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Re: Some conlang questions

From:Padraic Brown <elemtilas@...>
Date:Saturday, December 28, 2002, 16:54
--- "A. Ingram" <red_grass23@...>

> how would one go about making up dialects?
You hint at it below: you'd have to explore the social history of your language group; the history of its language(s) and the contacts these people have made with others around them. It might also be wise to look into the dialect history of your native language, to see how its dialects came to be.
> i know that dialects are > phonetic variations (?). Would one just modify > the sounds a little bit, or > is there more to a dialect than that?
I think that would be more of an "accent". A good dialect should sound foreign to other speakers of the language (so that's modified sounds); and there should be morphological, lexical and semantic differences as well. For example (from Skeat's "Our English Dialects": "Th bairn beâled oot that bad, I was clêan scard, but it was noht bud a battle-twig at hed crohled upn his airm." is given as a dialect of Lincolnshire. "Hah, they'n better toimes on't nah, booath a heitin and clooas; ween had menni a mess a nettle porridge an brawis on a Sunda mownin, for us brekfast -- Samma, dusta remember hah menni names we had for sahwer wotcake?" is given for Sheffield. "A harnet zet in a hollur tree -- A proper spiteful twoad was he; And a merrily zung while he did zet His stinge as shearp as a bagganet; Oh, who so vine and bowd as I? I vears not bee, nor wapse, nor vly!" is given for Wiltshire. And my favourite - perhaps Will was a closet conlanger? - from Wight: "Jan: What's got there, you? Will: A straddlebob craalun about in the nammut-bag. J: Straddlebob? Where dedst leyarn to call n by that neyam? W: Why, what shoud e call n? Tes the right neyam, esn ut? J: Right neyam? No! Why, ye gurt zote vool, casn't zee tes a dumbledore? W: I know tes; but vur aal that, straddlebob's zo right a neyam vor n as dumbledore ez. ..." As you can see, there's plenty of lexical difference (e.g. straddlebob, dumbledore and battletwig are all insects; nammut bag is a lunch box) and sound difference (note especially the voicing of initial voiceless sibilants: s > z; f
> v). There are also "accent" or pronunciation
differences that can only be hinted at in writing. I know my own language, Kerno, has dialects; but I've not looked very closely yet. The principal spoken dialect in Kemr is the socalled Eastern dialect. The Western dialect is marked by (apart from sounding funny to Easterners) some lexical differences (larger British Celtic substrate; fewer words borrowed from French, English and Arvorec) and some morphological differences (the Western dialect retained the old stem vowels in the nouns, so it's full of -o and -u and -e words that all end in consonants in the East). In the south, in Brittany of France, is the third chief dialect of Kerno. It's noted for its loss of the case system and for the rapid elimination of intervocalic consonants.
> i think that constructing some sort > of world and history of the world would be good > for giving a backbone to a > conlang. it doesn't even have to be fantasy.
Indeed not - if by "fantasy" you mean sword and sorcery sort of thing.
> richard kennaway's page has > many useful links. what do you think about > constructing worlds?
If you've not found them already, you should look into the World Building and Conculture lists over on - a lot of us are over there as well, and the lists are designed for talking about constructing worlds and cultures. Padraic. ===== beuyont alch geont la ciay la cina mangeiont alch geont y faues la lima; pe' ne m' molestyont que faciont doazque y facyont in rima. .