Monday, June 25, 2012

Creating a fantasy language: Lesson 3

Part 3: Making it more complex.
(Creating a fantasy language: (Lesson 1, Rationale, Lesson 2, Lesson 3, Lesson 4Choosing wordsCreating an Alphabet)

In part one of writing a fantasy language, you made root words and began to make vocabulary. In part two, you created the basic sentence structure. The next logical step is to get more complex: begin making more complicated sentences by adding more of what you already have.

Now that you’re getting more than a few words, you’ll want to start reading your sentences aloud (or whispering them to yourself at your desk, whichever). Not only will this help avoid writing things that can’t be spoken, it will also start hinting to you where you need punctuation.

Start with a review, something that you can already do:

You put a ball down on the floor.
ut (you) (male)
Cortan (ball)
nansan (to put down)
ne (a)
ke (the)
bason (floor)
tep (on)
You on the floor put down a ball.
ut tep ke Bason nansanla ne Cortan.

Remember, our basic sentence structure is
(Who) (where) (what happens) (what)
Or, more grammatically: (subject)(preposition)(verb)(object)

This leads to a question, what if it’s the subject to which the preposition applies? For example, let’s say we’re talking about a person on a chair.

at (he)

New rule: when the preposition applies to the subject, each word in the prepositional phrase gains a prefix of the same gender as the subject (in this case, a- for male).

He, on the chair, puts a ball down.
He (the one on the chair) puts down a ball.
at atep ake aWitkin nansanda ne Cortan.

Okay: PROBLEM. I just tried to read that aloud. (Go on, try it.) See what I mean? It’s hard to say. People try to avoid speech patterns that are difficult to say.

So let’s alter this rule.

Revised rule: When the preposition applies to the subject, the preposition and the object of the preposition gain a prefix of the same gender as the subject.

He (the one on the chair) puts down a ball.
at atep ke aWitkin nansanda ne Cortan.

Now read that aloud. For me, this was much easier – and only a one-letter change!

Now let’s see how this combines with a preposition that applies to the object as well.

it (she)
(who)(where who is)(where object goes)(what happens)(to what)
(subject)(subject’s prepositional phrase)(object’s prepositional phrase)(verb)(object)

She on the chair puts a ball down on the floor.
She on the chair on the floor puts down a ball.
it itep ke iWitkin tep ke Bason nansanda ne Cortan.

Now read it aloud.

I don’t know about you, but I had to pause for breath between the prepositional phrases. That’s usually a sign that a comma will be used. Let’s add some punctuation to that:

New rule: put a comma after prepositional phrases applying to the subject.

She on the chair, on the floor puts down a ball.
it itep ke iWitkin, tep ke Bason nansanda ne Cortan.

Now for a little practice:

She on the floor drops a ball on a table.
Cortan (ball)
san (to drop)
ne (a)
ke (the)
bason (floor)
tep (on)
it (she)
Witkin (table)
She on the floor, on a chair drops a ball.
it itep ke iBason, tep ne Witkin sani ne Cortan.

You (the guy under the chair) drop the table to the floor.
You under the chair drop the table to the floor.
ut (you)
uz (under)
ne (a)
ke (the)
Witkin (chair)
tep (on)
Hoskon (table)
Bason (floor)
ti (to)
You under the chair, on the floor drop the table.
ut a’uz ke aWitkin, ti ke Bason sanla Hoskon.

What new rules did you create for your language? Or try writing a sentence using these rules, and share your results in the comments!

Vocabulary so far:
san: to drop nansan: to put down nansanko: to lie down ko: self koma: self-aware
uzko: to be sick kopalli: to self-reprimand palli: to reprimand uz: under syl: to cast magic
sylpana: the magic source pana: lake ako: I (male) iko: I (female) utu: you (object)
ata: him iti: her oto: it (obj) at: he it: she
ut: you ot: it (subject) der: to cause ne: the kes: one
des: two tres: three fes: four res: five ses: six
pes: seven les: eight nes: nine doc: ten cortan: ball
hoskon: table elti: into el: in fodratan: anger fodrishin: hostility
fodrish: hostile del: to create witkin: chair bason: floor borr: to roll
dupon: bowl tep: on laksh: to give Merin: flower Stiton: hair

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