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 Post subject: For new members
PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:38 pm 
Boardlord
Boardlord

Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2002 8:26 pm
Posts: 3376
Location: In the den
How to join

The registry process will ask for a secret code. You can e-mail me at markrose at zompist dot com to get one. Unfortunately, when we don't go through this process, we get a steady pile-on of spammers. Seriously, I used to open registration for a few minutes at a time and I'd get five spammers.

Read the rules (they're in the sticky helpfully labeled "Board rules" in NOTA) and have fun.


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 Post subject: Re: For new members
PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:44 pm 
Boardlord
Boardlord

Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2002 8:26 pm
Posts: 3376
Location: In the den
Getting started with linguistics and conlanging

(Conlang = constructed language; conworld = constructed world.)

For making languages, see the Language Construction Kit. For a very basic and short introduction to languages and linguistics, see the sci.lang FAQ.

I have a bunch of books out on conlanging and conworlding. If you're new to it all, try the print or Kindle version of the LCK. Links are on my site, which also has other articles relevant to languages and linguistics, as well as neat tools like the Sound Change Applier and a vocabulary generator.

My own conlangs explain a good deal of linguistics along the way-- e.g. inflection in Cuêzi, agglutination in Wede:i, some unusual verb handling in Kebreni, syntax in Axunašin, ergativity and triliteral roots in Old Skourene, a rethinking of case roles in Elkarîl, monosyllabic roots in Uyseʔ.

If you wanted to read one book on linguistics (besides mine!), make it J.C. Catford's A Practical Introduction to Phonetics. Phonetics is the basis for linguistics, and this book will show you how to make almost all the sounds of human languages, without having to find a teacher.

The best general reference book is David Crystal's The Cambridge Encylopedia of Linguistics. Or to take another approach, The World's Major Languages, edited by Bernard Comrie, gives meaty descriptions of fifty languages-- a great sourcebook.

The definitive book on writing systems is Daniels & Bright's The World's Writing Systems; an excellent shorter (and far cheaper) introduction is Geoffrey Sampson's Writing Systems.

There are several good books named Historical Linguistics; I particularly recommend the one byTrask. On language contact, the best overview is Thomason & Kaufman, Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics.

Many people here have found Thomas Payne's Describing Morphosyntax very useful; a lot of the same material is covered in my Advanced Language Construction.

Outside these fields, linguistics has been progressing rapidly in several opposing directions. For a good introduction to the Chomskian point of view, try Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct. Personally I find James McCawley's approach to syntax more reasonable; see The Syntactic Phenomena of English and while you're at it, his Everything that Linguists have Always Wanted to Know about Logic but were ashamed to ask. Another modern view, leading to cognitive linguistics, is George Lakoff's Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things. Guy Deutscher's The Unfolding of Language covers a lot of ground, including some excellent introductions to metaphor and triliteral systems.

The L&L Museum contains some of the best linguistics topics that have appeared on the board, and are full of pointers to all sorts of online resources.

Wikis: The FrathWiki has a lot of useful conlanging/conworlding info, including pages devoted to Akana, a collaborative conworld that started here. Also see the KneeQuickie, run by our own Neek.

Other conlanging sites: You may also like the CBB. The Language Construction Society has many resources available and runs an annual conference.


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 Post subject: Re: For new members
PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:55 pm 
Boardlord
Boardlord

Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2002 8:26 pm
Posts: 3376
Location: In the den
Some positive advice

If you want to post your work... if it's short, post it in C&C Quickies; otherwise in Conlangery & Conworlds.

C&C Quickies is pruned after a month. Conlangery & Conworlds isn't, but by Calto and Išira, keep a local copy. Never assume that a server you don't own will keep your stuff around forever.

Look around, be friendly, get to know people, and look at their work.

Got questions? Great, ask away! If they're very basic or broad ("what's a phoneme?" "how do I make a language family?"), it helps to show that you looked around a bit on your own-- did you read the online LCK? did you Google the term that confused you?

There are several mods, but we don't read every thread! If someone gives you a hard time, look at the board rules for what to do. (Fastest thing: use the red ! button on the posting.)

Things that don't go well

We've been doing this for ten years, and by now it's clear that some folks are going to have problems here. Try to avoid these things:

1. Freaking out over criticism. People here are... how shall I put it... slow to praise. If you can't handle negative reactions, don't post your work. Most of the time, the critic has a point, and they've taken the time to look your stuff over... give them some slack and try not to be defensive.

2. Freaking out over people not looking at your stuff. When I was a lad, no one wanted to see your conlang at all. We have a board now where you can post it, but no one is obligated to review your work. If that's what you want, you're much more likely to get it if you are seen as friendly and helpful, and make comments on other people's work.

3. Telling the board how to do things. Maybe your ideas are fabulous, maybe not, but if you just arrived, your priority should be finding out how things work, not changing them.

4. If you have a non-standard theory, you'd better be patient and unusually amiable. Don't attack people, don't ignore rebuttals, don't get mad because people don't follow you.

5. If you do mess up-- apologize, try to do better, but please understand that embarrassment will not actually kill you. Don't blame it on your brother hijacking your account; don't keep bringing up the incident; don't keep making promises.


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