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Re: Some conlang questions

From:Jan van Steenbergen <ijzeren_jan@...>
Date:Friday, December 27, 2002, 21:19
 --- Peter Clark skrzypszy:

> On Friday 27 December 2002 01:15 pm, Michael Fors wrote:
> > Hello everybody!
> Welcome! I see Christophe has already extended his greeting (Jan? You > there?
Yes, here I am! Welcome to the List, Michael! It seems that the Swedish are taking over the majority (or rather: plurality) position of the Dutch; even Christophe's metamorphosis can't help that ;)
> > To my questions: > > 1. I am having problems with the vowels of my conlang. Since I want to make > > a naturalistic language, I want a naturalistic vowel system. The only > > problem is that I don't know what that is. I mean, is it natural for a > > language to have many front vowels, rounded and unrounded, and two rounded > > back vowels? That's one of the questions that keeps me awake at night. =)
Well, Christophe and Peter wrote much better answers to that question than I would ever be able to come up with. To be honest, I'm a naturalist too, but I don't know the rules that well. For me, it is mostly a matter of following my intuition. OTOH, I don't think there is anything wrong with that.
> > 2. I also want to make "daughter"-languages to my language. I have been > > reading some about sound change, but I wonder if there is some sort of a > > table for sound changes? So I can see which changes that are likely to > > occur and which that are less likely.
As my respected colleagues pointed out, that is a very complicated problem. The thing is, that the likeliness of one sound change is extremely dependent on the presence or absence of other sound changes. The most practical solution I can offer you is this: make a proposal, formulate your ideas, questions, and uncertainties, and post it to the List. There is a lot of know-how available here, not only from amateurs like me, but also from distinguished professional linguists. They will undoubtedly be able to tell you how likely your scheme is, and where improvements could be made. Out of personal experience, I have one other piece of advise: don't work on more than one daughter language at the same time. There are a lot of traps you have to avoid, in particular the danger that one language becomes nothing but a modification of another. I made that mistake in the beginning, and a result were a few languages that I didn't like at all; they looked terribly artificial and I threw them away. But don't let that discourage you from creating a language family. It's a great thing to do, I think. Jan ===== "Originality is the art of concealing your source." - Franklin P. Jones __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Everything you'll ever need on one web page from News and Sport to Email and Music Charts