A Priori or A Posteriori?

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A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by Ælfwine » 10 Mar 2016 06:52

I've noticed that a lot of people on this forum prefer a priori conlangs over a posteriori conlangs - which is fine. To each their own. However, I am curious to see how many people here prefer creating a posteriori conlangs such as myself, and what is the ratio of a priori to a posteriori conlangers on this board, if not in general.

I'm closer to the "alt-history" crowd in which I prefer a-posteriori languages such as Wenedyk, Þrjótrunn, and Brithenig over a priori conlangs, mostly due to the "plausibility" factor as well as tinkering with "what if" scenarios makes me fairly excited.

So, what types of conlangs do you prefer creating? A Priori, A Posteriori, perhaps both?

(If you don't know what the difference between a priori and a posteriori is:)

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Re: A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien » 10 Mar 2016 06:57

I'm an a posteriori person myself. Nothing against a priori languages, but it's much harder I think to make one because with a posteriori you at least have some kind of foundation already to work with. Plus it's fun to play around with natlang grammars and archaic features and stuff. Maybe some day I'll try a fully a priori one once I've done more work on my current conlang, which I haven't posted here yet, but I will soon--it's based on Sanskrit and IE in terms of grammar and phonology, but I created my own original vocabulary.

No offense to Romlangers though but those are kind of dull to me just because there are already so many Romance languages and dialects that it seems unnecessary to create even more and they kind of all sound the same. I think if you're going to go a posteriori, you should try to be as creative as possible with it.

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Re: A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by Ælfwine » 10 Mar 2016 08:04

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:I'm an a posteriori person myself. Nothing against a priori languages, but it's much harder I think to make one because with a posteriori you at least have some kind of foundation already to work with. Plus it's fun to play around with natlang grammars and archaic features and stuff. Maybe some day I'll try a fully a priori one once I've done more work on my current conlang, which I haven't posted here yet, but I will soon--it's based on Sanskrit and IE in terms of grammar and phonology, but I created my own original vocabulary.

No offense to Romlangers though but those are kind of dull to me just because there are already so many Romance languages and dialects that it seems unnecessary to create even more and they kind of all sound the same. I think if you're going to go a posteriori, you should try to be as creative as possible with it.
I agree, Romlangs are overdone, often awfully made (with exceptions). This isn't helped by some conlangs such as Wenedyk who attempt to try to infuse a romance language in a place that wasn't heavily influenced by the Romans. More importantly, these type of conlangs just seem to spawn bad recreations of themselves with only subtle differences. Of course I'm an advocate of "do whatever you want," so if you want to create a romlang, go for it, it's just not going to pick up a lot of good press.

I'm actually in the process of brainstorming and drawing up features for a Celto-Nordic hybrid conlang, sort of like what Irish in Ireland would be like if it had been taken over by vikings and was apart of Norway/Denmark for several hundred years. Vestmarkic is more of a warm-up conlang (but that doesn't mean I won't use it or heavily develop it, of course.) To my knowledge, this idea has been only explored once before.
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Re: A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by Omzinesý » 10 Mar 2016 09:43

I would like to prefer a posteriori conlangs if there was a conlang I could take as the protolang. But my langs never achieve that state.

I do however like to test different phonologies and different grammatical features. Forcing them to natlangs usually doesn't look very natural, at least the process that producess them is very unnatural.
So I do a priori langs.

Taking a existing language and deriving a conlang from it always seems to fail. I've sometimes played with Germanic a posteriori langs and that's much easier than taking say English as the input.

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Re: A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by Lao Kou » 10 Mar 2016 11:00

If I were ever to pick up the baton again (and having gotten my baby grown up and off to college, there is little appeal in starting all over again), I could see myself having a go at a posteriori, or further still...
Ælfwine wrote:This isn't helped by some conlangs such as Wenedyk who attempt to try to infuse a romance language in a place that wasn't heavily influenced by the Romans.
and yet
I'm actually in the process of brainstorming and drawing up features for a Celto-Nordic hybrid conlang, sort of like what Irish in Ireland would be like if it had been taken over by vikings and was apart of Norway/Denmark for several hundred years.
an altlang or bogolang. What do you get if Hannibal knew he shoulda took that left toin at Albukoique?

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Re: A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by Ælfwine » 10 Mar 2016 11:12

an altlang or bogolang. What do you get if Hannibal knew he shoulda took that left toin at Albukoique?
Hardly a bogolang. All the major fun features already happened by the time. :9

Plus the vikings been to Ireland; the Romans haven't been to Poland. Although I guess it doesn't matter much in the realm of alternative histories, "what if the vikings did more to Ireland" is no more plausible than "what if the Romans colonized Poland?"

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Re: A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by Lao Kou » 10 Mar 2016 11:44

Ælfwine wrote:
an altlang or bogolang. What do you get if Hannibal knew he shoulda took that left toin at Albukoique?
Hardly a bogolang. All the major fun features already happened by the time. :9
I didn't mean to suggest that your project was a bogolang (And I'm watching Vestmarska with interest). I meant that if I were to have another go, I might run with a bogolang (e.g. something Polynesian with a Slavic graft), or an altlang, because as you note:
Although I guess it doesn't matter much in the realm of alternative histories, "what if the vikings did more to Ireland" is no more plausible than "what if the Romans colonized Poland?"
This is all painfully theoretical, but inasmuch as I'm not especially concerned with naturalism in my current project, I don't think I'd be especially concerned with plausibility in an alt timeline.
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Re: A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by Isoraqathedh » 10 Mar 2016 11:57

I would like to try a-post languages if it weren't for the fact that I find sticking to existing languages is extremely restricting, and I find myself unable to pull off the usual tricks to to make my life interesting. Also diachronics is

That having been said, I am actually planning one such language, and have more or less exhausted another, but neither one really employs diachronic principles and they aren't very good anyway.
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Re: A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by Ælfwine » 10 Mar 2016 12:03

I didn't mean to suggest that your project was a bogolang (And I'm watching Vestmarska with interest). I meant that if I were to have another go, I might run with a bogolang (e.g. something Polynesian with a Slavic graft), or an altlang, because as you note:

<snip>
Ah, that makes more sense. Sorry, might of gotten a bit over defensive there. Polynesian with a Slavic graft would be a fun project, although it wouldn't be realistic unless you were in this alternative timeline where the Russians ruled the waves instead of Britannia...
This is all painfully theoretical, but inasmuch as I'm not especially concerned with naturalism in my current project, I don't think I'd be especially concerned with plausibility in an alt timeline.
I wouldn't worry about it too much, either. The problem with alt-histories is that by tweaking a few things, you can inadvertently usher in a whole new set of problems. For example, if Norway controlled Ireland for a long period of time, would the Irish have gone through the Potato Famine? How would this effect British foreign policy? And so on. Although I don't really care for the romance languages or romlangs, I must recind my comments about Wenedyk for that reason.
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Re: A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by Egerius » 10 Mar 2016 14:04

I prefer a posteriori to a priori, because it's the ‘limitations’ that make it easier for me to act, like a pathway.
It's easier to use something that already exists than coming up with something new, but I also combine these existing paths to create something that looks familiar, but still is different enough to be not straight forward mutually intelligible.

To expand a bit on the above, many building blocks are essentially ready-made — the grammar, a general phonology, the vocabulary, many sound changes (you can still infuse your own unexpected twists).

My approach, combining an old, relatively well-attested language with sound changes of related, present-day languages to produce a more or less familiar-looking conlang, isn't much of an unexpected adventure, but more of a rewind of an interactive educational film.
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Re: A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by WeepingElf » 10 Mar 2016 16:01

My current main conlang family is part a priori, part a posteriori. I did make a romlang of the "bogolang" type years ago, but I now feel that it wasn't very good, and I have grown out of that thing since then. Good, plausible Romance altlangs are not easy to make; this one, though, looks promising - and it is most emphatically not a bogolang.
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Re: A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by atman » 10 Mar 2016 16:40

Atlántika and its dialects and various stages of development are my only conlang project. It's strictly a posteriori (with a large number of sound laws, analogical levelings and assorted loanwords from nearby languages), and it belongs to a fictional branch of the Hellenic subfamily of Indo-European.

It's in its fifth year of (painfully slow [;)] ) development and I've never wanted to start working on any other conlang, also because I'd have no time for other projects anyway.

I wanted to create my own little IE language, and noticing that the Hellenic family doesn't have as much variety as some others...
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Re: A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 10 Mar 2016 17:27

I really like both types of conlanging and find both have a good degree of difficulty and challenge that come with them.

All of my first forays into conlanging were of the a priori type, but lately I have been really liking coming up with some rather unlikely (implausible) and unorthodox a posteriori projects. I'm not a huge fan of creating langauges that could really exist... because to me, that is sort of a little TOO derivative for my tastes. Now, that isn't to say that those projects aren't cool... I really like Silvish for instance, and some other folks' work, but it isn't my cup o' tea, is all. I too see most romlangs as boring, and a little too prolific, but, that doesn't mean they all are. And when I set out to make one, I had zero intentions of making it be "plausible" or boring. That's why I made the language have a Cherokee-esque phonology, even though it is regularly derived from Classical Latin (no, not Vulgar Latin... remember that nothing about this is supposed to be plausible in the real world).

Now, I am working in fits and starts on Dŭhog which is regularly derived from Modern Japanese (the name coming directly from 日本語 nihongo)... mostly because I wanted an excuse to mess around with various kana-style scripts. The first decisions I made were to dump the nasals, all of them, and change length into quality in the vowels. That alone makes the language look very different, and while some words are pretty mutually intelligible, I'd wager the language as a whole almost certainly won't be. I love messing around in that weird space of smashing things together and seeing what pops out of the sound changes. It really is like discovering a language instead of making one... but, you have to go about the laborious process of crafting sound changes... and for those, I really do want the individual steps to be, if not attested, somewhat logical and plausible (if not necessarily probable).

But, my third project is Śitëel which is 100% a priori, despite using a somewhat Hangul-inspired script. Nothing in that one is meant to come from other languages, except via some tangential associations in my head.

And lastly is my never-going-to-be-developed-beyond-a-naming-language project, Hegarvļ. It will have a phonology, and some basic thoughts on grammar and word creation, but probably won't ever go anywhere beyond that. It is destined to be the language that I coin things on the spot in and never really care to go back and check if things make sense, or whatever. For me, that language is one of intuition. If it feels like Hegarvļ, it is. Period.

I find all of these projects to be entertaining, though I don't spend near enough time as I'd like developing any single one of them.
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Re: A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by cedh » 10 Mar 2016 18:24

Omzinesý wrote:I would like to prefer a posteriori conlangs if there was a conlang I could take as the protolang. But my langs never achieve that state.
This is what I usually do... but I use other people's conlangs as the base. Almost all of my conlangs are diachronically derived in this way. Of course, this approach is what the Akana project is all about. New participants are welcome, so feel free to have a look over there if there's a language that strikes you as an interesting protolang!

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Re: A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by Vlürch » 10 Mar 2016 21:44

Both are nice, personally I prefer a priori because, unfortunately, I haven't yet managed to shake off all of the shit that Tumblr's insane SJWs and their crazy "cultural appropriation" bullshit rubbed on me a couple of years back, and as such a posteriori conlangs give me a bad taste in my mouth to this day... hopefully one day I'll get over it entirely on the gut level since I've already gotten over it on a mental, conscious level...

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Re: A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by elemtilas » 10 Mar 2016 23:14

Ælfwine wrote:I've noticed that a lot of people on this forum prefer a priori conlangs over a posteriori conlangs - which is fine. To each their own. However, I am curious to see how many people here prefer creating a posteriori conlangs such as myself, and what is the ratio of a priori to a posteriori conlangers on this board, if not in general.

I'm closer to the "alt-history" crowd in which I prefer a-posteriori languages such as Wenedyk, Þrjótrunn, and Brithenig over a priori conlangs, mostly due to the "plausibility" factor as well as tinkering with "what if" scenarios makes me fairly excited.

So, what types of conlangs do you prefer creating? A Priori, A Posteriori, perhaps both?
I have worked on both kinds. Obviously, an (alt-)Germanic language like Avantimannish or a creole like Lucarian can't help but be a priori (in the artlang sense), but I never saw any sense in even trying to go for "plausibility", especially in an alt-historical milieu. Brithenig was certainly well researched and both B & W were well done, but neither are at all "plausible". The point of such conlangs is to mix and match chosen aspects (almost always phonology) of language families that don't naturally go together. As Weeping Elf mentions elsewhere, the only British Romance conlang that even approaches plausibility that I've seen so far is Britainese. And that is mostly because Ray has decided on a strictly scholarly approach, has decided to err against innovation and has decided to eschew the whole graftlang thing (the wholesale imposition of one language family's phonological history onto another language).

I don't have the patience for Ray's scholarly approach -- if he doesn't basically end up recreating something very closely akin to Anglo-Norman, I'd be very surprised indeed -- and I never saw the point in cut-n-pasting a phonology in vacuo without also taking along other aspects of the language. To that end, I've done a number of hybrid conlangs, mostly in the early to mid 1990s and, interestingly enough, generally Celtic plus Italic. Most of them were absolutely horrible. The last one I think was pretty well done (if I do say so myself), based on the number of (non-conlangers) who thought it was some dialect of Middle French, and that was the last hybrid language I attempted.

I tend to like conlangs that I can kind of understand, so at least for me, I do like Romance and Germanic conlangs. I like to write stories in conlang and Avantimannish fits the bill well as a conlang I can understand pretty easily and without a lot of work and also a conlang that's relatively easily to write in. But I also like conlangs that better reflect the inner sense of the aesthetic, and so there is Queranaran. That's a heartlang pure and simple and certainly a priori. Very many other conlangs found in the World are similarly a priori. A quick count of World conlangs (well developed as well as sketches) shows a predominance of priori by about 2 : 1 over posteriori.

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Re: A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by Micamo » 10 Mar 2016 23:34

I can't do posteriori langs for the same reason I can't do collaberative projects: It means surrendering authorship of the language.
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Re: A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 11 Mar 2016 01:41

Micamo wrote:I can't do posteriori langs for the same reason I can't do collaberative projects: It means surrendering authorship of the language.
That's a... unique perspective. Orchestrating the sound changes and thereby controlling to a greater or lesser extent the entire lexicon isn't quite enough then? I mean, it is indirect control since the source words are done for you, but you can manipulate the output a good deal and even pick a word along the chain of changes to "freeze" if you like that one better than the end word with merely a token amount of rationale.

I mean, I see where you're coming from, sorta, but that seems a very odd take on the a posteriori language. Collaborative projects do what you are saying far and away more literally, so that makes sense... care to elaborate on your position at all? I just can't wrap my head around that particular conclusion.
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Re: A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by Micamo » 11 Mar 2016 02:22

well let me put it this way. I have to make all of my lexicon something derived from a source language (let's say English) through a plausible set of sound changes. I have to make every word mean the same thing it does in English, or a plausible semantic shift of that meaning. And more importantly, it means the sociolinguistic situation of the language has to be somewhere related to our present-day earth, and there has to be a plausible history separating our reality from the conworld. (I don't like making "future Earth" or alt-Earth conworlds.)
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Re: A Priori or A Posteriori?

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 11 Mar 2016 02:35

Micamo wrote:well let me put it this way. I have to make all of my lexicon something derived from a source language (let's say English) through a plausible set of sound changes. I have to make every word mean the same thing it does in English, or a plausible semantic shift of that meaning. And more importantly, it means the sociolinguistic situation of the language has to be somewhere related to our present-day earth, and there has to be a plausible history separating our reality from the conworld. (I don't like making "future Earth" or alt-Earth conworlds.)
I don't see how much of that needs to be true unless you make it so. There is nothing about making an a posteriori per se, that requires it be a plausible history thing. Hell, none of the languages I am making are spoken on our Earth... and yet, some are derived from Earth languages anyway. No one in-universe could ever know they are speaking a derivative of a "real" language, but it's fun for me that I know that.

As I suspected, it would seem that most of your hang-ups are based around the idea of what MOST people do with an a posteriori conlang, not what you HAVE to do with it.
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