Experimentation and the 1st LCC

Alrighty, I pulled out my conlang binder and looked up the random Language Kits I found and printed up over the years. Unfortunately, the only one that I have a link for is the Zompist Language Construction Kit, but it is one of the best. I might scan the others and post a PDF file or something later.

Initially, none of these did me much good, because I didn't really know how to experiment with language fully. I mostly played with word generators, plugging in slightly different sets of phonemes, giving different morpheme rules, to see what I got. You can do this yourself very quickly at the Fantasist link in the corner up there. But because I didn't push forward I really limited my own progress. All I was doing was looking at words. Once I had a phonology and morphology, I should have tried grammer, developing cases and so on. I was stuck!

BUT, something got me unstuck and catapulted me ahead in ways I wouldn't even guess. One time while I was visiting Langmaker.com, I saw an announcement for the first Language Creation Conference. It was in Berkeley which isn't far from Danville, where I was living at the time, and I decided I had to check it out. What a lightning bolt to the brain! I'm not a linguist, and my understanding of most linguistic concepts is remedial, but even so I was opened up to all kinds of new concepts and I could understand other things so much more clearly. Speakers talked about other conlangs, methods for developing conlangs, concepts of linguistics, and more. aUi was an interesting conlang to learn about, and I actually fooled around with the concept of vowels creating certain meanings for words, because I liked the Futhark runes, and if the runes had a meaning individually, or with other runes, why not have that meaning carry over into words? But I hung that idea up for now. I heard about Toki Pona for the first time as well. I will NEVER forget John Quijada getting up and speaking some Ithkuil for us, which had some of the strangest sounds I've ever heard. It sounded like those bug people in Episode Two of Star Wars (Geonosians, I think)! Most of the people there were so much more advanced and more sophisticated in their understanding and developing of conlangs than I was, but I kept my mind open and learned a lot.

The Language Creation Conference website has a WEALTH of information for the beginning and advanced conlanger. Dig through the site and listen to the talks. If you are serious about conlanging, it is one of the best things you can do to catapult your progress into the stratosphere.

1 comment:

baalak said...

I am so terribly jealous of you. I wish I could have gone to the conference. There's no way, though, that a New Englander like myself could have made it to California. I didn't even know it existed at the time, and hadn't even started looking into conlanging, as I only began getting serious about it in the middle of 2007.

However, given that the next conference is at Brown university, in Rhode Island, I'll definitely be attending next year!

When next I have the time and the patience, I'll have to delve into the LCC's records and uncover some of the treasures you got to experience.

Thank you for reminding me of the conference. I had heard about it, but read that it was a west coast affair, so I assumed I couldn't ever make it. Only recently have I gone back, at your urging, and discovered its location this coming year. I thank you, deeply and humbly, for paving my way to the conference. I am in your debt.

- Baalak Nalzar-aung.