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Creating Languages

Because of the progress in technology which translates spoken and written language in real time, I think, in the near future it will become less and less important what language one actually speaks.

But of course, there will still be some languages which will be learned and spoken much more than others.

I kinda hope the next superpower is some African nation. :smiley: It would be nice to see people in Africa to overcome their ethical conflicts and all the other late aftermaths of the colonial age and starting to really thrive. Also interesting it would be to see African culture to be molded in (a different) modern lifestyle as we saw in “Black Panther”. That was cool.

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We should just use Latin, Greek and Hebrew for science, and maybe Sanskrit. They are very complex and beautiful and more or less neutral.

So, I’m gonna start creating my own language. I’ll start with basic vocabulary and then nouns.

I plan to borrow most words from Ancient languages, mostly Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic. I decide between them mostly on how good or bad something sounds, really. Also, I have to adjust words in sound and morphology to my language.

At first, I need some advice for noun declension. I want a declension system akin to Classical Latin and Ancient Greek, or modern-day German and Russian. Nouns and relating words (adjectives, pronouns, articles, numbers etc.) are inflected (change their form, mostly endings) depending on a combination of gender, number and case. That’s what they do in the mentioned languages and in mine.

So, genders: There are only 2, people say. Well, not exactly… I want to use 5 genders. Of course, they will have nothing to do with real biological genders. In my language, gender will be a declension pattern that has to be memorized with each word. I can’t decide how to name them, though.
As for numbers, I want to use 3: Singular, dual and plural. Akin to English, with the exception that their is a special form for two entities of something, the dual. The plural is then used only for 3+ entities.
My language willhave many cases, both functional and semantical. Ancient Greek and Modern German have only functional cases, that mark a word’s function in a sentence. Finnish has many exotic semantic cases, which carry meanings akin to English prepositions. Sanskrit had both.

My current idea is like this:
gender (5): solar, lunar, stellar, meteoric, nebuleuse
number (3): singular, dual, plural
case (12): nominative, vocative, dative, accusative, genitive, locative, instrumental, ablative, temporal, causal, benefactive, comitative

That gives us 180 possible combinations. To compare, Classical Latin has 31* and Modern German has 16.

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are you writing a program showing the application of this language?

It is for a science fantasy universe.

What do ye think about using real genders in a language, like French, Spanish, Arabic and Russian do?

Some people think it is sexist. But to me that’s nonsense. Sexism means to hate other people for their gender, how can grammar do that, especially since women use it too and influence its evolution.

For me, the gendered nouns thing feels animistic, when gender is applied to words that describe (seemingly) lifeless objects. E.g the word ‘lune’ for ‘moon’ is female in French while ‘lapis’ for ‘stone’ is male in Latin. Yet, ‘fräulein’, a girl, is unanimate in German… well.

I’ve also thought about number. Not all languages differate like between ‘a table’ vs ‘several tables’ and ‘one mouse’ vs ‘two or more mice’, even though for most native English speakers that naturally feels like a very necessary information. Instead, they leave number up to context.

As for case, maybe I use less than those 12 and abandon all semantic cases and use only those which carry sentence functions: Nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative. Basically like Ancient Greek. Since, cases are infamous for being very hard to master for learners of a foreign language, especially when their native tongue doesn’t have cases. Genders - at least, for unnatural genders - have this problem too, though.

In Latin and Greek, with little expertise the gender of a new word can be guessed with high accuracy. Yet to memorize case declensional patterns takes a lot of study and will still result in many errors for a long time when writing without help.

Ein interessanter Ansatz:

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I think what might be useful in a more rational language would be qualifiers for probability. For each statement the subjective probability (range) that the speaker expects the statement to be true should be inserted in the sentence. Probability quantifiers could be precise (percentages) or fuzzy (unlikely, very likely). They could be prefixes or suffixes to verbs. Adding them to other worlds would indicate a level of uncertainty about the correctness of the specified word (for whatever reason).

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I believe some Native American languages have something like that.

I have a question for the multilingual folks here:

As one’s native tongue serves as some kind of operating system for the mind and therefore is an essential part of one’s identity, do you consider your foreign accent a part of your identity when using another language, and don’t bother about it, or do you try to sound like a native speaker?

I think partly in English and partly in German, depending on the context. I could pass as native English speaker, in many circumstances, but certainly not all. Especially not in those areas in which I haven’t absorbed the English terminology, yet.

I always think in English, except if I speak or write in another one.

Some say language influences thought and multilingual people have different personalities in different languages.

i don`t think language is an os for the mind. by intraception i perceive my thoughts as concepts first, then i look for their names, the term. sometime i have the feeling of the abstract notion, i feel my spirit wandering in some dark valley searching for enlightement - and then, suddently i get over the word, which gives me power of the idea to handle it at my will.

btw- animals are thinking too, without structured language.

language is imho not an os, but just a story-teller. we are telling us many fairy tales about god and the world, and ourselves and the others of course. but it is not in that way the mind works.

the mind works silently like a thief in the night, and he is smart enough to deflect our attention by telling us little stories, like a father tells his child a good night story to keep him asleep. that is the use and the worth of languages.

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