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Re: Word Construction for a New Conlang

From:Patrick Dunn <tb0pwd1@...>
Date:Thursday, July 8, 1999, 6:21
On Wed, 7 Jul 1999, Ed Heil wrote:

> I'm finding myself in a state of throwing away all the beginnings of > conlangs I've started and wanting to start over again. And I'm just > not sure how to start, so I turn to you (pl) for help...
> > I'm curious how other people work, especially people who, like me, do > not have a really hardcore linguistics background with exposure to a > lot of natlangs and formal descriptions thereof. > > Ed Heil ------------------------------- > "Facts are meaningless! You can use facts to prove anything > that's even _remotely_ true!" -- Homer Simpson
Actually, I rely an awful lot on my subconscious. When I need a word I think about the concept, and just let the word arise in my mind. For instance, I needed a word for "good", and "nehasa" came into mind. It's a perfect word for "good" (at least in Hatasoe). Then, after getting a few dozen of these words, I look at their phonology and analyze it. I draw up a rough chart. I make up some more words. Usually a few of those violate the phonology. I go back to the chart and see *how* it's been violated (for instance, is there suddenly a voiced /f/? An initial cons. cluster?). If the violation "makes sense" to me (I can imagine that voiced /f/ arising, for instance) I include it. If it doesn't, I try to figure out how I'm mispronouncing the word. The flaw with this system, of course, is a tendancy to include only English sounds, but since I have a real fascination with weird noises, I don't have much trouble with that. *grins* The strengths? First, some sounds pop up more frequently than others. /t/ is very common in Hatasoe, but /d/ less so. This isn't a matter of me saying, "ah, well, /t/ will be ten times more common than /d/." It just happens. Second, after a short while, you can stop checking the chart, because you *know* how to pronounce the words and "wrong words" just don't pop up anymore. Third, it's a little easier to learn the vocabulary, because it comes from somewhere inside your own mind, not a computer screen. I've tried computer generated vocabulary, several times, but we hates it, yes we does, we hates it, my preciousss! It's like -- ahem -- swimming in a linguistic ocean with a raincoat on? --Patrick