‘Minor’ Category Archives


Swadesh List

by Geckat in Conlangs, Linguistics, Minor

So here’s the deal: I haven’t been working on languages as of late because I’ve been working on natural ones.  Very gradually learning French, trying to pick Swedish back up, picking up German a little too to amuse some new friends I’ve made.  But I’ve also still been hard at work on what I’m doing here.

Anyone perusing my projects will notice that while I’m fairly good at getting the grammatical stuff that I need down and all that good stuff, I’m absolutely terrible at actually coming up with words.  Indeed, there are some projects where I’ve formulated the phonology, got some solid phonotactic rules down, figured out how the syntax and morphology work, what grammatical systems are in place, churned out numbers and particles and then…wait, you need words to have a language?  Dang.  Eh, I’ll do it later.

I do this in language learning, too; ask me anything about Japanese grammar and I’m your textbook, but hell if I can remember more than fifty words in it.  So I’m trying a different route in my art: I looked around for a while for a list of words that essentially every language should have in some form.

Of course there are the Swadesh lists, but those tend to be rather short, contain a lot of grammatical terms like pronouns, and generally be unsuited to the purposes where the language in question is of, say, a race of bipedal lizards with no teeth.  And then there are frequency lists, which can be much longer, but again, lots of grammatical words, and also lots and lots of culturally, geographically, and technologically specific terms, which also makes them unsuitable.  In both cases, they tend to be culturally biased.

So I’ve gone out and painstakingly created (see: still creating) my own big long Swadesh list.  At the moment it has 754 words, and is made up of me taking the 1,000 most used words in written English, Chinese, Swahili, and Arabic, omitting all the synonyms, grammatical words, names for animals, technologically specific, geographically specific, and culturally specific terms, armed with my knowledge of Blackfoot, which loves its derivation and compounding, to omit unnecessary words.  So far it’s quite well-appreciated in the conlanging community and should, once filled in, make for a language that is about 60% “complete”.  That is, you can speak it and say whatever it is you want to say about 60% of the time, with most of the rest of the stuff being reliant on the technology, culture, and geography that your conculture may or may not have.

Have a look.


Elder Scrolls Online: Runic Syllabary

by Geckat in Conlangs, Minor

It’s not exactly common knowledge that the runes one uses in enchanting in The Elder Scrolls Online are actually made up of a syllabary, but a couple people before me have noticed this and done what they can to figure out which lines mean what.  A few weeks ago, I took the time to draw up a nice little chart.  Not a huge deal, but hey, it’s something, right?  As for original projects, I’m working on something very slowly that should help me come up with worthwhile words to translate.  More to come!


Sehali Alphabet

by Geckat in Conlangs, Fonts and Keyboard Layouts, Minor, Uncategorized

So a week or two ago, I spent sixteen hours straight (that’s right: not even a bite to eat or a sit to poop) in a flurry of creativity to create the Sehali alphabet.  It’s my first completely original alphabet in a rather long time, and it’s quite complex, working as a kind of composed syllabary, like hangul (Korean script).  I’ve got it working nicely in tandem with the keyboard layout, which has changed a little to accommodate it.  Don’t worry, though: it’s still full of all those dots and macrons and diaereses and circumflexes above and below everything to make it look like some sort of weird topsy-turvy agglutinating Vietnamese when written in Latin.  I’m only just now writing a blog post about it, and the language still has a slim vocabulary, but I’ll celebrate by translating this blog’s title into my new lizardy script:



Ta’agra Collab

by Geckat in Conlangs, Fonts and Keyboard Layouts, Minor

There is a phenomenon one tends to experience when he or she reconstructs fictional pseudo-conlangs or incomplete conlangs into working conlangs: often times, you aren’t the only one doing it.  This can be both a problem and a boon: a problem because it means there are different people with different interpretations who disagree with you and if you’re overly competitive like I am you feel like you are vying for some sort of conlang control, with the goal being the fanbase adhering strictly to your reconstruction; and a boon because you can collaborate with people if you can get over your competitive ego.

I am going to attempt to do exactly that.  About a year ago, Ra’Zakhar & Kiarash began work on what they have dubbed The Ta’agra Project.  They’ve been nice enough to credit me on their front page, but they have also taken some deviations from my rendition of the Khajiiti language, and have added many of their own words to the Ta’agra lexicon.  Despite this, we believe we can work together, so expect to see more and more Ta’agra coming that should, WITH OUR POWERS COMBINED, become that sought-after be-all of a fan language.

Sure, Justin, you always say you will be working on things, but what have you actually done?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  Apart from my struggles to convince my new collaborators that Ta’agra has case prefixes (the evidence just keeps pouring in, come on, guys!), one major stride these two have taken is to start on an alphabet.  Now, I’m not too fond of alphabets: they’re rare in the real world and because of this they take the immersion right out of a conlang.  But these two have an interesting philosophy that I often forget to include, and that is that this is a fan language.  A language for fans.  Not for linguists, not for the .01% of people in the world who would consider writing songs in Na’vi, but for people who like the Elder Scrolls franchise and think it would be neat to be able to, say, write their own name in Ta’agra.  They’re not going to be able to do that if it’s done in an abugida (much as it pains me), so an alphabet it is.

And to show my good intentions, I have started on a font for said alphabet based on the glyphs they already invented with a couple modifications and additions of my own.  It’s just got the letters so far, but check it out.

Wish us luck!


New Title!

by Geckat in Conlangs, Minor, Site

Except not!  It’s pronounced the same, I just decided I really don’t like /ɕ/ as a distinctive phoneme in Taðýric.  It’s just too noisy, so instead I’m having it only appear in palatalizing environments (ie before /i/).  Fun with phonotactics.


Lutrin? Oekin!

by Geckat in Conlangs, Minor

I’m finally changing Lutrin’s name.  When my friend and I came up with the idea, we weren’t planning on doing a whole lot with it except for some private writing, so yeah, why not be lazy and just name a race off of their literal translation in Latin?  Now, though, Ipakha has its own name as a canon, and has publications, so I think it’s time we glazed over our laziness and at least gave them a unique name.

Being a tribal society, those-who-were-formerly-known-as-Lutrin would probably name themselves something very egocentric when asked: typically, these societies call themselves things like “the first people,” like in my own beloved Blackfoot (niitsitapi), or, indeed, just “people”.  In the case of ex-Lutrin, the translation of this would be oekinmerel, but because I want my names to be shorter and so more memorable, I am just going to stick with “people”.  This would be oekinel, which I believe I will continue to use as an endonym, but because encroachers rarely properly use inflections, if they use the native language at all (or even a translation: ‘Blackfoot’ is lucky; there are nations close by that wound up being called ‘Carrier’ or ‘Slave’ by translated exonyms), I will drop the plural suffix and make the common name of the people and language Oekin.

My friend, bless him, likes it particularly because it ends with -kin.


Ipakha and Lutrin Culture

by Geckat in Conlangs, Minor

Ipakha, the universe for which Lutrin is being created, is finally getting written as a story.  The first couple chapters written thusfar (by me; my collaborator is still working out things on their end) are about the Lutrins, either in part or in full.  This means that, especially in the case of the second, their language finally sees some real use, which is very exciting to me.

The first is titled Sinking of the SSS Dungong, and follows two Lutrins aboard a sinking landship, a hybrid of comedy and tragedy and a lot of in-line exposition.

The second is A Sacrifice to Child Lake, which tells the bloody, sordid story of one Lutrin’s mother, and illustrates the tribal nature of these otter-like people.

More to come, very soon, in Ipakha.


Lutrin – Demonstratives and Copula (aka What Is THAT?)

by Geckat in Conlangs, Minor

A few days ago I worked on Lutrin a little more, because my main partner in crime in writing who commissioned (see: made me want to create) Lutrin got me excited again.

I realized that throughout Lutrin’s development hitherto it has not really used the verb “to be”. This verb rarely appears in Genesis 11:1-9, the only text I’ve translated into Lutrin, which makes me wonder if I should change my benchmark first translation; where it does appear, it’s in the present tense, third person.

Because I’m not just writing this conlang for myself but also for another person who really isn’t a linguist and has no experience as far as I know with learning second languages, I tried to keep it simple and used the aspect/mood infixed morphemes as the roots of their respective copular inflections. It means the copula isn’t irregular at all, apart from the infinitive, but given the amount of inflection in the language I think this can be realistic.

Demonstratives, on the other hand, have nothing to regulate to. I based them on the e/o alternation found throughout Lutrin when it comes to gender and smashed paradigms together until there were only five different proximal demonstratives that agree with both gender and case. Once again, in the interest of keeping things sort of simple without making Lutrin an English clone or a “logical” language, I formed the distal just with a single non-syllabic suffix.

Now I just need more things to translate.