Every year I remember that I should be writing and completing a conlang about November because of Nanowrimo month. I wouldn’t write a novel in a conlang, and I’m not really a competent writer, so I wouldn’t write a novel that uses a conlang as an element. I just want to write a conlang. I got a reasonable distance last year, but didn’t finish.
My plan for this year is to actually work on two conlangs, last years and a new one. It sounds stupid to divide effort, but I figure if I can keep from adding a language feature to a language that doesn’t need it, that is a good thing. The other language will get the left over feature(s).
Also, this year I’ll be doing flash cards.
Day one- phonotactics. Phonetic inventory will probably an English subset. My audience is people who live in the same city as me, so I know they won’t do a good job of producing vowels and consonants that they can’t hear.
Day two- generate words.
Day three- Assign meanings using a core + branch technique. The idea is that you pick a generated word, assign a meaning, and then figure out how a language with that core word would work. If you have a verb for the time the sun crosses the horizon, by metaphor, you have a (part) of a word for death, the end, and other associated concepts. In you add a bound morpheme, try to bind it to all the existing words and see what it generates. The key here is that early assigned meanings will block future word building strategies. After you have “dusk+man” to mean a human’s death, you don’t need a basic word for death.
End of week 1 – Flash cards loaded into anki and being reviewed on a daily basis.
End of week 2- Pidgin corpus. Write some provisional sentences. Imagine one is communicating to a fluent speaker and you need to rotate through all the possible variations on how to say something in order to make yourself understood. The specific meanings available will
End of week 3- Create verbal paradigms, syntax and what not to formalize and make efficient patterns from the pidgin corpus. If a feature was planned for but isn’t realized yet, make it happen here. For example, if you don’t have a cool pronoun system that varies by speaker height, implement it now.
End of week 4- Write up drafts of community documents: dictionary, grammar, license
Day 30, postmortem.