What do I need to know?

If you're new to these arts, this is the place to ask "stupid" questions and get directions!
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GizmoLangs24
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What do I need to know?

Post by GizmoLangs24 » 15 Feb 2019 03:13

Hello, I have a few questions about what I should learn concerning conlang creation. I am very new to this forum, as I decided to use it as a learning opportunity for conlangs (that's what everyone does, right? [:S] ), but I am still a little bit confused as to what I should familiarize myself with.

I am familiar with the IPA, and I know some grammar and syntax structure, as well as the general process you should use when creating conlangs. My question, though, is based the fact that some of the technical discussion is lost on me, and I don't recognize half of these linguistical terms and marks. [O.O]

Obviously I can't just make a conlang like this, any advice on where to start?

- Gizmo -

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elemtilas
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Re: What do I need to know?

Post by elemtilas » 15 Feb 2019 04:37

GizmoLangs24 wrote:
15 Feb 2019 03:13
Hello, I have a few questions about what I should learn concerning conlang creation. I am very new to this forum, as I decided to use it as a learning opportunity for conlangs (that's what everyone does, right? [:S] ), but I am still a little bit confused as to what I should familiarize myself with.

I am familiar with the IPA, and I know some grammar and syntax structure, as well as the general process you should use when creating conlangs. My question, though, is based the fact that some of the technical discussion is lost on me, and I don't recognize half of these linguistical terms and marks. [O.O]

Obviously I can't just make a conlang like this, any advice on where to start?

- Gizmo -
Why ever not??

Many of us started making languages without knowing a whole lot. I started knowing a lot less that you! I actually think you already know far more than enough to get started. I also think you already know plenty enough to get yourself into loads of trouble!

I'm strongly of the opinion that the best (most aesthetically pleasing) invented languages are those made by naive makers. Too much knowledge I've noticed can stymie the creative process, or serve as a stumbling block. You say you "know the process we should use"... [O.O] ...well boy howdy! The process, eh?

Did you get that process out of a book somewhere? Or an online "how to" tutorial?

I'd say: forget about the process and begin by writing poetry. Just pluck that language right out of your unconscious mind in one whole piece! A perfect fruit of human creativity and creative humanity. Forget the grammar and phonology for now. Just do the language thing: make it beautiful and make it sing!

Then go back and sort out the bits.
Image

If we stuff the whole chicken back into the egg, will all our problems go away? --- Wandalf of Angera

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Re: What do I need to know?

Post by Ahzoh » 15 Feb 2019 04:51

A good resource for any novice conlanger is Mark Rosenfelder’s Language Construction Kit.

I’d also browse Wikipedia articles on various linguistic topics like sound changes, grammatical aspect, grammatical mood, tense, and grammatical voice.

I think there are also wiki guides for conlanging.
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GizmoLangs24
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Re: What do I need to know?

Post by GizmoLangs24 » 15 Feb 2019 04:56

elemtilas wrote:
15 Feb 2019 04:37
GizmoLangs24 wrote:
15 Feb 2019 03:13
Hello, I have a few questions about what I should learn concerning conlang creation. I am very new to this forum, as I decided to use it as a learning opportunity for conlangs (that's what everyone does, right? [:S] ), but I am still a little bit confused as to what I should familiarize myself with.

I am familiar with the IPA, and I know some grammar and syntax structure, as well as the general process you should use when creating conlangs. My question, though, is based the fact that some of the technical discussion is lost on me, and I don't recognize half of these linguistical terms and marks. [O.O]

Obviously I can't just make a conlang like this, any advice on where to start?

- Gizmo -
Why ever not??

Many of us started making languages without knowing a whole lot. I started knowing a lot less that you! I actually think you already know far more than enough to get started. I also think you already know plenty enough to get yourself into loads of trouble!

I'm strongly of the opinion that the best (most aesthetically pleasing) invented languages are those made by naive makers. Too much knowledge I've noticed can stymie the creative process, or serve as a stumbling block. You say you "know the process we should use"... [O.O] ...well boy howdy! The process, eh?

Did you get that process out of a book somewhere? Or an online "how to" tutorial?

I'd say: forget about the process and begin by writing poetry. Just pluck that language right out of your unconscious mind in one whole piece! A perfect fruit of human creativity and creative humanity. Forget the grammar and phonology for now. Just do the language thing: make it beautiful and make it sing!

Then go back and sort out the bits.
Well that reply was definitely not what I expected, but I will sure as heck try that out! I did figure there would be a bit more knowledge required for a first conlang, but I suppose mistakes are good, no?

Thanks!

- Gizmo -

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elemtilas
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Re: What do I need to know?

Post by elemtilas » 15 Feb 2019 06:27

GizmoLangs24 wrote:
15 Feb 2019 04:56
Spoiler:
elemtilas wrote:
15 Feb 2019 04:37
GizmoLangs24 wrote:
15 Feb 2019 03:13
Hello, I have a few questions about what I should learn concerning conlang creation. I am very new to this forum, as I decided to use it as a learning opportunity for conlangs (that's what everyone does, right? [:S] ), but I am still a little bit confused as to what I should familiarize myself with.

I am familiar with the IPA, and I know some grammar and syntax structure, as well as the general process you should use when creating conlangs. My question, though, is based the fact that some of the technical discussion is lost on me, and I don't recognize half of these linguistical terms and marks. [O.O]

Obviously I can't just make a conlang like this, any advice on where to start?

- Gizmo -
Why ever not??

Many of us started making languages without knowing a whole lot. I started knowing a lot less that you! I actually think you already know far more than enough to get started. I also think you already know plenty enough to get yourself into loads of trouble!

I'm strongly of the opinion that the best (most aesthetically pleasing) invented languages are those made by naive makers. Too much knowledge I've noticed can stymie the creative process, or serve as a stumbling block. You say you "know the process we should use"... [O.O] ...well boy howdy! The process, eh?

Did you get that process out of a book somewhere? Or an online "how to" tutorial?

I'd say: forget about the process and begin by writing poetry. Just pluck that language right out of your unconscious mind in one whole piece! A perfect fruit of human creativity and creative humanity. Forget the grammar and phonology for now. Just do the language thing: make it beautiful and make it sing!

Then go back and sort out the bits.
Well that reply was definitely not what I expected, but I will sure as heck try that out! I did figure there would be a bit more knowledge required for a first conlang, but I suppose mistakes are good, no?

Thanks!

- Gizmo -
[xD]

Do I dare wonder what you were expecting?`

Mistakes are fine. Natural languages are chock full of em. Just think of "mistakes" as "particularities of your invented language"!

I'm happy to hear you're willing to just wing it. Like they say, the best way to learn to swim is to just jump right off the diving board; spread your wings and fly away!

Whichever road you choose, welcome to CBB and do please ask a million questions and be sure to show off your glossopoetic works!
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If we stuff the whole chicken back into the egg, will all our problems go away? --- Wandalf of Angera

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Re: What do I need to know?

Post by Lao Kou » 15 Feb 2019 09:13

This topic has come up here and elsewhere over, lo, these many years, and I have found myself concurring with elemtilas on more than one occasion. I think the biggest mistake would be getting hung up on making a mistake. Sure, there are plenty of voices out there in the ether to tell you about naturalism, what universals you've broken, why an "f" can't occur in such and such an environment. This is their problem, not yours. If you choose to, as Sally Caves used to put it, "hang out your tapestry", then people will diss. No avoiding it. But conlanging is meant to be an expression of joy and creativity, not a Linguistics 101 exercise held a gunpoint.

Grandma Moses, Rubens, Monet, and Pollock: the same universe -- different outcomes. Don't worry about it.
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名可名,非常名

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Re: What do I need to know?

Post by lsd » 15 Feb 2019 15:36

it depends on your expectations ...
For me, it's more a search than a goal in itself ...
I respond to a personal emergency that pushes me ...
Like poetry, everything you know is useful, and there is no need for rules, except to surpass them ...
Follow rather what you have in you than what dictates the academics ...
Linguistics will only serve you to make an arid description of an immense pleasure that will always escape it ...

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gestaltist
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Re: What do I need to know?

Post by gestaltist » 15 Feb 2019 17:09

This is very subjective. I agree with elemtilas on the main point: just start and don't worry about what you don't know. You'll get better as you go. It's like sports: you can read all you want about running, but if you never go out there and run, you'll be terrible at it. When you conlang, you run into problems. Resolving them is how you grow. On this forum, we tend to resolve these problems by learning about linguistics and drawing inspiration from real languages. But it isn't said anywhere that this is what you need to do.

On another note, the advice to just "pour my unconscious out" never worked for me personally. It may be a matter of temperament, but I found a methodical approach worked better for me. I usually start with some framework and build out. (When I first started, I usually coined some derivational morphemes first, and to this day derivation is one of the first things I do.)

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Re: What do I need to know?

Post by Ahzoh » 16 Feb 2019 12:36

I found this video lately:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjDqBz7kw1M

I think an objective thing to know is to have your conlang match your goals, whatever they may be.
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LinguistCat
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Re: What do I need to know?

Post by LinguistCat » 16 Feb 2019 18:06

Welcome Gizmo!

I think it's good that you know as much as you do and are willing to learn more. I'd say, while working on the "Just do it!" part of creating a conlang (a lot of life really is just doing things when you want to do them), I'd say go into conversations and look up things you don't understand. Just find the first word or phrase you don't know, and look it up on wikipedia or some linguistics specific resources. Go on a wiki walk. Look into related concepts that you equally don't understand and see how they relate to each other. Make flash cards if that's your thing, or print pages out and highlight stuff. Work the stuff you research into your conlangs, then completely change those when you find ideas you like better. Or try to put something into your conlang, have someone tell you it's more like something else and then research THAT.

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Re: What do I need to know?

Post by k1234567890y » 20 Feb 2019 08:33

While knowing more does not hurt and helps, what you have known are enough to start a conlang.
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