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Re: Tell your conlang story!

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Wednesday, March 1, 2006, 3:39
Monica Byrne wrote:

> Here are a few questions to get you thinking: > > 1) How did you get in to conlanging? What was your inspiration?
I think the one thing that inspired me more than any other event was the use of alien languages (with subtitles) in the original Star Wars. By then I'd already been creating words for many years, but it was around that time that I started putting them together to make languages. The thing that originally got me interested in languages was hearing bilingual songs in English and Spanish on Sesame Street back in the late 60's / early 70's. Sometime in the mid 1970's I saw a "Teach Yourself Spanish" book in a bookstore, and began to study Spanish from the book. As a result, my first language started out with a grammar that was as much influenced by Spanish as English. But I like to think that Star Wars (in 1977) provided the final bit of inspiration for me to start designing my own languages.
> 2) What is your purpose in creating languages? Is it a personal art, an > anthropological experiment, a pasttime...?
It's a hobby more than anything. Most of my earlier languages were associated with my fictional worlds that I was developing. I've occasionally written stories which use a few bits of language, and I used them for place names in an old AD&D campaign I ran back in the 1980's, but it turned out that creating the languages was more interesting to me than the other aspects of world building, story writing, or role playing. It also gives me an excuse to learn more about "real world" languages. Many of the features of my languages have been inspired by one or more languages that I've read about.
> 3) How have people reacted when you tell them about it?
Most reactions have been positive, although not very many people show much interest in it.
> 4) Did conlanging lead you places you never expected it to take you?
I actually had the opportunity to do a bit of conlanging for a game that I was working on, Ultima VI, back in 1990. Richard Garriott expressed an interest in designing an alphabet for the Gargoyles in that game, and I thought it would be interesting if their signs and books in the game were written in their own language. After an initial discussion with Richard and John Miles, when I showed them an early idea for a word list and alphabet, I took the basic ideas that came out of that discussion and designed a language around them.