2nd Language Creation Conference Part 1

The Second Language Creation Conference was coming and I was feeling pretty good about the progress of my language over the past year. I had a phonology, a rough morphology, and a few grammer rules, but it really wasn't very detailed at all. But my runic script and font, aha, now there was something people could actually look at! I actually submitted a page for the LCC program for my conlang (page 55), which at this point was called Fauleethik, which literally meant sound-tongue. The original name, Peetik, I had given up shortly after the 1st LCC. I had originally chosen Peetik because I loved how the runic Futhark alphabet was so named because F, U, Th, A, R, & K are the first six letters of that alphabet, and it just happened to make a cool sounding name. P, Ee, T, I, & K were supposed to be the first five letters of my conlang alphabet, but I realized I didn't like arranging my alphabet that way after all, and the name didn't sound right. "Fauleethik" fit the picture in my head so much better.

I'll summarize a bit of what I got out of each talk during the LCC2. First of all, I was thrilled that David Salo was going to be giving the key note address; Mr. Salo was the linguist that worked on the Lord of the Ring movies, and helped them to come up with lines in Elvish and Dwarvish. You can go to the LCC website to hear his entire talk. I knew it would be enlightening to hear a linguist talk to us about creating historical depth to our conlangs. He made a few illuminating points: using irregularities can make a conlang more beautiful and feel more realistic, and using bits of other languages is something Tolkien did, and something we can do to help us accomplish things in our conlangs (aha, remember my post on Knowing A Second Language?).

The next talk was about "phono-aesthetics." John Quijada is the MAN. I loved his talk the previous year, and I loved his talk this year. He really knows how to make linguistics fun and accessible, and he really knows his stuff. Last year he showed me his binder of Ithkuil material, Ithkuil being his first conlang which he designed for maximum efficiency (meaning maximum meaning from minimum syllables) and it was a freakin' tome; probably weighted at least five pounds! He's working on a new conlang now, related to Ithkuil but easier to pronounce, if I remember right, called Ilaksh. But to comment on his talk: he talked about the differences between languages, how they sound and feel. The most obvious example of this would be that Elvish sounds "pretty" and orcish sounds "ugly." French sounds very soft, Bulgarian sounds harsh, Italian sounds very vowely. He talked about the "personalities" of languages and how we can study other languages and give our conlangs personality by adopting pieces of other languages, or thinking up new ways of creating personalities. Once again, you can go to the LLC website and hear his entire talk. He also gave us a handout which was very good. I'll scan this and post a link to it next week.

Lila Sadkin was next with a report on a conlang she developed as a thesis project, called Tenata. This conlang does not use tenses or cases! Her talk was another delving into the mechanics of what makes language work, and how it could work differently. The end result was very verbose, lots of syllables, but the structure is fascinating. And I'll just plug her website, which is right here.

Next, was one of my FAVORITES. Jim Henry spoke about Glossotechnia, a language creation card game. This REALLY got me excited and catapulted my own creativity. I won't go into all the details and rules here, but if this concept excites you, you can read more on the LCC website, and at Jim Henry's page, here. Also, Jim's game inspired me to make one of my own, which I will be posting more about later!

After lunch, David Peterson spoke about the evolution of his conlang, Sidaan. Interesting, since I'm kind of doing the same thing with this blog. David has developed LOTS of conlangs over the years, but he admitted none of them were very deep. He also admitted having commitment issues (heh). This talk was much more technical, and he spoke about how Sidaan evolved as he wondered if a language could change naturally from a SOV (Subject Object Verb) syntax order, to a VSO syntax order. Fantastic stuff.

Next was Donald Boozer, talking about a conlang he is developing that has a very unique feature: there is NO voicing at all! No vowels, no voiced plosives, no b, v, d, g, etc. A lot of unvoiced fricatives and use of hand gestures. It is called Drushek and it was one of the first conlangs reviewed at an LCC that was supposed to be spoken by beings that are not human. The Dritok speak this language and they are kind of like kangaroos with more human-like mouths. Check out more on this conlang at the LCC website or Boozer's site. He also compiled a great handout called "The Conlanger's Bookshelf" which occupies pages 20 through 31 in the LCC2 program! It's another EXCELLENT resource.

Don Boozer's talk was the last of the day, and we were going a bit over schedule. There was still a workshop and a panel to be done. My wife had come with me on this first day and she was beginning to get a bit tired, so a little ways into the workshop I begged off and went home, but I got onto a team with David Salo and Jim Henry and we played around with ideas about vocabulary and sentence structure and that really tickled me.

There were a lot of linguist folk at the LCC, people who had studied and were in the field of linguistics, but there were also a lot of people like me, casual conlangers who just enjoy language and want to learn more about how it works. More on the 2nd day of the 2nd LCC in my next post (yeah, the second one lasted two days!), and the advancements I made in my conlang because of it.

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