Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Things I don't like about Minza

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Thursday, March 29, 2007, 2:45
Where to start? :-)

Well, there áre a few things I do like about Minza. I've used it in a
couple of relays already and it performed reasonably well. I can
pronounce it reasonably well. But for some reason I can't quite
identify, I don't really líke it that much. Not like Tirelat (which was
only ruined by excessive redesign, but really started out as a pretty
good language) or Jarda before that (which was usable but not very
aesthetically pleasing). I'm wondering if, from the very beginning when
I started Minza by taking the whole vocabulary and grammar of a language
(Lindiga) that I wasn't especially happy with in the first place, I
should instead have started from scratch and tried something new.

Certainly the language has grown beyond its Lindiga roots; not that
there was anything really wrong with Lindiga, but Minza has its own
style now. Possibly one of the problems with Minza is that it grew too
quickly, before I could establish a Minza style. But one problem is that
very few words are specific to Minza; most words are borrowed from other
languages. That was deliberate, one of the intentions for Minza
vocabulary from the beginning. But one sentence in Minza might have
words from many different languages: Lindiga, Yasaro, Nimrína, Tirelat,
even older ones like Jarda and Kiŕezagi. It's the same sort of thing I
was trying to do with Ludiréo (and previously Eklektu). Then there's the
whole Luakí system which is useful for creating new words, but doesn't
fit the rest of the vocabulary, and much of it is relexified bits of
Chinese and Japanese. There's a lot of useful work in the vocabulary
list, such as the definitions of words, but I may want to look into the
possibility of replacing many of the existing morphemes with new ones
specific to Minza. In its current state it looks like too much of a
mixture of things that don't go together.

As for morphology ... at first it was too monotonous (from reaction
against the irregularities of Lindiga), then more recently, to get away
from that, some of the very irregularities that I wanted to avoid have
been reintroduced. Some of the new irregularities are actually not too
unreasonable: some of the cases of personal pronouns are irregular for
the sake of keeping them short and distinctly memorable. On the other
hand, I'd started translating some of the sentences from "Graded
Sentences for Analysis". One of them was this:

Yellow daffodils nodded gaily.
Likugu min venvi faniëri kiřvi.

Where "faniëri" is the plural of "fanihři". Totally irregular, and why
the word for "daffodil" should have an irregular plural is purely
because I thought "fanihřiri" was too awkward to pronounce. But this is
probably the only time I'll ever need to translate a sentence using the
word "daffodil"! It's not very useful for a word that's so rarely used
to have an irregular plural.

So I'm thinking one of two things as a possibility for the future of Minza:

1. Keep the structured vocabulary list and the grammar, but throw out
the actual words and start over.

2. Keep the existing vocabulary, but redo the morphology. Throw out any
words that don't fit well with the new morphology or the style of the


David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...>