Some questions regarding phonology and grammar

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Big johngus
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Some questions regarding phonology and grammar

Post by Big johngus »

Hey all! Am new to this forum. So I got some burning questions about stuff related to phonology and grammar and figured it'd be cool to ask here.
My conlang is going to be a somewhat Romance language. However, I had skipped the phonological evolution part and went straight to its current phonology. Do you suggest I go back and develop the phonetics from Vulgar Latin or do I just dump it?
As for grammar, do I make up the grammar and syntax first or develop the lexicon?

Thanks in advance!
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Dormouse559
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Re: Some questions regarding phonology and grammar

Post by Dormouse559 »

Welcome to the board! [:)]

Big johngus wrote: 14 Nov 2020 08:18My conlang is going to be a somewhat Romance language. However, I had skipped the phonological evolution part and went straight to its current phonology. Do you suggest I go back and develop the phonetics from Vulgar Latin or do I just dump it?
Well, I say no to just dumping it. What you do with the phonology depends on what kind of conlang you want. Is this conlang supposed to be a naturalistic Romance language, that is, one that organically emerged from Latin? Or is it more Romance inspired, where you're making a conlang separate from the Romance languages that borrows features you enjoy? In the former case, I would say it's important to work out the sound changes because that's a significant aspect of making a naturalistic romlang. In the latter case, I would say you only need to figure out sound changes if you want to.

Big johngus wrote: 14 Nov 2020 08:18As for grammar, do I make up the grammar and syntax first or develop the lexicon?
There isn't a simple answer to this question because each part of a language interacts with all the other parts. I would say to work on the aspects that most interest you or the ones that will help you most in the conlanging process. For example, it is possible to develop grammar with no vocabulary; you will just be working with abstract units of meaning instead of specific words. But personally, I find it helpful to have at least some basic words at my disposal. Conversely, you can do a lot of lexicon-building without grammar and syntax, but these can become relevant for processes like derivation and declension.
Big johngus
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Re: Some questions regarding phonology and grammar

Post by Big johngus »

Dormouse559 wrote: 14 Nov 2020 21:23 Welcome to the board! [:)]

Big johngus wrote: 14 Nov 2020 08:18My conlang is going to be a somewhat Romance language. However, I had skipped the phonological evolution part and went straight to its current phonology. Do you suggest I go back and develop the phonetics from Vulgar Latin or do I just dump it?
Well, I say no to just dumping it. What you do with the phonology depends on what kind of conlang you want. Is this conlang supposed to be a naturalistic Romance language, that is, one that organically emerged from Latin? Or is it more Romance inspired, where you're making a conlang separate from the Romance languages that borrows features you enjoy? In the former case, I would say it's important to work out the sound changes because that's a significant aspect of making a naturalistic romlang. In the latter case, I would say you only need to figure out sound changes if you want to.

Big johngus wrote: 14 Nov 2020 08:18As for grammar, do I make up the grammar and syntax first or develop the lexicon?
There isn't a simple answer to this question because each part of a language interacts with all the other parts. I would say to work on the aspects that most interest you or the ones that will help you most in the conlanging process. For example, it is possible to develop grammar with no vocabulary; you will just be working with abstract units of meaning instead of specific words. But personally, I find it helpful to have at least some basic words at my disposal. Conversely, you can do a lot of lexicon-building without grammar and syntax, but these can become relevant for processes like derivation and declension.
Sorry for the laaaate reply, but thanks :)
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Re: Some questions regarding phonology and grammar

Post by Salmoneus »

An additional answer to your question about what to do first: it partially depends what your objective is.

If your primary objective with your conlang is to, for example, use words or placenames or short phrases in a story, then it makes sense to focus on the lexicon, because that's what you're mostly going to need. You won't need much grammar (not zero, but not much, particularly if it's a conlang that can be assumed to be grammatically typically Romance).

If your interest is in writing a grammar, then focus on grammar - you'll only need a very small lexicon, for example sentences and the like.

If your priority is to translate a text into your conlang, then you'll need both lexicon and grammar, but not necessarily all of either at once. Sometimes it can be useful to work through a text working out the grammar and lexicon as you go (though in that case, you'll often find it's useful to look back afterward and adjust things to make the different grammatical elements fit together better).
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