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How to avoid being a Tolkien clone

From:Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Saturday, May 26, 2001, 1:41
Hail Conlangers!

I'm back.  Sorta.

I've been working on the story for my RPG scenario project, which I've renamed
tentatively The Four Horsemen.  (It's a mix of sci-fi and fantasy, or Tolkien as
interpreted by Asimov.)

When I get my homepage back up, I'll devote a lot to the game as well as
concultural stuff, including the Tech language, now spoken by a race of Egyptian
elves.  I'm borrowing from Tolkien a little, especially since I have at least
two humanoid races: elves and orcs.  I feel like I'm ripping off JRR, and I've
been trying to find a name for the Orcs (who have no real native language but
speak a crude form of English).  I've thought of Goblins, Ogres, Thugs, Cavemen,
_homo erectus_ revived...

After I get enough of Tech worked out, I might start on a second elven language,
this time for a light-skinned version from the Caucasus, probably speaking North
Caucasian, or Sino-Caucasian, or even Dene-Caucasian.  But that's way down the

Again, the main features of Tech:
1) Nostratic vocabulary
2) large consonant inventory due to palatization, labialization, mutation (i.e.
Old Irish) plus an ample number of laryngeals, glottalized consonants, lateral
affricates, retroflexes...
3) relatively small number of vowels, as in North Caucasian languages
4) combination polysynthetic-inflected grammar
5) VSO word order
6) Arabic-like word derivation and verbal classes
7) a split-ergative system much like Georgian
8) large number of noun cases, like Sanskrit and Hungarian
9) massive loanword vocabulary, many synonyms and poetic forms (I just wish I
could write poetry)

The going has been and will be slow since I'm multitasking on this so much, but
I'll keep y'all posted.


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BP Jonsson <bpj@...>
daniel andreasson <daniel.andreasson@...>