|From:||Kristian Jensen <kljensen@...>|
|Date:||Friday, September 1, 2000, 19:36|
>>Glancing over all these ethnologue entries, I notice that most people's
>>languages have over 100,000 speakers. Some have millions of speakers. I
>>know that Tokana and Tepa have (or had) fewer than 30,000 speakers apiece
>>(in the case of Tepa probably far fewer). Are there any other conlangs on
>>the list with very small (fictional) speaker bases?
Brad Coon has his aborigines of Antarctica. One group, the Feorran, can't have
more than a few hundred I'm sure. There's a webpage, but I'm too lazy to check.
I'm doing a very minor project myself where where the words 'small', 'tiny',
and/or 'few' plays a major role in the design. A tiny group of approximately 60
individuals. These are sedententary hunter-gatherer/fishermen living on a tiny
island of approximately 8 square km off the coast of Polillo Island off the east
coast of Luzon in the Philippines. These are remnants of the negrito tribes that
once dominated the area. They even speak a non-Austronesian language. In fact my
inspiration for this language has been the Papuan languages (specifically those
from the Sepik River Basin). Evidence suggests that their language has only 10
phonemes /p t k m n N w j a @/. However, both /w/ and /j/ interact closely with
vowels on the autosegmental level. So the inventory could potentially be reduced
even more if rounding and fronting were taken as prosodies. Suffice to say, the
phonology is quite complex.
Since everyone seems to be doing one, here are my Ethnologue entries for my two
AKTE (GIYAN ISLAND DUMAGAT, GIYAN ISLAND AGTA, GIYAN ISLAND NEGRITO) [_AGX_] 60
(1992 L. Reid). Giyan Island, Quezon Province, Luzon. _Isolate_. Geographically
isolated. Not linguistically close to any other language (Lawrence Reid). Negrito.
Few speak Tagalog. Sedentary hunter-gatherer, animist, moieties. Typology: VSO,
suffixing, polysynthetic, limited phonemic inventory. Survey needed.
[NB.: Lawrence Reid is a well-known (real world) expert on Philippine Negritos,
but his knowledge of Akte is of course fictional.]
BOREANESIAN (STANDARD BOREANESIAN) [_BOR_] 4,000,000 (1994 estimate). Boreanesian
Islands. _Boreanesian_, Meso, Central. Effectively a genetic isolate, all other
known Boreanesian languages having been extinct for 50 years. All non-standard
dialects are moribund. National language. Unusual syntactic typology, Greenberg's
type 8: VOS, post-positional, genitive-noun, noun-adjective. Other typological
characteristics include: primarily prefixing, complex non-concatenative morphology,
phonemic phonation. Native deistic animist religion with degenerated elements of
Brahmanism. Dual-descent descent-system following the Iroquoian model incorporating
both patri- and matrimoieties. Bible portions.