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Re: Newbie introduction and question

From:Matt Pearson <mpearson@...>
Date:Sunday, January 24, 1999, 19:03
Daniel Seriff wrote:

> My question is this: Could someone give me a prioritized list of the > steps one needs to go through to construct a viable language? I need > an > itemized list of decisions one needs to make about phonemes, > morphology, > grammar, syntax, vocabulary, etc.
You might want to consult a book called "Describing Morphosyntax", by Thomas Payne, published (I *think*) by Cambridge University Press in 1998, and fairly generally available. "Describing Morphosyntax" is a handbook for use by linguists who wish to construct a reference grammar for an as-yet-undocumented or poorly documented language. Unwittingly, Prof. Payne has also provided a useful tool for outlining the grammar of a conlang. The book is divided into several sections devoted to different types of constructions and syntactic phenomena (noun and verb phrases, number marking, case and agreement, relative clauses, serial verb constructions, switch reference systems, etc.), with examples from various and sundry 'exotic' languages, and reasonably non-technical definitions of terminology and concepts. Included in the book is a list of questions which need to be answered when describing - or here, creating - a previously unfamiliar language. This may give you some ideas of where you need to go, and what you might find when you get there. Good luck, and welcome to conlang! Matt.