstract

Matt Pearson’s Okuna has long been recognized as one of the premier artistic language created in the modern era. This is the full grammar and lexicon of Okuna presented in one document.

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LoneStarCon 3 Constructed Languages Presentation

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Jeffrey S. Jones was born not in the wagon of a traveling show but in Florida. After a short career as a musician and a longer one as a firmware engineer, he retired to constructing languages full-time, a decade or so ago, picking up some linguistics in the process.

Abstract

This document was originally a set of lecture notes for a presentation with a question and answer session. It has since been updated, mainly for presentability. It first covers some background material on constructed languages and linguistics. The main and final section deals with some ways in which a non-human language might be constructed.

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An interview with David J. Peterson and Sai Emrys about Dothraki and the Language Creation Society

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

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

Jim Henry interviews David J. Peterson and Sai about their involvement in HBO’s Game of Thrones.

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