Questions tagged [vocabulary]

For questions about developing the vocabulary of a conlang

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What is the second most elaborate constructed language up to date after Esperanto?

What would be the most elaborate constructed language today in terms of size of vocabulary, complexity of grammar, number of exceptions to the rules of the language, etc.? If we exclude Esperanto, of ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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How would a language of whistles work

The language consists of 3 different tones: high, medium, and low. There are trills (~), chords(=), neutral tones (-), rising tones (<), falling tones (>), and rising/falling tones (^). Would ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Evolution of irregular declensions and conjugations from reconstructed proto-languages

In designing an artificial dialect of the Greek Language, most words and inflections have predictable patterns with a well-guessed/documented evolution which show the origin of the word's roots and ...
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3 answers
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I want to build a language that expresses the maximum amount of information with minimal words spoken

I'm trying to come up with a conlang for a setting where spoken word casts magic etc. In this case, a group of wizards, etc. Develop arcadian, which functions to give the most information with the ...
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5 votes
2 answers
68 views

How do I change the word order of this complex sentence?

I have an English sentence that I need to switch the word order of so I can translate it into my conlang smoothly, but the sentence is pretty complex and I’m not sure how to go about it. The sentence ...
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4 votes
2 answers
102 views

How do conlangs/natlangs have prefixes suffixes and not get them jumbled up?

When thinking how to build a conlang system of prefixes/suffixes, I get stuck right at the beginning: how do you prevent clashes within the prefix/suffix/base system? By that I mean the following. Say ...
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3 answers
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What is the variety of ways one can deal with absorbing words from different languages in a conlang?

The conlang I am working on has very strict rules on word formation: They must start and end with a consonant They can only have single vowels between consonants (which can be in consonant clusters). ...
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8 votes
3 answers
186 views

How do swear words work in real languages?

How many swear words should you have in a conlang, and how are they designed? What is their purpose really? And should any other "regular" words be constructed out of them? Like if "bar&...
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5 votes
2 answers
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How long do words get in other languages, and how hard are long words to say or read?

So I have a list of basic words in my budding conlang. I would like to construct compound words now, like we do with Latin/Greek in English (e.g. "hyacinthoides"). One word I can create in ...
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4 votes
2 answers
102 views

How to create words which will be unambiguously parsable in a conlang?

Right now I am working on this, a list of words to translate into the conlang. At first I started by manually deriving the words from Hebrew/Arabic/Sanskrit/Greek/Latin/English/Spanish, but then found ...
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4 votes
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How to break out of the English mold when creating a conlang (specifically in regards to word modifiers)?

I am working on a conlang. I have to some degree (i.e. a little bit) studied the grammar of Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Sanskrit, and Hebrew, and know Spanish relatively well in comparison from ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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How do you write a language without the word "to" preceding verbs?

I am working on a fantasy language and am perplexed by the true meaning of the word "to" in English, at least when it appears before a verb, as in these sentences. I want to go somewhere. I ...
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2 votes
2 answers
71 views

What are some key languages which don't have distinctions between me, myself, and I?

I am working on a conlang and would like to treat "I" or "me" or "myself" as one thing, "me", as a noun I guess. Are there languages that do this, that don't ...
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10 votes
2 answers
96 views

How to modernize a dead language vocabulary

This is an enthusiastic question: Currently I'm studying Akkadian for fun, but as it is a dead language, the vocabulary may have some missing words/concepts. For example, I didn`t found a word for &...
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7 votes
2 answers
287 views

What is the minimum number of words needed for a conlang?

What would the minimum number of words needed for a conlang, while still being able to speak with about the same level of information passed as a natural language?
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5 votes
1 answer
163 views

Syllabic restriction/word boundaries set by IPA? Or it is decided by language creator

When creating syllables we basically require an onset, nucleus, and a coda. Now, usually, all language have an onset, and the coda is fairly optional. Before creating a phonetic system, we first ...
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0 answers
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I am a writer, and am trying to write a language for my story, how should I start as a complete beginner of language? [duplicate]

As a writer, I am trying to write a language so that I can name places more originally, how can I start writing a bare bones language for my story?
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8 votes
4 answers
127 views

How many different interjections like 'aha,' 'oh' would you make up for a conlang?

I wonder if other people have thoughts and experience on this topic from the conlanging perspective. Have people with lots of translation experience found the distinction between (for example) 'aha' ...
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5 votes
3 answers
295 views

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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5 votes
4 answers
183 views

Alternate direction systems for spatial reference

What are some alternative direction systems besides egocentric direction systems (left, right, &c)? Some natural languages use {north, south, east, west} like Guugu Yimithirr and Tzeltal (Maya) (...
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5 votes
3 answers
143 views

Words for numbers in a language with bijective numeration

Bijective base-k numeration (or k-adic numeration) is a system of writing numerals such that the digits are 1 through k. Thus counting in bijective base-12 (such as my conlang Atili has) works as ...
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6 votes
1 answer
135 views

Naming language based on real language

I apologize if similar question has already been answered, I tried to look for it but didn't find anything. I'm trying to make a simple naming language that looks/sounds vaguely like nahuatl (if I ...
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3 votes
2 answers
2k views

Words for Mercy in Toki Pona?

I would like to translate Bismillah Ir-Rahmani Ir-Rahim into Toki Pona. The parts I'm struggling with are the Rahma part, and the Raheem part, as they encompass similar but subtly different meanings ...
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3 votes
1 answer
141 views

What to do when my conlang has a word that means something in one of my languages?

This is a bit subjective problem. As a Hungarian who knows English, I have the high ground when it comes to making up words, as I can mush the English and Hungarian words together with some outliers (...
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5 votes
3 answers
680 views

How can I name my days of the week?

In my conworld, months are divided into twelve-day weeks. That seems a bit too long (since I recall that people complained that the ten-day weeks of the French Republican calendar were too long), so I'...
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8 votes
4 answers
235 views

Is there an open-source set of topics and vocabulary for making a language tutorial?

Does anyone provide a freely available or licensable template that conlangers can use to develop a lesson plan? Specifically, I'm thinking about how a lot of language books divide vocabulary and ...
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8 votes
7 answers
1k views

How many words should I create in a conlang?

Question 1: How many words are minimal for a naturalistic conlang? (1000, 1500, 3000 or even more) Question 2: How many words do the conlangers usually create?
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2 votes
0 answers
65 views

What list of words do you use when creating a language? [duplicate]

What word list do you use when creating a language? Is there a conlang word list? P.S I know that this question is kinda subjective, but I think that it will be quite useful for conlangers.
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5 votes
5 answers
349 views

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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7 votes
1 answer
180 views

Has anyone analysed the invented languages in the Earthsea books?

Ursula K Le Guin's Earthsea stories contain vocabulary and utterances from three invented languages. The first step to fleshing these out into fully developed conlangs would be to list all the ...
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5 votes
1 answer
150 views

Creating Fictional Slavic Place Names

I have a very simple question regarding a small problem I cannot find a single satisfying answer to. I am trying to create a country with a prominent Slavic culture. In my story, an alien world has ...
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4 votes
3 answers
132 views

What are some strategies for setting verbs apart from other words without knowing it's a verb

In languages with conjugated verbs there is usually a similar structure across verbs that makes them easy to recognize even if you do not know the word. For example in German, all verbs after the ...
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9 votes
1 answer
291 views

Organizing a lexicon in a logographic writing system

A little background before my question: I am an amateur in mid-development of a logographic writing system, not necessarily a whole language with phonetics. As I develop, I don't so much care about ...
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6 votes
2 answers
132 views

Adding entire musical concepts to expand vocabulary

I want my language, Syn, to be as precise, efficient, unambiguous, and aesthetic as humanely possible. To do that, I think even the texture, dynamics, rhythm, and the likes should be accounted for. ...
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8 votes
3 answers
289 views

Swadesh List for Verb Infinitives?

I was looking through Wikipedia's Swadesh Lists recently and wondered if there was anything like a Swadesh list for verb infinitives, similar to how Spanish verbs work (to be, to want, to eat, to know,...
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8 votes
2 answers
301 views

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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13 votes
5 answers
392 views

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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8 votes
0 answers
79 views

Free word building in Interlingua

There is even a Wikipedia article on Free word building in Interlingua stating that it is feasible to apply derivational affixes in Interlingua productively even when none of the so-called control ...
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22 votes
9 answers
3k views

What's a good starting place to work on vocab?

Obviously, generating a lexicon is very time-consuming, and there's so much that needs to be done, I often find myself suffering with analysis paralysis, because I just can't decide where to begin. ...
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18 votes
6 answers
2k views

How to keep track of a language?

At the moment I have my fictional language written down in a notebook, but as the vocabulary increases its becoming harder and harder to find words. I am adding new words all the time, so writing ...
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7 votes
1 answer
102 views

Methods to avoid similarity in lexicons [closed]

When creating words I have often run into the problem that too many words sound similar even when I have allowed many different phonemes. Are there methods to avoid too much similarity between words, ...
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7 votes
0 answers
176 views

What types of words should one start with when creating a language from scratch? [closed]

Is it more appropriate to start by creating nouns, verbs, general sentence structure words ie "the, a, or", or from somewhere else, when creating a language from scratch? Would it be more proper to ...
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49 votes
5 answers
1k views

"Turing-completeness" in conlangs

Programming languages & programs are often said to be Turing complete when it's possible to simulate any Turing machine with it. I'm now designing a constructed language for my game and I want ...
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