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. ...


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 ...


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 ...


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

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

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

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, ...


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

I answer first for two of my own invented languages, Kerno and Loucarian. Since the question is now broadened to invented IALs, I choose to add several additional sections: Interlingua, Sabir, Occidental, Romanal, Medial Europan and Lingua Franca Nova. Also, just so one can get a flavour of these languages, I append the Pater Noster in each. Looking back at ...


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

The first class of verbs that is often highly irregular are the auxiliary verbs. This does not only comprise to be and to have but also the modal auxiliaries (like must, can, shall, and will). They are used very frequently and tend to erode phonetically, and they are also prone to suppletion (showing a mixture of different stems from originally different ...


8

Proto-Indo-European (PIE) and Proto-Afroasiatic (PAA) are just the earliest ancestors we can reconstruct with reasonable certainty for their respective language families. That does not at all mean that they were the first languages of their regions or the earliest languages that existed. They didn’t materialize out of thin air. They, too, had ancestors and ...


8

In fact, each language has its own punctuation rules that have to be learned. German is very different in its punctuation rules from English (relative sentences always require a comma, dependent clauses are separated from the main clause by a comma, but no "Oxford comma" and no comma after sentence-initial adverbials. Studying the rules of ...


8

Dropping words happen (the ne of negation notoriously drops pretty systematically in spoken French) and commonly a that, as Gregory points out. However, I believer a true "silent word" is a nonsensical concept. For starters, Silent letters are historical artifacts of a writing system. They are not a feature of the spoken language, so right there, ...


7

As a matter of fact, Mandarin Chinese can be considered to be such a language - it treats every noun as a mass noun. Every noun requires a "measure word" for counting, like "bottle" in "four bottles of water" or "sheet" in "ten sheets of paper". Chinese has a considerable list of these (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chinese_classifiers) but there's ...


7

Easy. Apply analogy and sound changes—see a few natural examples at Index Diachronica, a list of sound change types at Wikipedia Sound Change, and also David Peterson (maker of Game Of Thrones's Dothraki) on youtube— to your conlang, and make it replace (not evolve from) the unnatural language. These two elements automatically create irregular ...


7

In a way, vowels are already biphonic! Acoustically, vowels (and most sounds, actually) are simply combinations of formants: specific frequencies at which the vocal tract resonates. The differences between vowels are then caused by differences in the frequencies of the formants. This can be easily seen on a spectrogram, like this one from Wikipedia: In this ...


7

A long time ago, I was involved in a project named Folkspraak to create a Germanic conlang. It was entertaining, but it did not went very far at that attempt. Some grammatical hallmarks of Germanic languages are: A very simple tense system, present and past only, all other tenses are periphrastic and later acquisitions A past participle as third principal ...


6

I'll assume here that the generation ship in question's mission is a resounding success: the inhabitants were not attacked by huge insectile aliens that enslaved them all; the Computer did not rise up and shut out its erstwhile masters, leaving them to fend as best they could in a decaying piece of technology. No, society not only survived but thrived and ...


6

A generation ship is a small society that is technologically advanced but stagnant. It's a society that depends on ancient wisdom to survive. Their material and intellectual resources are very limited compared to the civilization they came from, so the rate of scientific and technological advancement will be slow. Most of their efforts in those fields must ...


6

Others have mentioned that vocabulary for things not seen in space might vanish, and @HyperNeutrino mentioned that new terms might arise if the ship reaches a planet. New terms might come into existence as metaphorical references to things that the colonists were familiar with on the ship. Just like we refer to "folders" and "files" on a computer or speak ...


6

The first thing is: Design not only one word for each geographical feature, use several of them. To give some examples from a natural language (German in this case): A mountain may have a name in -berg (which is frequent in the mittelgebirge) but also -spitze, -horn, -kopf, or -kuppe. Some beacon mountains have names of their own without an element meaning "...


6

So, you are going to create an altlang (a naturalistic language living in an alternate history of the the world). First, define your starting point (easiest for the first scenario: Old Irish or proto-Goidelic is a suitable starting point for this one). Look at the real world descendants from that starting points (Middle Irish and Modern Irish, Manx, Scottish ...


6

Generally speaking, you need a reflexive pronoun of some type if not having one causes ambiguity in who did what to whom. Assume English had no reflexives. "I tossed the ball to I" and "You tossed the ball to you" (assuming singular "you") are quite understandable as one person tossing the ball to themselves, thus no reflexive ...


5

There are even languages with no fricatives at all. The UPSID sample contains 31 of them, making 6.8% of the sample. FUll output of my UPSID query: The 'fricative' sounds do not occur in these languages: Language (sounds) ALAWA (26) ANDAMANESE (24) ANGAATIHA (21) ARRERNTE (30) AUCA (21) BANDJALANG (16) BARDI (24) BORORO (20) BURARRA (21) DERA (17) DINKA (...


5

According to the World Atlas of Language Structures (WALS), a large database of various world languages' structural properties gathered from descriptive materials like grammars, around a third of the surveyed languages have a voicing contrast in plosives but not fricatives, and another third have no voicing contrast in either plosives or fricatives. Based on ...


5

There are many factors that make actual real-world placename not look schematic (unless, maybe, you're looking at Japanese placenames...) Have many different etymological sources from names In practice, names have a lot of forms, and the younger the names, the more varied the forms: religious names (i.e. saints) and feasts, people names ("X's place", "X's ...


5

Yes, they show. Slovio is not a zonal conlang, it is supposed to be a kind of Slavic Esperanto. It took place 20 years ago, but nowadays noone wants to use it. Nevertheless, Interslavic is comprehensible for all Slavic people. Speaker of Interslavic went abroad to different Slavic countries and expressed their idea using Interslavic instead of native ...


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