24 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 ...
Sparksbet's user avatar
  • 3,401
23 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 ...
Sascha Baer's user avatar
  • 3,482
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 ...
Circeus's user avatar
  • 1,572
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,...
hyper-neutrino's 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 ...
Oliver Mason's user avatar
  • 4,133
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 ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
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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 ...
elemtilas's user avatar
  • 3,245
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 ...
Sparksbet's user avatar
  • 3,401
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). ...
USERNAME GOES HERE's user avatar
9 votes

Should I include morphology in my proto language?

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 ...
Lukas G's user avatar
  • 321
9 votes

Can entire words be silent?

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 ...
Circeus's user avatar
  • 1,572
8 votes
Accepted

Is a naturalistic language without countable nouns possible?

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 ...
Reese Johnston's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

How do Romance-based naturalistic conlangs deal with the different principal parts of a verb?

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, ...
elemtilas's user avatar
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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 ...
b a's user avatar
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8 votes

What verbs should be irregular in a naturalistic conlang?

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 ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
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8 votes
Accepted

How do I naturalistically merge two languages without a clear Substrate and Superstrate?

In fact, there are a lot of possibilities, and many of them are attested in the history of natural languages. Majority language wins. This happened in China at least twice, it was conquered and ruled ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
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8 votes
Accepted

How can I avoid "relexing" punctuation?

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 ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
  • 11.3k
8 votes

A biphonic language

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 ...
bradrn's user avatar
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8 votes

good naturalistic system for Germanic language?

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 ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
  • 11.3k
7 votes

How to "Naturalize" a Conlang?

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 ...
Duncan's user avatar
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7 votes
Accepted

How to develop a detailed, realistic a posteriori conlang?

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-...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
  • 11.3k
7 votes
Accepted

Can a language exist without transitive verbs?

I'm reminded of how every so often a conlanger will have the bright idea that "hey, what if there was a language with no verbs?" And yet, the grammatical relationships that are mediated by ...
Arcaeca's user avatar
  • 624
6 votes

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

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 ...
elemtilas's user avatar
  • 3,245
6 votes

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

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 ...
Jouni Sirén's user avatar
6 votes

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

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 ...
Robert Columbia's user avatar
6 votes

Could a language with no voiced fricatives exist?

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 ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
  • 11.3k
6 votes
Accepted

Could a language with no voiced fricatives exist?

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 ...
Sparksbet's user avatar
  • 3,401
6 votes

Designing a vocabulary for geographical features

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 -...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
  • 11.3k
6 votes
Accepted

How common are reflexive pronouns in natlangs?

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 "...
Keith Morrison's user avatar

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