Vocabulary creation.

Posted by Frank Legros on 10:25 7/15/02

In reply to: Vocabulary Creation?!? posted by GreenDragon on 14:00 7/12/02

There's a convenient tool on the Net which helps conlangers create vocabulary: it's called "Dublex", and the URL is www.langmaker.com/dublex/ Dublex is a list of 400 roots which may be considered sufficient to derive complete vocabularies. You'll just have to replace the Dublex root-words with their equivalents in your conlang. Making up 400 root-words is a bare minimum, of course: it is not really satisfactory to use "contrary of north" to mean "south" and "female sibling" to mean "sister". It is more fun to use expressions like "warm wind" to mean "south", and to invent a specific word for "sister".

And if you're really desperate, there's Justin Rye's method: using dice... he calls it "the syllabificator". The URL is http://www.xibalba.demon.co.uk/jbr/l4892/x.html Remember, when adapting the syllabificator to your own conlang, that some phonemes are much more frequent than others: "n" occurs much more often than "zh", for instance, in every human language.

Throwing dice gets rapidly boring, though. A faster method is to pillage existing vocabularies, and camouflage your theft behind a smokescreen of phonetic evolution. For instance, "parliament" becomes "palaman", then "pawam" or "faam".

And when you read again your old texts, years afterwards, you scratch your head: was "faam" for "palm", "parliament", "firm" or "farm"? :-) Using a very limited vocabulary is a game in itself. A "world" is, after all, a "place", but not any place. The "place of all things", for instance, or the "place of man", the "place of all the lands"...

Mark responds:

South winds are warm? Not in Verduria! :)

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