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Glossopoeia out of (pseudo)glossolalia

From:Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>
Date:Friday, June 20, 2008, 2:07
With my newest, still very sketchy language I've just done something
I'd vaguely thought about doing from time to time but never done before.
I wrote a quatrain pseudo-glossolalically, paying attention just to meter
and rhyme but otherwise making up word-forms by free-association.
Then, having the quatrain in front of me, I gradually figured out what
the poem was about and what the individual words meant simultaneously,
taking clues from the initial phonemes of what might be verbs.  (I know
from the couple of dozen sentences I'd already written in the language
(which I'm making up kind of solo-Kalusa-wise as I go along) that it
has subject and object (and transitivity) marking using the initial
consonant of the verb; some of those consonants appear as prefixes
of inalienably possessed nouns too, as in Hixkaryana, which I've been
reading about lately.)   In the process of interpreting the poem, I found
out something about how adverbs work in this language, and a little about
the culture of its speakers.

So far the whole documenation of the language consists of sentences
in the language, with free (not interlinear) glosses in gjâ-zym-byn.  I did
the same with another sketchlang a year or so ago, but didn't keep working
on it for mroe than a few days.  If this language lasts longer (I hope so;
I like the sound of it) I'll see how long I can keep that up without feeling
the need for a lexicon & grammatical tables, etc.

filajhni tukasko namera;
huzhespa im tera ilang.
talnipi kiaspo tinera,
kunemo, vuamjho silang.

quick ad-hoc romanization: ng = /N/, jh = /j\/, zh = /Z/, e = /E/,
r = /r`/, otherwise IPA values.

"she knits it carefully, my grandmother;
a festive garment of many colors.
I watch you work, thoughtfully;
you are pleased with your work, I will impress the elders [with said garment]"

Have any of y'all ever used a method like this to develop
your conlangs?  I reckon it wouldn't be much use with a
language better-developed than this one, and I wasn't sure
I could get it to work consistently even with only 20-30
sentences written in the language so far, but it worked
well enough.  I'm busy now writing additional sentences
using the new words from the poem, inflecting them
in different ways than they're used there, etc.

Jim Henry


John Campbell <campbell.2006@...>