Archives of the Conlang Mailing List, 1991-94

For many years the Conlang mailing list was the most active English-language forum for designers and collectors of constructed languages, also called artificial languages, universal languages, Plansprachen, Kunstsprachen, hanna tungumál, gervimál, planlingvoj, artefaritaj lingvoj, etc.

Click here to see the current Conlang List headquarters.

During the list's first 4 years – the first time in world history when widely dispersed people interested in this relatively obscure topic were able to communicate in realtime – members discussed many fundamental issues in language design. They established a trend toward more original designs and more accurate descriptions of language features, and made an effort to find and share data about earlier projects. In order to make this important material available to future language creators, we offer this lightly edited archive of those early years. Enjoy!

Polar opposites.
The names of colors.
Vladimir Nabokov's Zemblan.
Science fiction works containing conlangs.
DLT (modified Esperanto used in machine translation).
Descriptions of Dhamiathua, Laadan, aUI, Schklorpya.

January-April 1992
Protong, Islandian, Interling, Paleneo.
Esperanto curse words.
More talk of DLT.
Discussion of Glosa.
Interpreting the Paternoster.
Some talk of E-Prime, Glaugnea, Nevbosh.

May-June 1992
Optimizing conlangs for computer processing.
List of Volapük affixes.
Bits of EhmayGheeChah, INTAL, Kayenian, Tanerai, Yalo.

July-September 1992
Talking drums.
Damin, Voksigid.
Desiderata in auxiliary language design.
Pro's and con's of gender and tones.
Syllable counting in Nasioi.
Defining complexity and "easy to learn."

October-December 1992
Claims and features of Glosa.
Exotic phonemes.
Re-cap of "world language problem" thread.
Interconversion of parts of speech.
Solex-Mal, Alwato, Poliespo, Neu-inglish.

January 1993
Klingon pronunciation, tonogenesis, alphabet.
SVO syntax vs. other options.
Whistled languages.
Carney talk and play languages.
How to write sign languages.
Sign language as universal language.
Proposed guidelines for the design of an international auxiliary language.

February 1993
Affixes versus particles.
Fanigalu (AKA Fanagalo, African lingua franca).
Physical inability to produce a ligually trilled R.
Sci-fi artlang "the Light of the World."
Glosa specimen.

March 1993
Should there be a separate list for auxiliary language advocates?
Should Conlang become a newsgroup?
Lars Mathiesen becomes list administrator.
Thought and language.
Mention of E-Prime.

April 1993
Modal (most typical) phoneme inventory of human languages.
Should irony and sarcasm be explicitly marked in written language?
sci.lang thread on the complexity of Esperanto syntax.
Brief mentions of aUI, Namjuan, Jigwa.

May 1993
Invented histories for conlangs.
Time travellers' language and time metaphors.
Chinese dialects.
Self-segregating words.
Critique of allomorphy and ambiguous compounds in Lojban.
Semantic ambiguity in general.
Mentions of Arcaicam Esperantom, Voksigid, Glosa.

June 1993
Is metaphor a bad thing?
`He's dead, Jim' in Volapük.
Ghost words.
Lojban's split from Loglan explained.

July 1993
Loglan trademark and copyright enforcement and resistance.
Metaphorical use of prepositions.
Brevity and speed of languages.
Cultural assumptions in vocabulary design.
Mentions of Solresol, Paleneo.
Problems of non-ASCII scripts.
Using the apostrophe as a letter of the alphabet.

August 1993
Does English have more idioms?
The language of Finnegans Wake.

September 1993
Tom Breton's Allnoun.
Interlingua and Occidental.

October 1993
How to decide which concepts will be represented by words.
Marking gender in pronouns.
How to count the parts of speech.
Designing anaphora.

November 1993
Andre Martinet and the IALA.
Dutton's Speedwords.
Whimsical spelling reforms.

December 1993

January 1994
Speedwords grammar and lexicon.
Klingon language development.

February 1994
Critiques of Láadan.
Elements of vocabulary creation.
List of ontologies (concept catalogues).
Universal semantic primitives.
Marking the relationship between roots in a compound.
Rarity of Volapük books.

March 1994
Lists of Volapük books.
Font creation and invented scripts.
Statistical differences between conlangs and natlangs.
The Paternoster translated into a few dozen conlangs.

April 1994
Cut English (spelling reform).
Tolkien's views on language esthetics.

May-June 1994
Artlangs and science fiction languages.
Counting, syntax, universals, and Chomsky's theories.
Non-vocal languages and tone languages.