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Re: Webpage

From:SMITH,MARCUS ANTHONY <smithma@...>
Date:Wednesday, August 7, 2002, 19:12
On Wed, 7 Aug 2002, JS Bangs wrote:

> Wow, this is really fascinating.
> I could see > using this as the starting point for a future conlang.
That is actually why it was written in the first place. Not for me, of course. There is a small amount of coursework at UCLA that involves the invention of artificial languages. There is one course for "Honors Students" who aren't linguists to get them thinking about language. One of the class projects involves the creation of an artificial language according to typological tendencies. This webpage was conceived specifically for that class. (They used to use the "Wheel of Phonemes".) Also, a friend of mine taught a course on Artificial Languages: who, what, when, why, etc.
> What language is this written in? I'd be interested to look at your > algorithm to see how you're generating all of this.
The program is written in Javascript, since that is the only programming language I know that is usable on the web. (Well, I've done Cold Fusion scripting, but I don't have a server for that.) The consonant and vowel parts are separate programs, and can be found at: There is little to no commenting to help you make sense of it though. The consonants are straight statistical number crunching: 35% of all languages have phoneme X, so add the phoneme X 35% of the time. (More sophisticated than that, of course.) The vowel algorithm is based on so-called Genetic Algorithms. Each vowel is a "gene", the F1,F2 coordinates are the "alleles", and it is trying to maximize the average distance between vowels in terms of frequency. Marcus