So You Want to Be a Conlanger? (Revived)

So You Want to Be a Conlanger?

So, you want to create your own languages? Whether it’s for a story, your own personal use, a theoretical worldwide language, or any combination of other goals, you’ve come to the right place.

I’m @48lexR, but you can call me Lex or Zen. I’ll be facilitating the discussions around languages. I conlang for fun and use the languages I create in my stories. As a result, I’ve done a bunch of research that I hope can help you.

Even if you haven’t already created a language, that’s fine! There’s no need to create a language to be a part of this thread. I just hope you’ll get some ideas here. :slight_smile:

FAQ:

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  • How many sounds should I have?

Ooh, that’s a good one.

It depends on the vibe you’re going for. If you’re going for an auxlang (i.e. an international auxilliary language) then you’ll want only sounds that are common cross-linguistically. If you’re going for a “Mordor Gates of Hell” vibe, it’s possible to pull this off with more fricatives, especially laryngeals and velars, and other deep, post-velar sounds. If you’re going for an Austronesian vibe, you’ll want less consonants and more vowels. It really depends on what vibe you’re going for.

That being said, if naturalism (i.e. making it look naturalistic) is your priority, then you might want to research the phonology of the language you’d like your conlang most to sound like, and then build on it.

Table of Contents

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Introduction

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@Zena @TheMidnightAssassin @NotARussianBot

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Heh, I’m back

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Posting the introduction tomorrow hehe.

Actually I might as well do it today :upside_down:

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Introduction

So, you want to start thinking about making a language? You’ve come to the right spot. It’s easy to make a language, sure, but actually fleshing it out takes time, and creativity. That being said, it’s something that I believe anyone can do. It just takes the proper amount of dedication, time, and effort. Some people take thirty years to fully flesh out their languages!

Some basic concepts we’ll be talking about include:

  • Conlanging Goals
  • Phonology
  • Morphology
  • Syntax
  • Exceptions

These are just supposed to help you develop ideas and you don’t have to take any suggestions I give. These are just to get you introduced! I’ll find some more resources online as well.


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kicks down door

Wait for me-

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sips tea er- water

Welcome back Angel~

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I’m posting the first topic tomorrow, so fret not :relieved:

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nice to see you Aevyn :eyes:

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I already have a base for a conlang to, idk i’f that’s gonna destroy it or not :eyes:
it’s a new one~

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No 'tis not :relieved: . This thread is for all stages of conlanger.

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I eagerly await its beginning :sparkles:

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Oh wow! It’s like stumbled upon a tutorial! I’m going to bookmark this thread.

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Good idea haha. Also, now that you’ve replied, it ought to be on tracking, so you’ll get unread counts for replies!

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sure

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Goals

It’s important to set goals before you begin. It’s equally important to know what type of conlang you’re going for. For example, Esperanto was developed in the late 1800s as a way to communicate internationally. This type of conlang is called an auxlang, a conlang that serves the purpose of connecting two or more groups via a lingua-franca, or common language. The only difference is that an auxlang is constructed, and a lingua-franca is any sort of connecting-language.

Of course, there are plenty of other kinds of goals for conlangs, too:

  • Naturalism: When you want your conlang to sound realistic, or act like it was created through the natural processes of language evolution.
    • An example would be Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings’ languages: Sindarin and Quenya. Both were made with the intent to act like Welsh, with some slight differences.
  • Logicality: If you want your language to function without any room for ambiguity, and for it to act logically, instead of like a naturalistic language, then your goal is logicality.
    • Lojban is an example of this, as it is a variant of Loglang (short for ‘Logical Language’).
  • Secrecy: If your goal is to make your language incomprehensible to anyone who doesn’t speak it so that it’s more of a code than anything, your goal is secrecy.
    • The Navajo Code-talker language is an example of this secrecy, pulling from Navajo’s insane derivational morphology, and repurposing old words as new, modern words.
  • Personal: Personal langs are made for your own enjoyment, and not intended to be shared anywhere.
    • I don’t have any examples lmao.

There are plenty of other examples, but these are just some basic goals. You can combine these goals, reinterpret them, or whatever you like, but at its core, these are the basic goals you can have set out for yourself.

Additionally, it’s worthwhile to determine the goals inside your goals. For example: perhaps you want to create an auxiliary language for speakers in West Africa, who speak a variety of languages. In addition to being an auxiliary language, you’d also need to account for what those speakers would already be speaking, to make your language successful. Additionally, perhaps you need a naturalistic language for a group of people who go around raiding people’s villages and ripping their tongues out? (i.e. the Dothraki from Game of thrones :wink: ) then you’d likely come up with a language heavy in voiceless consonants, intricate grammar, and with plenty of derivational morphology.

Whatever the case, reply to this message with your own goals. (They don’t have to go anywhere lmao you don’t have to make a language.)

  • What kind of goal are you going for?
  • What other considerations are you looking for inside that goal?
  • Any other questions?

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Please @me if you would like to be on the taglist!

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B-but-

dragon lady :pleading_face:

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Phonology

The very basics of language! The sounds and how we make them. Below is a list of all the sounds the human mouth can produce, transcribed with a semi-Latin alphabet.

PLEASE NOTE: Not all of the sounds represent their English sound!!! For example, the letter [j] represents the /y/ sound in English. Instead, the letter [y] represents the /ü/ sound in German. Likewise, does not sound like /ks/. Instead, it sounds like the /ch/ sound in German.

This is the IPA

https://i.ibb.co/8PHM8qJ/IPA.png

This image is free to save, download, and use. The International Phonetic Association approves the IPA every few years, so this is the most up-to-date one.

*Choosing Sounds: *

For every type of language, choosing sounds can seem pretty daunting a task. Fret not, however, for choosing sounds is fairly easy!

All languages have most of these sounds:

Labial Cornal Velar Glottal
Plosive [p] [t] [k]
Nasal [m] [n]
Fricative [f] [s] [h]
Front Middle Back
High [i] [u]
Low [a]

But there’s no need to include them all, or to not expand on these sounds! In fact, some languages have over fifty-two sounds! (Ahem English). But the bulk of how your language sounds will come from your phonotactics, or how the language organizes sounds.

Phonotactics:

All languages have phonotactics, whether it’s the English :roll_eyes: overkill (C)(C)(C)V(C)(C)(C)(C)(C) or (C)3V(C)5, or the Austronesian CV(C)CVC, every language has one.

Your syllable structure can be as complex, or as lax as you like. Sometimes, it can be a part of your goals. (I.e. to have a complicated syllable structure, or have a lax, easy syllable structure).

Example:

Say, perhaps, I want to make a naturalistic language with a relatively simple syllable structure and a small phonology. I’ll decide that my syllable structure shall be (C)V(N) for __C__onsonant, __V__owel, __N__asal. (Sound made through your nose.) This means that the word /kat/ wouldn’t be allowed, but the word /kan/ would, because I can only end a syllable in a nasal.

Perhaps I want a language with the overly specific structure of (P)V(F)V(N)(P)V, where P is __P__losive, sound made by building up air in your mouth, V is for __V__owel, F is a __F__ricative, and N is a __N__asal, I could have a word that sounds like: /pafunki/.

Every conlang is different, so make sure you use the IPA to choose the sounds you think would fit your language best, and then create phonotactics to use them with.

Questions:

  • What sounds would you want in your language?
  • What kind of phonotactics would you want?
  • Why?
  • Any other questions?

@TheMidnightAssassin

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In the structure, is it mandatory that every slot is filled with a letter?

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