3

I've been immersed in the magic of languages since childhood (LOTR, Myst, Eragon) - and now that I'm dreaming up a world of my own, I'm interested in developing a unique and interesting language for it.

There's many aspects of creating a language I can peg down myself, chief among them being design. However, I'm finding it really hard to get started on the structure: syntax and morphology. Are there resources online dedicated to detailing unique structural aspects of language?

For example: I've taken a couple of courses in japanese, and I love the use of particles - tiny words (and sometimes even phonemes) that are meaningless on their own, but modify and give context to the words they're attached to. I've also studied the way that Tolkien formulated elvish, and while I love his creativity in formulating the alphabet, I have no interest in copying it. I want to find more examples of uncommon structure and syntax like these - any sites/books/resources out there that would enable my search?

  • 1
    I think your question is too open-ended the way it is phrased. After all, considering the variety of language families in the world, I suppose you could find dozens of unusual constructs for an English speaker (assuming we can precisely define "unusual" in this context). Take a look at the WALS list of features and see if they solve your problem. – Otavio Macedo Mar 11 '13 at 14:33
  • Thanks @OtavioMacedo - reworded. Is that better? – CodeMoose Mar 11 '13 at 15:13
  • 1
    The concept of strange is subjective and perhaps it should be removed from the question, unless you establish strange from what perspective... Unique is more objective since whether there is "one" certain type of syntax in the world, it makes it unique regardless of your point of view. :) – Alenanno Mar 11 '13 at 16:08
  • You can find some here. Of course, you'll have to figure out the grammar yourself. – jlawler Mar 11 '13 at 18:18
  • @CodeMoose Are you planning languages of humans? – Manjusri Mar 15 '13 at 11:55
2

Your best bet is going to be to find typological works that give a general survey of the possibilities across known human languages, and then choose the less frequently found features (or those that aren't found at all, since this is a constructed language!). Thomas Payne's "Describing Morphosyntax" is a great beginners guide for those documenting language, but you could use it as a check list to make sure you've not forgotten to include anything in your language. It would also help you figure out what interesting features of language exist that we don't necessarily have in the languages you already know.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.