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conlang maturation

From:Tom Tadfor Little <tom@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 17, 2001, 4:19
I'm curious about the process that leads from a language sketch to a
full-blown conlang. Most conlangs begin with a phonology, grammatical
sketch, some orthographic system, perhaps a few vocabulary words or roots,
and some derivational strategies. This is enough to give one the feeling of
trying out any new "bright ideas" that seem fun or inspiring, and enough to
generate some plausible names and brief snatches of dialog for fiction,
role-playing, etc. Most of my own projects have stopped at that stage,
partly because that is what seems to give me the most fun, and partly
because of no one to share the further growth of the language with (a
situation remedied by my recent discovery of this list!).

After that initial sketch, further work on the language is what I'm calling
the "maturation" process. The vocabulary increases beyond a short exemplary
wordlist, and syntactical structures are strained into greater
sophistication to express the subtleties of extended sentences with
interrelated clauses and the like. I'm wondering how others manage this
process. When I've gone that far, it tends to be a case of "necessity as
the mother of invention"--I have a need for extended texts in the conlang,
so I grit my teeth and do it, expanding the language as I go.

Is this the case for others, too? Or do you systematically enlarge
vocabulary? Do you translate into the conlang for no other reason than to
stretch it? Do you use the conlang yourself in daily life, to stay immersed
in it? Do you solicit friends to help? Do you try to compose original texts
in the conlang, rather than writing in your primary language first and
translating? Or do you have a conculture project that makes steady demands
on the conlang?

Has anyone kept track of the lexical growth rate for their conlang? Has
anyone maintained a steady growth for one language while starting a swarm
of new ones? (this is always my great temptation)

Cheers, Tom

Tom Tadfor Little     
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
Telperion Productions 


Jim Grossmann <steven@...>
Douglas Koller, Latin & French <latinfrench@...>