35 votes
Accepted

How can syntactic ambiguity with pronouns be avoided?

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 ...
user avatar
  • 3,252
29 votes

How can syntactic ambiguity with pronouns be avoided?

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, ...
user avatar
  • 2,247
25 votes
Accepted

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

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 ...
user avatar
  • 2,247
23 votes
Accepted

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

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 ...
user avatar
  • 3,252
23 votes

From known languages, what are the expected features of a Generation Ship Language?

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 ...
user avatar
  • 3,241
20 votes

How to "Naturalize" a Conlang?

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 ...
user avatar
  • 3,252
16 votes

Is there a middle-written language?

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 ...
user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

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

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. ...
user avatar
  • 3,252
15 votes

From known languages, what are the expected features of a Generation Ship Language?

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 ...
user avatar
  • 1,512
14 votes

From known languages, what are the expected features of a Generation Ship Language?

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,...
user avatar
14 votes

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

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 ...
user avatar
  • 1,255
14 votes
Accepted

Are there any "unspeakable" languages?

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 ...
user avatar
12 votes

Is there any importance of "dots" while constructing alphabets for a language?

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 ...
user avatar
  • 301
11 votes
Accepted

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

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 ...
user avatar
11 votes

How can syntactic ambiguity with pronouns be avoided?

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 ...
user avatar
  • 834
11 votes

From known languages, what are the expected features of a Generation Ship Language?

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 ...
user avatar
11 votes

From known languages, what are the expected features of a Generation Ship Language?

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 ...
user avatar
  • 3,331
11 votes
Accepted

Should I include morphology in my proto language?

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 ...
user avatar
  • 2,910
10 votes

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

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 ...
user avatar
  • 1,384
10 votes

How can I make my conlang's borrowings naturalistic?

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 ...
user avatar
  • 3,241
10 votes

Do constructed languages need to have their own letters, words, & sounds?

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....
user avatar
10 votes

Is there any general rule for constructing a word? Example: "q" or "w" should not end a word, something like this

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). ...
user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

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

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 "...
user avatar
  • 1,187
9 votes

How can I become a professional conlang designer?

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 ...
user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

How does one determine the date a constructed language was invented?

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 ...
user avatar
9 votes

Are there any "unspeakable" languages?

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 ...
user avatar
9 votes

How does one write an easily decipherable language?

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 ...
user avatar
  • 531
8 votes
Accepted

What is the key to realistic inventories

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 ...
user avatar
  • 1,384
8 votes

How to keep track of a language?

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. ...
user avatar
  • 2,247
8 votes
Accepted

How would the grammar of a conlang develop as a creole from other languages?

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 ...
user avatar
  • 3,331

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible