Johannes Punkt’s Flaskpost

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Tag: constructed 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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Miscellanea

Berlin Confidential (berlinconfidential.tumblr.com) has just started updating again and you would be a fool not to read it. If you haven’t read it before, I urge you to start from the beginning: …/story/oberwelt. To summarize, which is impossible, it is about a bunch of strange murders in Weimar Germany and then things get weird. It is amazing; I can never recommend it enough.

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The very awesome @drakekin has worked a bit on his version of the Cekno Idiosyncrasy, and his musings and conclusions can be found here: ministry-of-plenty.co.uk/2012-12-19-conlangging-for-the-stars.html & …/2012-12-26-alphabets-and-the-grammar-of-stellar-bodies.html. They are full of interesting, and my own musings have not got nearly as far as his. For shame, Johannes.

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I saw the Hobbit and it was very Tolkien. A magical, inspiring, breathtaking, and unnecessarily drawn out sausagefest.

I purchased Norstrilia and it is a gorgeous book.

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I GM’d a game of Hitman on a Budget; a few highlights:

(Link to rules: machineofdeath.net/about/games; tl;dr: it’s a game where everybody’s a hitman and it all takes place in our collective imagination.)

The city of Gangsterdam, which has always been at war with Mafiastan.

Fraudulent papers consisting of a childish drawing of a smileyface on a card.

Demonic tattoos spreading in cardinal directions; regular syphilis spreading in carnal directions.

Rob the Collateralist, who laced botulism on all the candy to kill one man.

Drakekin, in an attempt to kill a dude, stops a war and saves a thousand lives.

Terrible in-sewer-ants.

Richard Dawkins killing a fake santa by dying.

Making “tuna” out of people.

The zombie apocalypse.

Kraken respects your boundaries and keeps his tentacles to himself (or just kills you with them, you perv).

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I’ve been enjoying Broodhollow.

broodhollow.chainsawsuit.com/2012/10/08/broodhollow/

Thoughts on Conlanging

So, I wrote this story a long while ago: /vignettes/the-anywhere-machine-appendix-i-futureful-skyful/

If I were to construct a language, I would try to construct the living sun’s language and I would try to write the poem that I alluded to.

The Cekno had a language that grew from hir necessity to organise hir own thoughts, to cope with the dread that every aware enough being feels. As such it is not a good language for communicating with other entities, but good at writing poetry and arguments in. The writing would be constructed in circles, with characters (that could correlate to sounds if one wanted to speak it aloud) being the highs and lows in the wave that the circle is made of. Presumably, to write it, it would be easier to draw it as a line and then draw it once more as a circle. Eventually, people who learn the language would try to read squiggly lines and circles and it will be amazing.

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