Vocabulary Creation?!?

Posted by Christopher O'Regan on 18:16 7/2/02

In reply to: Vocabulary Creation?!? posted by Gareth Wilson on 8:17 7/3/02

Personally, i think 26-phoneme languages are ideal for the beginner. Perhaps the easiest way to with a nice pronouncable phonology is to start with English, then remove a couple of (frequent) sounds. This helps no end - one of the things that makes poorly constructed artificial names obvious is not only the fact that they have sounds that are all identical to English sounds, but that they also have a similar range, making use of all the sounds of English - even rare ones such as th.

My first conlang closely resembled Japanese, which i was learning at the time. I had almost no experience, but this was an ideal place to start - a phonology that was very un-English in its restrictiveness, a couple of foreign, though not difficult sounds, and of course an abundance of non-IE grammatical features. In general, with phonology as with all areas of the grammar, I steal shamelessly from real languages. To avoid making them sound like complete clones, i then try to modify the phonological constraints - making them tighter or looser than the source language. Once the phonology is set, it's surprisingly easy to make words - just get used to the sound, they won't sound so strange.

And, of course, you can do what a great many conlangers do and put hidden references in the vocab - proper names, that name a certain characteristic of the place/person they're associated with, for example. Of course, it's best to be quite subtle with these - it only takes a little change to make a word unrecognisable from its source.

To make a reply, or see replies, see the index page.