39 votes
Accepted

"Turing-completeness" in conlangs

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 ...
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  • 3,541
18 votes

"Turing-completeness" in conlangs

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 ...
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15 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 ...
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  • 1,285
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 ...
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  • 3,271
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). ...
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10 votes
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How to break out of the English mold when creating a conlang (specifically in regards to word modifiers)?

In the long term, learning another language reasonably well is probably the only way to get a "real feel" for how things can sound natural or not in other languages. That's a very ambitious ...
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  • 319
8 votes

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

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 ...
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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. ...
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  • 2,257
8 votes
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How to modernize a dead language vocabulary

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 ...
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  • 376
7 votes

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

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 ...
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  • 3,271
7 votes

How to keep track of a language?

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 ...
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7 votes

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

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 ...
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  • 3,496
7 votes
Accepted

How can I name my days of the week?

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 ...
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  • 3,496
7 votes

Syllabic restriction/word boundaries set by IPA? Or it is decided by language creator

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 ...
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  • 201
7 votes
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How long do words get in other languages, and how hard are long words to say or read?

The complexity of a pronouncing a word does not depend on its length, but more on its phonological structure. Even long words in a language you are familiar with will be quite easy to pronounce (...
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  • 3,496
7 votes

How do swear words work in real languages?

Swear words can be indeed a problem for the rest of the vocabulary. German once had a whole wealth of verbal compounds with the prefix after-. They fell out of usage when the noun After "anus&...
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6 votes
Accepted

Methods to avoid similarity in lexicons

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 ...
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6 votes

"Turing-completeness" in conlangs

Let's first take note that no actual Turing-complete machine has ever been built, nor can one ever be built. Modern computers are good enough approximations for most purposes, but they are in reality ...
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6 votes

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

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, ...
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6 votes

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

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 ...
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6 votes
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Swadesh List for Verb Infinitives?

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 ...
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  • 1,512
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 -...
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6 votes
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Organizing a lexicon in a logographic writing system

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 ...
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6 votes

How many words should I create in a conlang?

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 ...
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  • 2,955
6 votes

How to break out of the English mold when creating a conlang (specifically in regards to word modifiers)?

Perhaps you'd be interested to see how other languages do things here: https://wals.info/ . If I do not overlook anything, then all the features you are thinking about are discussed here with examples ...
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  • 733
6 votes
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What is the variety of ways one can deal with absorbing words from different languages in a conlang?

If you want to be strict, coerce them into your phonological rules. Macy's: that would fit as macys; if /y/ is not a vowel, then macis Outback: start with a consonant, so use one that is not too ...
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  • 3,496
6 votes

I want to build a language that expresses the maximum amount of information with minimal words spoken

One already-existing conlang that goes in that direction is Ithkuil, a language made to compress information as much as possible, mainly by having a big number of phonemes (including tone) and short ...
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  • 1,051
6 votes
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Evolution of irregular declensions and conjugations from reconstructed proto-languages

I know some fellow conlangers are much more proficient in Greek and its history than me, therefore I want to concentrate on some more general aspects of the question. First of all, you are the conlang ...
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5 votes
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Designing a vocabulary for geographical features

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 ...
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  • 1,512
5 votes
Accepted

Has anyone analysed the invented languages in the Earthsea books?

There is some information on one of them, Hardic, and a fragmentary word list.
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  • 3,496

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