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Thursday, 11 July 2013

On Creating A Language.

I watched this video the other day:
And one of the things he was saying in it towards the end was, for a day, to not learn anything. Just stop learning - and start thinking. Go away and think about what you really enjoy and our passionate about, through your own unique perspective, and create something new.

And that inspired me to make a language.

It's actually something I've had in my mind to do for a few times before, but I've never gotten around to it. But now I've started. And it's....pretty tricky, particularly because I get so finicky about it.

Because you could just put English through a cipher or something, and say that you've come up with a new language. But it's not really a new language. I wanted something where each word had real meaning in the way that it was constructed; that made sense and sounded right to me.

So, first I had to decide what sort of language I was going to make. Because there are different types, you see; for the different senses, really. You can have a written language; a spoken or auditory language; a signed language; or you could even create a language based around smell, taste or touch, though that would be more difficult. (I'd still call Braille a written language myself, even though it is perceived through touch.)

I decided that I wanted a language that was primarily auditory - I'll probably write it down at some point and create an alphabet for it, but I wanted the words to really be formed based on their sound.

I also wanted to make a language that was based around small building blocks, as it were; not so much an alphabet as a library of sounds that could be combined. So first I had to make the library. That's harder than it sounds.

I worked out all the open (vowel) sounds - and then the closed (consonant) sounds. In doing that, I also sorted out a few letters I wouldn't be using, a few I added in, and a couple of letter combinations that wouldn't occur either.

I'd had a name for the language already in mind, almost from when I had the idea to create it. But then I had to actually break down the word into its parts, and figure out what each meant, and how it fat in. (Because fat should be the past tense of fit. It just works.)

Then I wanted to figure out the words for earth, air, fire and water. Thought it might be a good way to start. But the way I decided I wanted the language to work, is that a word, in a sense, describes something - the definition is implicit in the word. My word for fire, for example, was made up of two smaller parts that meant "destroy" and "heat". Put together, it meant "the heat that destroys": fire. Still need to work out the "the"s, "that"s, "and"s, "is"s and so on, but you get the idea. The point of that is also so that if something sees something that they've never seen before - and as such, don't have a word for - they can create a word for it straightaway by using these shorter describing bits.

That, of course, makes interpretation quite difficult. Because while I may call fire "the heat that destroys", someone else may well call it "illuminator" or "man's greatest invention". As such, there are feasibly millions of different words for the one thing.
As such, I'll probably come up with a few standardised words as well, to aid in communication.
But essentially, it means that rather than writing a whole new dictionary, I'm just making those short describers that people then put together to form their own words, their own language, as such. I guess that's the idea.

It's going to take me a long time - and may well never be finished - but I'm quite enjoying the challenge.

I'll put up another post shortly with all the notes I've got on the language insofar.

1 comment:

Please, tell me what you think. I'm not psychic, and I want to know :)