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Re: Good reads for the novice conlanger?

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Wednesday, August 7, 2002, 4:06
> my other suggestion is just borrowing self-teaching > books on various natlangs ( or reading them in > bookshops ) as a good way of finding out > possibilities. that was ( and still is to some extent > ) my method anyway ). it's worth going for obscure > from time to time tho !
If you can find self-teaching books on it, it's probably not very obscure! But yes, learning about natlangs (especially non-Indo-European ones) is a great way to get ideas. Try to actually learn enough of a language (for instance, Japanese) to understand the way sentences are put together and how the meaning of the words differs from English. Japanese is a good one since it's so fundamentally different from English in many ways and easy to find documentation on; Arabic, Chinese, Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Korean, Swahili, and Turkish are other possibilities. One of the nice things about Thomas Payne's _Describing Morphosyntax_, which as others have mentioned is a favorite among conlangers, is that it gives lots of examples in less familiar languages like Panare and Yup'ik. For writing systems, Peter T. Daniels & William Bright's book _The World's Writing Systems_ is a nice reference.