35

Here are three options you might want to consider: Noun classes assign each noun a class (well known examples include the gender systems of Indo-European languages, and also the more elaborate systems of Bantu languages). Having pronouns agree with the noun class of the nouns talked about greatly helps reduce ambiguity, though it would likely not help in ...


28

In addition to the options mentioned by Adarain and Jan, various reflexives and reflexive-like operations can often be of use in dealing with such situations. English already has some reflexives, providing some amount of disambiguation, Danish goes a little further has a compulsory reflexive/non-reflexive distinction in 3rd person possessives, and while the ...


25

Polyglot is a piece of software made specifically for the organisation, and management of conlangs as a whole. I haven't used it personally (preferring pen and paper to a large extent), but I've heard a fair few positive things about it. Conworkshop includes a bunch of different tools for storing and organising things, but I've personally not found it ...


23

From personal experience (active member in a large server of avid conlangers) very few people ever learn to speak their own conlangs. Language learning is a very time-intensive progress and there is not much gained from learning a language no one else speaks. The occasional exception tends to be found in group projects, in which sometimes at least to a part “...


23

The idea that language would not change over 1000 years of travel in space is absolutely ludicrous. 1000 years ago was before Middle English existed. Massive amounts of language change can occur over such a long period of time. Even very conservative languages change significantly over such a long period of time. No language will remain unchanged after 1000 ...


20

There is one big point here that really ties it all together: Languages have history Any conlang that wishes to look naturalistic therefore needs to emulate history as well. I’ll show in what ways history can manifest with a bunch of examples from different areas. Orthography Almost no language with a history of writing has a fully regular orthography. ...


16

The best possible approach to a writing system "from the middle" is probably a text spiralling outwards. One famous artefact, the Phaistos Disk, shows a spiral layout of the text, but is is unknown whether it should be read inwards (most scholars prefer this) or outwards and the writing system is still undeciphered. Your graphical samples suggest a ...


14

Some obvious ones: Phonetics, be it of spoken or signed language, is obviously constrained by the body of humans - both in the channels (aural, visual) employed and also in how they are employed. Metaphors often make use of body parts. Spatial prepositions and adverbs are often derived from relevant body parts: front from face, forehead, nose, chest; back ...


14

It's worth noting that widespread literacy, availability of written materials and public education are capable of greatly slowing down rates of change in the standard language. Additionally, if the generation ship's inside are designed with an ecology (as some SF ships are, like Bernard Werber's Le Papillon des étoiles or Léo's Centaurus), you can't ...


14

If you're new to conlanging and want to start an entire language from scratch: I would recommend reading The Language Construction Kit by Mark Rosenfelder. It's a fun read and is very helpful to a new conlanger, and helps you know what to create for your purposes, how to do this, and gives you a good understanding of basic linguistics. For creating ...


14

The answer is a definite Yes, there are. The example that comes immediately to my mind is Bliss symbolics (also known as Semantography) by Charles Bliss from 1942–1949. As an additional bonus, it is still used and developped further, and may even be included into Unicode at some date. EDIT: The term to look for is pasigraphy. There were lots of ...


13

Vocabulary Changes New words The vocabulary can be expected to contain a few new terms or simpler ways of describing certain things that might be seen a lot or might be new, such as new star systems, stellar formations, etc. The words for some of these terms might already exist but shorter terms and compound nouns might come into play to make everyday ...


12

In English, the dot does not carry meaning. It's just part of the lower case letters i and j. There is no dotless base form. Note that the letters i and j aren't dotted in every font or variant of the Latin alphabet. Notably, there is no dot in Gaelic type. Turkish, on the other hand, does distinguish between dotless I/ı (representing the phoneme /ɯ/) and ...


11

Irregular verbs are naturalistic. For this reason, even an international auxiliary language, namely IALA Interlingua, has irregular verbs to match its Romance source languages (that are famous for their wealth of irregular verbs mostly directly inherited from Latin) Irregularities add flavour to your conlang. They make the conlang as a whole more ...


11

In addition to Adarain’s answer, the ambiguity can also be resolved in an out-of-the-box way. For example, English can use the former or the latter in place of an inflected form of he to distinguish between the two cases. Languages like German go a step further and would just use this instead of the latter in most cases. These words do not replace pronouns, ...


11

I am not at all certain why you would assume that protolanguages must have no morphology. PIE is just a language like any other before or since. If we review the relevant article, the Font of All Knowledge explains that morphology is the study of words, how they are formed, and their relationship to other words in the same language. Whether your language ...


10

My idea on that would be very close to what you suggested yourself: introducing suffixes / prefixes which would indicate the uncertainty of the word. For instance, let's suppose that your word for "strong" is hariq, your word for "I sit down" is brumo and your word for "house" is niptug, and the word for "in" or "inside" would be bomp.* Now I would invent ...


10

It's probably a lot more common for a person to be fluent in his own conlang when dealing with auxiliary languages. Esperanto, Ido, Interlingua, etc. all have large communities of speakers (relative to most conlangs), and I assume their creators also spoke them. This is likely because the languages were designed for communication, and because the vocabulary ...


10

More or less, the generation ship language will be a natural evolution of the languages brought in by the first generation (their common language probably being something similar to L2 English). Some things will be spacy: They need a new system of orientation in 3D space with lack of gravity or artificial gravity at work, directions like up, down, east, ...


10

My guesses would be that it evolves towards one of two extremes: less morphology, fixed word order - this is what happened to English. Dropping cases and most inflections, but having a stricter word order to compensate for the loss of morphological markers. more morphology, freer word order - not sure if that actually is realistic. It's harder to invent new ...


10

Should I destlangize the word, or leave it in its “native” form? In natural languages, borrowed words are almost always "destlang-ized" to some degree, but it won't necessarily always to the same degree. Even within the same language, often some borrowed words will be more integrated into the language than others. The more recently a word was borrowed, the ...


10

No, a conlang does not need any of it. You can construct a language based on gestures (a sign language) or on whistles, or on other signals transporting information. You can construct a Pasigraphy, i.e., a written-only language. But for a more conventional design that meets our intuition of language, you will probably use sounds and words, and letters to ...


9

The list of ways to make money with a conlang is short, so step one is to be creative. Write Genre Fiction Books. Authors do make a living writing and selling books, sometimes with an artificial language bundled with it. Wardesan, Láadan, Tolkien's books are good examples. I'm guessing the conlang part though is reducing their income, they could write more ...


9

For auxiliary languages it's usually publication date of the first grammar/dictionary released to the public or the first work dedicated to the language, whichever comes first. For Esperanto this was Unua Libro, which was published in 1887 - more than a year after Zamenhof began working on the language. Wikipedia also lists the year of creation of ...


9

Most of what are generally considered languages, whether natural or constructed, are in fact two languages, one written and one spoken. We usually learn the two together, and thus learn the mapping between them. These can vary in how obvious they are. At one extreme are languages that use a very standard mapping. It is virtually impossible to be able to read ...


9

It may be impossible. All successful real-world language decipherments—Linear B, Egyptian, Hittite—have involved connections with other known languages. Linear B (Mycenaean) is closely related to Classical Greek, for example; Egyptian is related to Coptic and a bit more distantly to Hebrew and Arabic; Hittite is a distant relative to the whole Indo-European ...


9

Yes, there are but they are language-specific. These are called phonotactics. They are well explained in the book of David Peterson "The Art of Language Invention"(E-book download link). Actually, these rules include: structure of a syllable. E.g. in Hawaiian language closed syllables are impossible. So words like "heck" are not allowed. ...


8

You should think of phonology in terms of distinction. You have to distinguish certain consonants and vowels from others, and you have to figure out the best way to do that. A realistic inventory has spread out places of articulation, often symmetrical. It's much easier to make a distinction between spread-out consonants that between consonants that are ...


8

One way, while working on paper is to divide things into multiple sheets, making sure to have plenty of extra space at the bottom of dictionary sheets, or alternatively grouping things via e.g. semantic field to not run into the alphabetisation issue to quite the same extent (though this can have the issue that the semantic field of some items might not be ...


8

I would think that it relates to the power structures behind the language communities, and to their relative size. This can be kind of observed with English after the Norman invasion. The basic English grammar still remained Anglo-Saxon (as the majority of the population spoke it), and the main influence of Norman French (the powerful but small elite) was ...


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