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4
votes
1answer
159 views

Are words for "machine" and the like in Tolkien present in Elvish/Westron?

Tolkien was very much known to be a bit of a Luddite - no fan of technology; Treebeard says in reference to Saruman He is plotting to become a Power. He has a mind of metal and wheels; and he does ...
11
votes
1answer
181 views

What does xorlo do, and is it an official part of the Lojban language?

I've noticed that many speakers of Lojban use xorlo, which is a modification branching off the base language, but finding explicit information about it is difficult. What does it do? I also know ...
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
106 views

How much Dwarvish did Tolkien actually devise?

The Dwarvish language in Tolkien's legendarium is famous for being virtually unknown to non-Dwarves. Apart from a few phrases, like Gimli's battle-cry "Baruk Khazad! Khazad ai-menu!" (from memory; ...
11
votes
1answer
265 views

How much of Tolkien's "black language" exists?

What samples or knowledge do we have of the black speech created by Tolkien? Having read a decent amount of the legendarium (Silmarillion, LotR, Hobbit, Children of Hurin, and some of the Lost Tales) ...
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 ...
9
votes
2answers
263 views

Languages where the part of speech of a root is "fixed"?

By way of introduction, this question is about a quirk of Esperanto, but there is a general conlang question at the end, I promise. In Esperanto, every root has a natural grammatical part of speech, ...
2
votes
0answers
148 views

Should adjectives agree with the noun in all aspects? [closed]

I am making a conlang in which the writing system is based off of Arabic but the grammar is not all that similar to Arabic or English(more justification for calling it a conlang if grammar has little ...
10
votes
0answers
102 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. ...
10
votes
1answer
211 views

Is there a practical lower limit to the number of morphemes required in a language?

Many conlangers have tried (and occasionally succeeded in) creating oligomorphemic¹ languages. What are the most minimalistic successful attempts? From this, can we extrapolate a lower bound? ¹also ...
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: ...
8
votes
2answers
350 views

Has any conlang ever replaced the use of a pidgin?

I've read that being a simple, yet more expressive, substitute for a pidgin language is one of the possible applications of Toki Pona. In situations where people from multiple languages come together ...
11
votes
2answers
349 views

Can Kēlen truly be considered verb-free?

It has been claimed that the conlang Kēlen, winner of the 2009 Smiley award, is supposed to challenge Greenberg's universal of always having a noun-verb distinction by eliminating verbs. In light of ...
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 ...
11
votes
4answers
654 views

How to say right and left in Toki Pona?

As we know, Toki Pona is a quite minimal language and it sometimes not easy to come up with a word we use everyday in English. The problem is that I cannot think of a non-culture-specific and easily ...
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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
232 views

Is the Voynich manuscript written in a natural or constructed language?

The Voynich manuscript is dated to the early 15th century. It is a medieval handwritten book of almost 250 pages, and even today the text cannot be understood. It has become quite famous, and it is ...
4
votes
1answer
111 views

Does Dovahzul have the same grammar rules as English, or are they different?

I have recently been reading this page about the Dragon Language, and I was curious about whether if it and the English language share grammer rules. They seem to have similar bases (organized ...
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
8k views

How would you say "good morning" or "hello" politely in Klingon?

Klingons from Star Trek aren't very polite, and the language developed for them reflects that - they don't exactly have many polite ways to say things. The closest think I've found to a polite ...
7
votes
1answer
573 views

How to read One Ring inscription?

The following inscription appears on the One Ring in The Fellowship of the Ring book: Which in Black Speech can be written down as: Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul, Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh ...
9
votes
2answers
445 views

Is the Klingon alphabet inspired by Tibetan alphabet?

Is the Klingon alphabet inspired by Tibetan alphabet? Because they look similar..
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, ...
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 ...
10
votes
1answer
150 views

What legal aspects should one consider when creating a constructed language?

Constructed languages, like everything, is an intellectual property, and most countries worldwide do care about protecting the rights of the owners. If I'm about to create a new conlang, should I ...
5
votes
2answers
269 views

What is opposite of "burzum", "darkness", in Tolkien's Black Speech?

I'm aware that burzum means darkness in The Black Speech. Do we know what the opposite is? How is lightness written?
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: ...
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
173 views

unique agglutinative root system? [closed]

The language of The Old Ones is described as "an agglutinative speech with root systems utterly unlike any found in human languages" (H.P. Lovecraft, "The Shadow Out of Time", Chapter 4). What ...
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?
11
votes
1answer
510 views

How developed is the Old Tongue in the Wheel of Time series?

Robert Jordan's fantasy novel series The Wheel of Time includes a lot of short quotes in the Old Tongue, a fictional ancient language from a previous Age. Translations are provided for these, either ...
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 ...

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