Conlanging 2020-03-22

By Max Woerner Chase

I started going over a listing of transformations/constructions to consider for conlangs, and figuring out how they would or wouldn't apply to what I'm working on right now. I think when I actually get this into a publishable state (... whenever that ends up being), I should try to write up my justifications for the various decisions that went into the design.

One thing I ended up thinking about was another bit of The Syntax Construction Kit, the book I got the list from, where the author seems kind of sad as a conlanger that do-support is a feature of English, because it's objectively pretty strange and interesting. Here are rules that you can't use most verbs in certain ways, so you have to bring in a helper verb, and that results in all kinds of transformations of the sentence. But all of this weirdness is a feature of one of the most widely-spoken languages in the world. Given that one of the failure modes in attempting to make a naturalistic conlang is to make a cipher of one's native language, it feels kind of wrong to intentionally reach for that sort of thing.

Which is something that I'm really cognizant of in my attempts to riff on Standard Average European. I didn't include do-support (since it's not a part of Standard Average European, as near as I can tell), but researching Standard Average European turned up quite a few things for me that I hadn't realized were mostly confined to Europe.

Anyway, I'll get back to this tomorrow.

Good night.