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CHAT: Clarification of my methods

From:Anthony M. Miles <theophilus88@...>
Date:Tuesday, June 6, 2000, 18:18
I want to say this, since apparently I did not make myself clear.
My interest in conlangs is more in the development of one stage
of language to another and the borrowing of words and deeply tied to the
conculture. I also do not browse through dictionaries or wordlists
for sources, but often invent words as occasion demands (such as
'dhabde-huyukrakhe', soil-crawler, insect, a combination of two previously
existing roots). The less obvious an influence natlangs are on GLF, the
better. This does not mean, of course, that I don't change the word two
times within the first ten minutes to create a more satisfactory sound.

While I am sure that there are far more than 2000 possible words in Early
Lahabic, since there are thirteen suffixes and thirty-eight
prefixes (Bozhe moi! I hadn't counted them before) including the
prepositions for simple compositions, and most of these can be applied
individually to any root, the exact number of words is confused by several
matter. The first is having multiple words for the same concept. This could
be for etymological reasons (the three, or possibly more, words for
messenger-[nimid<w>iNk<h>e], [nimipp<h>a:lk<h>e], both unambiguous,
[nalowriNk<h>e], [nalo:rp<h.a:l], ambiguous and possibly supernatural), or
because I forgot I'd already invented a word for something (although I do
remember almost all of the vocabulary), or from a desire for geographical or
concultural onomastic diversity (the two words kyeuadh- 'broad' and gimeb-
'wide', a common feature of Island geography), or the existence of words
which are nearly untranslatable into English and the meanings of which I
don't always fully understand ([b<h>wete:Tp<h>a:k<h>e] 'that one for whom
drinking is an (dis)advantage', which is not quite the same as the 'one who
Virtually all my dictionaries are in Early Lahabic, but it is easy for
me to apply the correct phonetic changes to create the Woeuhenic (here
h is a boundary marker rather than phonetic) or Maradic analogs. The number
of truly frequent roots is kept low so that extensive borrowing takes place
between all members of the family. There are several other reasons for this.
I want to evoke an early cultural stage (analogous to Sumerian usage) where
many technical terms are the same as the common terms. I want to create a
language in which punning, poetry, and prophecy, is part of everyday speech.
I want cognate terms in GLF (Labic [garedrak<h>], 'wild animal, animal',
Maradic [zarenorS], 'horse, animal') to be close enough in form for
observant Dhabra linguists to spot them, but different enough in meaning
that the words can be borrowed (Labic [zarendrakh] means 'horse'). More
specifically, the meaning of the originally generic words are influenced by
the environment of the speakers (Early Lahabic [k^e:b-], 'seek' > Woeuhenic
[k^e:V-] 'hunt').

As if this weren't enough, I want the members of the GLF to be close
enough to one another phonetically so that the pronunciation is not too
divergent, but far apart enough phonetically that heavy borrowing changes
some allophones to phonemes (specifically, Labic dental and alveolar
fricative allophones).

I hope this explains much about my efforts.
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