Conlang beginnings (was Re: GROUPLANG: cases (was: noun and verb roots))
|From:||Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, October 18, 1998, 2:07|
Herman Miller wrote:
> Hmm... That brings up an interesting question. How do other conlangers
> build their languages? I've always done it by starting with short phrases
> and building up from there. I figure out how a language says "bats fly" or
> "the cat saw the mouse" or "the moon is made of green cheese" before
> working up to more complex sentences. If I don't have quite the right noun
> case or verb aspect for what I want to express, I'll add, rearrange, or
> expand others to fit.
I start out with phonemes. Do I want a lot? Few? Should I have uvular
sounds? Etc. Then, I go on to some basic morphology (cases, if any,
some verb forms), and a few basic words. Then, I experiment around with
some sentences like "He hit his brother", or "I fell", simple transitive
and intransitive sentences. Verbs always take the longest, since I'm
never sure exactly what I want verbs to inflect for until I've worked on
it for some time. Nouns are occasionally changed too. As I experiment
around, I work out the syntax I want.
However, I've recently started a new project where that doesn't work.
I'm working on an isolating language, so I have to start "backwards"
from my usual system - I need to start with syntax, since there will be
little or no derivation and no inflections.
"It's bad manners to talk about ropes in the house of a man whose father
was hanged." - Irish proverb