lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Default)
[personal profile] lilfluff
Some travel related words in the language of the lizard men from Frigid and Ascention for Lexember.

A few language notes:

zh = alveolar-palatal fricative, as in the word pleasure or beige

a = as in hall
e = as in eight or ballet
i = as in tree or fee (think Japanese "i")
o = as in go

zheo - rope, always handy for securing things
rin - water
rinkatkia - water pouch/canteen
naka - snow
nakkattlan - snow mask/snow goggles
tenokatnizha - boots (shoes for hiking)

nizha - hiking
rikkir - climbing
tono - carrying


Dec. 3rd, 2012 11:35 am
inventrix: (action lines)
[personal profile] inventrix
There is a thing people are doing with the tag of 'lexember' which sounds cool so I am going to do it!

Basically, the idea is to create a new word for your conlang every day for the month of December. I shall be participating and posting each word to this group, along with the definition, connotation, and process for creating the word.

And whatever else I feel is relevant and interesting.

I'm two days behind now so I'll be backdating the first and second, assuming DW lets me.
aldersprig: (Rin)
[personal profile] aldersprig
So, I've started working on an alphabet for Callenian, and in doing so, I'm coming across some transliteration issues.

(1)My accent/English in general on the letter "a" (it's at least five different sounds off the top of my head)

(2)Beginning long consonants. For instance - Oonet, which means mountain-range (mass-of-mountains, world-of-mountains). That's oo, as in boo or moon or soon.

When you stretch that out into a long word - Oonetkabyee, for instance (mountain+big+REALLY), you end up with some awkward lots-of-double-letters.
Ūnetkabyē is how I tried to transliterate it to make it shorter, but I'm not sure it's any easier to read.

(3) Consistency. I don't think the names currently in the series have any consistency. See words -

When I do a final draft of Rin & Girey, I'd like to have all the Callenian words transliterated the same way. So I have to figure out what that way should be.

What I have been doing do far is spelling it out as it makes sense to me at the moment, but, well, "Zaide" (Z-eye-duh) obviously doesn't fit, for one.

Babble babble
aldersprig: an ancient-looking world map (map)
[personal profile] aldersprig
Well, proto-alphabet
Read more... )

Edited to add: I don't have numbers yet. My thoughts on numbers were:
They originated in a valley surrounded by 7 mountain peaks. Thus, their original counting was 1-7. But when they discovered base 10 math from another tribe (As they stole most things)... they needed to add 8 and 9 (and 0).

Trick is to make numbers that fit and aren't dupes of letter-shapes.
aldersprig: an ancient-looking world map (map)
[personal profile] aldersprig
I have a nice series of letters that look do-able in pen-and-paper, but I am realizing, rather to my frustration, that I may have to change them based on the tool the people use to render them. :-/

I'm thinking that this started as quick stick-in-dirt characters long ago, but moved to ... um... sometihng-on-hide, then to something-on-paper. They certainly have paper now, but what do they use to write on it? Brushes? Quills?

Roman reed pens seem like a start, in part because I like the aesthetic of the thick-and-thin lines. Decent description here, art drawn with one here.

and one more site.
becka_sutton: Becka's default icon (Default)
[personal profile] becka_sutton
Just popped over to Zompist and it looks like the site has had an overhaul! One of the new things is a vocabulry generator :-D.

Could be useful!

becka_sutton: Becka's default icon (Default)
[personal profile] becka_sutton
Island has five verb tenses:

Distant Past (before anyone human was alive) -> Past (living memory) -> present -> Future (expected within a lifetime) -> Distant Future (every human alive will be dead when it happens).

Aspects are not marked on the verb but by way of a particle before the verb. There are three of them - imperfect, perfect and habitual.

Moods - Indicative, Imperative, Subjunctive, Optative, Potential and Negative. Can you layer moods on a verb? Sort of like negative and imperitive would be don't verb, optative and negative would be I hope/wish this doesn't happen, optatative + potential would be I hope this likely thing happens.

Verbs do not inflect for person or number.
capriox: (Default)
[personal profile] capriox
H'okay! I'm not going to invent languages out of whole cloth for my novel "The Elemental Magician" and I don't plan on using a lot of untranslated dialogue or terminology in the novel, but every foriegn culture does have a few lanaguage artifacts worth noting.


In EM, the largest culture block is Malak, roughly translatable as "(The Land of) Kings". (The word 'king' singular would be melk, I think). It's a region with a common cultural background divvied up amongst an assortment of kingdoms and city-states that at various times get subsumed into one empire or another. The lingua franca for this region and much of the borderlands they trade with is Adenish. Adenish comes from Aden, one of the aforementioned kingdoms in Malak that was repeatedly politically dominant through the region's history although currently not so much.

Things I've done with Adenish so far:
1) The vocabulary is very loosely cribbed from semitic languages and really really ancient semitic language-speaking cultures (we're talking the days of Tyre and Sidon)
1b) As a result, the stems of some words are triliteral consonants (mlk: melk, malak) because they are nifty.
2) Some adjective forms are formed with the suffix -oi (Malak, Malakoi; Skata, Skatoi)
3) Some adjective forms the suffix -(i)sh (Aden, Adenish; Brynnmar, Brynnmarsh)
4) I have one city, Rhudelin, where I've been using the adjective form -si (Rhudelin, Rhudelinsi)

I wanted some sort of rule governing those variable adjective forms. I'm thinking that the neutral/bare/archaic adjectival form is something like *-ois, and then it got modified depending on what sound it's following and possibly also syllable number.

Malak: disyllable, -(plosive) = *Malakois ~> -oi
Skata: disyllable, -(vowel) = *Skathois ~> -oi
Aten: disyllable, -(nasal) = *Atenois ~> -ish
Brynnmar: disyllable, -(approximant) = *Brynnmarois ~> -sh
Rhudelin: trisyllable, -(nasal) = *Rhudelinois ~> -si

So the rules I've generated are thus:
-oi is bare form, follows the typical consonants (plosives, fricatives) and replaces final vowels.
-ish is the softened form that follows "vowelish consonants" (nasals, approximants)
-sh is a subtype of the softened form that follows rhotics
-si is a subtype of the softened form that occurs when the stem is three syllables or more.

There's other languages/cultures in EM as well, so if something really doesn't jive, I can figure out if maybe it doesn't belong to a different tongue ;-)
becka_sutton: Becka's default icon (Default)
[personal profile] becka_sutton
Island is an aggluinative language so Noun Classes and Cases and number have seperate affixes as do certain adjectives (there are suffixes for things like like large and small, light and dark, near and far and similar - I haven't decided on the entire list yet). Suffixes come in a particular order.

Noun-gender-(adjective)-(number)-case. (Brackets mean they are not always used).

So far I've only decided on the gender and case suffixes

Noun Class/Gender Suffixes

Animate (edible)-pik
Animate (inedible)-ap

Case Suffixes

Note that for now I've decided to drop the Dative for now. As I said previously the dative is usually the object of a transitive verb since it the noun to which something is given so it can merge with the absolutive quite nicely. There is also a Vocative case but this is shown as unmarked like Absolutive and also loses the gender marker unless you're being formal.


The absolutive is the basic form. So an edible crab is upapik and a crab from an inedible species is upaap. If for some reason you are talking to a crab it's just upa. If you were talking about the crab's shell. It would be (word for shell) upaim.

Word Order

Word order is Verb-Object-Subject like Tzotzil and Fijian in the real world.


aldersprig: (BookGlasses)
[personal profile] aldersprig
Repeated from twitter: Arguments against having the 7 basic numbers rhyme with each other? I.e. bahp dahp gahp kahp...

Which brings me to - does anyone know how alphabetical order in other alphabets is determined?
inventrix: (Default)
[personal profile] inventrix
That other article, which I found through Googling and which is interesting in its own right, is not the one I was trying to find. That one, however, I have now found!

The article is:

How Language Shapes Thought
The languages we speak affect our perceptions of the world
by Lera Boroditsky

It was published in February of this past year in Scientific American, which is where I read it and why I couldn't remember what site I'd read it on (because it wasn't a site).
aldersprig: (me-lyn-kitty)
[personal profile] aldersprig

I'm just about ready to start constructing a language, but I want to figure out what's going on with my names first.

I have a hopefully-complete list of names from my Reiassan stories here: and Names-People

Using (DR) to mean the time in which Reiassan was discovered & colonization began, the Lyuda timeline is about 200 DR, the Rin timeline about 500, 550 DR, and the Steam!Callanthe timeline ~1000DR. So there can be name shift in that time.

The proto!Callenian I'm making is, for ease of timelines, ~1000 years B-DR and ~500 years B-DR.

Rule One in naming:
Royals and those with royal ancestry begin their name with a vowel.
The vowels come from words meaning the untouchable things: sky, stars, moon, sun, small-moon. (Am I missing any?) So a prefix of a- or e-, etc. connects them to the untouchable.

Problem: It's often a syllable of vowel-consonant following another syllable starting with a consonant. How do the consonants figure in there?
(Problem solved; it's not)

Rule Two: I seem to have female names ending in a or I, men in a consonant.
Exception: Rin, Zaide.

...I may be blathering...

So far I seem relatively consistent in my naming, albeit accidentally for much of it. But now I get to figure this in to proto!Callenian language, and that might be trickier.

I was thinking of having a "soft" beginning consonant denote a "non-useful" gendered word, but that means, I think, that Lyuda's parents decided she was a non-useful child.

This is hard. O_O
freosan: (Default)
[personal profile] freosan
So, I've hit a bit of a snag in my word creation and I'm curious. How did you decide what the restrictions were on phoneme positions in your language? I'm particularly interested if you allow consonant clusters: how did you decide which consonants were or were not permitted to occur together?

I've been trying just saying the words aloud a lot, but in some cases I'm not sure if I'm having trouble because English doesn't have the phonemes I'm using, or because it actually would be physically difficult to pronounce no matter what.

Also, does anyone else have syllabic consonants, and if so, under what circumstances do you let that happen?
becka_sutton: Becka's default icon (Default)
[personal profile] becka_sutton
Mountain/Sea has shedloads of personal pronouns -

For Gods and other persons (genders one and two)

First person singular

Second person singular - (used only when you know for certain that the person you're addressing is the right person)

Third person singular - inclusive - (used when you think the person you are addressing is the right person but aren't sure - bizarrely does have a vocative declension)

Third person singular - exclusive - (used only when you know for certain that the person you're addressing isn't the person you're talking about)

First person plural

Second person plural - (used only when you are certain what you are saying applies to all listeners/readers - the person version is rarely used in text except for quotes for this reason. The divine version gets used more but the gods are a diverse bunch so not as much as it could. There is no rhetorical you in this language - the closest you get is the vocative they in this person.)

Third person plural - inclusive - (used when you know it applies to some listeners/readers but even remotely suspect it doesn't apply to all.)

Third person plural - exclusive (weak) - (used when you know it doesn't apply to your listeners/readers but also indicates that it may not include all of the group you've earmarked as 'they').

Third person plural - exclusive (strong) - (indicates that you mean all of this 'they' and none of them are here. And if you are going to use this you'd better damn well be sure you're right - especially when badmouthing people).


Each of the other animate genders has a specific pronoun but they only inflect for second and third (there is a first person but it's only used in fables and fairytales since animals and plants don't talk in this world) and singular and plural. The inanimate genders only have third person singular and plural pronouns. They also don't worry about exclusive/inclusive for animals.


Pronouns in Island I have no idea yet. I'm pretty sure they'll be simpler than Mountain/Sea though.
clare_dragonfly: woman with green feathery wings, text: stories last longer: but only by becoming only stories (Writing: grammarsexual)
[personal profile] clare_dragonfly
Hi! I'm Clare and I am a language nerd.

I'm pretty sure I started becoming interested in conlanging when I was about 12, because that's when I first read Tolkien, and I can't think of any other way I would have heard of conlangs. I know that I started work on my very first conlang, Rebic, when I was in middle school or maybe high school at the latest. It was mostly based on my knowledge of English (my native language, but I probably knew more than the average middle schooler) and the Spanish I took in school.

Now let me tell you about the languages I'm working on developing!

Talani )

Artash )

Now I will make this long post even longer by including some links!

Limyaael's conlang rants
The Language Creation Society which has a lot of links itself
Ogden's Basic English is a list of words in English that some guy decided were the basic words for any language. I'm using them to get started on a vocabulary for my languages.
Awkwords creates random words for you based on your rules, which is really awesome, especially for Artash. Plus you can save the rules and upload them again later, so you can switch between sets of rules. (I have a document for Artash verbs and one for Artash nouns.) The box at the top of the page says it's not being maintained anymore, but the other site doesn't work.

I think everyone here is familiar with Zompist; I recently purchased the book, The Language Construction Kit, and if I have anything to say about it when I get around to working with it, I'll post about it here.
inventrix: (Default)
[personal profile] inventrix
I have been watching all of your grammatical gender discussions (with the sort of objective fascination of one who has opted to use absolutely no grammatical genders at all) and there's a trend I've noticed which I thought would be interesting to expound upon.

To put it succinctly: noun classes as gender.

It is an interesting and appealing idea, to be sure, especially to those who have a fondness for logical organization (such as my self). What better way to emphasize and remember all the culturally-significant primary qualities of objects than to embed it into the words themselves?

However! Look for a moment at our European languages, with their simple masculine/feminine/sometimes also neuter genders. These are culturally-significant qualities, certainly, qualities which are held by the most important ingredients of a culture: the people. And then, look at all of the vast, vast number of nouns which refer to things that have no inherent masculine/feminine characteristics whatsoever - but which have a relatively arbitrary masculine or feminine grammatical gender.

That's all well and good, nothing special etc. Except there is, in fact, an extremely significant effect from this possibly-arbitrary assignation of grammatical genders to ungendered things.


Let's say you have an ungendered thing, but the noun for it has feminine gender. Native speakers of that language will unconsciously tend to view the attributes of that thing in a feminine way, according to whatever their culture's feminine stereotypes are. For example: elegance, grace, delicacy, moodiness, irrationality, beauty. If the language had a masculine gender for the noun, however, it would be influenced by masculine stereotypes: e.g. power, aggression, focus, strength.

Now, looking at a conlang example: Lyn's tentative genders of useful/unuseful. (I am actually enormously fond of the idea, for reasons that will most likely be elucidated below.) You begin, much like masculine/feminine, with a highly significant cultural division of that culture's people. Somewhat unlike masculine/feminine, the useful/unuseful division does apply to a larger subset of things that are not people. But not everything.

Let us begin with the arbitrarily chosen noun of thought. Thoughts are not, in a definite way, inherently useful or useless. So the gender choice would be seemingly arbitrary, would it not? Aha! And this is where it begins to get interesting. The choice of useful or unuseful gender for the word thought will be intimately and inextricably linked to its connotations. If you choose useful, the characteristics of thought will be cast in the cultural assumptions and stereotypes of a useful thing. If, alternatively, you choose unuseful, you will have quite the opposite effect.

For a noun like thought, this decision could theoretically shape your entire culture's view of, for example, academics. Is it seen as a valuable way to spend your time, or does engaging in academic research class you as a waste of resources?

ETA: I feel it behooves me to add at this point that, from a conlang standpoint, it can be just as or more effective to determine the genders of your nouns based on your pre-conceived culture, as opposed to vice-versa.

In short, there is a plethora of fascinating linguistic effects of limiting one's genders in ways that are not, specifically, the same as one's noun classes.
aldersprig: an egyptian sandcat looking out of a terra-cotta pipe (LynLyn2)
[personal profile] aldersprig
Talking with Freo, Shuts, and Trix on Twitter got me thinking about genders for my proto-Callanian language.

Current-era Callanthe society differentiates between skilled and unskilled labor sociality and garb-wise - I'm still working on this, because I think that unskilled labor is an acknowledged and respected second class.

I'd mentioned splitting gender by useful and un-useful, which is not the same as skilled and un-skilled.

Which has me to

Skilled -- practical
-- theoretical
Unskilled - decorative
- practical

But I don't know if that makes any sense
becka_sutton: Becka's default icon (Default)
[personal profile] becka_sutton
Was nosing around looking for info on various real world natural languages and stumbled across Omniglot. This site seems to have sketches of loads of languages.

It also has a lovely page of idioms in multiple languages - inspiration for idioms for our languages. :-D

inventrix: (Default)
[personal profile] inventrix
I was talking to Lyn about how language shapes one's thought processes and worldview and remembered an article, which I thought'd be a great thing to share with y'all.

It's from the NY Times last year; Does Your Language Shape How You Think?

The most fascinating bit is at the bottom, regarding what they call geographical languages. A couple of excerpts:

Whenever we would use the egocentric system, the Guugu Yimithirr rely on cardinal directions. If they want you to move over on the car seat to make room, they’ll say “move a bit to the east.” To tell you where exactly they left something in your house, they’ll say, “I left it on the southern edge of the western table.”

So everyday communication in a geographic language provides the most intense imaginable drilling in geographic orientation (it has been estimated that as much as 1 word in 10 in a normal Guugu Yimithirr conversation is “north,” “south,” “west” or “east,” often accompanied by precise hand gestures). This habit of constant awareness to the geographic direction is inculcated almost from infancy: studies have shown that children in such societies start using geographic directions as early as age 2 and fully master the system by 7 or 8.
lilfluff: Pithani the student-librarian mouse from Mars Academy as a mad scientist. Drawn by Tod Wills (aka Djinni on LJ) (Mad Science Pithani)
[personal profile] lilfluff
While working on a follow up to Frigid I decided the character Osita would be faced with the task of learning the language of the people he'd been traded to (one boy, capable of carrying some of the other trade items offered, so can we please have that last metal ax blade?). Which meant that he'd be hearing words in a language he didn't know, the perfect opportunity to actually put some dialog in another language.

Here's the brief sketch I have so far:

ta- 2nd person
taya- 2nd person imperative

-koni- verb: sit
-razha- verb: eat

-lina- locator: here

tayakonilina: you sit here!

-zhon- root: no, also negator when attached to another word

-toa- adverb: only,

"Zhon, takoni. Takonitoa." -- "No, you sit. That's all." (Hey, it lost the imperative, the one speaking to him must be feeling friendlier. That and he was being told he wouldn't be tied up, at least for the moment.)

Tayarazha: Eat! (Said when he's slow to start eating a second bowl of stew)

That's it so far. Still subject to change and improved description. I still need to work out the exact set of sounds available and acceptable syllable structure. Also what the ordering is for the types of prefixes and suffixes that plug onto the root.

I did say brief. :) I was creating it on the spot as I wrote and only created what I needed at the moment.


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