Re: LLL Monthly Update #05/2005
|From:||Patrick Littell <puchitao@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, June 2, 2005, 22:58|
Play-by-email perhaps? A little program (or barring that, a homonculus in a
jar) could keep track of (1) the regions of the world and the natural
features therein, (2) the location of each tribe, (3) the lexicon of each
tribe's language, and (4) those technologies (wheel, bronze, etc.) of which
each tribe has knowledge. The grammar of each tribe's language is a little
much for our little program to store, and it wouldn't need to, really, since
most borrowings are lexical anyway.
On the first turn, the programs sendmails out "cards" to each player giving
some ground parameters on which to build their language. The beginnings
(1) Some suggestions on phonology. Like, certain distinctive features -- one
player might get Distinctive Voice while another gets Aspiration -- certain
vowel systems, rare and fun sounds to work into the system, etc.
(2) A handful of basic human lexical items, like body parts and basic verbs,
for which the player should develop words.
(3) Words for the physical environment in which the tribe begins. Like
"beans, corn, peppers, squash, chocolate" for Central America, or what have
The player then emails back their lexicon in some easily parsible format,
maybe an XML format or something. This isn't to say that they don't develop
grammars and great works of literature or what have you. It's just that the
little PBEM server doesn't need to know these things.
On each subsequent turn, the server mails to each player
(1) The new region to which their wanderings have taken them. (Random
(2) The new environmental things that need to be named.
(3) A random discovery.
(4) If they're adjacent to another tribe, that tribe's words for things
(foods, discoveries) the first tribe lacks.
(5) Random sound or grammatical changes, to be implemented if the language
As for population growth, decline, combat, immigration... well, it could be
worked out. Growth could be the reward for timely reply, and decline from
missing a few turns. Random contests (best recipe, written in your language,
using only those foods your tribe has encountered!) could lead to
between-tribe population shifts ("war", "immigration", or whatever one
wishes to call it.)
Hmm, sounds doable...
On 6/2/05, bob thornton <arcanesock@...> wrote:
PHIL205: MWF 2:00-3:00, M 6:00-9:00
Voice Mail: ext 744
Spring 05 Office Hours: M 3:00-6:00
> That's actually a delightfully awesome idea. I wonder
> how one would implement it...
> --- Patrick Littell <puchitao@...> wrote:
> > On 6/1/05, Ph. D. < phild@...> wrote:
> > >
> > > Now that's a cool idea. Creating a proto-language,
> > then having
> > > several different people work out their version of
> > a descendant
> > > language. It will be interesting to see how this
> > turns out.
> > >
> > > --Ph. D.
> > I always sorta pictured a big board game, with a
> > continents divided into big
> > Risk-y pieces. Each "player" would start with a very
> > simple language of
> > there own devising... perhaps to some randomly
> > rolled parameters. Maybe
> > there are cards one deals... two players get
> > nominative, one split-ergative,
> > one ergative, one split-s, and one fluid-s. Two
> > players get SVO, two SOV,
> > and one verb-initial. And so on.
> > Each turn (100 year clicks, maybe), the players
> > migrate their tribes, and
> > the languages change a little. Some, I figure,
> > according to the player's
> > whim, but possibly constrained by further cards.
> > (Vowel shift, the addition
> > of tones, one more notch towards analyticity, the
> > development of gender,
> > etc.) Each player draws a few cards each turn
> > indicating "discoveries", like
> > the wheel, bronze, dogs, pyramids, etc., to beef up
> > their vocabulary. But if
> > two tribes meet along a border, they borrow all the
> > words for the
> > discoveries they lack from their neighbor, changing
> > them to fit their own
> > phonologies.
> > Some eventuality cards might increase or decrease
> > the population of the
> > tribe in favor of another, or maybe there's some
> > simple sort of combat
> > (poetry competition? insult fencing?), but a tribe
> > can die out, at which
> > point the player is given control of a branch of the
> > victor's language. (Or
> > a creole therebetween!) But a language never really
> > dies, of course, because
> > it's words live on, albeit mangled, in all the
> > others.
> > Might be fun,
> > --
> > Patrick Littell
> > PHIL205: MWF 2:00-3:00, M 6:00-9:00
> > Voice Mail: ext 744
> > Spring 05 Office Hours: M 3:00-6:00
> -The Sock
> "My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
> Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
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