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How to create a super good awesome fantastic kewlness lexicon!!!!!!!

Posted: 01 Apr 2021 09:03
by Khemehekis
OK, so I know all of you see those conlangs with large lexica and wonder: How can I create lexicon and have a conlang that's as naturalistic as Classical Yiklamu with great diachronics like Talossan, presented with all the modesty of the creator of Arka? With this guide to help you through it, you'll see that creating lexicon is as easy as tinco, parma, calma.

1. If a word has more than one meaning in English, make sure your conlang word covers all the meanings of that English word. For instance, if the word for "run" in your conlang Vierfischian is zoog, then "zoog" should mean "to move fast on feet", "to operate", "to be operated", "to exude a liquid", "to ooze", "to be a candidate for an office", "to cover the range of", "to direct", "to move something so that it makes contact with in its moving direction", "to use as a source of energy", "to be transmitted hereditarily", "to move fast, not literally on foot (as in 'I have to run to the store')", "to tend to be", "to continue to be performed", "to broadcast a journalistic/televised work", "to react with fear", "the range of time over which something continues to be performed", and "a vertical rip in a stocking". Or if xenna is your word for "fool", it should mean both "idiot" and "to dupe".

2. This should apply even if the meanings of the English word aren't even etymologically related in English. For instance, if gug is your word for
"pop", make "gug" mean "to explode a balloon or bubble", "soda", "father", and "popular music".

3. Make sure each word in your conlang has only one English equivalent. For instance, if pumphus is your word for "butt", don't make it also mean "behind", "bottom", "derrière", "booty", "rear end", "heinie", "posterior", "buns", "bum", "buttocks", "nates", and "backside". These should be 12 different words (although your word for "behind" should be the same word as your word for the opposite of "in front of"). Actually, 13 words, since your word for "rear end" should be your word for "rear", then a space, then your word for "end", which brings us to the next point . . .

4. Multi-word phrases, including idioms, should be translated word for word. If gromp is "live" and woosh is "room", then "living room" should be gromping woosh. If blink is "nip", poosh is "it", tee is "in", oom is "the", and tweerka is "bud", then "nip it in the bud" should be blink poosh tee oom tweerka. Definitely not some idiom based on imagery from your own conculture.

5. Now for some inflectional morphology! If a word has a regular plural in English, make sure to form the plural in your conlang with -s: froonk, hippo -> froonks, hippos. Regular past tenses and past participles should be formed with -ed, gerunds with -ing, and the third-person singular present with -s: bub, smile, bubbed, smiled, bubbing, smiling, bubs, smiles. On the other hand, if a verb form is irregular in English, just tweak it randomly to create a form that sounds something like it: smuzz, smeshy, soomz, drink, drank, drunk. For "be" you'll need eight mostly suppletive forms: poop, be, gee, is, gaw, are, chew, am, feef, was, voovoo, were, poon, been, and pooping, being. And possessives of nouns should take -'s for the singular, -s' for the plural.

6. Make equivalents for English's derivational affixes, and make sure you apply them (or don't apply them) the same way English does. For instance, if the prefix xoo- means un-, and leemy means "happy", while floog means "lock" and keex means "good", make sure your word for "unhappy" is xooleemy and your word for "unlock" is xoofloog. But don't make your word for "bad" xookeex; instead create a suppletive word, like quaxa. And if -sish is your suffix for -ly, make your word for "badly" quaxasish, but don't make your word for "well" keexsish; instead invent a suppletive form like dwoosh (which should also be the noun for the thing Baby Jessica was stuck down).

7. Make sure to build compound words by putting roots together the same way English does: gug, pop + neezy, corn = gugneezy, popcorn.

8. Be sure to have the same three articles that English does: "a", "an", and "the" (four if you count "some"). Your word for "the" should be the same in the singular and the plural, in all cases. As for the indefinite articles, make sure you have one word for "a" and another word for "an", and use the one English would use before English's equivalent of the word in question: if you've made thoo your word for "a" and beb your word for "an", "a hippo" should be thoo froonk, "a taco" should be thoo imel, "an amethyst" should be beb oomazoom, and "an umbrella" should be beb pikel.

9. Be sure to copy the prepositions of English and their ranges of use to the point of plagiarism! For instance, if you've decided that smack will be the Vierfischian word for "on", make sure to use smack consistently across sentences like "Tom has a parrot on his shoulder", "The spider crawled on the wall", "Ana gave a report on hippos", "Can humans ever live on the moon?", "Jack bets on horses", "Karen is liberal on these issues", "I was on that jury", "Jenny cheated on her math test", "I saw Pres. Biden on TV", "He must be on meth", "You called the pigs on me!", "Kate called Josh on her cellphone", "Bush choked on a peanut", "It depends on a lot of factors", "Don't be so hard on him!", "Do you have a phone book on you?", "Sam hit Mack on the knee", "Wendy spent her welfare money on cigarettes", "The prank was on me", "If you can't find it, that's on you", and "The shooting was Tahitian on Aleut".

10. Make sure each term covers the exact same semantic range of English. If veezee is your Vierfischian word for 'sail", then veezee should simply mean "sail". Don't have separate words for sailing a ship versus sailing a smaller boat, nor for sailing at the helm versus sailing as a passenger.

11. Nor should the words in your conlang have a broader semantic scope than English: if googoo is your word for "brother", don't make it also mean "cousin".

12. If English speakers agree that turquoise is blue but indigo isn't, make sure the Vierfischian word for blue, wazzle, covers turquoise but not indigo.

13. Make an equivalent in your conlang for each proper name you'll need: Sumpor for Thomas, Sump for Tom, Sumpoil for Tommy, Gazarza for Katherine, Gaze for Kate, Goozizzoil for Kathy, Goozoil for Katie, and so on. If the word for the month of April is Chonta in your conlang, make sure to make the girl's name April, like the Ninja Turtles character, Chonta as well. And if art (as in what an artist makes) is rootoov, the boy's name Art should be Rootoov in sync with the common noun.

14. Make sure to have suppletive words for each of the contractions in English. For instance, if shpee is "do" and nack is "not" in Vierfischian, then your word for "don't" can be something like goozle. If, however, you want to say "do not" instead of "don't", then write shpee nack.

15. Metaphors? Meh. Who wants generative metaphors that come from the speakers' own conculture? Just use whichever ones the speakers of the natlang you are translating used.

So there you go. With these fifteen points, you will have a lexicon that elevates you to the heights of Tolkien, Paul Frommer, Marc Okrand, David J. Peterson, Mark Rosenfelder, Sally Caves, John Quijada, Sylvia Sotomayor, Andrew Smith, and all the other conlanging greats. You'll have the bestest, most greatest, wonderfulest, excellentest conlang your conlang can be!

Chonta xenna's!

Re: How to create a super good awesome fantastic kewlness lexicon!!!!!!!

Posted: 01 Apr 2021 14:35
by eldin raigmore
April Fools’ joke. Not meant to be taken seriously. Funny when used as intended.

Re: How to create a super good awesome fantastic kewlness lexicon!!!!!!!

Posted: 01 Apr 2021 15:34
by Creyeditor
I like aesthetics of Vierfischian. Reminds me of some of my earlier conlangs.

Re: How to create a super good awesome fantastic kewlness lexicon!!!!!!!

Posted: 02 Apr 2021 08:16
by Khemehekis
Creyeditor wrote: 01 Apr 2021 15:34 I like aesthetics of Vierfischian. Reminds me of some of my earlier conlangs.
Your L1 is German, right? Did your early conlangs really have Englishy sound and spelling? Vierfischian sounds to my ear something like Calvin's conlang in Calvin and Hobbes.

Re: How to create a super good awesome fantastic kewlness lexicon!!!!!!!

Posted: 02 Apr 2021 19:29
by Creyeditor
Yes, correct. English was my first foreign language though. English influence included absence of final devoicing (e.g. word final /v/) and presence of certain cluster, e.g. word initial /sn/. Spelling wise, I mostly used a regularized German spelling.