(Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

A forum for all topics related to constructed languages
User avatar
Creyeditor
mongolian
mongolian
Posts: 4522
Joined: 14 Aug 2012 19:32

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » 15 Nov 2017 10:29

clawgrip wrote:
15 Nov 2017 00:42
I want to ask for some inspiration.

I have a three vowel system /a i u/, and these vowels may be stressed or unstressed (every word has at least one stressed syllable, and every third syllable is stressed), and the syllable structure is (C)V(C), though any sequence of two or even three vowels can occur. I want to expand the vowel system, but I feel like I keep repeating myself when trying to come up with things, so if there is anyone who can give me some suggestions for interesting possibilities, it would be very much appreciated.
Under the assumption that you are aiming for a somewhat more exotic system (in terms of conlang vowel inventories)
If you want to add one vowel, you could add ɨ or ə.
If you want to add two vowels, you could add either both or ɪ and ʊ.
If you want to add three vowels, you could add ɪ, ʊ and ə or maybe ɪ, ʊ and ɐ.
Creyeditor
"Thoughts are free."
Produce, Analyze, Manipulate
1 :deu: 2 :eng: 3 :idn: 4 :fra: 4 :esp:
:con: Ook & Omlűt & Nautli languages & Sperenjas
[<3] Papuan languages, Morphophonology, Lexical Semantics [<3]

User avatar
gestaltist
mayan
mayan
Posts: 1797
Joined: 11 Feb 2015 11:23

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by gestaltist » 15 Nov 2017 10:46

clawgrip wrote:
15 Nov 2017 00:42
I want to ask for some inspiration.

I have a three vowel system /a i u/, and these vowels may be stressed or unstressed (every word has at least one stressed syllable, and every third syllable is stressed), and the syllable structure is (C)V(C), though any sequence of two or even three vowels can occur. I want to expand the vowel system, but I feel like I keep repeating myself when trying to come up with things, so if there is anyone who can give me some suggestions for interesting possibilities, it would be very much appreciated.
Cray's ideas are good, as always. You could also consider some of these:

a) nasalization tends to lower vowels, so maybe have /a e o/ in nasal contexts.
b) have /u/ become unrounded in some contexts (e.g., if not next to a labial), and have rounding assimilation on /a i/ where they become [ɒ y] if they follow a rounded vowel.

If you apply these at a proto-stage, you can get several new vowels. If synchronically, you'll get cool allophony (and you could have your consonants react to the changing vowels in some way).

clawgrip
MVP
MVP
Posts: 2387
Joined: 24 Jun 2012 07:33
Location: Tokyo

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by clawgrip » 15 Nov 2017 13:02

Thanks for the suggestions.

One of the two languages in this family has a ten vowel system (including ɨ and ə) that is the result of several stages of vowel mergers (this was the language I back-derived the proto-language from, which is why so many weird vowel sequences are permissible), and the other main member has nasalized vowels that actually underwent lowering as you suggested (close nasals and close-mid nasals merged, and then those nasals dropped to open-mid):

Code: Select all

i ɨ u
e ə o
ɛ   ɔ
  a

Code: Select all

i   u
e ə o
ɛ̃   ɔ̃
 a ã
Still, it might be neat to have the vowels lowered but not actually get nasalized, and trying out the unrounding might be interesting. I've never really done much with ablaut and umlaut either, so I might consider something like that. I have a couple stages of languages to get a "modern" language (contemporaneous to the ones mentioned above), so I will try a few things, maybe.

Thanks for the suggestions.

User avatar
thaen
roman
roman
Posts: 1080
Joined: 04 Jun 2011 22:01
Location: Plano

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by thaen » 15 Nov 2017 17:18

eldin raigmore wrote:
15 Nov 2017 02:10
thaen wrote:
13 Nov 2017 01:31
How (un)reasonable is the "overloading" of certain cases to handle multiple different jobs?
In general, that's what happens.
In fact, according to Barry J. Blake (author of "Case"), if I remember correctly, some linguisticians won't call a language's nominal-inflection system a "case system", unless at least one of the cases has both a semantic job and a syntactic job. (For instance, maybe "dative" means both goal (semantic) and indirect object (syntactic)).
Most cases are named for their main function, or for one of their main functions, rather than for their only function.
In addition, most "cased" languages have a "workhorse" case, or a "lord high everything else" case, that is used for multiple jobs; namely, any job it isn't obvious one of the other cases should be used for. An example (apparently; I don't know Latin myself) is the ablative case in Latin.

Is any of that useful to you?
Absolutely! This is a big help [:)]
I thought that this might be the case ( [;)] ) but I was not sure.
:con: Nillahimma
:con: Øð!
:con: Coneylang

I am the Great Rabbit. Fear me, O Crabs!
Spoiler:
ı θ ð ʃ ɲ ŋ ʔ ɛ ə ø ʑ ɕ ʷ ʲ ⁿ

User avatar
gestaltist
mayan
mayan
Posts: 1797
Joined: 11 Feb 2015 11:23

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by gestaltist » 15 Nov 2017 17:34

eldin raigmore wrote:
15 Nov 2017 02:10
linguisticians
It makes me irrationally angry that this word exists. It's "linguists" dammit!

User avatar
DesEsseintes
mongolian
mongolian
Posts: 4610
Joined: 31 Mar 2013 13:16

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by DesEsseintes » 15 Nov 2017 17:37

gestaltist wrote:
15 Nov 2017 17:34
eldin raigmore wrote:
15 Nov 2017 02:10
linguisticians
It makes me irrationally angry that this word exists. It's "linguists" dammit!
[+1]

User avatar
Frislander
runic
runic
Posts: 3496
Joined: 14 May 2016 18:47
Location: The North

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Frislander » 15 Nov 2017 18:13

DesEsseintes wrote:
15 Nov 2017 17:37
gestaltist wrote:
15 Nov 2017 17:34
eldin raigmore wrote:
15 Nov 2017 02:10
linguisticians
It makes me irrationally angry that this word exists. It's "linguists" dammit!
[+1]
[+1]

Seriously, the only reason this word is a "thing" is because laypeople don't know the word "polyglot" exists. I'm not normall one for prescriptivism but misuse of linguistic terminology really infuriates me!

Sumelic
greek
greek
Posts: 619
Joined: 18 Jun 2013 23:01

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Sumelic » 15 Nov 2017 18:56

Frislander wrote:
15 Nov 2017 18:13
DesEsseintes wrote:
15 Nov 2017 17:37
gestaltist wrote:
15 Nov 2017 17:34
eldin raigmore wrote:
15 Nov 2017 02:10
linguisticians
It makes me irrationally angry that this word exists. It's "linguists" dammit!
[+1]
[+1]

Seriously, the only reason this word is a "thing" is because laypeople don't know the word "polyglot" exists. I'm not normall one for prescriptivism but misuse of linguistic terminology really infuriates me!
I don't think the usage/meaning of the word "linguist" (and "linguistics", etc) is really the best prescriptivist hill to die on. The OED indicates that the word was first used with the sense "A person who is skilled in the learning or use of foreign languages." It only later came to refer to a scientist who studies language (and it competed for a while with "philologist"; see the discussion in the comments on this Language Hat post). In the present day, some generativists seem to be trying to restrict the use of "linguists" to refer even more specifically to people who study the faculty of language, rather than people who study languages (for whom a neologism has been coined, "languists": I find it kind of an ugly and unnecessary word): see the following quote from the start of Norbert Hornstein's blog post "The future of (my kind of) linguistics" at the generativist blog "Faculty of Language":
I have been pessimistic of late concerning the fate of linguistics. It’s not that I think it is in intellectual trouble (I actually cannot think of a more exciting period of linguistic research), but I do think that the kind of linguistics I signed up for as a youth is currently lightly prized, if at all. I have made no secret of this view. I even have a diagnosis. I believe that the Minimalist Program (MP) has forced to the surface a tension that was inchoate in the field since its inception 60 or so years ago. Sociologically, within the profession, this tension is becoming resolved in ways that disfavor my conception of the enterprise. You have no doubt guessed what the tension resides in: the languist-linguist divide. Languists and linguists are interested in different problems and objects of study. Languists mainly care about the subtle ways that languages differ. Linguists mainly care about the invariances and what these tell us about the overarching capacities that underlie linguistic facility. Languists are typologists. Linguists are cognitivists.
Note: "Languist" is supposedly not meant to be derogatory, per se, but I find the linguist-languist distinction a bit irritating anyway.

Anyway, my point is that "linguist" is a multiply ambiguous word, so I don't see the point of getting worked up about when it should and shouldn't be used (and I hope some of this contextual information helps people to avoid having that reaction).

Side note: I don't really like the new icons on this site. A pencil for editing? Two circles for linking? They aren't completely unintuitive, but they weren't obvious to me at first glance either.

User avatar
Creyeditor
mongolian
mongolian
Posts: 4522
Joined: 14 Aug 2012 19:32

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » 15 Nov 2017 19:44

Sumelic wrote:
15 Nov 2017 18:56
In the present day, some generativists seem to be trying to restrict the use of "linguists"
I actually think I have to jump in here. It wasn't necessarily the generativists that first started this game. Some earlier paper introduced the terms B-linguists, C-linguists and D-linguists, which in itself sound dangerous, and I think only the terms C-linguists and D-linguists have survived into today. Haspelmath actually has a series of blogposts on that matter. Of course it's from his perspective, but it is still rather objective I would say.
Creyeditor
"Thoughts are free."
Produce, Analyze, Manipulate
1 :deu: 2 :eng: 3 :idn: 4 :fra: 4 :esp:
:con: Ook & Omlűt & Nautli languages & Sperenjas
[<3] Papuan languages, Morphophonology, Lexical Semantics [<3]

User avatar
Davush
greek
greek
Posts: 520
Joined: 10 Jan 2015 14:10

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Davush » 15 Nov 2017 20:36

I am having difficulty coming up with sound changes that seem organic and make the language feel different from the original language. Lots of sound changes seem to be merely replace X with Y which doesn't seem to be how sound change actually operates.

Do you usually just look at the phonology of your proto-lang and come up with sound changes, then apply them to a list of words? Or maybe you look at words and imagine how they might reasonably change then note down changes? Usually I prefer the second option because I can see how they are affecting words, and the resulting phonology is a bit of a 'surprise' but it becomes tedious and messy and the changes end up being *too* conditioned and actually affecting very few words. Or do you have a 'goal' phonology in mind that you try to derive from an early phonology, or something else? Basically I am trying to find a way of making sound changes seem coherent, but also not too painstaking to come up with and apply.

Sumelic
greek
greek
Posts: 619
Joined: 18 Jun 2013 23:01

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Sumelic » 15 Nov 2017 20:41

Creyeditor wrote:
15 Nov 2017 19:44
Sumelic wrote:
15 Nov 2017 18:56
In the present day, some generativists seem to be trying to restrict the use of "linguists"
I actually think I have to jump in here. It wasn't necessarily the generativists that first started this game. Some earlier paper introduced the terms B-linguists, C-linguists and D-linguists, which in itself sound dangerous, and I think only the terms C-linguists and D-linguists have survived into today. Haspelmath actually has a series of blogposts on that matter. Of course it's from his perspective, but it is still rather objective I would say.
Oh, interesting! I don't really know that much about the history of academic linguistics, so I appreciate the link. It looks like the C-linguist D-linguist description was proposed by opponents of generativism/ critics of "C-linguists", and I can't say if the critique is accurate or justified. But just considering the terms, and ignoring their validity as classifications, I think "C[homskyan/onstituency]-linguists" and "D[iversity/ata/arwinian(?!)]-linguists" seem slightly less dismissive than "linguists" vs. "languists". I mean, many linguists are proud to work in a research program/tradition influenced by Chomsky's ideas, whereas I don't think many people would proudly identify as being "not a linguist, but a languist". I guess there is a pre-existing asymmetry, though: my impression is that Chomsky's opponents aren't really in a position to dismiss his ideas, even if they wanted to.

User avatar
gestaltist
mayan
mayan
Posts: 1797
Joined: 11 Feb 2015 11:23

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by gestaltist » 15 Nov 2017 21:03

Davush wrote:
15 Nov 2017 20:36
I am having difficulty coming up with sound changes that seem organic and make the language feel different from the original language. Lots of sound changes seem to be merely replace X with Y which doesn't seem to be how sound change actually operates.

Do you usually just look at the phonology of your proto-lang and come up with sound changes, then apply them to a list of words? Or maybe you look at words and imagine how they might reasonably change then note down changes? Usually I prefer the second option because I can see how they are affecting words, and the resulting phonology is a bit of a 'surprise' but it becomes tedious and messy and the changes end up being *too* conditioned and actually affecting very few words. Or do you have a 'goal' phonology in mind that you try to derive from an early phonology, or something else? Basically I am trying to find a way of making sound changes seem coherent, but also not too painstaking to come up with and apply.
I do something else. I like to be surprised by my sound changes so I work with the goal of introducing new phonemic distinctions. I.e., I work out the allophony in some detail, and then I go to work with the actual sound change, all the while looking for allophones that either become phonemes or merge with other phonemes than before.

User avatar
eldin raigmore
korean
korean
Posts: 6389
Joined: 14 Aug 2010 19:38
Location: SouthEast Michigan

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » 15 Nov 2017 21:21

gestaltist wrote:
15 Nov 2017 21:03
Davush wrote:
15 Nov 2017 20:36
I am having difficulty coming up with sound changes that seem organic and make the language feel different from the original language. Lots of sound changes seem to be merely replace X with Y which doesn't seem to be how sound change actually operates.

Do you usually just look at the phonology of your proto-lang and come up with sound changes, then apply them to a list of words? Or maybe you look at words and imagine how they might reasonably change then note down changes? Usually I prefer the second option because I can see how they are affecting words, and the resulting phonology is a bit of a 'surprise' but it becomes tedious and messy and the changes end up being *too* conditioned and actually affecting very few words. Or do you have a 'goal' phonology in mind that you try to derive from an early phonology, or something else? Basically I am trying to find a way of making sound changes seem coherent, but also not too painstaking to come up with and apply.
I do something else. I like to be surprised by my sound changes so I work with the goal of introducing new phonemic distinctions. I.e., I work out the allophony in some detail, and then I go to work with the actual sound change, all the while looking for allophones that either become phonemes or merge with other phonemes than before.
I haven't actually done sound-changes yet.

I have an in-story rationale why the prestige dialect of Adpihi would remain "constant" (that is, any feature it has at one point it would continue to have at all later times; of course it would add vocabulary as time goes on, but no changes in phonology or phonetics or syntax, and no word would lose meanings though perhaps some would sometimes gain meanings). (Among the reasons are; some of the speakers would be AIs, and the prestige dialect would be a multi-species multi-planet imperial lingua franca.) So though it's "canon" that there are, in fact, around 500 or 5000 dialects of Adpihi, I've done no work on any of them except the prestige 'lect; and I'm sure most of the CBBers who've "known" me for a while know how slow that's going.

As for my other conlang(s?); so far I haven't planned more than one dialect apiece for them. (There aren't that many!)

thaen wrote:
15 Nov 2017 17:18
eldin raigmore wrote:
15 Nov 2017 02:10
thaen wrote:
13 Nov 2017 01:31
How (un)reasonable is the "overloading" of certain cases to handle multiple different jobs?

In general, that's what happens.
In fact, according to Barry J. Blake (author of "Case"), if I remember correctly, some l*nguist*s won't call a language's nominal-inflection system a "case system", unless at least one of the cases has both a semantic job and a syntactic job. (For instance, maybe "dative" means both goal (semantic) and indirect object (syntactic)).
Most cases are named for their main function, or for one of their main functions, rather than for their only function.
In addition, most "cased" languages have a "workhorse" case, or a "lord high everything else" case, that is used for multiple jobs; namely, any job it isn't obvious one of the other cases should be used for. An example (apparently; I don't know Latin myself) is the ablative case in Latin.
Is any of that useful to you?
Absolutely! This is a big help [:)]
I thought that this might be the case ( [;)] ) but I was not sure.
Thanks for saying so!
Last edited by eldin raigmore on 15 Nov 2017 21:26, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Davush
greek
greek
Posts: 520
Joined: 10 Jan 2015 14:10

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Davush » 16 Nov 2017 10:48

@Gestaltist: Yeah I like to be surprised too, especially when the words end up quite different from how you imaged. But I find this way to be very slow and I get bored fast and then abandon it. Perhaps I would be better off coming up with generic changes first, then adding a few conditioned ones.

@Eldin: That's interesting. I also want Qutrussan (my main language) to be a prestige language, although it will develop into new languages. I am hoping that it remains spoken for a longer period than Latin or Classical Arabic, though.

How does everyone come up with names for languages (and especially proto languages or language families)? Do you have detailed etymologies for the name, or is it just based on what sounds nice? I want to come up with a name for a small branch of languages, but as Qutrussan is the dominant language, I feel like it should be named from a Qutrussan perspective.

User avatar
gestaltist
mayan
mayan
Posts: 1797
Joined: 11 Feb 2015 11:23

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by gestaltist » 16 Nov 2017 11:35

Davush wrote:
16 Nov 2017 10:48
How does everyone come up with names for languages (and especially proto languages or language families)? Do you have detailed etymologies for the name, or is it just based on what sounds nice? I want to come up with a name for a small branch of languages, but as Qutrussan is the dominant language, I feel like it should be named from a Qutrussan perspective.
I always think of the name first, and rationalize it later (either by finding an etymology for it or simply saying its meaning has been lost to time).

User avatar
Evynova
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 186
Joined: 01 Jan 2017 18:28
Location: Belgium

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Evynova » 16 Nov 2017 19:33

Have any of you implemented some system of avoidance speech in one of your conlangs? I've been thinking about it for a new project, but I'm not sure how to go about it. What did you come up with? Are some words completely banned, or is substituting a phoneme with another accepted? Must a synonym or paraphrase be used instead? Does grammar change in any way? Which words did you decide to ban? And what about the paralinguistic elements; did you also associate certain behaviours with avoidance speech?

User avatar
Reyzadren
greek
greek
Posts: 484
Joined: 14 May 2017 10:39
Contact:

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Reyzadren » 17 Nov 2017 01:38

Davush wrote:
16 Nov 2017 10:48
How does everyone come up with names for languages (and especially proto languages or language families)? Do you have detailed etymologies for the name, or is it just based on what sounds nice? I want to come up with a name for a small branch of languages, but as Qutrussan is the dominant language, I feel like it should be named from a Qutrussan perspective.
My conlang is named to show its phonotactics. It should show the possibility of a front consonant blend, end consonant blend, pseudo-medial consonant blend from 2 syllables, diphthong, and a single vowel somewhere because why not. Play around with the consonant and vowel inventory, and finally it is obtained: griuskant.

In-conworld, griuskant doesn't mean anything. It's just an ordinary proper noun of the language, though I'm quite sure that won't stop the conpeople from having etymological theories of it being "a name that is able to show its phonotactics".
Image Soundcloud Profile | Image griuskant conlang

User avatar
Thrice Xandvii
mongolian
mongolian
Posts: 3722
Joined: 25 Nov 2012 10:13
Location: Carnassus

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 17 Nov 2017 06:39

I doubt that most con-peoples would get that meta about a name that to them isn't really thought about too much at this point. Unless, of course, your conpeople are relatively modern. (Which I have no idea if they are.)
Image

User avatar
eldin raigmore
korean
korean
Posts: 6389
Joined: 14 Aug 2010 19:38
Location: SouthEast Michigan

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » 17 Nov 2017 18:58

gestaltist wrote:
16 Nov 2017 11:35
I always think of the name first, and rationalize it later (either by finding an etymology for it or simply saying its meaning has been lost to time).
Me, too. Although "always" is a bit of hubris, coming from me; I should say "so far", instead of "always".

User avatar
gestaltist
mayan
mayan
Posts: 1797
Joined: 11 Feb 2015 11:23

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by gestaltist » 17 Nov 2017 20:45

eldin raigmore wrote:
17 Nov 2017 18:58
gestaltist wrote:
16 Nov 2017 11:35
I always think of the name first, and rationalize it later (either by finding an etymology for it or simply saying its meaning has been lost to time).
Me, too. Although "always" is a bit of hubris, coming from me; I should say "so far", instead of "always".
Or you could accept that this is one of the pragmatic ways "always" is used. ;)

Post Reply