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March 2000 Archives
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March 2000 Archives   Advanced


3/24/00 Deviasew Now At New Site

Jonathan North Washington

Deviasew (Washington, Jonathan North) - fictional language - 1997
The second language of the Elves, Men, Dwarves and Halflings of the land of Câlnima ("Land"), Deviasew has a Latinate grammar, with a vocabulary derived from Hebrew, English, French and Spanish. The name Deviasew itself is the plural of Devia (from Hebrew devar, "word").

Jonathan, one of the more prolific members of the LangMaker2 mailing list, wrote in to let me know that Deviasew has moved to a new site.

3/23/00 Solresol Sings Again At New Site


Solresol: Langue Musicale Universelle (Sudre, Jean Francois) - international auxiliary language - circa 1830
Solresol is number six on this week's Top Ten Model Languages (as not seen on David Letterman). Solresol is based on the musical scale and has just seven syllables: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si. Sing with me now, "Doe, a deer, a female deer; ray, a drop of golden sun..." Ahem. Besides being the most likely lang. to be learned by Julie Andrews, Solresol has another distinction. Most people think Volapük was the first international auxiliary language to become established in actual use, but in fact Solresol was the first such language. It was very popular in Europe for a few short years, but it faded away completely, and little has been available about it on the Web -- until now. A good Solresol web site finally exists, thanks to Jason Hutchens, and for the first time a detailed Solresol lexicon is available. Hutchens points out that Sudre planned on coining 9,072 five-note words (the lexicon lists one- to four-note words), but there's no current record that he did so. As Rick Harrison has pointed out, for a language as popular as Solresol was, precious little information about it has survived.


Other Language Fun At Solresol Site


Besides Solresol, Hutchens' site also offers a fun re-translation form. To quote from its output, "To illustrate at which distance the machine translation must disappear, I wrote my own interface with Babelfish, which translates of English to a language chosen, and then represent the translation behind still. This process can be reiterated until it stabilizes."

In other madness on his site, he's written a chat bot named MegaHAL whose best conversation included mention of a conlang named Stupid.


3/20/00 Cetonian for E.T. Cetaceans

James E. F. Landau

Cetonian (Landau, James E. F.) - fictional language - 1998
If you have ever wondered what language whales might speak, you will be interested in Cetonian, the language that the extraterrestrial cetaceans of the planet Wuiou (called Cetonia in English). All words are made up out of eight syllables, each approximating a sound that can be made by the cetacean's blowhole: ha, ho, hui, ma, o, u, wa, and wui. A typical sentence is huiuwui.ha.uhuiu.wui.ho.huiwaho, "The dolphin bit the fish." Landau looked to the songs of Terran whales and dolphins for inspiration; some scientists claim these songs hold tremendous amounts of information.

Landau has assembled a lexicon numbering about 600 words thus far. "I stick eight syllables together, simplest words shortest, and when I've filled up all the possible X-syllable combinations, I move on to attaching a meaning to words with X+1 syllables, sort of like Solresol. Except for the words used by Kankonians; I made them up in Kankonian first, so you could say I made those retroactively -- like Hergé making up Syldavian."

For another language of extraterrestrial sea creatures, check out my own Ilish.


3/19/00 Saalángal is an Austro-European Celebration

Barry Garcia

Saalángal (Garcia, Barry) - personal language - 1999
Designed to satisfy Garcia's own aesthetic, and to sound something like a South East Asian language while not being derived from any of them, Saalangal fuses some elements of European languages like English or Spanish with a base derived from Austronesian languages like Tagalog. Such fusion is mainly to be found within the verbal structure, which has both focuses (from Tagalog) and tenses (e.g., present perfect tense, present progressive tense).


3/18/00 Reign of the Petal-Throne Languages

Peter Huston

Thanks to Peter Huston for writing in to help update a broken link to Tsolyani.

Tsolyáni (Barker, Muhammad Abd-el-Rahman) - fictional diachronic language
Tsolyani is one of the languages of Tekumel, the world of M.A.R. Barker's fantasy role-playing game Empire of the Petal Throne and novels (Man of Gold, Flamesong). Though all these works are out of print, Tekumel, Tsolyani and the other Tekumelani languages have a loyal following. Tsolyani was inspired by Urdu, Pushti and Mayan; a ULD lexicon is available.


3/17/00 Otg Is 27 Years Old & Counting
Spencer Spurgeon

Otg (Spurgeon, Spencer, aka Galivad) - fictional diachronic language - 1963
Inspired by Celtic and Turkic languages, Otg (pronounced /o-ti/) has word-initial case markers, vowel contrast and harmony for grammatical function, and - as you may have gathered - contorted pronunciation of the Latin orthography. The language is mainly agglutinative, with the inflected nouns allowing free word order. The author has coined over 16,000 words, not all yet on the web site.


Tolkien, Growing Up With Language

Issue 8 of Model Languages is back on the Web after a long absence, describing Tolkien's langmaking biography and ending with a sketch of my own Alvish.


3/16/00 Jameld Is Zolid
James Campbell

Jameld (Campbell, James) - fictional diachronic language - 1982
Jameld has over 4,000 words, derived from German, French, Dutch, Frisian and Esperanto. The author sums it up best, "Jameld is a constructed language, with an organic heart and an imaginary history. It is smooth and chocolatey on the outside, with a lovely fluffy centre, and it won't fill you up. Oh, and it looks like this: Te missa eri jist eskrïri int Jameld. Oquo na possmä zë vorvor ohn t'Internet!" Campbell has published Jameld translations in Zolid Matters, his e-journal.


3/15/00 Babel Texts for Two C.J. Cherryh Langs
Spence Hill

Kiffish (Cherryh, C.J. & Hill, Spence) - professional fictional language
Popular science-fiction author C.J. Cherryh sketched out Kiffish for the "bad guys" in her ''Chanur'' series. With her permission, linguist Spence Hill added details to the language, based on her documentation of the anatomy and culture of the Kiff themselves. Besides being ergative, Kiffish is a synthetic language, rather than an agglutinative or order-bound language.

Spence also submitted Babel Text links for Cherryh's Hani language, for his own Sotonok language and for his friend T. Mitchell Pehrson's Idrani.

3/14/00 Romanova Aims For Readability To Romance Speakers
David Crandall

Romanova (Crandall, David & Hubert, Robert) - international auxiliary language - 1999
Designed to be 90% intelligible to Romance speakers, and thus immediately useful for basic communication with several hundred million people who have never studied it, Romanova is meant to be especially useful if translation into the natural Romance languages would be too difficult. Based on the Romance languages, with inspiration from Interlingua, language materials have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and Russian, with more languages to following, making it one of the most serious of the newly constructed contenders for IALs. Romanova's word roots and grammar are common to the Romance languages, which were carefully searched to find over 3,000 forms understandable to the majority of Romance speakers. The language has simple pronunciation, with phonetic spelling. The verb has no personal inflections, for simplicity, but is otherwise very Romance-like; the grammar has few irregularities. Early responses to Romanova have been quite favorable, and if continued practical applications of the language bear out, Romanova may prove to be quite useful to companies shipping digital products and wanting to test the waters of Europe for their products.


3/7/00 Six New Links for The Babel Text

Zach May, the Babel Text curator, has updated the Babel Text. New links include translations in Kankonian, Lingua Franca Nova, NovIALA, tAruven, Vabungula and -- eh -- E-Prime.

Anasazi Granaries, Grand Canyon National Park, (C) Microsoft. Used by permission.

3/3/00 Tepa Now on
Dirk Elzinga

Tepa is number 8 on my Top 10 list of favorite model languages, and it is the highest ranked personal artlang on that list (where it is up against published languages like Quenya, Klingon and Lapine). As I say on my Top 10 page, Tepa is a unique personal language, professionally designed and presented and highly regarded among the Internet community of language makers. Which is why I am extremely pleased to announce that Dirk Elzinga, Tepa's creator, is now hosting his Tepa Reference Grammar on!

Tepa is -- bar none -- the most professional treatment of an artlang on the Internet. Besides the Tower of Babel translation, check out Coyote Eats Rocks and Two Otters, as well as his frame story about his sources. Tepa is a delight to behold for the lover of languages.

Anasazi Granaries, Grand Canyon National Park, (C) Microsoft. Used by permission.

3/2/00 Folkspraak Express

Folkspraak is a model language being designed as a common Germanic language (an "Intergerman", if you will). Once complete, Folkspraak should be quickly learnable by any native speaker of a Germanic language. The language is evolving into two dialects, called (tongue-in-cheek) Folkspraak Express and Folkspraak Pro. The newcomer, Folkspraak Pro, is a superset of Folkspraak Express that differs by emphasizing adherence to an artistic representation of a Germanic language over ease of use; Folkspraak Pro will have a richer grammar, a richer phonology and possibly a unique script as well.

The two Folkspraak dialects have been created by a group of interested people collaborating over the Internet. You can propose a word for the language just by joining the discussion list and e-mailing your proposed word, its meaning and its form in three other Germanic languages (in addition to English).

If you haven't checked in on Folkspraak lately, a lot has been happening -- please take a look at the mailing list's archives, draft word lists and shared links.

3/1/00 Mi Top 10 No Es Su Top 10

Luta recently wrote in wondering what the basis for the Top 10 list was. Nothing, really. It's my subjective take on what I think the ten most important model languages are, from a historical perspective -- sort of like a historian's ranking of U.S. Presidents. Your opinion may vary, and I encourage you to create your own Top 10 on your web site, and I'll point to it. I do feel that the top 6 of my Top 10 are pretty close to objective reality, though... 

  If you want to talk with others about langmaking, the LangMaker2 mailing list is a companion to this web site, and provides a forum for people to talk about invented languages. If you like fiction with model languages, think the world needs a common artificial language, or just like to make up words, this list is for you.
Conlang Profiles at © 1996-2005 Jeffrey Henning.

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