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blairjay asked: So, I'm starting to conlang...

blairjay asked:
So, I'm starting to conlang. Do you feel that making a conlang before a world/culture might be better, so you can base place names and such in the conlang?
A good question. I always feel like a conlang and its culture are so intrinsically related that I don’t think you can do one with no thought for the other. In fact the very choices you make on your conlang will inform you of the culture. E.g.: why is the word for “to grow” related to “tree”? Why “ten” is related to “hand”? Etc. It’s always good to think of this little bits of culture when developing your conlang and viceversa. Consider names: if you have many names with the word for “duck”, then what is its significance in the culture of those speakers? What’s taboo? What’s not? All those questions spring from the creation of the language itself. So, I would advice to have both in mind, you can start with one or the other of course, but ultimately they will show some relationship. I hope I have answered your que…
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shahryarsstories asked: Hey, I'm starting a conlang for a book I'm writing, any advice on where to start?

shahryarsstories asked:
Hey, I'm starting a conlang for a book I'm writing, any advice on where to start? I already have a lot of words and sayings but I doubt there's any shred of consistency because I was having fun just making up words. I'd love to know if I should start over or if I should just go with it and make a grammar system to make the words and sayings make sense grammatically 😂 Well, that’s really good! Nothing better than the thrill of creating new words. Okay, if you are looking for consistency that’s easy enough. You already have a certain corpus (words, phrases, names, etc); the thing now is to see whether some patterns emerge, whether the words kind of look like coming from the same place. For instance: even if you are not very linguistically inclined you will note that Erik and Amadeo come from two very different languages. The idea is that all your words look either “Erik” or “Amadeo” but that they follow a pattern. The pattern doesn’t have to be t…

5929ms asked: I have a question about conlanging...

5929ms asked:
I have a question about conlanging... It's not a technical one, but I have been wanting to start a project. The problem here is that I already have one, it's quite big, and I can't stop looking back at it or trying to adjust anything new to it. Do you have any tips how to draft without thinking how much it's "similar" to what you've already done?

Yay! You are my first ask! So congrats!! 🎊🍾🎉
This is an interesting question that often happens to conlangers. Some find it really hard not to keep reelaborating a previous project.  To me the best you can do is go in a whole different direction, such a different direction you won’t be able to go back to the other one. So, for instance, if in project A you were working on a standard European language, why not try a Mayan-inspired language this time? I find it easier the more different the two are. Or for instance, if you’ve done a priori, why not try a posteriori? That could be a way to start. You…

Dārys Se Jaes

The King and the God
The King and the God is a short parable created by historical linguists in the 1990s in reconstructed Proto-Indo-European, in a fashion similar to Schleicher's famous fable: The Sheep and the Horses. This new one in particular is loosely based on a passage from the Rigveda, involving a king and the god Varuna. I thought this was such a good candidate to be translated into High Valyrian the language created by David J. Peterson for the HBO Game of Thrones series. It's short, it's concise, the sentences are simple and plain, plus I was excited to notice our current High Valyrian lexicon had almost all the entries to translate the parable.

So I decided to try my hand at it. This is the first final draft of the parable translated into High Valyrian with the invaluable help of my good friend and Editor, Mad Latinist, also responsible for this great blog with his insights and analyses on High Valyrian and Astapori Valyrian. Thanks!

Dārys Se Jaes

Dārys istas.[1…

To Morpheme Or Not To Morpheme?

Today I've listened to a great episode of Conlangery (, the podcast about conlangs for conlangers by conlangers. The show, incredible as ever, made me think a lot about the idea of morphemes (and what's better than a show that also makes you think?). The whole deal about morphemes started out as a note in passing at the end of episode #68 (also recommended) with no other comment than David hating them as a linguistic tool. The ideas where hugely developed in this last episode, for which I'm very grateful.

I think it is true that many think of languages and words as a string of morphemes, while this notion is being challenged lately, it did have a very strong hold upon many linguists' minds. If you think about it, the further back you go, the more people relied on morphemes. A good example could be some old English dictionaries with etymology such as the one I have. Another example would be Esperanto itself, where this is a huge problem: morphemes…

How Wide Should Your Suffixes Be?

Few doubt that suffixes or prefixes, affixes in general, are a useful tool in a conlanger toolbox, but how precise should they be? In this respect I tend to think: the broader the meaning the better. To me it's actually a lot of fun to be able to have an arrange of suffixes with broad meanings and play around with the possibilities that can be unlocked with them.

One example I am specially fond of is Esperanto's -aro and -ujo suffixes. The first one roughly means "a group, heap, collection, set, herd" and is mainly used of groups of things that form a sort of collection, such as words in a dictionary, or the human-kind in general, while the other has an approximate meaning of "jug, box, container, vessel" and it's used mainly to mean countries (containing people), or more even interestingly trees from their natural fruits. So, for example, you have vortaro to mean "dictionary, a collection of all the words", homaro "humanity as a whole&qu…

The Mayan Interference

I remember having read once that an early Mayan language investigator was surprised to realize that this language was actually about 90% greek in essence of words, grammar, etc. I really don't know how this came to happen, but the idea caught on really fast. It is something that would have been pretty spooky had it been real, of course, but actually it's a very weird notion. In fact, I even found some people claiming a mayan etymology for the word 'philosophy', φιλοσοφία.

PIL, to open one's eyes, be attentive, to contemplate. O, an intensifier particle. SOU, to shuffle, to untangle. IA, a hard or difficult thing.
So, voilà, we have that, according to this "faketymology" φιλοσοφία means something like 'to untangle something difficult in order to assert it strongly by contemplating it' (sic). What a wonderful fantasy has been concocted.

Back to the Real World

Not only should we forget that a Grimm's Law should occur to make pil into phil, but also…