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David Peterson joins us for a wonderful Supersize episode where we talk all about growing your lexicon, from generating roots to creating realistic polysemy and semantic fields.  Also, we finally feature an obscure little language we’ve wanted to talk about for a while 😛

Top of Show Greeting: Oltengo

Links and Resources:

Featured Conlang: Dothraki (fan site, David’s blog)

Feedback:

Email from Zelos:

I thought I would tell about a recent conlang wiki that is growing, http://conlang.wikkii.com/wiki/Main_Page it moved from the oldhttp://conlang.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page . We are somewhat small now but are working on becoming a great source for conlang information.

Best Regards, Zelos

From james:

25 Responses to “Conlangery #56: Growing a Lexicon”

  1. Anthony Docimo

    I’m reminded of the A.J.Jacobs book about reading the entire dictionary from end to end. (his other books are good)

    Reply
  2. pá mamūnám ontā́ bán

    David mentioned using “at” + verb for a progressive aspect, this is something that (European) Portuguese does: “estou a trabalhar” (although I think that Brazilian Portuguese uses a present participle: “estou trabalhando”).

    Reply
    • James

      It’s also something English used to do – “a-going” < "at-going", which I've heard some say is a relic from Old Norse and some say is a Celtic substratal influence on Anglo-Saxon (as both ON and the Celtic langs do similar things when forming the progressive).

      Reply
      • Chickenduck

        I haven’t heard “at” used like that before, but I’ve heard people from some parts of England use “after” to do this (including my mother). I.e. they say “that’s what you’re after doing” to mean “that’s what you are doing right now”.

        Also, my father’s parents and grandparents, who spoke Cajun as their first language, would use “après” for the same thing – “je suis après…” – whereas European French speakers would say “je suis en train de…” Not sure if people from Québec use “après” like this or not.

        Reply
      • wm.annis

        It looks promising for a solo conlanger running a Microsoft OS. Us Mac users are out of luck (as often).

        Reply
        • Koppa Dasao

          WeSay actually has the option for collaboration too. But of course, you are right when it comes to biting the Apple. It is not part of the orchard.

          Reply
      • MBR

        I tried using WeSay, but I can’t get it to work. It always crashes on my laptop. I may try creating a language that doesn’t have stupid diacritics and apostrophes in its filename….

        Reply
        • Koppa Dasao

          That is not a problem with WeSay, but with Windows, so clean up your filename and try again.

          Reply
          • MBR

            I actually tried doing that. I yanked out every diacritic and tried using only lowercase alpha characters. Same problem. I submitted a bug report…I think. *sigh* It matters little; I’m going to work on learning how to use LaTeX one of these days, and in the meantime I’ll keep using Lexique Pro. I’ve figured out how to work around the bugs, though it’s a real pain.

  3. MBR

    In my latest language, the habitual aspect marker is not always the habitual aspect. Since it has no copula whatsoever, in order to say “I am a doctor,” you have to say “Iza tindoroks.” (1SG HAB-doctor-IND)

    Reply
    • Anthony Docimo

      So, HAB is both habitual and also ongoing? (the transit of venus (HAB), & the Earth’s rotation (non-HAB))

      or am I misunderstanding?

      Reply
      • MBR

        Yes. It’s always glossed as HAB and it does have that as its primary function, but it sees a ton of action faking noun predication. (It’s really the only way to do noun predication in this language.)

        To mark iteration explicitly, the language, Fok’iándole, uses a combination of tense and telicity: “the sun shone” would be braito spesk’otsiom (sun PST-shine-ATEL).

        Another example sentence that uses the HAB marker itself is “Happy people often shout”: Jaikronon koine tinklaidas. (A-person~PL happy HAB-shout-IND)

        Reply
  4. john Erickson

    As a fairly new conlanger, I definitely went through that frustrated-at-irregularity phase, and I’m just now starting actually get excited about irregularities.

    I use a spreadsheet (Excel) for my dictionaries and I’m having good luck with it. I don’t have any difficulty including multiple definitions, etymological info, etc. The pain is when it comes to transferring it into something that actually looks like a dictionary, I have to format each entry by hand.

    Reply
  5. Owen

    I would love to use LyX for formatting and laying out my lexicons but I cannot find any examples or references online that explain how to really do it. Surely there’s a way to macro it so I don’t have to format each word, word-type, pronunciation, definition in each case? William has said before he uses it, I would love to see a sample of his .lyx files to get an idea how he formats things. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Wm Annis

      It’s actually George who uses LyX. I use straight-up LaTeX, with some of my own crazy macros. I have finally started to work out a few pages introducing conlangers to those parts of LaTeX they might find most useful. It may take a week or three to get them done. I’ll package up my own lexicon macros, too, along the way.

      Reply
      • admin

        Yes, William’s way is probably better, once you get your head around using raw LaTeX and macros. As for me, I am rather stupid about coding and such, so I am stuck pretty much formatting each entry by hand in LyX (which is a LaTeX editor that calls itself WYSIWYM [What You See Is What You Mean], which is apparently a step above WYSIWYG) — ah, well. Someday I’ll figure out the other method.

        Reply
        • Owen

          George, any chance I could see a snippet of what one of your lexicon entries looks like in the LyX editor? I have played around some with LyX but I’d some ideas on how a line-by-line lexicon would be built up, even if it’s manually. Thanks.

          Reply
          • admin

            Sorry, I meant to respond to this sooner. I could take an image for you, but really I just use one of the list settings. Unlike William, I cannot write LaTeX macros and code, so I have to deal with hand-inputting things. I’ll see what I can work up to show you.

  6. Daeiribu

    Funny how William mentions “television” as a word that wouldn’t have too much scope for diversions but it is still there. For example, in Latvian you have “televīzija” (television) and “televizors” (television set). And the thing is, you don’t usually wach television, you watch the television set.

    So there’s variation even in these things 🙂

    Reply
  7. Pontus Sandblom

    I thought it might be interesting to add that, in contrast to the multiple meanings of the word “sweet” mentioned in this episode, the Swedish word for sour (taste and/or smell) similarly also means something along the lines of angry, grumpy, being in a bad mood etc., as well as meaning acidic.

    Reply
    • admin

      That is true in English, too. Sour can mean “grumpy”, and a sourpuss is someone who is grumpy by nature.

      Reply

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