Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

A conlang idea rolling around in my head

From:Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>
Date:Tuesday, December 2, 2003, 21:25

I've been conlanging off an on for nearly 50 years,
although until a few years ago when I first discovered
this list I thought I was the only person in the world
twisted enough to consider such an activity "fun."

Having been utterly fascinated by language for as long
as I can remember, I quite naturally became an
engineer. (huh?)  Oh well, I enjoy engineering too.

But now, as I approach retirement, I look forward to
revisiting my interest in conlangs.

About 25 years ago I designed a conlang that was
entirely pictographic.  I created about 3,000 to 4,000
pictographs and became quite fluent in reading and
writing in this language by using it daily in my
personal journal.  The odd thing was that I couldn't
read it aloud because I had no idea what the words
sounded like, only what they looked like.  The
language started out as a symbolic relexification of
English, but over a few years of use began to develop
a mind of its own and a grammar quite different from
English.  It was a uniquely strange sensation reading
something non-verbally!  (It made me wonder if a
person deaf from birth also reads without "hearing"
word sounds in his mind's ear.  He must, having no
concept of the "sound" of a word.)

Then I forgot about it for a long time, and, later
still, all the written documentation was lost when the
aparment building I was living in burned down.  Now
thinking back to it I can only recall about a dozen of
the glyphs and none of the grammar.  So I was thinking
of redesigning it from scratch.

Has anyone else worked on any pictographic conlangs
that anyone knows of?  I'd be interested in having a
look .  Also, if I were to design the grammar from
scratch this time, how do you suppose the grammar for
a pictographic language would differ from the grammar
for alphabetic languages?  Obviously inflections are
not an option, but what other implications might there

Oh, and a PS on the pictographs: I had a method where
any pictograph could be mentally converted into a
five-digit number literally at a glance, and this
numerical key was the cannonical order for the glyph


H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>
Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>