Archive for the ‘resources’ Category

Designing an Artificial Language: Phonology

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

Rick Morneau is a long time language creator who lives in rural Idaho. In the early 1990s, he wrote a series of essays on language design that proved to be quite influential in the early language creation community. Their quality has endured since their original publication, and continue to be read and enjoyed by language creators the world over.

Abstract

This essay discusses how to select the phonemes of a language based on what the language is intended to accomplish, and on how much pronunciation difficulty is acceptable.

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Alternations: An Introduction (and Some Further Explorations) for Conlangers

Monday, October 1st, 2018

Doug Ball began conlanging in 1994, primarily working on a language he calls Skerre. His conlanging interest led him to discover the field of linguistics and ultimately to a career as an academic linguist. Holding degrees from the University of Rochester (BA) and Stanford University (PhD), he is currently a member of the Department of English and Linguistics faculty at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. There, he teaches classes on general linguistics, theoretical phonology, theoretical morphology, and theoretical syntax as well as Native American and Polynesian languages.

Abstract

This essay explores the nature of alternations: variations in form across different contexts. In addition to providing a basic introduction of the phenomena in both English and in other languages, it considers several frameworks for understanding the behavior of alternations in natural languages. This essay also offers some recommendations for the creation of alternations in constructed languages and gives some examples to illustrate these recommendations. It is a revised and expanded version of a talk given at the 7th Language Creation Conference (July, 2017) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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Slides for Linguistics 183: The Linguistics of Game of Thrones and the Art of Language Invention

Saturday, September 1st, 2018

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, among others. He’s been creating languages since 2000.

Abstract

This article is a collection of all the Keynote slides and the syllabus of Linguistics 183: The Linguistics of Game of Thrones and the Art of Language Invention—a six week course taught at UC Berkeley during the A session of the 2018 summer session. Each build of each slide is included, though audio and video is not embedded. While there were audio and video components on certain slides, their use should be more or less clear given the context.

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Intro to Lexical Typology

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

Aidan Aannestad is one more name on the long list of people who discovered linguistics through Tolkien, and he’s been conlanging ever since that seventh grade discovery. He’s learned a lot about linguistics since then, though, and now holds a BA in it from the University of Texas and is partway through a graduate degree. He holds himself (and sometimes others) to a very high standard of realism in his work, and he’s always striving to get a more complete perspective on the enormous variety found in the world’s natlangs. His creative output is so far mostly limited to the minimally-documented, though fairly well fleshed-out Emihtazuu language and its ancestors, but he hopes to someday increase his productivity and make a full linguistic area with multiple interacting families. He also speaks Japanese, and will happily discuss its history and mechanics for hours with anyone interested. He’s been on-and-off a member of a number of conlanging communities, and these days is most likely to be found on one of the relevant Facebook groups or lurking in the conlang mailing list.

Abstract

This article is a reprocessing and rewriting of an article by Leonard Talmy on the field of lexical typology, with a focus on its relevance for conlanging. Lexical typology is the study of how languages pattern their lexemes, and how those patterns can vary across languages. This article specifically focuses on verbs, especially motion verbs, and presents a variety of ways that languages can handle motion and other kinds of state changes, with some notes on wider applications of the principles involved.

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A Grammar of Eastern Classical Dryadic

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

Jesse is 21 years old, and enjoys creating languages as well as his own fantasy worlds and cultures that go with them. As far as natural languages are concerned, he speaks English, Korean, Japanese, Polish, French, and Russian. He has also studied a myriad of other languages to varying degrees including Lithuanian, Kazakh, Turkish, Mandarin, etc.

Abstract

This grammar was presented as Jesse Holmes’ undergraduate thesis at the University of Wrocław, in Poland. It includes a description of the grammar, as well as a description of the orthography and fictional romanization systems, and includes example texts.

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mklang

Friday, June 1st, 2018

Isoraķatheð /isɔɹɑˈqɑtʰɛð zɔrɛtʰan/ is now the proud owner of at least 20 languages, having created languages since the age of 12. He hails from Hong Kong and has a strong bond to the place, but is currently studying in Nottingham for a physics degree. As such, he has grown up in a trilingual environment, but his command of any of the three languages are somewhat unusual, as is his relationship to and ideas on society and relationships. He has a preference to networks of ideas and nodes that are easily separable, a preference that shows up in the languages he creates.

Abstract

mklang describes a “model” of language that depends on features, a one-liner that may potentially include blanks that could be filled in to create a variety of results that ranges from naturalistic to highly unusual. It is motivated by a lack of a structured alternative to naturalistic conlangs, though creating a language using mklang doesn’t necessarily mean that the language isn’t naturalistic, as it depends on choice of features. Additionally, the author’s creative tools are also explained in brief.

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An Overview of Magwābon

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

Madeline Barnicle graduated from the University of Chicago in 2013 with a degree in mathematics. She is pursuing a PhD in mathematical logic at UCLA and will have the opportunity to TA linguistics this coming spring. Madeline is a member of the Southern California Conlang Society.

Abstract

This paper gives an overview of some phonological, grammatical, and cultural, inspirations for the constructed language Magwābon. As an example of its narrative usage, a summary is presented of “Star Wars: A New Hope,” together with some usage notes.

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Tone for Conlangers: A Basic Introduction

Sunday, April 1st, 2018

Aidan Aannestad is one more name on the long list of people who discovered linguistics through Tolkien, and he’s been conlanging ever since that seventh grade discovery. He’s learned a lot about linguistics since then, though, and now holds a BA in it from the University of Texas and is partway through a graduate degree. He holds himself (and sometimes others) to a very high standard of realism in his work, and he’s always striving to get a more complete perspective on the enormous variety found in the world’s natlangs. His creative output is so far mostly limited to the minimally-documented, though fairly well fleshed-out Emihtazuu language and its ancestors, but he hopes to someday increase his productivity and make a full linguistic area with multiple interacting families. He also speaks Japanese, and will happily discuss its history and mechanics for hours with anyone interested. He’s been on-and-off a member of a number of conlanging communities, and these days is most likely to be found on one of the relevant Facebook groups or lurking in the conlang mailing list.

Abstract

Despite being present in a huge number of the world’s languages, phonemic tone is perhaps the most misunderstood linguistic system there is. Probably because of this, conlangs with phonemic tone are next to unheard of. This paper aims to solve those problems, by providing a basic description of how to think about tone through the framework of autosegmental phonology. It also gives an overview of variation among tone systems and how tones arise and change over time, and discusses some problems unique to conlanging with tones. The author hopes that readers will be encouraged to try creating tone systems themselves, and expand their palette of conlanging tools with one more system to play with.

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How to create a language

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

Pablo David Flores is a long time language creator from Argentina. His essay “How to create a language”, hosted on his old website, was influential to many conlangers in the early days of the internet.

Abstract

Originally, this essay took the form of a webpage, but it was turned into a .pdf by Gulliver Metheun-Campbell some years ago. The information contained in the essay is as useful now as it was when it was first written, and the work lives up to its title: “How to create a language.”

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The Crystal Treasure Trove Receives Two New Gems: A Review for Conlangers of David Crystal’s Two Most Recent Titles

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Don Boozer has been interested in invented languages ever since discovering Dr. Seuss’s On Beyond Zebra in his elementary school library in the 1970s. Boozer’s previous articles include “I Want to Speak Elvish! Teens and the World of Imaginary Languages” (VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates. August 2007), “Speaking in Tongues: Literary Languages” (Library Journal, Reader’s Shelf column. September 15, 2006), and “Conlanging: An Introduction to the Art of Language Creation” (Fiat Lingua. June 1, 2013). A librarian by trade, Boozer created the exhibit Esperanto, Elvish, and Beyond: The World of Constructed Languages which appeared at the Cleveland Public Library in 2008 and the 3rd Language Creation Conference in 2009.

Abstract

Don Boozer reviews two of David Crystal’s books about the English language with his conlanger’s hat on.

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