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
"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
"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
And my favourite - perhaps Will was a closet
conlanger? - from Wight:
"Jan: What's got there, you?
Will: A straddlebob craalun about in the
J: Straddlebob? Where dedst leyarn to call n by
W: Why, what shoud e call n? Tes the right neyam,
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 pronunciationdifferences that can only be hinted at in
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
> 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 yahoo.com - a lot of us are over there as
well, and the lists are designed for talking
about constructing worlds and cultures.
beuyont alch geont la ciay la cina
mangeiont alch geont y faues la lima;
pe' ne m' molestyont
doazque y facyont in rima.