I’m up to 300 meanings. I’m picking words thematically, not atomically. An atomic lexicon results in phrases that build up using salient features that each add to each other. So that crappy fried cabbage dish they serve in chinese restaurants would be a six compound word, meaning “fried+greasy+cabbage+bean sprouts+MSG+bamboo”. But an eponym, like “Buddha’s delight” even sounds better than the dish it names.
Also, short words are the words people care about. DDT, (deedeetee) didn’t remain a long word for long. When I was a kid, I thought teayentea was a word meaning dynamite. Toki pona’s telo seli pimeja (coffee) is too long for something I drink everyday. (Yeah, I know, given the right in-person context, one could just say “telo”)
So I took a look at the wikipedia articles on Buddhism and Norse Mythology and picked out a bunch of words that looked fun.
I also added a bunch of words that are just a pain when you don’t have them– parts of the day, numbers 0 to 9 and some numbers for powers of 10, names of arithmetic operations.
I have a bunch of common urban plants and animals, house hold items, internet words, food words, linguistics words. These are the things that a modern city dwelling, conlang hobbyist cares about. Conlang hobbyists aren’t hunter and gathers, even if they from time to time dabble in languages that are sometimes simple in the way that a primitive societies language is.
I’ve also decided to make it a language with a philosophy in the sense of having suitable jargon and having some design characteristics that express some metaphysical opinion. Namely, I plan to make transitory things verbs. So kinship terms for inlaws, wives, etc are intransitive verbs (or maybe reflexive), and blood kin are nouns.
I will need to keep down the total number of concepts, so I think adjectives and adverbs are out. I guess a adverbless sentence would be something like, “He ran quickly” vs “He hastens running”
I think I’ve decided on what 2 concepts grammaticalized in the verb: expected outcome and relationship of the participants. One or the other or both has to be mentioned.
I think tomorrow I will work out some glosses. i.e. I will write what the intra-linear gloss looks like, even though I still won’t be able to write anything above the gloss!