Archive for the ‘grammar’ Category


Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

Every word is both a heterograph and a heterophone. The sign language has a third, also non-overlapping, set of ambiguities.


Friday, November 21st, 2014

A monosyllabic fusional infix placed unpredictably into every word in a sentence to indicate openness of each individual eye, mouth, or other closable hole involved in the slightest way with the sentence, and also inflected differently by time of day and what part of speech it’s been stuck into. Reduplicates seven times to indicate anger at something.

Sentence 2, part 1

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Hanna oŋŋe ŋyehe: sa tɛndɛ kɨtlɛ na sa donava ludɨdɛn pɛstɛ giya.

They came to an agreement: he is stronger (is) he who can remove the cloak from the traveler.

I’m splitting this sentence into two parts because the verb is a bit complicated. At first glance, it looks like tɨŋi ((S) AD) in the perfect reported. But, it is actually aŋi ((S) A →◯ D), which differs from tɨŋi only in the shape of its destination. That is, tɨŋi generaly takes nouns as a destination that one can point to, aŋi does not. Aŋi is concerned with internal structure. So going to the store would use tɨŋi tasu, but going about in the store would use aŋi tasu. In the perfect, tɨŋi and aŋi are indistinguishable, possibly because once one has finished a journey (which is what perfect is used for), the shape of the destination no longer matters.

imperfect [imp] perfect [prf] iterative [itr]
visual [vis] / Ø aŋi otni anna
non-visual [nvs] ambi ombɛ ambena
inferred [inf] alli otɨllɛ allena
reported [rep] aŋe oŋŋe aŋena

As for the subject and the destination, hanna is the class 2 motile plural pronoun, and ŋyehe agreement is a class 4 noun.

motile sg motile pl sessile sg sessile pl
agreement ŋyeheya ŋyehɨdiya ŋyehe ŋyehi



Friday, November 21st, 2014

Your conlang, if it has an incredibly rigid syntax, should make you unambiguously able to tell the grammatical role of any word given its position (and maybe a few particles) with no knowledge of the meanings of any of the words. This means that if you give each word unrelated definitions for each part of speech, you are still unambiguous.

This means that adding the word that means if you add the word that means “n. ant, v. philosophize, adj. spiral-shaped” to the sentence “There are many bananas in the sea” you can get “The vacuum cleaner philosophized about the burning object”

rain is ude (revisited)

Friday, November 21st, 2014
ude = rain (noun) (some things Goggle found for "ude": a very common term: UDE is an acronym for The Upper Deck Company which produces trading cards; UDE is an acronym for Unix Desktop Environment; in weapons UDE is an acronym for the color Urban Dark Earth; an unusual to uncommon last name; an unusual first name; means out in Danish; form of the Latin adjective udus which means wet, moist; in Japanese (romaji) ude means arm; Ulan-Ude is the capital of Buryatia, Russia; name of places in Nigeria and Pakistan)

Word derivation for "rain" :
Basque = euri, Finnish = sade
Miresua = ude

My previous Miresua conlang word for rain was dure, which was an alphabetic scramble. The new word is one letter shorter than the Basque and the Finnish words, but that's allowable under my rules.

This word was supposed to be posted on the 18th, but unfortunately that didn't happen. Oops.

I didn't find the word rain in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but I found it in Through the Looking-glass.
"I see you're admiring my little box." the Knight said in a friendly tone. "It's my own invention -- to keep clothes and sandwiches in. You see I carry it upside-down, so that the rain can't get in."

"But the things can get OUT," Alice gently remarked. "Do you know the lid's open?"


Friday, November 21st, 2014

A Newspeak-like conlang wherein ideas for which words or constructions are not supplied in the language are considered lexically null or grammatically impossible.


Thursday, November 20th, 2014

A language with a very restricted vowel system, only two or three vowels. However, certain sequences of three or four vowels (CeCoCeCe, for instance, where C = any string of zero or more consonants) are considered rude even across word boundaries, which leads to periphrastic ways of stating the same thing by introducing extra morphemes.


Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Create a logographic conscript for everyday use in a conworld setting. No, it didn’t go through a pictographic stage. And no, it has absolutely no connection to the phonology of the language, either. It’s completely abstract and arbitrary, and complicated character forms representing extremely different concepts often differ by the addition of a single, tiny stroke.

(Fun fact: This happened in real life when the Tangut script was created.)

Ma Yer Ashili Mae Ki Shirani Moon

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

It’s been a heck of a month for Living Language Dothraki. It made the Los Angeles Times’ best sellers’ list, so that’s cool! I’ve been all over the country talking about Dothraki, and I got really sick at the tail end of the journey.

And speaking of tails…

Winter Goat is getting ready to make a return! If you’d like to submit a photo to be considered for Winter Goat 2014, please send them to me at “dave” at “conlang” dot “org”. If I get some photos, I’ll put them up and we’ll have a vote, as is the Yuletide tradition here.

It was a lot of fun wandering the country talking about Dothraki. It’s been a while since I’ve been so focused on Dothraki specifically, as opposed to some of the other languages I’ve been working with, and I’ve discovered that it’s still the language I’m most fluent in (despite the fact that I’m nowhere near fluent). I signed a number of books with messages in Dothraki, and I’ve realized, to my horror, that a number of those feature errors (e.g. I didn’t use the right case with the relevant preposition; I spelled a word wrong, etc.). If you find a signed copy without any grammar errors, it’ll be quite valuable.

In New York, I did a panel at New York Comic-Con which was packed. That was a really awesome way to kick things off. You never know with a language creation event: you could be presenting to a room of two or two hundred. In this case, it was probably closer to four hundred. Here’s a picture my wife took during:

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

After New York I did a number of events in Southern California. Here’s a picture of the set of San Diego Living: a morning show. An early morning show. Ugh. Why don’t they record it at a different hour and just do a tape delay?! But whatever. It’s done. (Though I did flub whatever it was I said during the interview. My grammatical errors aren’t restricted to writing!)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

I did a number of signings at libraries and bookstores. Among my favorite was the signing that was held at Mission Viejo city hall. They had a gavel. It was awesome. But this is my favorite picture from the event. It’s probably too blurry to do it justice, but this was just before Halloween, and this girl came in an outstanding Arya costume. The craftsmanship was unbelievable. A photo simply can’t do it justice. Athdavrazar, zhey Ari!

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Last week I went to Colorado and then the Bay Area. In Colorado it snowed. A lot. It was literally below freezing. How people live in that nonsense is beyond me. Prof. Steven Hayward did get a nice shot of me at Garden of the Gods, though.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

I also went to Berkeley, where, apparently, I failed to take a picture of anything except the hot dog I ate and this dinosaur in VLSB:

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

I don’t even know with me sometimes…

But hey! If the Dothraki lived in prehistorical times, they would totally ride raptors, right? Wouldn’t that be awesome?!

In the Bay Area, I participated in a couple great events at Kepler’s and Books Inc., and I also gave a talk at Google (the Google). Here’s a shot after:

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

It was an employees-only event, but they did put up a video on YouTube, which you can watch here (after all, they are YouTube).

I was also really grateful to be able to see some of the original Dothraki lajaki: Crown of Gold, Daenerys and Hrakkar. I was out-of-my-mind sick, but that really made the whole trip. Thanks for coming out to dinner, and I hope I didn’t get you sick!

I’m not sure when I’ll be going out next, but per usual, I will note on here whenever I’m doing an event somewhere or will be going to a convention. If I don’t post on the day, may you have a very merry Thanksgiving! Could go for some of that turkey and stuffing right now, to be honest…


Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Basic sentence structures include “threat,” “promise,” “backhanded compliment,” and “extremely unconvincing assertion followed immediately by implausible request,” but not questions, commands, or declarative statements.