Archive for the ‘resources’ Category

An Invented Language Project for the Introductory Linguistics Classroom

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Skye Anderson is a graduate student in Linguistics at the University of Arizona; her research are the phonology and morphology of Semitic languages, speech perception and corpus linguistics. She started studying Linguistics when she realized all of her invented languages had words for aardvark, but no grammar.

Shannon Bischoff is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Linguistics at Purdue University Fort Wayne. His Ph.D. is in Formal and Anthropological Linguistics with a minor in Computational Linguistics. His research interests include English and Spanish in Puerto Rico; English as a language barrier to minority and endangered language communities; language documentation, revitalization; formal and computational approaches to language; and Indigenous languages of the Americas. He has been teaching using language invention since 2006.

Amy Fountain is an Associate Professor, NTE, in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Her Ph.D. is in Anthropology and Linguistics. Her research interests are in language endangerment, documentation, and revitalization, and the indigenous languages of the Americas. She has been teaching freshmen about linguistics using language invention since 2006, and is always learning new things about language, and students, because of it.

Jeffrey Punske is an Assistant Professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He earned his PhD in Linguistics in 2012 from the University of Arizona. His research focuses on morphosyntax. He teaches courses on invented languages, syntax, semantics, historical linguistics, phonology, among other topics. He previously taught at the University of Oklahoma and Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. He is frequently bow-tied.

Abstract

This paper presents a brief description of a constructed language project developed for the introductory to linguistics/language classroom. The paper describes the project, its history of development and use, and provides links to sample syllabuses, the project outline, and student project examples. The project described has been used with thousands of students at three different universities. Developed for a large lecture-style setting with up to 500 students at a major research university enrolling over 30,000 students, the project has been taken to a smaller research university (12,000 students) and a metropolitan university (13,000 students), where it has been implemented in a variety of undergraduate courses. The project has been used as a means to introduce basic linguistic concepts to the non-major in a general education setting. In addition, it is currently being piloted in a course on typology. These applications demonstrate the versatility of the project as tool for a variety of linguistic classrooms.

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Three Lesser-Known Tools for Lexicon-Building in Your Conlang

Monday, May 1st, 2017

John Quijada spent more than thirty years creating the philosophical language Ithkuil, whose notoriety has been featured in The New Yorker magazine. He also writes the “Conlang Curiosities” column for the Language Creation Society’s Language Creation Tribune quarterly publication. He has a degree in linguistics, speaks five languages, has co-written a novel exploring the philosophical implications of quantum physics, and composes music, among many other hobbies and interests.

Abstract

At the Fifth Language Creation Conference in Austin, Texas, John Quijada presented on some advanced lexicon building techniques. Unfortunately, his talk was shortened due to some organizational mishaps. In this paper, John goes over the main thrust of his talk, and uses the opportunity to share some of the examples and ideas he wasn’t able to share at the talk itself.

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Using Language Invention to Teach Typology and Cross-Linguistic Universals

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

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.

Abstract

Matt Pearson discusses a project where students learn about language typology by creating a naturalistic constructed language. Students review cross-linguistic variation in natural languages (in areas such as phoneme inventory, word order, case alignment, etc.), and then determine which properties their invented language will have. Decisions are made at random by spinning a wheel. Attached to the wheel is a pie chart, where the size of each slice represents the percentage of the world’s languages possessing a given setting for some structural parameter or set of parameters. Crucially, each decision constrains subsequent decisions in accordance with known implicational universals: e.g., in determining whether the language has prepositions or postpositions, the pie chart is adjusted based on verb-object order in the language, as decided by a previous spin of the wheel.

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The Dai Language: An Embarrassment

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

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, the Trigedasleng language for the CW’s The 100, and the Shiväisith language for Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World. He’s been creating languages since 2000.

Abstract

David J. Peterson’s first paid conlanging project occurred eight years before Game of Thrones. It was a language called Dai, and it was done in early 2001 for a high school student’s Dungeons & Dragons campaign. This paper provides a brief introduction to the nature of the work, and the full language, as it stood at that point.

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Gadanlirós: A Collection of Itlani Poems

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

James E. Hopkins received a BA in French from Hofstra University in 1974 and an MS in Metaphysics from the American Institute of Holistic Theology in 1998. He is a published poet, Eden’s Day (2008), and has a novel which features five of his conlangs, Circle of the Lantern, with the publisher as of this writing. He has been involved in language construction since 1995 with the birth of his first conlang, Itlani (then known as Druni). Although Itlani is his first and foremost love, since that time he has been developing Semerian (Pomolito), Djiran (Ijira), Djanari (Nordsh) and Lastulani (Lastig Klendum), the other languages spoken on the planet Itlán. One further language project, Kreshem (Losi e Kreshem), is also under development. His primary interest in language construction is from an aesthetic and artistic perspective.

Abstract

Storytelling, poetry and song are important to the Itlani. Storytelling is the primary Itlani planetary art form and poetry is a very close second. The planet-wide lingua franca on the planet Itlán, the reformed Ravzhurian speech know as Itlani is the core around which all Itlani planetary identity is built. Stories, poetry and song embody this linguistic identity. In celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the discovery of the Itlani language, I have presented in this short collection a variety of Itlani language poems along with their English translations. Please note that not all the English translations have been polished up to be proper English poems but many of them have and could easily stand alone in their own right. Have a great Itlani Language Day, February 8, 1997-2017.

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A glimpse over the Great Wall: A review of Mark Rosenfelder’s China Construction Kit

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

David Johnson was first inspired to create languages in his teens when, like so many, he came across the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. He received a Philosophy degree from the University of Warwick in 1981 and currently works as a librarian, cataloguing books in the Romance languages.

He is a member of several of conlang and conworld communities. Under the username of “Ketumak”, he is a member of the Zompist and Conlanger Bulletin Boards. Under his own name he is a member of the Language Creation Society and the Conlang Mailing List.

His conlang efforts have ranged from simple projects like Lesdekan to more advanced ones like Õtari. In recent years he has become interested in isolating languages. Both Õtari and his current project Lemohai reflect that interest.

Outside of conlanging he likes walking, reading, music, politics and live theatre.

Abstract

This is a review of Mark Rosenfelder’s China Construction Kit.

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Old High Veriden

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Ola Lisowska is a hobbyist language creator from Germany with a Master’s degree in Slavic Linguistics. While English and German are her native languages, her additional known languages include Polish, Russian, older varieties of Slavic languages, and some tidbits of French and Latin. She is most intrigued by “immersive” conlangs that go along with entire fictional universes, and very much enjoys creating these herself. She is especially passionate about creating conlangs for use in music and chant.

Abstract

Veriden, a constant work in progress, is a synthetic language that is strongly influenced by slavic languages, while not being overtly based on them. Its creation is largely driven by the author’s subjective aesthetic ideals, which are demonstrated when Veriden is used as a language for song and poetry. Veriden is part of a larger fictional universe, which comes with its own peoples, mythologies and stories, but the focus of this essay remains primarily on the grammar of the language itself. In this article, the creator presents the groundwork of the creation process along with a detailed description of Veriden’s grammatical structure.

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A Naming Language

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Jeffrey Henning is a language creator who is probably most famous for creating and maintaining the website Langmaker.com. Before it shut down, Langmaker was the undisputed number one destination for all things related to language creation. Langmaker was an outgrowth of Jeffrey Henning’s Model Languages newsletter, which was one of the first communities (in the broadest sense of the term) for language creation enthusiasts.

Abstract

In this essay, Jeffrey Henning describes how to create a naming language. Unlike a full conlang, which has its own grammar and syntax, a naming language is a phonology coupled with rules for compounding that can, among other things, allow a novelist to generate realistic, language-like names for characters, towns, regions, and geographical elements. Since its first publication in 1995 it’s continued to serve as a useful tool for world builders and game makers—and has also served as a jumping off point for many conlangers.

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Language Creation in Early Learning

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

Danny is a middle school English teacher based out of Baton Rouge and Denham Springs, Louisiana. He’s taught middle school for more than four years in both Louisiana and Massachusetts. He specializes in combining traditional English education with modern digital humanities pedagogy. While he still finds teaching rhetoric and informal/formal logic highly important in the classroom, he nonetheless includes the digital humanities in more than 50% of his instruction (He sometimes teaches his students through a virtual world after all). For Danny, the digital humanities is our present and our future. In this vein: to help his students visualize the settings, characterizations, and actions in a novel like The Call of the Wild, he’ll require his students to reenact a scene in a digital wolf simulation, and next explain their reenactments through the written word. Or, to teach his students narrative types, he may challenge his students to play games like Loneliness or Coma, and construct their own narratives based of their gameplay. You’ll witness his melding of traditional English education and the digital humanities in his study below, which investigates how conlanging impacts learning outcomes in a middle school English classroom.

Danny has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Loyola University New Orleans. In 2017, he’ll be a graduate candidate for a master’s program in English literature with a concentration in the digital humanities.

Abstract

This paper explores how conlanging impacts learning outcomes for middle school students in a structured English classroom. Starting in May and ending in the same month, 6th and 7th graders from Iberville Charter Academy in Plaquemine, LA created conlangs for their end-of-the-year English projects. 44 students participated. Danny Garrett, their teacher, oversaw the project, taught the necessary material for it, and studied the project’s pre- and posttest data. The data and highlighted student works are presented in this paper, framed in their proper historical, pedagogical, linguistic, and literary contexts. To protect student identities and statuses as minors, all student names are fictional and thus obscured in accordance with California law.

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Nuvutani: Introducing a new language

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

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

Sylvia is most famous for Kēlen, a verbless language, and so for her second language, sodna-leni or sodemadu, she created a language with a closed class of verbs. However, in fleshing out Sodemadu, she became frustrated with its limitations, so one weekend she decided to forego the limitations of Sodemadu and created a new language, her third, that had an open class of verbs. Like Sodemadu, most of the vocabulary has cognates in Kēlen. At the end of the weekend she had a draft of a story in this new language. The story comes from a book of Australian Aboriginal myths and legends, shortened and adapted to suit her and this new language.

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