A goal to work towards in 2021

I’ve gotten back into conlanging recently after being rather unmotivated for the past couple of years. I don’t know why it is that I’m suddenly interested in working on my conlangs all of a sudden, but I am excited to get back into this hobby again.

The documentation I created for most of my conlangs is not the best. Everything is spread out over multiple spreadsheets and word documents – sometimes even different folders! Things are not where I expect them to be, half-finished dictionaries are everywhere, and different versions of the same conlang exist in the same folder…without revision numbers.

And thus a new goal was born: clean up each conlang. After a bit of planning & deliberating, I decided that for each conlang, I’d do each of these things:

  1. Write a description/overview/summary
  2. Create a complete phonology, including allophony, assimilation, stress, etc.
  3. Finalize the orthography
  4. Work out the entire grammar – nouns, verbs, adjectives, sentence structure, etc. with tons of examples
  5. Create a dictionary with all necessary words
  6. Write a description of the conlang on the Conlangs page of this website
  7. Put the conlang on Conworkshop

Yep, I plan on creating a Conlangs page on this website! I had one a long time ago, then deleted it when I wanted to focus this website more on writing. I also plan on making posts about my conlanging process & history, and individual conlangs themselves.

I hope the rest of you are as excited about this as I am!

My introduction to conlanging

I was introduced to The Lord of the Rings in my first year of high school in 2008. We were reading The Hobbit in English class, and the teacher ended up showing us some of the Lord of the Rings films. I was hooked instantly, bought the books, and convinced my parents to buy the extended editions of the movies. My sister and I watched them frequently.

2008 was the year I first participated in NaNoWriMo. I decided to write a fantasy novel of my own called Runes. This is the original summary:

A race from the Otherworld, the Divine, came to Lochlann and Éirinn. Ten thousand years after that, Zoë Austran is training to become a soldier and a cartographer so she can map little-known areas and discover new lands. However, all of that changes when she meets a half-elf named Cross Éremon. Her little brother, Leon, and “family demon”, Azaré, go missing. She, Cross, Allen and Malcolm (brother and cousin, respectively) go across Éirinn in search of them.

I was super into Irish mythology at the time. Can you tell?

At some point in 2008, I decided that the Divine people needed their own language. This was after I’d started creating and naming the gods and heroes of the world. Their names were a mishmash of Old Irish and Old English, modified to seem like they were part of the same language. This is how the Divine language started.

This language eventually became to be known as “Visanan”. I decided that the word order was Object-Subject-Verb (later changed to Subject-Object-Verb), that nouns had no cases and verbs had very little inflection, and that it had originally been spoken in the four cities of Falias, Murias, Findias, and Gorias. Yes, more Irish mythological references! I changed the names of those cities to Visanan versions later on: Sé Halanivethéas, Sé Leothéas, Sé Garsethéas, and Sé Aelewithéas.

Here is part of a “poem” I wrote describing each city:

Sé gion céasteal ieldanlin sa sé Visanan Mú norinma le.

(The four ancestral cities of the Visanan are located in Mú)

Ionie, Sé Halanivethéas, Céaste sa Halanivesin.

(The first is Sé Halanivethéas, the City of Serendipity)

Gerinél Grennirvisanan sindon, norin nodon sindon.

(Its color is Visanan green, and its location is North)

Sé Halanivethéas céaste sa halanivesin así miurea sindon.

(Sé Halanivethéas is the city of serendipity and innovation)

Vionie, Sé Léothéas, Céaste sa Léo.

(The second is Sé Léothéas, the City of Light)

Gerinél gilden sindon, norin sidon sindon.

(Its color is gold, and its location is East)

Sé Léothéas céaste sa léo así aethesos sindon.

(Sé Léothéas is the city of light and understanding)

Vivionie, Sé Garsethéas, Céaste sa Garsewer.

(The third id Sé Garsethéas, the City of the Sea)

Gerinél maelvisanan sindon, norin desidon sindon.

(Its color is Visanan blue, and its location is South)

Sé Garsethéas céaste sa wires así gares sindon.

(Sé Garsethéas is the city of hardiness and endurance)

Gionie, Sé Aelewithéas, Céaste sa Aelenwini.

(Te fourth is Sé Aelewithéas, the City of White Flame)

Gerinél wini sindon, norin vedon sindon.

(Its color is white, and its location is West)

Sé Aelewithéas céaste sa friuwe así libowe sindon.

(Sé Aelewithéas is the city of truth and fact)

After I did all this work, I realized it would be more interesting if each of the four cities had their own dialects, and that Visanan needed to be reworked as a proto-language. I never actually succeeded at doing this. The above poem shows the general aesthetic I wanted to keep in one of the daughter languages, but I was never able to derive a language from the proto-language that I found satisfactory.

I finished writing Runes (all 168,305 words of it) in March 2011 and set it aside. I originally intended to edit it, but there were too many changes I’d made during the middle of the story. In March 2011, I was 16 and did not have the discipline to edit a novel. I didn’t want to do it, so I didn’t. There were other stories in the Runes universe to write, and I moved onto those. And so I continued working on Visanan.

By mid-2016, Old Visanan was more of a conlang than any of the previous versions of Visanan, with a regular orthography, a phonology that made sense, and a fairly decent, sensible grammar for a largely analytic language. However, I’d either finished writing or scrapped every single story in the Runes universe years earlier. There was no need for me to continue working on the language, so I didn’t.

I worked on this language on-and-off for almost eight years. I’ve never spent so much time on any conlang in my life. It’s honestly incredible that one thing managed to occupy so much of my free time for so long! And I don’t know why I kept working on this language for so long. Maybe because it was my first conlang and I didn’t want to abandon it?

Has anyone here ever made a conlang, or been interested in constructed languages?