Tag Archives: create

Ask Piija, Part 1: How Do You Create Your Own Language?

Hjaeja kaikki! Jämma juugħoiđ? Tää m’Ǯěty öbma țeħdwmąđ m’ķiyli! Vlotahÿppni!

Hello, and if you can understand that, congrats! Chances are you didn’t, so here’s the translation: “Hi, y’all! How are you doing? Today, we’ll learn how to make a language. Good luck!”

This is the first part of the Ask Piija series, in which I answer questions from y’all that you’d like me to hear my thoughts on. And the first question I got, which actually gave me the idea for the series, was how to create a language.

For those who don’t know me personally, some background is in order. I love languages. Like, a lot. Since I was a child. When I was three, I made my first language (something which I know several other Autistic children have done, interestingly enough), Trianese, which was mostly gibberish. I made my second language when I was 11 because I suspected my parents of reading my diaries, and I’m currently working on my third now (the above phrase is in my third language, Čiäǯka.

Beyond there creation, there have been SO many times when I’ve spent literally hours on the computer reading about different linguistic phenomena; if there were ever a linguistic Jeopardy, I’d definitely have a good chance of winning.

Recently, I began sharing some of my translations (example at the bottom of the post, with audio recording), which lead to the question I received a few days ago. So, without further ado, here is how you make a language:

(Note: Yes, the bullets are mixed up–I’ll fix it soon.)

  1. Pick a language family for your language to belong to. Then, pick several other languages/language families from which your language can have contact influences.

Once you become a master language creator, you can make one without any reference to natural language families, but in the meantime, it’s good to choose a language family on which you can base your language. Before you do that, though, you should think about some aspects you want you language to have. For example, do you want your language to be/have:

  • inflecting, or synthetic? fusional, agglutinating, or polysynthetic?
  • signed, or written?
  • written in an alphabet, an abugida, an abjad, a logography, or a syllabary?
  • grammatical or lexical evidentiality?
  • solely pulmonic consonants, or clicks, ejectives, and implosives?
  • small modal index, a large modal index, or sentence-final particles for aspect and/or modality?
  • tonal or non-tonal?

These are some questions you’ll need to think about, and based on your desires, that will narrow down list of language families for you to choose from.

Assuming you are an English speaker, if you are looking for an easier language family to imitate, consider the Germanic and Romantic language groups, as well as Sinitic (Chinese) languages. Germanic and Romantic are most similar to English, and while Chinese is a very difficult language to learn for English speakers, it is highly analytic, which is often the easiest mode for English only-speakers to understand language.

If you’re looking for a moderate challenge, try the Finno-Ugric, Indo-Iranian, Celtic, Turkic, Niger-Congo, and Austroasiatic language families. If you’re looking for a hard challenge, try Austronesian, Semitic, Dravidian, Algic, Japonic, Slavic, and Samoyedic languages.

Once you have picked a language to serve as a main base, choose several for contact influences. For example, my language has a Finno-Samic base, with Celtic, Turkic, Japonic, Samoyedic, and Khoisian influences. Celtic and Turkic influences are limited mostly to vocabulary, Khoisian influence extends to the constant index, while Japonic and Samoyedic affect the grammatical structure in minor ways.

  1. Once you have figured out the basic parameters of your language, it’s time to get communicating! Come up with your mode of communication, and create some words and phrases. Play around with different grammatical structures, too. This should be fun!

If you have access, find a basic kindergarten text, and try to translate that into your language. Come up with the words first, then try and see how different grammatical structures you want to use work in basic situations. There will be some that work great, and others that don’t, some that you love, and others you hate. In this stage, your language isn’t even a language–it’s a fluid, amorphous blob in a state of accelerated evolution. Every time you work on it, it will have changed, words will be different. One day you will have a verb copular verb and the next you won’t. That is what you want.

Eventually, try and define some of these structures. For example, since my language has a Finno-Samic base, it is highly agglutinating, and has 32 cases. It also has no ‘to have’ verb. In the early stages, I played around with this a lot to see how I wanted to execute these aspects of the language. But eventually, I created a list of the cases, and defined their endings, and specific situations in which they’d be used. I also Tried several ways of creating possession and relation structures, and eventually codified them.

  1. Now you need to build up your vocabulary. Find lists of words you want to translate, and translate them. Some can be purely descriptive, animal names, city words, and such. But others should be more grammatical in nature, such as commonly used verbs, pre/postpositions (if using), and such. Try to solidify more complex grammar structures, such as evidentiality, verb modality, tense, and aspect, and clauses and phrases. Explore structures that have no basis in natural language, and incorporate those into your communication.

This is a fun time for you language. It’s the teenage years! You get to try and make it more complex and more well-rounded, but you also get to expand and explore more with it. It’s super fun to create wholly new structures. For example, I’ve always felt uncomfortable with the sole existence of possessive pronouns, which denote ownership, in most languages. This is my wife, my child, my thing. I created relational pronouns and a relational case, which is similar to the possessive pronouns and genitive case in many languages, but denotes relation, not possession. Figure out some linguistic properties that will make this your language.

  1. Optional: If spoken language is a part of your language you should start practicing basic speech.

Try writing out a few sentences and practice using them. Eventually, try and vary the phrases according to the situation. Try to build some basic fluency and flexibility.

  1. Translate more complex things into your language. Create idioms, sayings, and more abstract language. This is also when you should start to try and figure out a culture for you language, and try to figure out how that culture affects your language.

Try translating songs. This will really push your ability to think in and about your language. Monologues and eventually dialogue are also great to translate.

  1. Practice more!

All you can do at this point is practice. You will still change things about the language. Natural language is always in a state of flux, and so is yours. But you’ll notice hopefully you fluency improving greatly.

Hopefully, that’s helpful to those who want to make their own language!

And now, as promised, here is Jądʀagħaikađ Änsi Kuištässa, that is, For the First Time in Forever, from Frozen. A recording is located at the bottom.

 

Anna:

Aetö nyt avta maalmakoa

Door now open for the world

Kaitingŋi täälä väm tätsut

Everything here comes awake

Čjae pąh usko villai onn usjaplaa

I can’t believe on us are so many plates

Tähmąšäli aina tyskji

This hall always empty

Ju ʀim ǯuonta tansią

It never hosts any party

Vimin, m’poʀti eyfä avtöħ

At last, the gate will soon be opened

 

Hačiga täälä eyfä onn

People here will soon be

Jämma aistae eyfonn

How weird will soon be?

Mjuut čjae aabijuovi kannätalltai!

But I am so ready on top of change!

 

Syl jądʀagħaikađ änsi kuištässa

Cause for the first time in eternity

Tähmąķänta ķännarją
These lights will shine

Jądʀagħaikađ änsi kuištässa

For the first time in eternity

Čjae tansi aekuknuoy änsi

I dance all night for

Onnko krujadoy älä ķaeymynnjä?

Is heartburn or elation?

Čjae ąh van veytat

I don’t really know

Mjuut jądʀagħaikađ änsi kuištässa

But for the first time in eternity

Yksni ąh čjae onn

Alone won’t I be

 

Čjae vij cwnöǯ kaikki…čjae fykk cwnöǯ m’Jąksioa

I want to meet everyone…I might meet the One

 

m’Nuoy tʀuǯ tansią taešupʀa

Evening bring dances with men

Čjae paiv aat älkä muosaa jael

I’m sure that they will my dress like

ǯa muosöfyʀšţikiyʀuħoykae

and my sophisticated properness

Ÿtkišti jaa peʀcěde čjaelltai

Suddenly he standing around me

Pytkä, çyfma, ǯa aabikÿmja

Tall, smart, and so handsome

Čjae šjödej syl eghveytat m’ķtow puhuä

I eat cause I don’t know what to say

Mjuut nejyn vi nauʀa ǯa jult aekuknuoy

But then we laugh and chat all evening

Jokä ąđmošti rÿfdą

Which totally strange

Jötingŋi ķuħ amiha čjaellai onn nyt

Nothing like life on me now

Jądʀagħaikađ änsi kuištässa

For the first time in eternity

Onn mażja, onn hooska

Is magic, is fun

Jądʀagħaikađ änsi kuištässa

For the first time in eternity

Čjae laejäntaa muożihta

I extend my hand

Čjae veytat aat ąh järķäva

I know that not realistic

Umoyda ķäʀliną

To dream of passionate love

Mjuut jądʀagħaikađ änsi kuištässa

But for the first time in eternity

Aikan ʀuuski čjaellai onn

At least a chance on me is

 

Elsa:

Älkä pąh taʀlaeħ älä tvaljaʀ

They can’t come or see

Onnon mitątjuta oykaešti

Be that good girl properly

Lymyħy, ąh çyħy, đuopoiđ scondond

Conceal, don’t feel, your pain hide

Jąksivyʀhi pě kaitingŋiđ tuhta

One mistake can everything destroy

 

E: Onn para tähmą änsi

E: Is just today for

A: Onn para tähmą änsi

 

E: Ottagħiħ tärmysÿs

E: Waiting agony (is)

A: Ottagħiħ täʀmysÿs

 

E: Varti avtaöme m’poʀti

E: Guards, open the gate

A: m’Porti

A: the Gate

 

A: Jądʀagħaikađ änsi kuištässa

A: For the first time in eternity

E: Älkä pąh taʀlaeħ älä tvaljaʀ

E: They can’t come or see

 

A: Minäumoy sååda vrae

A: My dreams gain color

E: Onn mitątjuta oykaešti

E: Be that good girl properly

 

A: m’Ruuski kannätat muomaalma

A: A chance to change my world

E: Lymyħy

E: Conceal

 

A: m’Ruuski löÿtą ķäʀliđ

A: A chance to find passionate love

E: Đuopoiđ scondond

E: Your pain hide

 

Anna:

Huö kaitingŋi pattuądʒ

Tomorrow, everything finished

Tää muovaiŋʀuuski

Today my only chance

Syl jądʀagħaikađ änsi kuištässa

Cause for the first time in eternity

Jądʀagħaikađ änsi kuištässa

For the first time in eternity

Jötingŋi čjaeđ tönskji

Nothing me stop

 

At the moment, I’m struggling to upload the recording in here, so if you’d like it, email me at apoststructuralautistic@gmail.com, and I’ll send it to you. If you know how to embed a recording into WordPress, please let me know! Thanks!

 

❤ Piija Suoynna Riistia