I learned most things as a toddler. :P I used to be pretty smart. Unfortunately my brain stopped working around.. uh... 1995 or so :(
Why would you start over ? Your current language is great - it would be much simpler to adapt the parts you really need to change :) (And I would not call that a tutorial so much as "Jalyha blathering again" ... it's what most people call my similar spoutings...)
I love the mutations :P You've got some really interesting symbols there :D
I've been working on Solsprak for a novel of mine. Starting with the very basics of phonology definitely helped me figure out what the language would sound like. It's still in the baby stages right now--I need to work more on the tenses and such--but I'd like to finish making the alphabet before I go any further. It has influences from Spanish, Latin, and German. Grammatically, it's similar to German and English. This is my first time colanging, so I'm a pretty huge noob, but it's definitely worth the effort.
Also, I bought a book recently that has helped me figure out syntax and structure. "The Loom of Language" is by Frederick Bodmer and I'd suggest grabbing it at the library if anyone gets the chance. It's not about colanging, but understanding how natural languages are formed and influenced definitely helps make colanging sound more natural, imo.
This whole thread is really cool! I've never actually thought about conlangs like this? (to show the level of amature I am haha)
I've only ever really employed conlangs for nouns so that I could have cool names for my people and places, but the way I've done it then is much more simple. I take my group of people (say, mountain giants), and then think of what sort of sounds I want to connotate to them (w/ the example, maybe like, an avalanche of boulders or crunching gravel), and then I try and find video clips of those sounds and write down the sort of syllables I hear (ch's, uu's, oo's, etc), and then make up words that sort of incorporate those sounds, so that the mountain trolls roughly have the sound of rocks. Or if I were doing mermaids or water nymphs or something, I would use "liquid-y sounds" like l's and s's and b's.
It's kind of a rudimentary system, but it gets me what I need when I'm creating a few nouns!
I'm definitely going to try making a proper language at some point though, using this thread for pointers.
I guess an easier way of saying all this is that I do it more phonetically than with any other sort of system.
Originally Posted by arishok
I think I was looking into getting that book at one point? I can't remember. Your language looks like it's coming along well!! I never used that site because it's so technical it gives me headaches, but I bet it's a good guide, and a great way to keep organized!
I think all our methods are mostly phonetics, but I like the idea of getting language sounds from nature sounds :D I might try that at some point, and see what happens!
Originally Posted by berg
I have this book as well, and it is a really cool read!! Definitely check it out if you can.
Originally Posted by arishok
I thought I'd share a few bits since I started devising an ancient language for my world. My main inspiration is ancient Sumerian, so I spent some time learning what I could. The earliest iteration of the writing system was entirely logographic in nature, so symbols represented whole words. Symbols gradually evolved to represent general ideas: like nouns, adjectives, and verbs that shared the same idea. You could infer the meaning from context. Since many of the words were monosyllabic, that was one factor that allowed symbols to be utilized as spoken syllables in order to build words. So, Sumerian became logosyllabic, which shares a lot in common with languages like Chinese (or so I'm led to understand).
I'll spare you my pages of tables for the sake of brevity. I've decided on a set of vowel sounds and consonant sounds and now I'm piecing together syllables. One resource that was helpful for me was (Syllable - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). I'm currently trying to devise V(vowel)-C(consonant), C-V, V-C-V, C-V-C pairings. I'm definitely in that stage where I can still cut a consonant/vowel or tweak where it's allowed in syllables.
Then come the symbols. For reference, Ancient Sumerian had about 300 symbols. For my language, most of the symbols would be vowel sounds or monosyllabic. The sound "au" might have a symbol that represents water. The symbol for "su" might mean "to give". More complex ideas will probably not be monosyllabic. Another aspect that I gleaned from Sumerian is that languages evolve, and there appearance and style is largely a product of the culture. Sumerian cuneiform was probably devised initially for trade. The aesthetic look of it was due to a reed stylus being poked into clay tablets. Religion played a large role as well.
Anyway, I have several doodles I'm toying with. I tried to guess how a glyph might evolve over several hundred years and this was one thought. The style of my culture initially emphasized a flowing calligraphic aesthetic. Later styles might be due to simplification for the common people, or perhaps a variant used by a neighboring country.
Here is one (guess what it represents):
One of the hardest problems I'm having right now is devising the base symbology. More verbal concepts are difficult for me. I'm trying to keep the symbols under 6 strokes, while maintaining an artistic, slightly abstract appearance that also conveys the meaning. All while doing it in a way I think the people of my culture would think to do it. I'm trying to avoid modernized pictograms.
I'm definitely not planning to create the entire language, but I would like a small working vocabulary.
Also, if you want to learn Sumerian grammar, this is an AWESOME resource: (Sumerian/Grammar - Wikibooks, open books for an open world)
Oh, that's gorgeous. I love the way your symbol's devolved... part of that would happen, also, as a society used more writing, more often. It's a long arduous process to draw every picture in a 2000 page book, or for quick/urgent military communications. :)
That's part of why I write mine fast before I find the final shapes! :)
Yours looks to be doing well, and Sumerian sounds fascinating. I'll take a look at it. Thanks for the link!!
Oh I see! Do it in reverse from a simple symbol into a complex symbol. I might have to try a couple that way and see if it helps the process.
Really interesting discussion, I'm only halfway through page one and I love it! Wanted to post this before I get to engrossed in what everyone's saying and forget about it :P
(If these ideas have been touched upon in the pages I haven't read yet then apologies!)
In a book called Decipher, there's some discussion of the formation and development of ancient languages and writing systems and a couple of interesting points really stuck in my mind.
- First, the earlier written languages had larger alphabets; we're slowly removing letters as we "develop" our written word. You can see it accelerating even now with words being further contracted in the common text speak in English, which is a great example of how this isn't necessarily the language getting more refined.
- Second, languages themselves don't necessarily get "better" over time; they don't evolve to make it easier to express yourself, or better represent the items under discussion. There are a ton of other influences that can alter how a language evolves, the example in the book being a quaint little story about two cavemen. One caveman is intelligent, and decides that a good word for the thing he has just invented is "chair", which represents the object on a number of levels. The other is an idiot, and calls the chair an "ug". A cavewoman also lives nearby; the idiot, being a strong and strapping guy who can easily provide for himself and potential partners/children, ends up in a relationship with her, and they have a couple of cavekids. Now there are 4 people calling the chair an "ug", despite it being a stupid word for the item, and their word is likely to outlast the better one because they've taught it to their children.
That also just reminded me of the "bouba/kiki effect", which shows how words often do make an attempt to represent physical items in certain ways. I haven't see these kinds of things represented particularly well in many conlangs (though I haven't encountered that many so I wouldn't be surprised if they were actually more common than not), which can sometimes feel more like a work of art than a language that grew up over time in a haphazard way.
Anyway... back to reading the thread :D