30 September 2008

Codex Seraphinianus

If you're not familiar with the Codex Seraphinianus, you might enjoy learning about it. There's a blog entry with some sample pages here, starting about two-thirds down the page.

24 September 2008

burning the relative clauses candle at both ends

I think it's fun to mark both the beginning and end of relative clauses in a conlang. Vorlin did it, and someday some other lang o' mine will do it. There's a nifty post about natlangs that do it on the Far Outliers blog.

19 September 2008

cross-pollination my ass

Several months ago, a certain organization suggested that it would be wonderful if most of the active online forums about conlanging moved onto servers controlled by that group. Supposed benefits would be convenience and cross-pollination.

This idea was, for me personally, the most annoying thing I have ever seen in a forum about language creation. Whenever I have trouble waking up in the morning I just recall this proposal and then wham I'm wide awake with elevated blood pressure and heart-rate.

Convenient it would be, certainly. Instead of having one login to view and post in Conlang-L, and another for ZBB, and other sets of IDs and passwords for whatever else, with one login you'd be aboard several forums.

But think of the consequences. This would make it even easier for the most socially aggressive 15 or 20 people to dominate every conlanging forum on earth. There would be no sanctuary, no refuge, no escape. Quiet little estuaries where you can get away from the extroverts are precious, and any proposal that would reduce the viability or individuality of lesser forums should be resisted IMHO.

The other consequence not mentioned in the proposal is that forums which used to be hosted independently would suddenly be dependent on the organization. Dependent people are more likely to donate money and follow orders. That's good for the organization; not so good for the people.

As for cross-pollination, well, nobody gets more cross-pollination than a drone in a Borg cube. Have you ever noticed that nobody in Star Fleet ever yells "Beam me over to that Borg cube right now so that I can get assimilated and join the collective!" It just doesn't happen. Maybe there's a reason for that.

Well, I just had to get that off my chest. Thanks for reading :-)

14 September 2008

one folktale in a zillion languages

Just stumbled across this Low Saxon folktale translated into many languages. Several constructed languages and some of my favorite pidgins and creoles are included. This might be a useful resource for people looking for a short text to use for comparing and showcasing languages.

11 September 2008

added a couple o' links

Over there on the left you'll see a list of "informative blogs." Just added The Ideophone and Ryan's Linguistics Blog.

I know about the famous blogs like Language Hat but there's no point in me linking to them; everybody else under the sun links to them.

06 September 2008

Dengo update

Dengo (formerly called Zengo, and before that, Penta) is my conlang made mostly of 5-letter words. Just an idea that keeps bubbling on the back burner of my brain. I have made surprisingly little progress considering how long I've been thinking about it.

But I have made one decision. I will go ahead with the idea of changing most unvoiced consonants to their voiced counterparts when importing words. So pizza becomes bidza and Finnish lintu (bird) becomes lindu.

I still have no idea what the grammar will be like. Obviously most words will have to be isolating and uninflected to preserve the 5-letter aesthetic of the language. Beyond that, the muses have revealed nothing yet.

Got time on your hands? Check out the top 20 Google search results for quinquiliteral and quinqueliteral. The former produces some interesting language desriptions while the latter produces mostly definitions of the word.