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

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Pe King
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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Pe King » 06 Nov 2010 00:53

Also clouds, steam, ice, concentric circles that mimic ripples in a pond.
One just isn't enough.

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by jseamus » 06 Nov 2010 04:57

Micamo wrote:What's a good pictographic representation for water? The first thing that immediately came to mind for me is a water droplet, but I was hoping for something a bit more culture-neutral.
If you don't want a water droplet or waves, you might try one of these: a water jar, a cup, or a basin; an eye with a tear; a cupped hand. You might also try a rebus, pun, or homophone in the original language. Just some ideas.
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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Trailsend » 06 Nov 2010 05:27

Micamo wrote:What's a good pictographic representation for water? The first thing that immediately came to mind for me is a water droplet, but I was hoping for something a bit more culture-neutral.
Two or three curvy, parallel strokes?
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abi
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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by abi » 06 Nov 2010 05:51

Consonant Inventory:
m n
p t k ŋg
s
ɾ
j w

Syllable Structure:
(C)V(V)(Stop)

/ŋg/ is a prenasalized consonant, and only appears syllable finally. Is there a viable way for this to have evolved as the only voiced stop?

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by MrKrov » 06 Nov 2010 06:25

A former /ŋ/? Assimilation of /n/ to /k/ and /k/ to /n/ in a cluster? Is it actually a prenasalized stop?

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Nortaneous » 06 Nov 2010 08:00

people who spoke a language that had only /p t k b d g m n/ were conquered by, and forced to speak the language of, people who spoke a language that had /p t k m n ŋ/

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Tanni » 06 Nov 2010 14:27

Micamo wrote:What's a good pictographic representation for water? The first thing that immediately came to mind for me is a water droplet, but I was hoping for something a bit more culture-neutral.
What isn't cultural neutral concerning a water droplet?

As every proposal can also mean something different, why now combining two or three of them to get the notion ''water''?

Or combining the pictogramms of the aggregate states of water? So snowflake, droplet, and some graphical rendering of vapour in one pictogram means water? If it's an ancient society, they may not yet aware of the notion of ''aggragate state''.
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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Micamo » 06 Nov 2010 14:59

Tanni wrote:What isn't cultural neutral concerning a water droplet?
The droplet is used in our culture to represent water a lot. Besides when I tried to draw it it looked too similar to my pictogram of a leaf without adding tons of details to the leaf.
As every proposal can also mean something different, why now combining two or three of them to get the notion ''water''?

Or combining the pictogramms of the aggregate states of water? So snowflake, droplet, and some graphical rendering of vapour in one pictogram means water? If it's an ancient society, they may not yet aware of the notion of ''aggragate state''.
I figured out this problem by just embracing the ambiguity. The people who use this script are quite primitive. Why would they need to, in writing, differentiate a pond from an ocean anyhow? Plus the script itself is mostly used for describing the genealogies of the kings and for relaying the accounts of great battles; Mostly fluff-stuff far removed from what most speakers of the tongue use on a daily basis.
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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Tanni » 06 Nov 2010 15:34

Micamo wrote:
Tanni wrote:What isn't cultural neutral concerning a water droplet?
The droplet is used in our culture to represent water a lot. Besides when I tried to draw it it looked too similar to my pictogram of a leaf without adding tons of details to the leaf..
As it is a drop of water, and water must be everywhere where human or similar life is located, it seems to me that using a droplet to denote water should be quite universal. If there's water and if there's gravitation (and the right temperature and pressure range) then water will always appear droplet-like when falling down somewhere. (Note that the usual droplet shape is also an idealisation, so you could modify it a little.) In contrast to that, leaves usually can be quite different, depending on the species, so you can easily take a different shape for denoting a leaf without the need to go to much into detail. You could give your conworld a plant species with very distinct looking leaves, which could occupy huge areas, so that that special shape could be the ''prototype'' of leaf for your conpeople anyway.
Micamo wrote:I figured out this problem by just embracing the ambiguity. The people who use this script are quite primitive. Why would they need to, in writing, differentiate a pond from an ocean anyhow? Plus the script itself is mostly used for describing the genealogies of the kings and for relaying the accounts of great battles; Mostly fluff-stuff far removed from what most speakers of the tongue use on a daily basis.
As there is little or no technology in an allegedly primitive society, and no distraction by media, people are to observe nature more thoroughly. So, if they're going to device a pictographic script, they will most likely find an easy solution to that non-problem. In describing genealogies, you'll soon face the problem to discern one ancestor (with equal or similar name) from another. So you'll use a sobriquet giving the location where someone came form. And even battles can take place near a pond or at the oceansite.
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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Micamo » 06 Nov 2010 16:06

Tanni wrote:As it is a drop of water, and water must be everywhere where human or similar life is located, it seems to me that using a droplet to denote water should be quite universal. If there's water and if there's gravitation (and the right temperature and pressure range) then water will always appear droplet-like when falling down somewhere. In contrast to that, leaves usually can be quite different, depending on the species, so you can easily take a different shape for denoting a leave without the need to go to much into detail.
I meant the distinctive, point at the top, curve at the bottom, teardrop shape. I'll admit I'm no expert on this subject but to me that seems to be quite a specific shape. And just to settle this I ended up using that after all.
As there is little or no technology in an allegedly primitive society, and no distraction by media, people are to observe nature more thoroughly.
Yeah, they're distracted by hunger instead.
So, if they're going to device a pictographic script, they will most likely find an easy solution to that non-problem. In describing genealogies, you'll soon face the problem to discern one ancestor (with equal or similar name) from another. So you'll use a sobriquet giving the location where someone came form. And even battles can take place near a pond or at the oceansite.
Interesting point on the names, but ultimately the script will eventually need to pick up non-pictographic elements for differentiation. I need to develop it some more.
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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Tanni » 06 Nov 2010 16:18

Micamo wrote:
Tanni wrote:As it is a drop of water, and water must be everywhere where human or similar life is located, it seems to me that using a droplet to denote water should be quite universal. If there's water and if there's gravitation (and the right temperature and pressure range) then water will always appear droplet-like when falling down somewhere. In contrast to that, leaves usually can be quite different, depending on the species, so you can easily take a different shape for denoting a leave without the need to go to much into detail.
I meant the distinctive, point at the top, curve at the bottom, teardrop shape. I'll admit I'm no expert on this subject but to me that seems to be quite a specific shape. And just to settle this I ended up using that after all.
Look, I've edited my post!
Micamo wrote:
As there is little or no technology in an allegedly primitive society, and no distraction by media, people are to observe nature more thoroughly.
Yeah, they're distracted by hunger instead.
Then you should offer them something to eat, maybe the plant with the special leaves? Being hungry makes you looking for food or possibilites for getting food!
Micamo wrote:
So, if they're going to device a pictographic script, they will most likely find an easy solution to that non-problem. In describing genealogies, you'll soon face the problem to discern one ancestor (with equal or similar name) from another. So you'll use a sobriquet giving the location where someone came form. And even battles can take place near a pond or at the oceansite.
Interesting point on the names, but ultimately the script will eventually need to pick up non-pictographic elements for differentiation. I need to develop it some more.
Yes, I also wanted to propose that but wasn't sure if you would like it!
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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by sirgryfang » 07 Nov 2010 04:24

Is there a more practical way of building grammar than just doing what appears to be diving in head first?
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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Micamo » 07 Nov 2010 04:26

sirgryfang wrote:Is there a more practical way of building grammar than just doing what appears to be diving in head first?
There's always diachronics. Give your proto-language a very simplistic grammar, then have that evolve into something more complicated in your "real" conlang.
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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by reizoukin » 07 Nov 2010 04:38

Micamo wrote:
sirgryfang wrote:Is there a more practical way of building grammar than just doing what appears to be diving in head first?
There's always diachronics. Give your proto-language a very simplistic grammar, then have that evolve into something more complicated in your "real" conlang.
Or vice versa; Latin had a very large set of rules, which due to sound change led to more simplistic grammars in daughter langs.
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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by MrKrov » 07 Nov 2010 04:44

That depends on how you define simplistic and what values you give to certain grammar constructions.

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by zelos » 07 Nov 2010 13:49

Micamo wrote:
sirgryfang wrote:Is there a more practical way of building grammar than just doing what appears to be diving in head first?
There's always diachronics. Give your proto-language a very simplistic grammar, then have that evolve into something more complicated in your "real" conlang.
Or the opposite, start complicate dand make it degrade :3
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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Micamo » 07 Nov 2010 14:45

Rei and Zelos: This is a good way to give your conlang's grammar history, but he was asking for a way to build a grammar to begin with. If he's having trouble making a moderate-level grammar a priori then trying to make a super-complicated one to begin with (only to devolve it later) isn't going to be any easier.
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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Trailsend » 07 Nov 2010 18:10

sirgryfang wrote:Is there a more practical way of building grammar than just doing what appears to be diving in head first?
I've suggested the following approach before; various collaborative projects have used something like it with impressive results:

Pick a phrase to translate. Maybe something you say often during the day. Then, translate it. Don't give any thought to grammar or try to gloss in your head, just randomly put together a phrase you like the sound of (you might do this independently of picking English phrases to prevent cross-contamination).

Do this a couple of times, taking care to pick interesting English phrases to translate--they shouldn't all be basic declarative sentences. Try some imperatives, some questions, some suggestions, some things likely to require complex structures, etc.

Then start analyzing. Go back over your random translations and look for patterns. This can take some creativity--to make the phrases fit the translation, you will probably have to posit distinctions not explicitly made in the English, and you may have to fall back on irregularity in certain paradigms.

Now, translate some new phrases. But these won't be entirely random anymore, because you can build on the grammar already established. For anything the established grammar can't handle, do something random and analyze it later.

Then you just keep building by adding more and more examples. The further you go, the less randomness will be involved. Ideally, you'll end up with a pretty unique, non-calquey language with naturalistic irregularities and distribution of marking through morphology, syntax, semantics, etc.
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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by zelos » 08 Nov 2010 13:13

Micamo wrote:Rei and Zelos: This is a good way to give your conlang's grammar history, but he was asking for a way to build a grammar to begin with. If he's having trouble making a moderate-level grammar a priori then trying to make a super-complicated one to begin with (only to devolve it later) isn't going to be any easier.
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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Micamo » 08 Nov 2010 17:22

My proto-langs inventory right now is /p t k s h m n/ /a e i o u/ with (C)V syllable structure (vowel clusters allowed, with arbitrary length. Keoai!) Natlangs get by with less, but my concern is this has been very restricting in terms of trying to develop daughter langs to go with it. Should I make it more complex?
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