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Bootstrapping a cooperative conlang

From:Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>
Date:Friday, November 16, 2007, 8:26
I have made a number of attempts at a cooperative conlang, all of which fell
apart for one reason or another. (Anyone remember "Kalusa"?) Here's yet another
idea for a cooperative conlang which would 1) allow people to collaborate even
they shared no common natural language, and 2) encourage the conlang to grow
into a naturalistic and useful language.

Bootstrapping a collaborative conlang: Begin with no more than 100 basic words
which have simple equivalents with the same meaning in most other languages,
and which suffice to define further words (Idea borrowed from the "Semantic
Primes" of "Natural Semantics Metalanguage").

All new words beyond the core vocabulary of 100 words are defined or explained
using only the core words, or words that have been defined in terms of the core

In this way a person, regardless of his native language, only needs to use his
native language to learn the 100 core words, after which he or she can continue
to learn, and use, and develop the new language using only that new language

People can then collaborate on building a conlang even if they do not share a
common natural language, by communicating in very the language they are
building as they build it.

The dictionary would be arranged chronologically for the first time learner,
and alphabetically for the more advanced student. Until such time as the
language grows to the point where complex grammatical issues can be discussed
in the language itself, all grammatical rules are demonstrated by examples,
rather than being explained.

A simplified example:

Core vocabulary
a  - to, toward, at
alo  - say
amensa  - know
ashani - someone
asi - be (to be someone/something, to have some trait)
den -  a thing, something
denau - this thing
deso  - want/desire
emaru - bad
ena - and, also, in addition
entu - not
espeli  - meaning
faso - see
foren - before
kui  - like, similar to
kus  - because
pono - good
punta - now
pusha  - do
shanu - person, people
tambo - word, words
tensa  - think
varen - true
vene  - if

Extended dictionary - assumes knowledge of no other language than the very
language being built.

 -- foren punta

 -- "Den pono _asuni_" espeli kui "Vene den foren punta pono asi ena denau
punta entu pono asi."

 -- "John _kraso_ a Mary" espeli John alo den a Mary. John amensa denau entu
varen asi. John alo denau kus John deso Mary tensa denau varen asi. Shanu tensa
emaru asi vene ashani pusha kui denau.

tambo anula
 -- Faso "asuni". "Den pono _asuni_"; "asuni" tambo anula asi.

tambo punta
 -- Vene "Den pono asi" punta varen asi, "asi" tambo punta asi.

 -- Vene "faso" tambo punta asi, "fasuli" tambo anula asi.




Michael Poxon <mike@...>
Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>
Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>