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Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous?
http://www.incatena.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=42180
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Author:  Porphyrogenitos [ Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous?

Hi! I've been thinking of developing a naturalistic conlang derived from a historical proto-language, and I'd like some advice. I first wanted to use Proto-Italic (I thought about a Romlang, but that seemed overdone), but I could hardly find any sources on its vocabulary or grammar. (If anyone can help me with that, that'd be nice.) So I thought I'd use Proto-Indo-European.

I've been reading about Proto-Indo-European, and it just seems incredibly complex to me. Everything about it is quite hard to grasp. I found for Proto-Indo-European, but it appears to be based on older sources and doesn't seem to line up with laryngeal theory. However, to be perfectly honest with myself, its level of complexity seems a bit more "within my reach".

So, what I'd like to know is: Would it be better for me to create a higher-quality derivation from a reconstruction that, while possibly out-of-date, I am able to work with more easily - or work with a more rigorous and complex reconstruction, but one that I am more likely to make mistakes with? Does it matter either way as long as my derived conlang is derived in a consistent manner?

Additionally, does anyone have any suggestions for good proto-languages to work with - that is, ones that are well-documented and aren't too difficult for someone with a hobby-level knowledge of linguistics to understand? (Clearly, I would not attempt to work with Old Chinese.)

Author:  Yng [ Fri Sep 06, 2013 2:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous


Author:  Salmoneus [ Fri Sep 06, 2013 4:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous

Nothing matters.

All that's significant in choosing your starting material is what you want your result to be. If you're just randomly picking something to save you having to create a parent language de novo, sure, it doesn't matter how un-IE your source material is. If you want to make something that could pass for IE, or that impresses IEists, then clearly it does matter how IE your source material is.

[Do bear in mind, though, that all (I assume all?) of PIE's daughter languages have greatly simplified large parts of PIE's grammar.]

Author:  Dewrad [ Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous


Author:  Porphyrogenitos [ Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous


Author:  Yng [ Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous


Author:  dhok [ Sun Sep 08, 2013 4:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous

Just note that you'd better have access to a university library if you want to do Uralic, because the material you'll need is all over the place. And a reading knowledge of Russian wouldn't hurt, either (I have the former, but not the latter). There's a thread in L&L on Uralic historical linguistics you should check out, though bear in mind it'll end up in L&L museum sometime within the next few days.

Actually, you'd better have access to a university library in any case, if you want to do a language derived from an existing one or a reconstructed protolanguage. I'm doing a language set in a not very obscure branch (Italo-Celtic) of IE, which is after all the best-documented and most-researched language family in the world, working with a six million-volume university library- and I have to special-order some pretty damn obscure books. If you don't have a university library, about the only family you can hope to make a reasonable member of is Romance, and even there you have to be careful about where in the family your project is located.

Author:  WeepingElf [ Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous


Author:  Salmoneus [ Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous

Does it matter if a possibility is 'taken'?

Author:  WeepingElf [ Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous


Author:  Qwynegold [ Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous

Wasn't there someone who already did Vampiric Sumerian? Or was that only a script?

Author:  Morrígan [ Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous


Author:  KathTheDragon [ Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous


Author:  Porphyrogenitos [ Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous


Author:  Click [ Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous


Author:  Zju [ Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous


Author:  Tropylium [ Tue Sep 10, 2013 7:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous

If I'm not missing something, folks are conflating two different senses of "proto-language" here.

Proto-language, in our conlang parlance, means "an older stage of the 'final' language I want to create". In the historical linguistics sense, it means "reconstructed common ancestor of two or more attested languages". Therefore, e.g. Sanskrit or Classical Latin, ancient as they are, are not proto-languages in the latter sense. While according to the former sense, Old English would be a "proto-language of English", or Old Japanese would be a "proto-language of Japanese".

If you're interested in doing a diachronic a posteriori language, there is no particular reason to start from a reconstructed example. If anything, that is going to greatly limit the amount of information at your disposal. You can well pick an attested language as your protolang and proceed from there. If you don't care about putting the language in a plausible modern-day setting (a "lostlang"), you could even start from a modern, well-described language, zap any vocabulary like "computer" sort out of it, and pretend to evolve it as if it were spoken thousands of years ago. Like start from Modern Turkish and apply a bunch of sound changes inspired by the development from Proto-Oceanic to Māori?

(Incidentally, the Proto-Polynesian / Proto-Oceanic / Proto-Malayo-Polynesian / Proto-Austronesian series is quite well reconstructed as well, IIUC.)

Another possible point against using reconstructed bottom-level protolangs is that a believable development of several millennia is goign to require working out half a dozen intermediate stages, a shifting palette of loanword influences, etc. But if the scenario is something like suddendly dropping Old Tupi into 17th century Korea, it's entirely OK to enforce some drastic sound and grammar changes that, at a more "natural" environment, would have taken a millennium.

Sanskrit might be one of the best compromises between ancientness, well-describedness, and sources-being-in-English-ness, actually. Yet I don't think I've ever seen Indic bogolangs?

Author:  Salmoneus [ Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous

I don't understand where you think that conflation is happening, or why it should matter.

Yes, handwaving a "Tupi gets dropped in 17th century Korea" is, in some ways, easier than evolving a realistic non-extant branch of Indo-European. But some people would prefer to do the latter than the former. Personally, I have no interest in the former because a) it requires the sort of conworld that doesn't much interest me, and b) it gives me little context to appreciate the language in. With an IE language, I can compare and contrast to real IE languages - with a Romlang, to other real Romance languages. But not being an expert in either Tupi or Korean, the context would be lost on me there, and I might as well just make a language from scratch.

Besides, resources for Indo-European are way more easily accessible than resources on Tupi or on 17th century Korean.

Author:  WeepingElf [ Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous


Author:  2+3 clusivity [ Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous


Author:  kanejam [ Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous

I've found that doesn't seem to be active anymore but focused on IE altlangs. Maybe you could find some more resources through them if you can track users down?

Author:  sangi39 [ Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous


Author:  Bristel [ Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous


Author:  sangi39 [ Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous


Author:  Bristel [ Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalistic conlang from a proto-language: How rigorous


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