38

The best parallel for Turing completeness in human languages is the Natural Semantic Metalanguage. The NSM proposes that there is a limited set of basic semantic concepts which all human languages have, and which are not reducible to other concepts. They call these "semantic primes", because you combine them to get all other meanings, and because they can't ...


17

A language doesn't require grammatical structures specifically for expressing something to express it. In Chinese, there aren't separate future and past tenses. At the same time, it's possible to describe the past, the present and the future. Auxiliary verbs like 要 yào "to want, to be going to" and many others can be used to describe what one would use ...


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 ...


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 ...


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

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 ...


7

To add to Gufferdk's answer, Mark Rosenfelder in The Language Construction Kit (online version) mentions the use of index cards (as professional dictionary makers used to do in the past) as well as a technique with two-columned pages: You can keep a dictionary in alphabetical order by maintaining two columns and just writing in one. New words get placed ...


7

It depends very much on the purpose of your language. The generic advice is: Create the words and sentences you need for your purpose. When you want to draw a map of a fictional world, create a system for naming geographical features. When you want to name fictional people, create a system of given names. When you want to have some dialogues, mottoes, or ...


7

While in English (and German) the days are named after (North-)Germanic gods or the sun and the moon, the months are also name after gods (and emperors), albeit from a different set (Roman), with some numerical ones thrown in (September/October/November/December); so there is no need to be consistent. In Irish it's similar: some names have been taken from ...


7

The phonotactics of a language, what you have described, is the silent partner of phonology. The analogy I like to use is that a language's phonology is its periodic table (with individual phonemes as individual elements), while its phonotactics are the entire rest of its chemistry. Higher level stuff, like morphology, semantics, pragmatics, are things like ...


6

It's worth noting that there are PLENTY of word frequency lists around, but almost no one ever bothers to even try compiling cross-linguistic ones (for reasons that should be pretty obvious). Lists for English, furthermore, hardly ever even attempt to separate different word categories (again for reasons that ought to be obvious). The Conlanger Lexipedia is ...


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

A modern approach to this problem is to generate the words automatically according to some formula describing allowed words. You can filter out words that are too close to already generated ones, but usually the randomness used by a computer program will be sufficient. There are well-known examples of Conlangs with computer generated vocabulary. Loglan and ...


6

In the language learning area there's a list of the essential 625 words that are required to speak a language reasonably fluent; those might be a good starting point. You will probably want to look at the list and decide which words should have a similar form (eg the colours), but if the main issue is what lexical items to cover, then that should get you ...


6

When I started creating my language I started with whatever words I thought would come up regularly (a, the, as...etc) then I would take a book, flick to a random page and translate what was there, creating the words as I went. The advantage of this method is that if you are creating a language for a specific genre then you can use books from that genre to ...


6

Honestly, what order you build your vocabulary in doesn't much matter, as long as it remains internally consistent when it comes to your conlang's semantic and morphosyntactic rules (and frankly, even those can be retconned). Thus, different conlangers will build their vocabulary in different orders, and it really doesn't much matter which words you choose ...


6

Having a dictionary ordered by theme or idea is a good thing and it can carry you a long way in the design of your writing system. For a more systematic approach, you need a way to order your logograms. Chinese sorting may be an inspiration for you. They identify a "radical" in each character, and than order by radical + number and order of additional ...


5

As mentioned by @Sparksbet the Leipzig-Jakarta list comes in very useful (especially if you use conworkshop as there's a lexibuild list for it). If you want something more comprehensive that has the basics that is actually useful I would try using this google sheet for the universal language dictionary. It already has words listed in categories to make ...


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

There is some information on one of them, Hardic, and a fragmentary word list.


5

The answer to both of these questions lies somewhere between "it depends" and "let's speculate a little". The act of inventing a naturalistic language does not necessarily mean that you must also create a naturalistically large lexicon. After all, it's the grammar, the syntax, the usability in a wide variety of normal contexts that ...


5

The modern weekdays are actually not named directly after gods, but after planets. This system started with the Babylonians, who named each day (*) after one of the seven classical planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Moon, and the Sun. This system was borrowed by the Egyptians, then the Greeks, then the Romans, then various Germanic peoples, ...


5

These sorts of coincidences are somewhat inevitable. Just try to accept that there's a limited number of ways to arrange sounds in your language, and some will sound similar to words in other languages. When I was trying to learn Hungarian, I came across a number of words that reminded me of words I knew in English and other languages. Some examples: 🇭🇺 ...


5

toki! Toki Pona has a word for mercy, and it is simply olin, just like love, tenderness, warmth, etc. For instance: mi jo e olin tan sina (I have mercy because of you), or mi jo e olin tawa sina (I have mercy for you).


5

Okay. How about instead of an egocentric direction system, employing a listener-centric or "you"-centric system? We do this in natural language when we say "On your left" or "At your 3:00". Probably such a system would be developed among speakers from a highly empathetic and listener-oriented culture, where the individual's ...


5

It's really impossible to pick a specific number, like "you need at least 3,427 words to make yourself understandable", without making such claim look ridiculous. The easy rejoinder --- "well, my invented language can make itself perfectly understandable using only 3,426 words: so there!" --- only serves to demonstrate the somewhat absurd ...


5

There are several possible approaches here, and which you choose will depend somewhat on what your goals are for this project. The simplest option would be to borrow the term as a loanword from a globally hegemonic language of today (likely English), making only the phonetic adaptations necessary to fit Akkadian phonology (e.g. you don't have any dental ...


4

The Yllurian Spell Singing Language incorporates as part of its magical effect the use of ordinary lexicon & grammar with musical pitch & rhythm. As a ritual language, for any given spell to be effective, not only must the text be written and sung, but the tones & rhythms must be notated as well. The text may be sung or the notes may be played ...


4

There is a precedent for the use of a musical tone scale in constructed languages: Solresol, a philosophical language constructed in the 19th century. Some natural languages also have a whistled mode, most notably El Silbo and Pirahã. I am not aware of a language—neither natural nor constructed—that incorporates the concept of rhythm or other musical ...


4

Write a text/narrative, small or big, in your starting language. Then as you go through it create each element that may arise which does not exist in your language. In the beginning it will be a painstaking process, but as you continue it will provide useful insight on exactly which words you need to add. a general rule to remember — Anything you create ...


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