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New Guy

From:Caleb Hines <cph9fa@...>
Date:Friday, November 28, 2003, 22:46
// If this appears twice, sorry! Its my first post to the list. //

Hi folks. I'm new to the list. (Been listening in now for about a
week). I've got two languages that I'm working on.

One, Akathanu, /A-kA-TA-nu/ is the language that will be spoken
by the Akanusa, /A-kA-nu-sA/ a group of "aliens" who actually
turn out to humans from the distant star system Tau Ceti. (Humans on
other planets - kinda like the concept in "Stargate SG-1", but no
wormholes). They visit Earth, and since no one has universal
translators, no negotiations can take place until an linguist
translates the language. I'll probably never write a book, but its
still fun to create the setting. Its also a reaction against Star
Trek et al where aliens can instantly understand one another. I
started this language over a year ago, but progress is slow (College
takes up too much time!). I have very little vocabulary, and haven't
even solidified the grammatical concepts yet, but I do have a pretty
solid alphabet (I think). In the names above, A- is the prefix
imparting honor or importance to the folowing word (much like the way
we capitalize the first letter of Proper Nouns). ka- is a
pronoun/qualifier meaning "this."  Thanu means "language", or speech,
so "Akathanu" is basically "This Language." Nusa, on the other hand,
is a contraction of Numasa, where numa = "person" and -sa is the
collective singular ending (a group of X). Thus "Akanusa" means "This
People Group" (or, roughly translated, "We the people").

Recently, I found out that one of my friends at college also likes
conlanging (inspired by Tolkein, of course), so a couple weeks ago,
we decided to try a joint-venture with the working name of Chelume
/tSe-lu-me/ ("speech"). This name is open to change as more of the
culture and vocabulary fills in. This language also has an
interesting setting. Basically, its spoken by one of the people
groups who are dispersing from the Tower of Babel. The language is an
isolate, like Basque, but one whoose speakers, a small nomadic tribe
probably living somewhere near the Caspian Sea, will be wiped out in
a few hundred years (give or take). Thus it hasn't survived to this
day, and has left virtually no mark on the archaeological record ( -
AFAWK :D ). Being after the Tower of Babel, the setting is also not
too long after the Deluge, which means that Earth is still in a lot
of shock - lots of tectonic movement as the continents finish
rearranging, ice covers most of Europe, the Sahara is still a
Savanah, and there may still be a few dinosaurs that havent died out
yet (descendants of those that left the ark) hiding in dark corners
of the world. Bear in mind this is a _fictional_ setting (just one
that I happen to think is closer to historical fiction instead of
fantasy or science fiction).

So far we have an alphabet, a tentative sketch of some Grammatical
features (SVO, head-first), and about 60 vocabulary words. Its
further along than Akathanu, but probably not quite as well planned.
We never really discussed phonetic constraints, for example, or what
makes a typical syllable, or where to place stress. In fact these are
the points that I'm stuck on in Akathanu. But with Chelume, we just
jumped right in to making up words. As a result, my words (mostly
nouns) are more likely to have longer vowels and end in a consonant,
while his words (mostly verbs) are more likly to contain shorter
vowels, and end in a vowel.

To change topic, I was noticing some of the discussion about
auxlangs, loglangs, artlangs, and natlangs. I don't really care much
for auxlangs, except to the extent that English seems to be becoming
pretty universal as an international language. But if people insist
on having a non-English auxlang, what's wrong with Latin? It worked
well for centuries from the Pax Romana, right up through the
Rennaissance. Scientists still tend to use it as a sort of
international naming language, right? Not that I really care.

Actually, I'm thinking about a background for Akathanu. It might have
once been an auxlang on its planet, which has since degraded and
evolved into a mere natlang. Or more likely a family of natlangs
across the planet. Languages do seem to have a tendency to do that.
The advantage I would gain by doing that would be that it would allow
me to make the language more structured than a confusing natlang like
English, but not to the extent that it would be as rigid as a
loglang. I would still have some flexibility to add odd quirks. Has
anyone done something like this in a conlang before?



Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>