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Hi again, new lang, and a lang tool

From:Aidan Grey <frterminus@...>
Date:Monday, March 12, 2001, 7:14
Hi all,

    I'm returning from a hiatus from conlang (mostly
due to a dead computer). It's been a while, and a good
thing. While I missed the conversations and the neat
ideas, I found that it was difficult to keep Aelya
sitting still. I kept trying to incorporate every neat
thing that was mentioned. The resulting mess of 76799
phonemes, 98679 cases, 23897 tense and 83 moods was
difficult to deal with, to say the least. Aelya still
hasn't stopped squirming, but it's getting there.

  In the meantime, I started a new language, looslely
inspired by the Shanthic language from the RPG
"Skyrealms of Jorune". Here's a short description of

Tatra 'the tounge'

Phonology: unvoiced consonants predominate
          vowels: a,e,i,o,u
          diphthongs: ai, au, ei, eu
          consonants: t, p, k, kh, h, ' (glottal stop)
                      l, lh, r, s, sh, n, m

Morphology: rich in particles, less so in affixes.
Number is never marked.
          nouns: are not marked for case or number.
          adjectives: only marked for degree of
          verbs: these are marked for person (but not
number) and tense/mood. There are 4 persons, with the
4th being "the other guy". The three tense/mood
distinctions are present, perfective, and irrealis,
which covers future, subjunctive, conditional, and

Syntax: OSV, modifier-head relationship in almost
every case.

A sample:
   Apseka tla' tras ulu hi akatu'u lhi kho til.
   I gave those dogs you saw to the young boy.

   A-pse-ka   tla' tras ulu hi       a-katu-'u   lhi
kho   til.
   PERF-see-2 REL  many dog DEIC:Far PERF-give-1 DAT
young boy

    Eventually, I want to derive a newer language with
a more complex phonology and morphology, I'm having
problems with a couple things, and would like your
input on them.

Pronunciation: does anyone have any hints on how to
pronounce glottal stops before consonants? I can do it
between vowels, including the semivowels and liquids,
but I have no idea how to pronounce it in other

Stress: how to do? I'm familiar with a lot of systems
that depend on long vowels to indicate the stressed
syllable, but I haven't a clue how to decide which
vowels are long and which vowels aren't. Also, I'm not
familiar with the ffects, if any, that a glottal stop
would have on vowel length.

Fricativization: I know that stops are usually voiced
intervocalically (in general, in world languages, I
mean), but when do fricatives occur?

Vowel dropping (I forget the linguistic term): are
there any semi-universals for how and when this

    Thanks in advance for any advice you might have.

    I also want to mention something that I brought up
ages ago. When I was a kid, I had this elaborate
system of coding to transform English into another
language. Here's how it worked:

   Start with the word to transform, I'll use 'sun'.
Each 'letter' has a code of 2 digits. The codes are
assigned from the letters on a diagonal basis. Say
that the code for 's' is 32, for 'u', 51, and for 'n',
37. First we place the code digits for 's':

s  u  n
.  3  .
.  .  2

then 'u':

s  u  n
.  3  5
1  .  2

And finally 'n':

s  u  n
3  3  5
1  7  2

Then you simply look up in your grid what s, position
3,1 equals. And again for u at 2,7 and n at 5,2.
When building the grid, you assign codes and letters
as you go. Say that I'm building grid still, and that
the positions don't equate to anything. Then I can
simply assign what letters I want, based on whatever
root I want as and end result. So I say that s(3,1)=s,
u(2,7)=o, and n(5,2)=l. I found that when you start
with this process and a living language, you end up
with a system that provides words with a continued
'flavor' of whatever language you're using. I used
this method to come up with my simple roots for Tatra.
Then I can develop from this simplistic method into
some real language creation.

One of the reasons I started using this method again
was that I had problems coming up with unique roots -
they all started to sound the same. Using Langmaker
helped sometimes, but when you have a list of 63
'words', it gets more and more difficult to decide
which one means rabbit and which one means zinc. This
helps with the problem, and if I don't like my result,
I simply plug in a new word, a synonym, and there's my
root, ready for development.

Finally, I bring all this up because I've created the
program I talked about before my hiatus to do this.
The process of building a grid goes amazingly quick
when you have a good sized list of target words to
start with, and it's nice to have this sort of
"instant translator" to hand when you can't think of
what 'star' should sound like. Someone recently
mentioned the benefits of relexification, and this can
be a handy tool for that. But it can also be used to
generate true roots and then to procede from there.
Anyway, the upshot is that if anyone would like a
copy, or a better explanation, feel free to say so!

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Eruanno the Linguist <eruanno@...>
Dan Jones <feuchard@...>