31 December, 2014

A Fox's Guide to Conlangs (Part 11) - Starting the Noun Lists

This is the slow part of the process, determining what the meanings of letter combinations represent, then trying to convert that combination of meanings to reflect a concept that would need to be conveyed by language.

Here's the first batch.

Proper Nouns – [N] a/A (Still thinking about these)

Common Concrete Countable Living Nouns – [K] o/O auoioe

The first batch of these generally represent types of people who come and go (thus explaining their “impermanence”). 

Koa 1 – Impermanent common concrete countable living noun of momentary conception (baby)
Kou 2 - Impermanent common concrete countable living noun of momentary invigoration (child)
Koo 3 - Impermanent common concrete countable living noun of momentary maturation (young adult)
Koi 4 - Impermanent common concrete countable living noun of momentary stagnation (old adult)
Koo 5 - Impermanent common concrete countable living noun of momentary destruction (dying person)
Koe 6 - Impermanent common concrete countable living noun of momentary oblivion (corpse before incineration/burial and returning to the cycle)
KoA 1 - Impermanent common concrete countable living noun of eternal conception (artist/poet)
KoU 2 - Impermanent common concrete countable living noun of eternal invigoration (farmer/craftsman)
KoO 3 - Impermanent common concrete countable living noun of eternal maturation (merchant/courtier)
KoI 4 - Impermanent common concrete countable living noun of eternal stagnation (noble/scholar)
KoO 5 - Impermanent common concrete countable living noun of eternal destruction (warrior/hunter)
KoE 6 - Impermanent common concrete countable living noun of eternal oblivion (philosopher/thinker)

If we add the option of a final consonant sound, the raw form might represent a person, while the consonants might twist the meaning to represent the products produced by such people (“d”), animals which perform a similar role in the ecosystem (“k”), the discipline that such people engage in (“t”) or tools used in the function of this role (“n”). Thus [Koat] might be a generic term for a place where babies are born and [KoOn] might be a generic word for weapon.

The second batch of these generally represent animals which exist as general classes, individuals may come and go but the class of animals remains (thus explaining their “permanence”). 

KOa 1 – Permanent common concrete countable living noun of momentary conception (a plant/animal renowned for being cunning)
KOu 2 – Permanent common concrete countable living noun of momentary invigoration (a plant/animal renowned for being strong)
KOo 3 – Permanent common concrete countable living noun of momentary maturation (a plant/animal renowned for being tough)
KOi 4 – Permanent common concrete countable living noun of momentary stagnation (a plant/animal renowned for being toxic)
KOo 5 – Permanent common concrete countable living noun of momentary destruction (a plant/animal renowned for being poisonous)
KOe 6 – Permanent common concrete countable living noun of momentary oblivion (a cryptozooid)
KOA 1 – Permanent common concrete countable living noun of eternal conception (an animal that produces a consumable)
KOU 2 – Permanent common concrete countable living noun of eternal invigoration (an animal used for work)
KOO 3 – Permanent common concrete countable living noun of eternal maturation (a predator)
KOI 4 – Permanent common concrete countable living noun of eternal stagnation (an animal that is consumed)
KOO 5 – Permanent common concrete countable living noun of eternal completion (a scavenger)
KOE 6 – Permanent common concrete countable living noun of eternal oblivion (a spirit/ethereal being)


If we add the option of a final consonant sound, the raw form might represent a general animal type, while the consonants might twist the meaning to represent the specific classes of animals that fulfil such functions. Animals of the sea (“d”), animals of the land (“k”), animals of the air (“t”) or plants (“n”). Thus [KOOd] might be a generic term for a shark or other aquatic predator and [KOin] might be a generic word for a toxic plant. 

I'm undecided about compressing double vowels where the two vowels identical. I'm leaning toward compression being the best option because these are meant to be single syllables. Also, don't be too concerned about how similar these words seem at this point, once we add prefixes and suffixes, then condense them down to usable forms, there will be a wider variety in the commonly used word forms. For this, I'm thinking about we way three different sharks might be referred to as "Great White", "Grey Nurse" or "Wobbegong", these are the commonly used terms in this part of the world, and the word shark isn't even added because it's simply implied. (Yes, "Wobbegong" is an appropriated native term, but I've already stated that this language will include some rules for appropriating terminology from other sources). 

30 December, 2014

A Fox's Guide to Conlangs (Part 10) - Starting on the Nouns

Time to start assigning sounds to concepts based on what we’ve got so far, and then extrapolate some meanings from those conceptual sources.

I’m going to start by looking at specific types of nouns, and use a certain consonant and vowel to open the syllable. We’ve still got options to add an extra vowel into the syllable (creating a diphthong), and a consonant to close up the syllable.

Here’s how I’m starting…

Proper Nouns – [N] a/A
Common Nouns – [K or N] o/O, i/I, o/O, or e/E
Concrete Nouns – [K or N] o/O or i/I 
Countable Nouns – [K or N] o/O or i/I
            Living – [K] o/O
            Non-Living Countable Nouns – [N] i/I
Uncountable and Mass Nouns – [N] o/O
Abstract Nouns – [K] e/E
Collective Nouns – [K] u/U
Pronouns – [D] a/A

Here’s my logic…

Proper Nouns use short or long “a” sounds, because the “a” vowel sound is linked to the notion of “birth/conception”, the first thought that plucks ideas from the chaos of infinity. Proper nouns are linked to specific people, places and things, and since there is a vaguely spiritual origin to the language, these specific nouns have specific animistic spirits associated with them (or at least, this was the belief when the language was first formulated). The “a” sound implies a specific soul is connected to the noun, The “n” consonant is an arbitrary designation.

Common Concrete Nouns use long and short “o”, “o” and “i” sounds because these vowel sounds are linked to physical concepts. Such nouns are either living (“o/O”), degrading (“i/I”), or physically inert (dead “o/O”). Living entities are given the “k” consonant to increase differentiation from the specific proper noun forms. The “n” consonant is applied to non-living countable nouns, because it is already understood that such nouns cannot have a soul (they’re just plain objects). Uncountable nouns (and mass nouns) exist as a measurable form (or provide the statement that the noun cannot be measured), but the act of measuring quantifies a subject and removes some of it’s mystique, this kills some of the inherent variability and is symbolic of a creative death (thus the “o/O” vowel).

Abstract nouns are concepts, unlike uncountable nouns they exist in the purity of spiritual quantum flux separate from the real world, thus they use an “e/E” vowel sound. They use a “k” consonant to reflect that they have no soul, but they may work as the root terms for adjectives concepts that describe entities with souls.   

Collective Nouns expand a noun form, they grow it. Thus is makes sense for collective nouns to use the “u/U” vowel sound. They use a “k” consonant to reflect that they have no soul (but collective nouns may refer to groups of individual things that do have souls).

Pronouns go back to using the “a/A” vowel sounds because they specifically refer to a soul bearing being. In a previous post we used the “d” consonant to describe the various beginnings of sentence forms depending on whether the sentence was a statement, a question, an answer, a greeting, etc. So I’m using the same consonant to refer to a noun of address.   


To expand the potential options in these core terms, we need to add a second vowel. There is a combination of arbitrary assignation and methodical transfer of existing semiotic meaning at this stage of the process.

The LARP I attend

Clans of Elgardt is the name of the LARP I take part in fortnightly. I've had a few queries about it, and now I've got a convenient site to send people to, someone in the group has developed a wiki for the game, and over the past few hours it's really started filling out with different players filling in their character and faction details.

The main page for the site can be found here.

The page for my character can be found here.

There is a lot more work to do on it, but it's a great start.

29 December, 2014

New Year Ideas

There have been a few good series of posts this year on the blog. Focusing on a wide range of topics, including maps, figure painting, LARP, terrain building, worldbuilding, and all sort of other game related topics between.

I've got a few more topics that I'd love to explore over the next year, including topics about how to take existing source material and bend it to your needs, expanding on existing world-building, developing character ideas within an established world, and maybe some more practical tutorials such as resin moulding and costume design.

I might even get a bit further with the conlang I've started over the last couple of weeks.


27 December, 2014

The Scavenger's Tale Now On Sale

Just letting everyone know that my post apocalyptic children's book "The Scavenger's Tale" has just been made available for sale on RPGNow. I'm trying to think of any other good sources for pdf sales, but I've had good experience with the RPGNow / OneBookShelf team.

The Scavengers Tale

Some time in the near future, I might run a Kickstarter/Indiegogo/Crowdfunded project to produce a limited run physical edition of the book.

A Fox's Guide to Conlangs (Part 9) - Starting Word Lists

I’ve just downloaded a list of the 250 most commonly used words in the English language.

Rank
Word
1
the
2
of
3
to
4
and
5
a
6
in
7
is
8
it
9
you
10
that
11
he
12
was
13
for
14
on
15
are
16
with
17
as
18
I
19
his
20
they
21
be
22
at
23
one
24
have
25
this
26
from
27
or
28
had
29
by
30
hot
31
but
32
some
33
what
34
there
35
we
36
can
37
out
38
other
39
were
40
all
41
your
42
when
43
up
44
use
45
word
46
how
47
said
48
an
49
each
50
she
51
which
52
do
53
their
54
time
55
if
56
will
57
way
58
about
59
many
60
then
61
them
62
would
63
write
64
like
65
so
66
these
67
her
68
long
69
make
70
thing
71
see
72
him
73
two
74
has
75
look
76
more
77
day
78
could
79
go
80
come
81
did
82
my
83
sound
84
no
85
most
86
number
87
who
88
over
89
know
90
water
91
than
92
call
93
first
94
people
95
may
96
down
97
side
98
been
99
now
100
find
101
any
102
new
103
work
104
part
105
take
106
get
107
place
108
made
109
live
110
where
111
after
112
back
113
little
114
only
115
round
116
man
117
year
118
came
119
show
120
every
121
good
122
me
123
give
124
our
125
under
126
name
127
very
128
through
129
just
130
form
131
much
132
great
133
think
134
say
135
help
136
low
137
line
138
before
139
turn
140
cause
141
same
142
mean
143
differ
144
move
145
right
146
boy
147
old
148
too
149
does
150
tell
151
sentence
152
set
153
three
154
want
155
air
156
well
157
also
158
play
159
small
160
end
161
put
162
home
163
read
164
hand
165
port
166
large
167
spell
168
add
169
even
170
land
171
here
172
must
173
big
174
high
175
such
176
follow
177
act
178
why
179
ask
180
men
181
change
182
went
183
light
184
kind
185
off
186
need
187
house
188
picture
189
try
190
us
191
again
192
animal
193
point
194
mother
195
world
196
near
197
build
198
self
199
earth
200
father
201
head
202
stand
203
own
204
page
205
should
206
country
207
found
208
answer
209
school
210
grow
211
study
212
still
213
learn
214
plant
215
cover
216
food
217
sun
218
four
219
thought
220
let
221
keep
222
eye
223
never
224
last
225
door
226
between
227
city
228
tree
229
cross
230
since
231
hard
232
start
233
might
234
story
235
saw
236
far
237
sea
238
draw
239
left
240
late
241
run
242
don't
243
while
244
press
245
close
246
night
247
real
248
life
249
few
250
stop





A similar site offers 100 of the most commonly used verbs (but gives them in alphabetical order rather than order of usage)
accept
allow
ask
believe
borrow
break
bring
buy
can/be able
cancel
change
clean
comb
complain
cough
count
cut
dance
draw
drink
drive
eat
explain
fall
fill
find
finish
fit
fix
fly
forget
give
go
have
hear
hurt
know
learn
leave
listen
live
look
lose
make/do
need
open
close/shut
organise
pay
play
put
rain
read
reply
run
say
see
sell
send
sign
sing
sit
sleep
smoke
speak
spell
spend
stand
start/begin
study
succeed
swim
take
talk
teach
tell
think
translate
travel
try
turn off
turn on
type
understand
use
wait
wake up
want
watch
work
worry
write

Making sure I’ve got all these covered is probably a start for a Conlang, but I can see straight away that there would be a few anachronisms for a fantasy game world… can’t see much use for “Type” as a verb, except in the manner of classifying things