My previous conlanging efforts consist of two large projects plus the odd side project. Here are the ones of note.
Lesdekan was my first full conlang, developed in my thirties but drawing on older material. The language is flawed in many ways but was fun to develop. It was displayed on a now-defunct website lesdeka.iwarp.com affiliated to Taliesin’s Scattered Tongues webring.
The Wayback Machine has conserved parts of it. These first two texts tell how Lesdeka was a nation on a large island off western Europe.
The language was VSO with a modicum of affixation. It is described in the next two files dating from 2002 and 2004 respectively:
An outline history of the island was also provided on the site:
Culture and folklore were not neglected, either. The next set of files discuss Lesdekan society and arts:
Much space was given on the site to Lesdeka’s national sport, cudgel. This was a bat and ball game adapted from a real game of the same name found in Arthur Mee’s Children’s Encyclopedia, a book my younger self devoured avidly.
I even produced cudgel results and league tables. At first, scores were based on dice-rolling. Later, teams were tied to English county cricket teams, dividing their results by 40%. Having real-world counterparts ensured my teams performed consistently. The teams in this next file are different to those in the previous file, NB.
I later developed another sport called Yhebano. The game belongs to the basketball/netball family. Once again, a league was required. This time I drew scores from tied teams in a real-world competition. In this case, the Rugby Union Premiership were chosen.
Yhebano later became Xebano (see next item) and eventually Hebano, the national sport of Mohai. Though now I conceive of the game as played on roller-skates.
Xelhara was a South American Indian language spoken in the Lesdekan colony of Gĭneka which I placed near Guyana. It was meant to be exotic. It was not truly exotic though, due to my knowledge of linguistics at the time.
It had VSO word order and marked subject and object on the verb and had a lot of nasal vowels.
By the time I wrote the text below, the language had moved to Ixuriku, an island off Brazil. The sport Yhebano had become Xebano and was native to Ixuriku, not Lesdeka.
Illyrian was my attempt at a Romlang. As the name implies, it was set in the western Balkans. Illyria was about the size of Montenegro and inspired by holidays in the former Yugoslavia. I drew on my knowledge of the area, the Italian and Latin languages.
In many ways it resembled Romanian but I also copied features from Classical Latin such as four verb conjugations. Of course, though, you should start with Vulgar Latin. Historical derivation was not systematic. What sounded nice to me was much more important and there was little irregularity.
Illyrian was a small but fun project and not wholly implausible. There had been a Roman presence in the area and Dalmatian had survived in Croatia into the Early Modern era, so why not Illyrian? I knew of the ancient Illyrian language. In my scenario, this was called Old Illyrian and recognised as an unrelated tongue.
Romlangs tend to fall into two camps: what Latin/Romance would have produced had it not died out, and what would have resulted had the Romans added places to their Empire.
Illyrian above falls into the first camp and Suomina into the second . It is the Romance language of Suomi, or, Finland. Apparently, the Romans got there, too.
It took the familiar Latin/Romance vocabulary and worked it in an agglutinating, Finnish way. It used Finnish-style phonemes. There were no voiced obstruents and plenty of double letters. There was no attempt at historical accuracy, but it was fun and a good way for me to explore how agglutination worked. What there is of the language is viewable here:
Unfortunately, Suomina turns out to be the name for a bacterium. Lesson: always research the name chosen for your language and website before publishing!
M was the language of a surly, uncommunicative race of aliens. Some M have taken human form and live amongst us. You may even have met one or two 🙂
The language’s chief claim to fame was that it only has “one” phoneme: /m/. In fact, there were tones and a syllabic /m̩/ as well, but that’s not such a good headline.
Fwoshadosh was the secret language of washing machines. It was inspired by a surreal trip to the cellar where our machine and tumble-dryer sit side-by-side. On this occasion, the two machines clicked and whirred alternately, like they were having a conversation.
So I sketched a language based around sibilants and mechanical noises. One phoneme, written “*” actually meant “time to call the engineer”!
I presented Fwoshadosh on the Zompist Bulletin Board and received many suggestions to expand on it, like dialects based on brands and deriving it from Proto-Machine, also to somehow incorporate cycles and programmes into the syntax. I still mean to flesh it out along these lines One Fine Day.
Lhemburan was a something of a bucket into which I poured my latest linguistic fads. It was variously VSO, SOV, ergative and active-stative. It was, in fact, anything but plain old SVO nominative-accusative. It became more of a task than a thing of joy. In a discussion about Lhemburan on the ZBB, miekko suggested I could probably create a good nominative-accusative language and thus was born the seed of an idea.
That idea became Õtari, my most complete language to date. As suggested, it sticks to the SVO nom-acc framework I am familiar with, but I made it as un-European as possible, following research into the isolating languages like Yoruba and Indonesian.
I also looked into the details of English syntax and found some pleasing oddities there, too. Lessons: 1) SVO nom-acc does not have to be boring and 2) You can develop a familiar framework much further than an unfamiliar one. Õtari is conceived of as extinct and normally discussed in the past tense.
Õtari was the original language of Mohai, prior to its incorporation into the Heitak Empire. It was a member of the Dahu language family. It was subject-verb-object with nominative-accusative alignment and zero-marking. Here is the full 140-odd page grammar:
This was the invader language that killed off Õtari. It was an SVO language with head-marking and suitably harsh bad guy consonants. It was very unlike the mellifluous Lemohai, but an important source of loan words for Lemohai. Classical Leheitak was the ancestor of Modern Leheitak. Both were members of the Kelma language family. Neither have survived into the current version of the Mohai project.
Senduri was viewed as the original language of Mohai, prior to the arrival of the Dahu tribes. It is now seen as the language of a remote archipelago. It is verb initial and has a trigger alignment. It is a linguistic isolate.