Questions tagged [naturalism]

Naturalism is a design goal some conlangs have, that of being deliberately similar to natural languages in some or all aspects

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How to know if a language is constructed or natural?

Imagine you get access to a rather long book for which the following is true: It is written in an unknown language with an unknown script. We can't rely for whatever reason on the fact that the ...
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phonology design for a nonhuman species

I'm working on an alien species for a fantasy-ish world I'm making, and I recently started on making a language for them. For the most part, their consonant-making abilities are very similar to humans,...
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Is it possible to have consonant followed by Uvular sound

I am thinking of creating a language that has a sound system a little similar to Latin, with a guttural feel like German. The people who are going to speak this language are harsh and sound annoyed at ...
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How to prevent pronoun dropping in my language?

I have an idea for a language I am toying with where sentences have a fairly rigid structure, unfortunately I get the feeling that if I were to start with a precursor protolang (as part of me ...
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Could a language with only fricatives at the end of words reasonably exist?

There are several non-constructed languages, including English, in which almost all words end in consonants, but what about a language in which almost all words end in a certain type of consonant? In ...
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Naturalness of different universal quantifiers based on the size of the domain you're quantifying over

English has a few determiners and determiner-like things that express universal quantification including all and every. How naturalistic is it to have different sets of quantifiers based on features ...
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good naturalistic system for Germanic language?

I hope this isn't too redundant of a question... I was hoping somebody could briefly summarize what general features languages descended from proto-Germanic tend to have? I understand all the ...
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Is there any general rule for constructing a word? Example: "q" or "w" should not end a word, something like this

I am developing 4 conlangs (sparish, old sparish, elvian and barrish (need a new name)) for a story which is used by humans of Spar, Northern Sparian, Elves/Aspian, Barrians of south respectively. I ...
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Is it attested for noun classifiers to be coopted for directionality?

A noun classifier marks on the verb some information about the form of one of its arguments. For example, Atili has a handful of "stationary" classifiers that produce semantic distinctions: ...
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Is Irrealis and Evidentials Compatible?

I and other people are making a collaborative conlang. It features mood/evidentiality contrast. There are 4 moods: Indicative Imperative Optative Conditional There are also 6 evidentials: Direct ...
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A biphonic language

How could a language evolve such that the vowels are biphonic (like in throat singing)? Note: Biphonicity is when two notes/tones are sung simultaneously. There are languages that are whistled or ...
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Can entire words be silent?

Most people will be familiar with the idea that naturalistic spelling can be tricky. Some examples of natlangs with annoying spelling that come to mind are English ("ough" can be pronounced /...
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How can I avoid "relexing" punctuation?

I'm trying to design a conscript for my conlang Atili and would like to create punctuation in order to deliminate sentences and transcribe limited prosody. However, I don't just want to create new ...
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What is a realistic *upper bound* on the complexity of nominals that can be incorporated into a verb?

Some languages feature noun incorporation. Here's an example from Lahkota from the Wikipedia article on incorporation. I suspect the difference in meaning is similar to the man chopped the wood vs the ...
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How can I talk about weather without expletives?

In English, it is necessary to use a syntactic expletive ("it") when talking about weather: It is sun-ny. EXPL COP.3S sun-ADJ Pro-drop languages can easily avoid the explicit expletive by ...
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What is reduplication used for in natural languages?

According to WALS Feature 27A, 278/368 languages surveyed have productive full and partial reduplication. Chapter 27 gives the following example of partial reduplication in Pangasinan: báley "town" -&...
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Should I include morphology in my proto language?

Most, if not all natural languages have some form of morphology, such as noun case or poly-personal agreement. However, these features are usually evolved from prepositions and auxiliary verbs, and ...
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Is it reasonable for numerals to behave like verbs?

I am aware that adjectives can pattern like verbs in some natural languages. Is it reasonable for numerals to do the same? Thus Some balls four. There are four balls. Fouring the balls were orange. ...
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Naturalness and Intuitiveness of marking tense and aspect in the negative but not affirmative

I'm wondering about the naturalness and intuitiveness of marking tense in negative clauses but not affirmative ones. I'm also wondering whether a language with this hypothetical feature would be ...
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Good Real World Languages to Base Proto-Lang Vocabulary

I'm working on a conlang that requires a LOT of work, particularly in the sound changes from proto-lang to the current version. Instead of creating a whole set of words from nothing, I am ...
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How do I naturalistically merge two languages without a clear Substrate and Superstrate?

For my latest worldbuilding project I'm trying to create a naturalistic language for a fictional empire I've been creating. This empire was born at the end of the Bronze Age when various kingdoms and ...
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How common are reflexive pronouns in natlangs?

I'm working on the pronoun system of one of my conlangs, and I can't find any resource that can tell me how commonly reflexive pronouns occur in natural languages. Is a reflexive something I need to ...
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How to naturally evolve verbs into adverbs or dependent clauses?

Currently I have a very simple proto-language which I'm trying to evolve. For example: slishi hu ho shofli shofli pfufi tushi repair person tool fish.V fish.V succeed cause Person ...
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2 answers
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Constructing a language based on existing languages from different families

I wonder how is it possible to construct a language based on the existing languages. There are Indo-European, Altaic, Semitic, and a small portion of Dravidian and Caucasic languages in my country, ...
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8 votes
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Would these features be naturalistic in this scenario?

Background I am planning a naturalistic Goidelic language which shall have quite an influence from Old Norse – probably at least 1/4 or 1/3 of the vocabulary to be of North Germanic origin, as well ...
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How to develop a detailed, realistic a posteriori conlang?

Background To begin, I’ve been conlanging ‘properly’ for around two to two and a half years now and have been into it for far, far longer. However, I have yet to create a conlang that is truly in-...
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What verbs should be irregular in a naturalistic conlang?

I've read that the most commonly used verbs in a language are almost always irregular, and for the most part the irregular forms of verbs can be traced to an archaic form being preserved in the ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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A Hypothetical Mediterranean Language Inspired by Both Greek and Latin

Here is the scenario: In or before the Classical Period, a king from some Greek city-state--it doesn't matter which--first brought all the other Greek city-states together to become one unified ...
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13 votes
1 answer
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Is there any evidence that learning a zonal Slavic conlang can help conversing with native speakers of Slavic languages

The relatively high degree of mutual intercomprehensibility of the Slavic languages has fascinated a lot of people for a long time. It was also a motivation in the design of zonal constructed ...
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9 votes
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What are sounds that I have to include in my phonology for it to be naturalistic?

Additionally, are there any such things as hierarchies, where if I want to include one sound, I should also include another?
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8 votes
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Designing a vocabulary for geographical features

I want to draw a map of a fictional world resembling Europe in climate and basic geographic features (so there are rivers and lakes, alpine mountains, mittelgebirge, marsh lands and bogs, some plains ...
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How can I make my conlang's borrowings naturalistic?

As something of a follow-on to my question about “naturalizing” conlangs, I’m looking for any information - actual tools would be nice, too, if available - for “borrowing”...
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6 votes
2 answers
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Is a naturalistic language without countable nouns possible?

Is a naturalistic language without count nouns possible, thus having only mass nouns? This would mean having many words for things with water: a sea, an ocean, a bottle of water, a puddle, etc. What ...
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Could a language with no voiced fricatives exist?

I am working on a language and I am trying to bring it down to seventeen consonants. One of the ways I am trying to do that is by removing all voiced fricatives. Is this even reasonable?
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How to "Naturalize" a Conlang?

Many conlangs that I have encountered have an “artificial” feel to them–all conjugations and declensions are perfectly regular, stress rules for speaking are rigorously adhered to, ...
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14 answers
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From known languages, what are the expected features of a Generation Ship Language?

Pandorum is a generation ship movie. Generation ships are a fairly big sub-genre of sci-fi where people live for many generations in a ship while travelling to a distant star. The movie Pandorum did ...
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7 votes
2 answers
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How do Romance-based naturalistic conlangs deal with the different principal parts of a verb?

The Latin verb has four principal parts (e.g., ducere, duco, duxi, ductum) that are sufficient and necessary to create all inflected forms and derived words from it. As far as I know, no naturalistic ...
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What is the key to realistic inventories [closed]

Shy of simply recreating or stitching together natural languages' phonological inventories, what is the solution for making a naturalistic conlangs' inventory naturalistic?
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