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Re: Basic vocabulary when starting a conlang

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Monday, September 2, 2002, 3:33
On Sat, 31 Aug 2002 15:23:32 +0200, Roberto Suarez Soto <ask4it@...>

> What do you think is the basic vocabulary to start a conlang?
Depends on the conlang. :-)
> I was thinking that there are a few verbs that, because of its >everyday use or significance, should be the first to be "created": to >be, to have, to live, to die, to go, to come. There should also be a few >basic words, as: man, woman, child, life, death, sky, earth, water, >fire, god. And of course, the basic personal pronouns: I, you, >he/she/it, we, you, they.
It's hard to get by without "to be" in some form or other. Of course, a language might omit "be" in certain contexts, or have multiple ways of expressing the various meanings of English "be". Translations of "be" (in naturalistic languages, at least) also tend to be irregular, so it might not be the best word to start with. Even some of these "basic" concepts aren't necessarily translated by a single root: the Tirelat word for death, for instance, is a compound "kazi-miv" meaning "end of life". Numerals are useful words to have, and almost all languages have them. Parts of the body, colors, weather conditions, basic emotions, food, clothing, ...
> Of course, then there would be more specific or strange verbs, >nouns and pronouns depending on each culture/language. But I think a >basic list of these terms would be useful when starting a conlang (for >me, at least! :-)). Is there any of this already in the FAQ, or >somewhere else?
You could start with the Swadesh list used by historical linguists. This comes in 100-word and 200-word varieties. Here's a link to one that I found through Google: -- languages of Azir------> ---<>--- hmiller (Herman Miller) "If all Printers were determin'd not to print any email password: thing till they were sure it would offend no body, \ "Subject: teamouse" / there would be very little printed." -Ben Franklin