Questions tagged [terminology]

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

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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 ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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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?
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2 votes
1 answer
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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?
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6 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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12 votes
6 answers
474 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 ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
167 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 ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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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.
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2 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
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11 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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9 votes
5 answers
361 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 ...
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14 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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14 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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19 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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7 votes
2 answers
176 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 ...
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18 votes
8 answers
831 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 ...
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11 votes
0 answers
110 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. ...
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22 votes
2 answers
799 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 ...
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18 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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