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Writer's Block:
Poor Man's Conlang
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Poor Man's Conlang:

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I'm wanting to construct an alien language (or two) for a sci-fi project, but I know pretty much nothing about actual language anatomy. Does anyone have a good way to do As Long as It Sounds Foreign well, (especially for names) or any other method to generate a realistic-sounding language? (Or would it be worth it to manually construct a language where most of it, apart from names, is skimmed over by Translation Convention?)

edited 25th Oct '10 5:06:40 AM by Yej

Da Rules excuse all the inaccuracy in the world. Listen to them, not me.
I would say unless you are a linguist like Tolkien, constructing a full -on language that would eventually be skimmed over is more work than it's worth. What I do, when I want to construct foreign sounding names, is to choose 8-10 sounds, such as "ay", "sh" "Ki" "Lem" "Rop" and "pos". with these sounds, and their reversals, construct names of places, things and main characters. After that, you should have a good idea of how your language sounds. For example:

Main character is Ropshki, Rop for short. He comes from the planet Aylem, planet Posaysh, in the star system Kilem. His girlfriend is Lekiray, and they both pilot the ship Poshlek. The unobtanium that they carry is known as porsoptan. If you want to make it even a little deepr, assign meanings to a few of the sounds. Pos=waterland (they live in a swampy world, and their ship is amphibious). Ki means jewel (part of the name of their star system and the girl, who could be very pretty).

Make sense?

edited 25th Oct '10 11:53:51 AM by Amarys

Amateur cook Professional procrastinator

 3 Noaqiyeum, Mon, 25th Oct '10 12:27:23 PM from across the gulf of space Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the it-thingy
If you take the above approach, you may want to use the list of proto-Indo-European roots for words that will probably have very basic meanings, to tailor your syllable selection around.
"In case of bad dreams and worse reality, sing out loud."
- eagleoftheninth
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^^ Yep, makes sense, and relatively computerizable if I run out of ideas. At least, if "melsoph" sounds like a word.

^ Ooh, that's interesting. And I probably need to have a good look at the IPA to actually pronounce most of it.

edited 26th Oct '10 8:46:38 AM by Yej

Da Rules excuse all the inaccuracy in the world. Listen to them, not me.
Also known as Katz
Don't use PIE for an alien language. The roots have worked their way into way too many of our words; people will question just how alien these aliens are when they discover that their words for "mother" and "father" are pronounced "mehter" and "pater."

It is, however, excellent for fantasy languages.

For most uses, coming up with a couple dozen words and meanings and a few spare syllables that can be used anywhere should be plenty for naming purposes.

edited 27th Oct '10 5:35:16 PM by jewelleddragon

 6 Noaqiyeum, Wed, 27th Oct '10 7:08:27 PM from across the gulf of space Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the it-thingy
I wasn't recommending using PIE as the base for an alien language. I was recommending looking at the list of concepts that appear in PIE, and then come up with some fancy new syllables to describe those concepts in the proto-xeno-alien language.

They were important enough for human civilizations to keep using the same words for them, that's probably the same for their alien counterparts.
"In case of bad dreams and worse reality, sing out loud."
- eagleoftheninth
Also known as Katz
[up]Ah. Makes sense.

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