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HELP: Vocabulary

From:Trebor Jung <treborjung@...>
Date:Sunday, July 18, 2004, 17:28
I know the list has discussed this topic before, but I still have not
figured out any action plan.

I'm developing a 'logical' language called Kel, which is not r'ly a 'logical
language' in the traditional meaning - it is pretty natlangish, actually.
But it's different from natlangs in a bunch of ways (I'll be posting its
grammatical description here soon, once I'm done fixing it up, which I was
dissatisfied with before I got the idea to use Semitic-style wordbuilding).

Anyway, now I'm looking to start work on vocabulary. I want to make the
vocabulary 'logical', as it were, and not a relex of English or any other
natlang. This is where I have problems. I'm planning on using the Universal
Language Dictionary, which is a good starting point for a *dictionary* IMHO,
but not for a list of basic concepts. That's what I'm looking for.
Naturalistic conlangs, in the vocabulary department at least, IMHO, are
easier to build - e.g. Kosi has two words for 'fish', one for 'freshwater
fish', the other for 'saltwater fish' - a good naturalistic-conlang
vocabulary requires creativity, and I find it alot of fun to invent such

But anyway, back to my problem. When I try coming up with compounds, they
all seem to be imprecise; when I try to make the compound more precise, the
result is something like 'to continuously attempt to crush with the teeth'
for 'to chew'. That is far too long... Or maybe I need to add some
grammatical categories to my language?

So, does anyone have/know of a scientifically sound list of root concepts
for a human language (one designed by trained linguists, I mean)? Anna
Wierzbicka's Natural Semantic Metalanguage comes to mind, but the list
doesn't seem sufficient to cover all the concepts I want Kel to be able to
express. Or maybe it is - it was created by a linguist... Or maybe I should
just wait till I have a linguistics degree before I attempt something like
this... Or maybe I should just learn Ithkuil...



Philippe Caquant <herodote92@...>
Tim May <butsuri@...>