Conlang Tips and Tricks

Having had some experience in conlanging for a while, I thought i could give another 2 cents of my ideas, thoughts and general tips for conlangers. It will be updated as i think of new things

  • Order of work
    • This one is something I would stress very much in the begining, for your own sake and to save yourself problems in the future you should start in this order.
      • Phonology: decied what sounds you wants and dont want, what is equal to what and what isnt? What nyances does your conlang make between sounds and which doesnt? Korean dont differ between B and P but P and Ph and other languages makes further distinctions others make less. Dont be too scared about the sound amount as long as you dont throw things in randomly, keep an order of things where entire series are added. If you have 1 aspired consonant you probably are going to have 4-7 more, Labialisation, palatalization etc all goes for it. Some languages have a tendecy toward one sort and another, russian have Palatilized version of nearly all their consonants, other cases you might just have one of these "special" version but lack the original because it fell out of use and so on, be a bit creative but systematic. As always, slight randomness is always fine.
      • Phonotactics: This one should also be done secondly because it decieds HOW a word can look like and how they change not only over time but morphologicly and other things needed along with being forbidden. If you have a collection of randomly generated words without any form of style or form it wont be realistic nor usable, eahc language always have a feel to them of what a word can be in their language and what cant. Fax [Faks] is perfectly fine in english but in japanese that is forbidden, you can only have (C)V (Consonant Vowel) clusters so they transform it to fit their style giving rise to "Fakusu", rather hilarious in my mind but for them its perfectly accaptable and needed. And where is stress placed? Does it ahve a system? If so what is it? it can be complicated or not, or perhaps it chaotic and random like english?
      • Grammar: This is my personal favorite, directing the word traffic and word formation. How are words generated? Declined? cases? Conjugations? inflected? agreement? Choices are nearly endless here of the most obvious for oneself to the most extrodinary to oneself (relations will be reverted from the other side). Due to the choices there are a high risk of KSLing here but follow a few guidelines and you´ll be fine. Consider if you really need it, perhaps you REALLY want that feature because its so awesome but already got several others? Then consider if you really need all of them or want them all, if you truley do want them all you must make sure they work in harmony with each other and they dont cause friction or head on collission as that is the very definition of KSL then. Another thing to think on is "Do you necciserly need all you are used to?", the answer is in most cases "no", what we take for granted can be left out and replaced by other systems. Because of that if you do have the more "extrodinary" systems perhaps removing a basic one is a good idea to compensate for the new feature(s). Another thing to think on with it is that you dont need a new system continiously for everything. Alot of the systems you probably have already "installed" can be used togather to form new ones making it again more natural. We humans use what we got to form new things or what we need for the moment. The basic system of the language limits the possibilities for this but it will in the end be more realistic than just continiously make up system after system
      • Semantics: Is word meanings, what words mean relative to each other and what their intended purpose is. The tip here is mixing meanigns togather in new ways, but still in an order that make sense. for example english word "Right" can mean the opposite of wrong, unwrong, the right SIDE of a perspective, or that an angle is 90°. The later two makes sense relative to each other because if you go forward then right there is a 90° angle while the first and the other two seme more unrelated. It could come from that left handed people were thoguht of being evil and more likely to be wrong while right handed people were more right hence it got that meaning and more. But if the meaning makes no sense, perhaps its jsut 2 or more words over time having phonologicly fused togather to form the modern version like english Lay adn lie? (Lay, Laid, Laying, Lie, Lied, Lieing) all often mixed with each other. Sometimes expressions cannot be subdivided because the meaning of it is vastely different than its subparts, like "Kick the bucket".
      • Pragmatics: This is how sentences are put togather along with semantics, for example the sentence "Colourless green gas sleeps furiously" is non-sensical because mulitple adjectives colide and adverb mismatch the verb and the noun cant possibly do the verb. It is grammaticly accaptable but pragmaticly impossible. Languages contain these restrictions both structurally how sentences are formed, Japanese dont say "John is an american" but instead "Mister John, He is an american", what words cannot be used togather and such. Think on what form of limitations relative to before could apply here. Does the phonology cause certain structures being favorable? Pershaps semantics is the root here? Is it that the grammar causes extreme sentences so they subdivide it into smaller more usable sentences that is connected? and so on.

If peopel are interested I´ll gladly expand and use my own conlang for the moment as an example

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