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Interpolating RPGLangs

From:Ed Heil <edheil@...>
Date:Wednesday, November 17, 1999, 22:06

That's exactly parallel to the project I undertook with the Chanan
languages of Talislanta.

A problem I faced in creating a language for an existing game is that
the "common tongue" of the world is (of course) treated as if it were
English.  Often, however, allusions and puns and new etymologies are
built into names... For example, in Glorantha, the elves and other
such critters are the "Aldryami," the followers of the goddess Aldrya.
 Among them are the Dryads, who must take their name from Aldrya.  So
is the word "dryad" -- an English word -- a part of the common tongue
of Glorantha, by some weird coincidence?  Things like that.

(Tolkien was dealing with this problem when he insisted there was a
massive translation of proper names from Westron and its relatives
into English and its relatives, and that was why there were many Old
English and similar names in the books.  For me the explanation
strains suspension of disbelief; I'd rather just believe that there
were Old English names in Middle-Earth and never mind why.  But that's
a matter of taste.)

That's a good reason to choose more obscure tongues to create, ones
like (in my case) Chanan, and (in your case) Praxian.

You point out that game designers who speak English and  are not
likely to have thrown in gratuitous ejectives and other fun stuff
(though surely Lhankor Mhy has unvoiced nasals and laterals!).  This
is true, but as Tolkien pointed out in his _Secret Vice_ essay, you
can get a lot of exoticness out of English sounds if you put them in
new and interesting combinations (Tolkien pointed out that the word
"Shtaerks" ([St@rks]) is a very alien combination of sounds, but it's
nothing but the word "scratch" spelled phonetically backwards).

Anyway, good luck on your project!



Bryan Maloney wrote:

> I've put up some notes towards a conlang at > > > I confess that it's not 100% original--it's based on the Glorantha > setting. Thus, I am somewhat constrained. If I want to remain "true" to > the "source" material, there is very little I can subtract. A few things > in particular bother me: > > The vowel structure seems lopsided. Any suggestions on how to fix it? > I think that I've made a goof in adding a labiodental nasal--the "source > material", since it was written by a Californian game designer with zero > linguistic background, uses a vary English implicit phonology (from what > I've been able to gather). Would a language be likely to differentiate > between a bilabial and a labiodental nasal? > The "terminal glottal stop goes away sometimes" rule doesn't quite work > for me--is it nonsensical? (All the "combinatorial" rules are my own > design). > > Anyway, I'd welcome the critique. I've got more material, but this is > all I have on the Web. > > Thanks.