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24 May 2006 @ 11:24 pm
Ílion  
I've been intending to post about my conlangs for ages now. About time I did so.

My most active conlang project is Ílion, and is for a setting/story project I've been calling Galiant, a space opera/fantasy/mech warfare comic idea. It's the language of a humanoid alien race, the dominant civilization in the solar system in which the story is set, and as such is also the lingua franca of interplanetary trade and diplomacy. Most characters are humans and speak something rendered as English natively. Ílion dialogue would appear as Ílion, but would be translated in captions. In the back of each issue/collection would be a Ílion-English dictionary containing all of the Ílion words used in that issue, plus a page explaining the grammar and pronunciation. The one-page limit for the grammar is a tough constraint, although I'm cheating a bit by letting myself put grammar words in the dictionary part.

It's also supposed to be aesthetically pleasing. This is pretty subjective, but I'm taking as my visual model French and Irish Gaelic. The orthography is meant to evoke these languages by containing a lot of letter combinations typical of them: e.g. "ll" and "nn" from French, and lots of consonant-"h" digraphs from Gaelic. The spelling is much more phonemic than either of those arcane orthographies, however.

I'm trying to balance ease of learning with introducing concepts that English speakers may find unfamiliar (but not too alien). Since English has a lot of binary distinctions, there ends up being a lot of "threeness" to the grammar: three noun cases (primary, oblique, genitive), three genders (masculine, feminine, neuter), three verb moods (indicative, subjunctive, imperative), three aspects (perfective, progressive, iterative), "three" tenses. It has strict SOV, head-final word order (although verbs are fronted in imperative sentences).
 
 
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Derakonderakon on May 25th, 2006 06:39 am (UTC)
Ahh, conlangs. I had a project once to make one...my basic premise for the grammar was to throw out strict word orderings and use grammatical syllables to indicate the "type" of a word. So each word could be a noun, a verb, or an adjective/adverb, depending on usage. E.g. the "friend" word could be m'kali, n'kali, or s'kali, meaning "a friend", "to befriend", or "friendly", respectively. And depending on how you wanted to have the emphasis, you could go from "I befriended that rock" to "I befriended that rock" to "I befriended that rock" all just by varying the word order (most important concept comes first in the sentence).

I got a bit bogged down in trying to work out subphrases, and then got distracted by something else. I should re-create the script I had for the language though; it was pretty nifty.
gwallagwalla on May 26th, 2006 12:09 am (UTC)
Esperanto claims to do the same WRT word classes. It doesn't really work, though, or at least it's very irregular.