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42
votes
5answers
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 ...
36
votes
14answers
4k views

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 ...
31
votes
3answers
1k views

How common is it for the creator of a conlang to be fluent in that conlang?

This was one of my example questions but I now am actually interested in the answer. I am an amateur conlanger; I have one pretty complete language and a couple in the process. But I can't construct ...
30
votes
6answers
765 views

How can syntactic ambiguity with pronouns be avoided?

Due to the way pronouns work in place of any particular noun (subject or object) in the sentence, this often leads to ambiguous grammatical constructions. Take this phrase in English for example: ...
28
votes
2answers
687 views

Are there any grammatical aspects which do not have parallels in natural languages?

In Describing Morphosyntax, Payne uses a number of diagrams for visually explaining aspects and what they say about actions relative to time. Payne outlines the following, all of which occur in ...
26
votes
1answer
5k views

Is the alien writing in "Arrival" really a language? Can we form custom sentences?

Here are few examples of words written in the alien language from "Arrival" (film): Image source: Pinterest. Does this alien writing have some logic in order to construct some custom meaningful ...
25
votes
6answers
1k views

Are there conlangs using constructed sounds?

Usually, constructed languages of all kind (naturalistic or not) draw their sounds from existing natural languages. Are there conlangs with constructed sounds, i.e., sounds that do not occur in ...
24
votes
3answers
499 views

Are constructed languages intellectual property? Do they ever stop being IP, once people use them?

Are conlangs intellectual property? Can they be copyrighted? The second question is a little more complicated. Does a certain level of public, common usage cause a conlang to become public domain, ...
23
votes
3answers
2k views

Are there any good programs out there to help when constructing languages?

Are there any tools out there to keep track of which works you have already defined, managing your lexicon easily, and storing conjugations and the like? Barring that, what are some good strategies ...
20
votes
2answers
634 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 ...
19
votes
9answers
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. ...
19
votes
5answers
618 views

Do toki pona speakers, in practice, permit compounding more than three words?

In toki pona, compounding multiple words together is possible. For example: tomo: room/box/structure/home telo: water/fluid tomo telo: bathroom It also allows compounding three words together: ...
19
votes
3answers
495 views

Were Tolkien's Elvish languages based on known natural languages?

I'm a great fan of Tolkien's books, especially The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. One thing I have always wondered about in his books though, is whether the Elvish tongues were actually fully new ...
19
votes
1answer
338 views

How does Láadan aim to express the views of women more than natural Western languages?

Láadan was created, according to Wikipedia, to try an experiment in seeing if a constructed language designed specifically for women could better express the views of women better than natural Western ...
18
votes
7answers
718 views

How do languages manage to make sense with a free word order?

Many of the world's natural languages, and some conlangs, have a free word order, so that the words can be put in any order with it still making sense. If they can't use word order to indicate the ...
18
votes
3answers
510 views

In what ways are well-known a priori conlangs inadvertently eurocentric?

It’s well-known that among inexperienced conlangers¹, many times their conlangs turn out to be way more European than intended, often showing features found only rarely outside of European languages, ...
18
votes
2answers
281 views

Are there concrete examples of slang developing within a conlang?

One of the unique challenges of a constructed language, in my mind, is how they handle the way in which language longs to break rules. In other words, how does constructed language handle slang? For ...
18
votes
3answers
438 views

Why is the Lord's Prayer so common as a translation?

I'm an amateur conlanger, but I've seen multiple instances of people using the Lord's Prayer as a test or a way of showing off a translation of their conlang. I've even done it a couple times myself. ...
18
votes
6answers
353 views

How could my to be constructed language reflect a culture of carefulness?

For a role-playing setting, I want to construct an elven language. The society of these elves strongly values being careful, thinking things through, taking one’s time and preventing mistakes. This is ...
18
votes
2answers
565 views

Is there a constructed language in existence that has graduated to "natural" status?

That is, are there any such languages in use today that are in use for day to day activities, or are formally recognized, etc?
16
votes
6answers
488 views

Does Esperanto have any words that mean more than one thing?

Looking at the "about Esperanto" page, I see this line: While he realized that a common language would not end the cultural barrier, it would enable ordinary people, not politicians, to have cross ...
16
votes
8answers
720 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

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, ...
16
votes
6answers
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 ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

Klingon: does anyone actually use pIqaD, or is the Latin transliteration sufficient?

Having just started the Duolingo Klingon course, I'm wondering if anybody is using the Klingon writing system (pIqaD) at all, or whether the Latin transliteration is always used? As the characters ...
16
votes
2answers
259 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
266 views

How many dialects of Tolkien's Elvish are there?

I've seen several variations of Tolkien's Elvish around, with different names, such as Sindarin and Q(u)enya. How many dialects of Tolkien's Elvish are there, and how do they differ from one another?
16
votes
1answer
588 views

Is Tolkien's Dwarvish really based on Hebrew?

Many sources say that Tolkien's Dwarvish resembles the Hebrew language. The Lord of the Rings Wikia states that: It appears to be structured, like real-world Semitic languages, around the ...
15
votes
4answers
423 views

What are the benefits of inventing irregular verbs in one’s conlang?

Many natlangs have irregular verbs that do not follow the same patterns as the majority of verbs, often as a product of old verb patterns that are no longer used. Some of the benefits of not having ...
15
votes
1answer
300 views

Can you construct garden path sentences in Lojban?

A garden path sentence is a sentence whose beginning suggests one parsing which is invalidated as the whole sentence is read and then re-parsed. Some examples in English (from fun-with-words.com): ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

What is R'lyehian based on?

In his Cthulhu Mythos, H. P. Lovecraft includes several snippets of the R'lyehian language, including the "Cthulhu chant": Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn! We have a vocabulary ...
15
votes
2answers
312 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
5k views

Is there evidence that any natural languages were actually constructed?

Is there any evidence that a ‘natural’ language that exists today was created by somebody a thousand (or two) years ago. And that it evolved till today?
14
votes
4answers
141 views

Can features in the physical environment meaningfully affect the development of a local language's phonology?

Imagine that I'm creating phonemic inventories for multiple conlangs, each of which is spoken by a people settled within (or roaming about) a very different physical environment from the others. ...
14
votes
3answers
316 views

How could a syllabary be adapted for a language with a complex syllable structure?

By definition, a syllabary has separate glyphs for each possible syllable (and usually unrelated or at least not systematically related ones for similar syllables, unlike alphasyllabaries). This ...
14
votes
1answer
772 views

What has the impact of Star Trek: Discovery been on the development of Klingon?

Has Klingon changed significantly since it has started being used for Star Trek: Discovery? Has the vocabulary grown significantly? Has there been novel grammar revealed? To what extent is the ...
14
votes
2answers
407 views

Which IPA phones can be made and understood underwater?

I have a human culture that gradually develops an underwater civilisation. They still require mouth and nose breathing and will be living in air bubbles, retaining traditional phones. They do spend a ...
14
votes
1answer
383 views

How can boustrophedon writing systems be published?

Boustrophedon writing systems are ones in which the direction of writing swaps after each line. At least one conlang is intended to be written as a boustrophedon (in that case vertically.) Now if ...
14
votes
2answers
145 views

By what criteria can we say that a conlang has a functional speech community?

On another question I commented that I doubted that if Lojban had a functional speech community that its purity would last very long. By what criteria can we say that a conlang has a functional ...
14
votes
1answer
422 views

Was Tolkien aware of the Voynich manuscript?

Looking at the Tengwar script designed by Tolkien I feel a certain similarity to the unknown script of the Voynich manuscript: Many characters look very similar to others of the same script, and there ...
13
votes
4answers
483 views

What are language concepts that could be considered to be based on human anatomy?

I'm in the early stages of creating an alien language for a personal writing project. I'm trying to avoid the aliens' language having properties that human languages do that are somehow linked to our ...
13
votes
2answers
556 views

What makes lojban such a "logical" language?

The title says it all. While I have not studied it, I have repeatedly heard that lojban is an especially "logical" language, one that could even be a way to speak a "natural" language to the computer ...
13
votes
2answers
991 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
287 views

Which constructed language has the largest body of literature?

Which is the constructed language which has the largest body of literature, including both works that have been originally created in that language as well as works written in natural languages which ...
13
votes
1answer
157 views

What are some reasons that constructed languages would want to have ambiguity?

As far as I know, most constructed languages have no syntactically or semantically ambiguous grammatical constructions. However, would there be any reasons that a constructed language might include ...
13
votes
1answer
152 views

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 ...
12
votes
5answers
398 views

Borrowing from conlangs into natural languages

Are there known cases of borrowing of words from a constructed language into a natural language? Words constructed arbitrarily in a natural language don't count here. For example, the Estonian word ...
12
votes
3answers
544 views

What are the defining traits of a Euro-centric conlang?

I know that a Euro-centric conlang is a conlang based mostly on Indo-European grammar, or more generally a conlang that is written from a worldview (conscious or not) that the "normal" language is ...
12
votes
3answers
648 views

Grammar concepts required for every conlang

Is there a method to make sure that a constructed language contains all the necessary grammar concepts, e.g. to make sure that a concept like genitive case or a construct state is present? For ...
12
votes
4answers
517 views

Features of unlearnable languages

In this article about miniature artificial languages on motherboard.com experiments are described where children learn carafully designed miniature artificial languages. It is also said that children ...

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