Questions tagged [terminology]

For questions about words, phrases, and acronyms specific to the study of constructed languages.

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6 votes
3 answers
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Where synthetic languages "inflect," what is the verb for what analytic languages do?

When I indicate noun properties morphologically, I am "inflecting." When I indicate them with separate words: fish this fish these fish from these fish I am not "inflecting." Is ...
Vir's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
27 views

Analyzing word order when the person-conjugation leads verb phrases

Suppose person-conjugation leads the verb phrase and (if the subject is clear or is not the focus) the verb phrase may often come before any lexical subject, too. Although this puts the subject ...
Vir's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
30 views

Theoretical way to limit terms in a conlang while also allowing for distinguishing similar concepts/things?

I am working on a conlang (took a little break). I would like to limit the number of "terms" (single words, either 1 or 2 syllables) to less than or equal to 10,000. Given the word-formation ...
Lance's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
120 views

I need help with understanding perfect, perfective, perterite, and pluperfect

After reading the definitions of perfect past, perfective past, preterite past, and pluperfect past, I am confused as to what their distinctions are. They all are past tense forms indicating a ...
Ylahris's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
252 views

Why have words for above/below top/bottom but not left/right front/back?

I am working on the directions and spatial stuff in a conlang currently, and wondering why conceptually we have words for the y-axis, but not the x-axis or z-axis? above/on top of (that one isn't a ...
Lance's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
223 views

How do languages distinguish formal and casual noun phrases?

It turns out that it appears Chinese has about 100 "base" (1-character) words for various foundational animals, and then the rest of the animals are combinations of those bases (or other ...
Lance's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
62 views

What are all the ways you can modify the base "number" concept in a language?

I can think of these examples of numbers, but maybe there are more? one,two,three single,double,triple first,second,third primary,secondary,tertiary ,couple,triplet How should I think of these, how ...
Lance's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
57 views

Can you reuse the same word (sound) in multiple unrelated contexts?

Starting to get a word list together for Tune. As described, words can be either one or two syllables, starting and ending with a consonant, and with simple vowels in between. Words are then sometimes ...
Lance's user avatar
  • 1,688
2 votes
2 answers
115 views

What is the difference between city, county, state, and nation (and others)?

This is kind of along the lines of my last question on why words for "say", "tell", and "talk", etc.. But it is more philosophical, not sure if it's better for the world-...
Lance's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
166 views

Why does English have the word "say", "talk", and "tell", on what to create words for in a conlang?

I am going through word lists in a few different languages and am noticing what they make into words. In Hebrew, for example, they have words both for to x and to be x-ed, like "to merge" ...
Lance's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
78 views

What parts of speech (nouns, adj., verbs, etc.) could be limited to make a language with fewer words?

Essentially, in the English language how many adjectives, nouns, adverbs, verbs, etc. could be combined to make the language possess a single word for a term. E.g. huge, giant, enormous, and big could ...
Blue Skin and Glowing Red Eyes's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
184 views

How to safely import loan words in a conlang?

Some examples of loan words: Human names like "Paul" or "Bhavya". Proper nouns like "White House" or "United States". Using any word at all from the other ...
Lance's user avatar
  • 1,688
4 votes
2 answers
356 views

What are auxlangs?

I often hear certain conlangs (e.g. Esperanto) referred to as auxlangs. What exactly is an auxlang? How can I tell if a conlang is an auxlang? What are some examples of auxlangs?
Qaziquza's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
83 views

What are artlangs?

I often hear the term artlang applied to some conlangs (e.g. Toki Pona). What does it mean? How would I determine if a conlang I am creating is an artlang? What are some examples of artlangs?
Qaziquza's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
159 views

Creation of Alphabets

If the creation of languages ​​is called language invention what is the creation of writing systems called? I don't think it's called Lettering because when I search for that on the net, I see that ...
Reydel's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
122 views

Name of a group of languages with has "less is more" property

Is there a name of a group of languages that try to remove instead of adding things? Examples: Newspeak: reduces words (e.g. bad will be ungood (prefix "un" meaning not), eliminate expression that ...
Darek Nędza's user avatar
12 votes
6 answers
619 views

How to describe a purely symbolic writing system?

Before I jump headlong into constructing a language, I'd like to do some research and see what others have done before me and learn from their experiences/mistakes. The keywords I'm currently using ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 221
7 votes
1 answer
107 views

Term for the converse of "instrumental"

We can make a noun for the instrument of an action, by taking the verb for the action and adding an instrumental marker.[1] For instance, in English, we can add "-er",[2] like so: I cut the box ...
Tim Pederick's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
248 views

How do you call a "stillborn language"?

And by "stillborn", I mean a dead language that never really lived to begin with: a modernized version of an archaic language frozen in time, or an all-out archaic language (with archaic grammar and ...
Stephanus Tavilrond's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
178 views

How is ANADEW pronounced?

How is the acronym ANADEW pronounced among conlang enthusiasts. I have seen it only in print so far and I want to know whether the letters are spelled out or whether it is pronounced as if it were an ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the meaning of ANADEW?

The acronym ANADEW is quite popular among conlang enthusiats, but what does it mean? For an answer, I'd like to see not only an expansion of the acronym, but also some good usage examples.
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
283 views

Is there a specific term for a substitution cipher language?

A really simple but effective method to create an unintelligble language from a given language is applying a substitution cipher to the vocabulary. In order to be pronouncable, vowels should be ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
147 views

Is there existing terminology for distinguishing multiple imperative moods?

I have found a conlang, Klyran, which has a rather interesting feature: multiple imperative moods. Quoting from the documentation: For imperative mood there are number of suffixes that correspond ...
Shalvenay's user avatar
  • 213
6 votes
2 answers
194 views

Language with contextual-free vocabulary

Every language (I know of) needs a context or a mark of reference for understanding a lot of the expressed message. I'm refering about concepts like I, you, this, there, tomorrow... I'd bet there is ...
Masclins's user avatar
  • 169
9 votes
5 answers
609 views

Syntactic word that carries no meaning - is there a name for that?

Is there a name for words that exist purely for syntactic reasons and carry no lexical meaning? Reason: Some forms of sentence in my language don't have verbs, but information such as tense and mood ...
qwertyu63's user avatar
  • 191
15 votes
2 answers
921 views

Is there a specific term for a constructed writing system purportedly used for a conlang but actually for a natlang?

Many constructed writing systems are purportedly used to write conlangs, but in reality are actually used to write English or another natlang. For example, omniglot.com says that Kryptonian is "a ...
curiousdannii's user avatar
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15 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the difference between tense and aspect?

Many conlangs contain tense, some contain aspect as well or instead, and much of the recommended reading for conlangers assumes that you know what tense and aspect are and what the difference between ...
Sparksbet's user avatar
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20 votes
2 answers
339 views

Is there any concept of "isomorphic" constructed languages?

What I'm thinking is: if two conlangs have the same syntactical structure and can be translated by simply exchanging words while maintaining the same (or very similar) structure, is there are specific ...
hyper-neutrino's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
191 views

What is a constructed variety of a natural language called?

What would a conlang created to be an alternate version of an already existing natural language be classified as? For example, a version of English that could have been spoken in an alternate ...
eefara's user avatar
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19 votes
8 answers
1k views

Can programming languages be categorized as conlangs?

Would it be correct to say that the majority of computer programming languages (such as functional or procedural) are the form of constructed languages? If so, what makes it a constructed language in ...
kenorb's user avatar
  • 1,507
12 votes
0 answers
113 views

How can we define words? [closed]

Even though the question seems trivial, it's still a hotly debated topic (as far as I'm aware). For example, in the Oxford Handbook for Polysynthesis, Fernando Zúñiga says: Recent literature (e.g. ...
Darkgamma's user avatar
  • 1,444
25 votes
3 answers
1k views

Why are sign languages considered to be natural rather than constructed languages?

Linguists consider sign languages to be natural languages. Surely they had been invented/constructed at some point in time by someone. So why are they not categorized as constructed, but as natural ...
kenorb's user avatar
  • 1,507
20 votes
2 answers
867 views

What is the difference between an Isolating and an Analytic language?

These two terms appear to be used nearly interchangeably to refer to languages with little morphology. However at the same time I sometimes see them contrasted with each other, but cannot identify a ...
Sascha Baer's user avatar
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