Language Construction Workshop
This is a pathway through the digital garden based on the contents of my course Language Construction Workshop.
Week 1: Introduction
What is a language and what does it mean to construct a language? In this session, we learn enough of the basics of linguistics to figure out what we need to do to make our first conlang.
Week 2: The Sounds of Your Language
What gives a language its unique sound? In this session, we learn how to classify different types of sounds and use that information to create a palette of sounds for your language to draw on. Then we learn how to combine these sounds to make words according to a unique blueprint for your language.
Week 3: From Words to Sentences
This session is about going from the language’s first words to the language’s first sentences. To do this, we learn the different strategies languages use to package meaning into words. Then we learn about the different ways languages express relationships between words. This gives us the tools to start making sentences.
Week 4: Filling in the Grammatical Gaps
In this session, we expand the grammar we created in the previous week to do the things a language needs to express beyond the simple sentence. By the end of this week, you will be able to tell a simple story in your language.
- Personal pronouns
- Demonstrative pronouns
- Combining clauses with complementizers
- Expressing precise relationships with adpositions
Week 5: Delightful Complications
This week we take your nicely laid-out rules and start adding complications and exceptions. We look at how irregularity in language is the most regular process of all. We also examine how words change their form and meaning over time and see to express aspects of the culture and history of the language’s speakers through the language itself.
- Why does language change?
- How does language change?
- Diachronic conlanging
- Common phonological processes:
- The origins of morphological irregularity
- Grammatical gender and noun classification
- Expressing respect linguistically
Week 6: Show and Tell
We end with some suggestions on how to develop the languages from this starting point.
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