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Re: OT: Good Books?

From:David Peterson <thatbluecat@...>
Date:Thursday, March 4, 2004, 18:17
Jim wrote:

<< I've hit a bit of a roadblock on my conlang work, due mainly to lack of
sleep, but I hate to not do *something* in regards to conlanging....
So, can anyone suggest any good books, especially for the linguistically
challenged, that might help with conlanging?
I've read some basic, introductory texts on linguistics and I have a
book on language change in my reading queue, but I'd welcome any
suggestions.  Especially, any *fiction* that features good conlang
fodder, excepting, of course, Tolkien.  I've already read that! ^_^>>

Well, as for linguistics, I'll suggest what everone else has suggested at one 
time or another: Thomas Payne's Describing Morphosyntax (you can find it on 
Amazon).   It's kind of like the conlanger's Bible.   What it is is a book for 
field workers, a kind of guide, to make sure that they transcribe the 
languages they're working with accurately and thoroughly.   It works well for language 
creation, though, because it systematically poses very pertinent questions 
that you may not have thought of.   The format is he explains and gives examples 
of various linguistic phenomena, and then has a serious of questions at the 
end, like, "What is the word order of the language you're working on?   Is the 
word order varied in relative clauses?   Questions?"   Etc.   It's phenomenal. 
  I just got mine a couple months ago.   :)

As for literature with conlangs, I recommend Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire.   
He constructed a very realistic-looking made-up Slavic language, and he does 
some neat things with it.   Also, as opposed to Tolkien, it's actually good 
writing and literature, and worth reading.   This one's widely regarded as 
Nabokov's second best book, at very least, though some say it's his best (I'm on the 
fence on this one).   That aside, though, it's one of the best books I've 
ever read.



Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>