Posts Tagged ‘conlanging’

Introduction to the LCS Podcast

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009


In this inaugural edition of the Language Creation Society Podcast, Sai Emrys and David Peterson explain what conlangs are, why someone would want to do such a strange thing as create their own language, what the Language Creation Society is all about, and the future of this podcast.

Ahh, creaky voice…

For those unfamiliar with linguistic terminology, creaky voice is the term for what my voice sounds like. My old phonetics professor at UCSD asked me once, quite honestly, if it hurt to talk the way I do. I haven’t the slightest idea how I do what I do, or why. It seems natural. That’s how I got the nickname “Creaks” at Berkeley.

I think the importance of goals in language creation can’t be overstated. If there is no stated goal (or, perhaps, no obvious goal) that a given conlang is trying to achieve, how is one to evaluate or interpret it? The answer is, one evaluates it based on whatever goals one creates, or attributes to the language, even if this is done implicitly.

Now, if it comes to that, I’d say there’s something wrong with the presentation. Who knows what associations the viewer has built up in their mind? Here’s a nonce example from a made-up conlang:

Yo te amo.

Without a gloss, someone will look at that and think it’s another romlang (and not a very good one, if it’s so close to Spanish). Of course, if you gloss it…

/1sg.Sbj.”to be” DEF. walrus-NOM./
“I am the walrus”

…things change quite a bit.

Sometimes the unstated goal, as Sai mentions in this episode of the podcast, is just to create “what sounds good” or “what feels right”. For outsiders, this is important to know when looking at a language. When evaluating one of these languages, how natural, how original or how logical a language is simply doesn’t matter. For these truly personal projects, what’s interesting is to then try to analyze what it is that the creator finds pleasing and/or appropriate. Chances are an unreflective language creator may be mimicking the patterns of whatever languages they’ve come into contact with, but sometimes what makes sense to one is senseless to another. That in itself can be interesting.

To reiterate a point made in the podcast,
this blog is what we all make of it. The thing itself is strong kind of an experiment, and we’re interested in experimenting further. If you have ideas for the blog, or come across something interesting on the wilds of the internet, let us know. Anything that is of potential interest is interesting to me. 🙂

Edited by Virgo Audio Production Services; music by Gary Shannon, and Scotto Hlad.

Welcome to the Language Creation Society blog/podcast

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

We’re moving from a plain ol’ RSS feed for the podcast to a blog, right here.

Podcast subscriptions should be unchanged by this (though may be affected by the FeedBurner merger w/ Google).

It’s brand-new now of course, but soon we hope to have some regular text entries to go with the podcasts.

Anyway: we’re looking for contributors, both for the podcast and the blog. If you’re interested in writing or speaking (or singing!) for the conlang audience, please let us know. (David Peterson will be leading the writing effort.)

The criteria are the same: have something to say that’s interesting to a broad set of conlangers, and do it in a way that’s high quality. We’ll handle as much or as little of the technical & hosting parts as you want; you just have to come up with the content.

Speaking of podcast contributors: Matt Arnold, LLG President, is joining the LCS podcast with a revamp of the “About Lojban” series.

Matt already announced this on lojban-l, but: if you have suggestions for what you’d like to see on or contribute to the podcast relating to lojban (or other logical languages), please email him (he’s CCed).

We hope to be able to bring you other specialized podcast series in the future.

If you’re still not subscribed: go to

Recent podcasts: an interview with Thomas E. Payne (author of Describing Morphosyntax, aka “the conlanger’s bible”); high-quality video of Donald Boozer & Lila Sadkin‘s talks from LCC2; and an introductory discussion of what conlangs are in the first place.