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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in LangMaker's LiveJournal:

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Saturday, August 3rd, 2002
10:13 pm
Feedback Wanted
Let me know what else you'd like to see on LangMaker.com. Since April I've totally revamped the site to make it easier for me to keep up with people's submissions to the site. I had assumed I had a good sense of what people wanted but traffic to the site is no different after the changes than it was before -- and I hadn't updated it in about a year before I switched to regular updates! So tell me what you want.
Sunday, July 28th, 2002
10:01 pm
Book Him, Danno
Thanks to everyone who has made recent language submissions. I'll be uploading them over the next week. One area where I am short of submissions is for books that include model languages. Add a book here.
Saturday, July 27th, 2002
10:09 pm
Thing One
Sometimes I think people just like to see whether I actually read submissions to the site or approve them automatically. :-)
Language Name: Thing
Site: NA
Author: Harald Bastardsen
Year Created: 1998
Type: IAL
Unique Factors: Thing is extremely easy to learn, having been designed while the author was profoundly intoxicated.
Other Language Inspirations: This was inspired by every "Universal Language" that came before it, with vocabulary derived more or less from English.
Design Principles: Thing contains merely three grammatical elements:
  • the Noun. In Thing, every noun is expressed by the word "Thing."
  • the Verb. All verbs are simply expressed by the word "Monkey."
  • the Miscellaneity Indicator. All other parts of speech are covered by the word "Smurf."
Grammar is otherwise quite similar to English.
Sample: Thing monkey monkey, smurf thing monkey smurf monkey. Thing monkey smurf! (Having learned the principles of the language above, the meaning of the above text should be clear to even the most dimwitted, therefore no translation will be provided.)
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2002
12:26 am
Babble On
Apparently everyone has listed their language here, because in the last week there has only been one little addition. :-)

If you've posted your language to a web site, you can add it here by filling out this form:

You can link to your version of the Babel Text from here:
Read more...Collapse )
Sunday, July 21st, 2002
10:12 pm
Doing the Pidgin
Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback on what they thought 'xs' will stand for. Based on your comments, I won't use 'xs' but will use 'x' /ks/ instead. It can occur at the beginning of a syllable (as in Hungarian).

I've been working up a syntax for Pidanjinu. Something very basic.

Sentence = Interjection + "!"
Sentence = Name + "!"
Sentence = (Noun Phrase Series) + Verb Phrase + (Complex Noun Phrase) + Punctuation
Noun Phrase Series = {Extended Noun Phrase + Conjunction} + Extended Noun Phrase
Complex Noun Phrase = Noun Phrase Series + (Verb Phrase + Extended Noun Phrase)
Verb Phrase = (Negation) + (Aspect) + (Mood) + (Tense) + {Adverb} + (Augdiminutive Adv.) + (Evidential) + Verb
Extended Noun Phrase = Simple Noun Phrase + {Prepositional Phrase}
Prepositional Phrase = Preposition + Simple Noun Phrase
Simple Noun Phrase = (Determiner) + (Number) + {Color} + {Adjective} + (Augdiminutive Adj.) + (Gender) + Noun

This does allow relative clauses. Any verb after the sentence's predicate indicates the start of a regular clause. "I kicked the man who touched my wife" would be literally "I kick man touch my wife." If you want to say, "The man who touched my wife kicked me", you would have to say "Man touch my wife. That man kick me."

It's a pidgin, so it is not going to have very involved sentences.

If someone can think of a better word than "augdiminutive" for "augmentative and diminutive", let me know!
Saturday, July 20th, 2002
11:13 pm
Well, I've come up with Pidanjinu's 105 root words. I just have no idea what they mean. :-)

cya [kya]
cyeto [kye-to] Read more...Collapse )
Thursday, July 18th, 2002
12:22 am
X Marks The Spot
If you encountered the following three words in a text, how would you pronounce them?

What about the following?
Wednesday, July 17th, 2002
7:31 pm
Preposition School
No need for prep school for a language that has few prepositions. Pidanjinu, like Tok Pisin, only has two :
pu - n. possession;  prep. of, from
sa - n. location, place; prep. in, at, on

These are also both used in metaphorical nominative compounds.  Contrast the following:
fiwu-pu-wono ["grass belong mouth".] n. beard, mustache
hodan-fiwu ["rope grass".]  n. munj, munja, Saccharum bengalense, Saccharum munja -- (tough Asiatic grass whose culms are used for ropes and baskets)

If the compound is a type of the modified noun (e.g., rope grass is a type of grass), then the adjective form of the modifier is fused to the noun:  e.g., hodan-fiwu.  If the compound is only metaphorically a type of the modified noun (e.g., a beard is not literally a type of grass), then the preposition pu is inserted between two noun forms: e.g., fiwu-pu-wono.
12:20 am
Pidgin Takes Flight
I've been distracted from Novvocu recently as I've been toying with another pidgin, Pidanjinu. Just playing with a phonology really. Unlike Kalisise, I want to have a language that uses all 26 letters; few of my languages (maybe none) do.

The letter 'h' is always pronounced /sh/, and 'j' is always /zh/, for the same reasons I've documented for Novvocu's pronunciation. The main difference in Pidanjinu is the use of 'c', 'q' and 'x' for /k-/ clusters.

The letter 'c' in Pidanjinu is always pronounced /ky/ as in "cute". In English, 'c' has several different sounds associated with it, the most common of which is /k/ as in 'cat', the next most common is /s/ as in 'city' or 'cent' and the third-most common is /ky/ as in 'cue', 'cupid', etc. In Latin (and we are using the Latin alphabet), 'c' was originally always pronounced /k/, but over time came to be pronounced /s/ in front of /i/ or /e/ and /ky/ in front of /u/; English borrowed this pronounciation when it borrowed Latin vocabulary. I chose /ky/ since I will use 'k' for /k/ and 's' for /s/. Example: cuna, "sugar cane".

The letter 'q' is never written by itself but always followed by 'u': quava, "water"; quiso, "circle".

The letter 'x' has the same value as in English (/ks/) but in Pidanjinu only begins syllables. This will take some practice to pronounce correctly: xaku, /ksaku/, "conflict"; xevo, /ksevo/, "destruction".
Tuesday, July 16th, 2002
12:28 am
Associative Justice
I finalized the draft of the Novvocu system of associative prepositions tonight. It has just five base forms, and five opposites.
Saturday, July 13th, 2002
11:31 pm
Free Association

Once upon a time, Dublex was called Minvoc. It had this rather ugly system of associative prepositions.

Read more...Collapse )
Friday, July 12th, 2002
11:09 pm
Subjecting Myself To Prepositions
Dublex had some instrumental prepositions:
bo by (with the help of)
ro for (as a means of)
zo with (by means of).
As in: "The pizza can be cut BY Dad WITH a knife FOR an equal distribution."

Novvocu will just use particles for that instead. I started work on a system of 16 associative prepositions, but it will take some time to flesh out:
subiecto, "about (concerning)"
consubiecto, "not about (not concerning)"
From this new word:
subiect [From Latin 'subiectus', extant in English, Acadon, et al.] discipline, subject, subject area, subject field, field, field of study, study, branch of knowledge -- (a branch of knowledge; "in what discipline is his doctorate?"; "teachers should be well trained in their subject"; "anthropology is the study of human beings");; subject, topic, theme -- (the subject matter of a conversation or discussion; "he didn't want to discuss that subject"; "it was a very sensitive topic"; "his letters were always on the theme of love");; topic, subject, issue, matter -- (some situation or event that is thought about; "he kept drifting off the topic"; "he had been thinking about the subject for several years"; "it is a matter for the police")
Contrast with Dublex subect.
Wednesday, July 10th, 2002
11:45 pm
I Think I'm Learning Japanese
I think I'm learning Japanese,
I think I'm learning Japanese,
I really think so.
It's been fun studying Japanese. I thought I loved Mandarin's grammar, but I love Japanese grammar even more. Check out its cool particle system.

It's also impressive how much less space Japanese writing takes than English writing: Day Of The Locusts.

All of this is providing inspiration for Novvocu. Here's an expansion of the particle system:Read more...Collapse )
11:17 pm
I'll Take A Vowel, Pat
I updated the description of Novvocu pronunciation to include a schematic map of what the vowel system looks like in your mouth. This was handily lifted from a wonderful web page for conlang enthusiasts, A Survey of some Vowel Systems.
Monday, July 8th, 2002
11:08 pm
Ads Added
I sold $422.63 of Amazon goods in the second quarter, of which only $21.00 was for an item I recommended. People click through my sixty featured product links and then shop for something else 96% of the time. Weird. Of course I only make 5% when they do that, vs. 15% when they buy something I recommend.

I made a whopping $23.40. Still not close to paying for my book habit. :-)

So I integrated "ads" into the home page. My ads are more subtle than Tom's Hardware. Ahem. Let me know if you really hate them.

Not much to report tonight on the Novvocu front, since I used my free time to program the Visual Basic application I wrote to keep the site up to date. I did start looking at the prepositional system. That's going to be complicated.
Sunday, July 7th, 2002
11:43 pm
The OK Corral of Correlatives
I looked at last month's site stats and finally updated the 10 most popular language pages on LangMaker.com. Quite a bit of change, with Atlantean the new number one, displacing humble Kordron.

Meanwhile, back on the Novvocu front, I think I've wrangled up a good group of correlatives.Read more...Collapse )
Saturday, July 6th, 2002
11:02 pm
No Correlation
There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, Dim being really Dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar making up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening, a flip dark chill winter bastard though dry. The Korova Milkbar was a milk-plus mesto, and you may, O my brothers, have forgotten what these mestos were like...
- Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
Unfortunately, yesterday I worked at the office until 8:00 pm and didn't have a chance to work on Novvocu at all. Anybody out there want to pay me to invent languages?

Tonight I worked on a system of correlatives, similar to the Esperanto table of correlatives. It's a lot of work. I'm still generating the root words to use.Read more...Collapse )
Thursday, July 4th, 2002
11:45 pm
Conjunction Junction, What's Your Function?
Conjunction Junction, what's your function?
Hookin'-up cars and makin' 'em function.
Conjunction Junction, how's that function?
I like tyin' up words and phrases and clauses.

- Schoolhouse Rock
I knew that if changed the article system I would end up changing the conjunction system as well. I was hoping to declare my independence from articles altogether, because the final Dublex article system that I had come up with was way too complex, with 48 (!) different forms. Unfortunately, I finally decided that articles do play an important role in Novvocu, though I simplified things by removing obligatory number marking, by breaking out demonstrative adjectives and by using the no particle for genitive pronouns. The current article system has just six forms: un (indefinite), al (introductory), {null} (continuing), em (general), ir (partitive) and ot (negative), one of which signifies its meaning by being omitted. I had originally considered something more naturalistic, such as definite articles of al (from Arabic), el (from Spanish), il (from Italian) and ol (invented), but those forms are harder to remember being so close together in shape, so -- except for un (Romance) and the aforementioned al -- I just arbitrarily invented forms that differ from one another in both vowel and consonant.

The decision to include articles as VC forms prompted me to change conjunctions to VCC forms, because Read more...Collapse )
Wednesday, July 3rd, 2002
11:35 pm
Dreaming Of Demonstratives
How much am I thinking about Novvocu? I woke up this morning and my first thought - honestly! - was, "If I'm using no to indicate possession, then that means that 'my book' is von no citab, so vona citab wouldn't mean 'my book' but would mean 'this book'." Demonstratives - "this", "that" and "yonder" - can be thought as object pronouns: "this = the thing near me", "that = the thing near you", and "yonder = the thing near them". My subconscious came up with a more elegant treatment of demonstratives than I had come up with for Dublex, which involved appending a demonstrative particle dem to pronouns.
Read more...Collapse )
Tuesday, July 2nd, 2002
10:04 pm
Novvocu Work
I updated the Novvocu section of the web site with a summary of all the notes I've pulled together on grammar so far. I also updated a spreadsheet of Novvocu terms, but that's not ready to be published yet. Finally, I read a lot more about Japanese, which is a great influence right now. For instance, vowel clusters in Novvocu are pronounced as in Japanese, where each vowel in a cluster has equal weight and is pronounced as if it were a simple vowel. Vowel clusters are not pronounced like diphthongs. So duos, "two", is /DUU-ohs/, not /dwos/.

I've also been thinking a lot about an expansion and revision of the particle system, but I want to do some more reading before I reach any conclusions.
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