Johannes Punkt’s Flaskpost

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Tag: artistic languages

Methods and Morphology of Conlanging

This is a post on conlanging.

It details 3 methods of constructing a language more or less from scratch – that is, not basing it off already existing languages. There are surely other ways to do conlangs but these are the ones that have occured to me/the people I conlang with. Let’s give the methods the arbitrary names clusterfuck, evolutionary, and interpretive.

Clusterfuck

…is the approach taken with the Cekno’s language; all ideas and jumbledness, like a brainstorming session that doesn’t really end. It goes a bit unwieldy after a few months of working like that, apparently. This involves a lot of jumping back and forth between different topics. You can do it more or less structurally but it is the most chaotic method nonetheless.

In trying to create the Cekno Idiosyncrasy, we tried to think like the star and figure out what kind of stuff it would think up, and it got confusing. Rather alien, but … yeah.

Evolutionary

…is when you try to create a language by making up the culture that goes along with it, maybe following its route from some imaginary savannah period to living in tents and placing religious importance on testicles. The way I considered doing this was to take a tribal society and mark out the concepts important to them, define some semantic clusters, and then add more stuff in hundred-year-leaps. This’d include some sound shift and imaginary politics.

Interpretive
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More on Conlanging

The language of the Cekno has evolved! (See /2012/12/14/thoughts-on-conlanging/ for context.)

With the help of @kerastion (Rob Mitchelmore), @drakekin, and @eleniturner (Lily Newman), the language is going places and it is exciting.

Prototype of what the language would look like, by @drakekin. Isn’t it pretty?

It still is not anything you can communicate with, but it has ideas! There is a Glossary of Definitions you can check out: /glossary/idiosyncratic-glossary/. You can also check out drakekin’s work at his ministry-of-plenty.co.uk/, or his version of the glossary (with glyphs!) here: …pages/a-cekno-dictionary.html.

Some cool words from it are the word for light or photons, which I aim to make as diverse and difficult as the Greek λόγος (logos), or the Latin re. One can dream, right? Also the word for waiting, without knowing something is going to happen. It is almost always a retroactive verb, for saying things like ‘I waited for the reaper to come (having never heard of the reaper before he came)’ where the bracketed part is only implied. Can be used in present-tense if one is very careful.

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