The History of Your Conlang

I was thinking about my conlanging today, and specifically about how Yes and No are said in Reformed Pitak and Old Fauleethik, which is simply Sa and Ne, or Sau and Nei (or Saw and Nay to make pronunciation a little more clear). Now the interesting thing I was reflecting on was that I came up with these words a LONG time ago, way before I knew much about phonology, morphology, grammer, etc. But these words have survived through the various iterations and changes I've made over the years. I thought it might be interesting to recount to myself and for you how I've continually made changes and how these words have managed to remain unchanged.

First of all, my phonology has never changed to a point where these sounds would not be allowed, but if it had, I could have just changed a vowel or a consonant and moved on. Second, as I began developing my morphology for words, I had decided that, in Pitak, words ending in -a are generally verbs in the present tense. But, verbs usually have a CVC- structure with an e, a, or o on the end to identify future, present, or past tense. But as I was translating sentences, I liked just using "se, sa, so" for all the tenses of is/be. It took me awhile to remember that I had originally used "sa" for yes. When I did remember, I kind of harumphed and scratched my head for a minute, because I really liked using "sa" for yes, but I also really liked using a short, one-syllable word for the is/be verb. In a flash, I kind of put something together in my head an realized that I didn't need to change anything. "Sa," as a verb, literally meant "it is being." "Yes," in another language, could also mean "it is so" which is pretty close to "it is being." So "sa" would be okay without any changes. This is kind of minor, but it excited me cuz I realized I was "thinking" in my language!

And then, I started thinking, well, this is probably a progression, a shortening, of something from the old days of Pitak. "It is being" is more properly said as "la sa," or maybe "wa sa" for "this is being" (which, in question form, is the same as saying What is being? or, heh, WHASSSUUUP?). So just saying "sa" is basically a shortened form; people came to understand that just saying sa was enough to convey a yes. And so it wasn't hard to jump to "la nesa"being shortened to just "ne!"

Although these insights aren't HUGE, I thought they conveyed a few ways anyone can begin building a history into their conlang.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's a lot to think about in there, especially about creating a history for your language. As I create my "perfect" language, I am starting to see a lot of ways that it could have evolved from a proto-language. Interesting stuff.