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Word categories (Was: Re: Borrowing Wordlist)

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Tuesday, October 19, 2004, 17:56
On Tue, Oct 19, 2004 at 01:19:40PM -0400, Yann Kiraly wrote:
> I am designing an easy to learn conlang. I wonder if it would be illegal > and/or bad to take Odgen's list of basic english words and translate it, > as a guide of which words are necessary for a (at least basicaly) complete > lexicon. I would add many adverbs to avoid using to many idioms.
Funny you should mention this, but I've just been compiling a list of word categories which I intend to use to fill up gaps in Tatari Faran's lexicon. Personally, I prefer using word categories as a checklist of stuff I need, rather than explicit word lists, which tend to have semantic boundaries too closely tied to a particular language. Anyway, I thought I should post this so that fellow conlangers can make use of it. Note that this is not intended to be an exhaustive list of word categories, neither is it guaranteed to have a 100% consistent taxonomy. It's just a rough checklist of semantic areas a language would need to cover in order to be able to handle everyday conversations. Specific examples of words aren't intended to be followed to the letter, but are just to give the prospective conlanger an idea of what kind of words would be needed to cover a particular category. (Note that the exhaustive volcanic terminology is due to the fact that I compiled this list for Tatari Faran; other conlangs would probably have some other area where they are more focused on.) - Directions - Up, down, left, right, forwards, backwards; - Cardinal directions: north, south, east, west, etc. - Spatial relationships (in front of, behind, beside, on top, underneath) - Actions (stand, sit, walk, turn, lie, jump, roll) - Adverbs (fast, slow, repeatedly, often, rare, ...) - Body parts - Personal adjectives (tall, short, beautiful, ugly, etc) - Family (kinship terms) - Parents, grandparents - Siblings, cousins - Children - Social: - Chief, slave, servant, peers - Friendship: - Promises, agreements, disagreements, loyalty - Gifts, communications (letters?) - Gratitude (thanking, acknowledgements) - Companionship, together, alone, etc. - Rewards, punishments - Food (vegetables, meats, liquids, etc.) - Cooking - Tastes (meaty, fruity, yucky, etc.) - Smells - Textures (chewy, soft, delicate, tough, crumbly) - Greetings - Temporal nouns - Time of day, calendar days, months, etc. - Relative temporal nouns: now, just now, afterwards, later - Seasons - Environmental - Sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset, stars - Rain, fog, smoke, fire, water, mud, etc. - Fauna & flora - Volcanic phenomena - Earthquakes - Eruptions - Eruption type (based on visual appearance) - Tephra, pyroclastic flows, mud floods - Geyser eruptions (steam) - Smog, ashfall - Hot springs, sulfur (smell, etc.) + Lava words - Water flood, lava flood, earthquakes, etc. - Physique: - Fatigue, strength, weakness, illness - Injury, healing - Psychological: - Thinking: comprehension, perception, etc. - Feelings: angry, happy, sad, calm, excited. - Decisions: decide, wish, hope, planning - Sizes: - large, small, wide, long, deep, high. - Everyday accessories: - Clothing, headwear, footwear - Beddings, common accessories (containers, vessels, etc.) - Tools: - Furniture - Utensils (bowls, pans, pots) - Tools (knives, spears) - Exploration: - Hunting - Searching, hiding, digging, burying - Journeying (climb, pioneer, discover) - Construction: - Housing (houses, shelters) - Building (erect a tent, cut wood, build a structure) - Transportation (vehicles, transportation devices) - Mortality: - Birth, death - Killing, murder, accidents, crime - Burial, mourning, celebration If I missed any major categories here, please speak up. :-) It might be useful if people can suggest improvements/revisions to this list, so that I can post it up on my conlang site as a resource for future conlangers. Suggestions for massive taxonomical reorganizations are OK too, since this list as it stands is very rough and could use some tidying up. T -- Elegant or ugly code as well as fine or rude sentences have something in common: they don't depend on the language. -- Luca De Vitis


scott <sjcaldwell@...>
Rene Uittenbogaard <ruittenb@...>
Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Sally Caves <scaves@...>