Conlang documentation

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Arayaz
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Conlang documentation

Post by Arayaz »

I've seen a wide range of ways that people ─ including myself ─ have documented their languages. Biblaridion uses a spreadsheet; David J. Peterson has his template document. I myself have used paper before, on a long airplane ride (the birthplace of Rênnê, and its soon-to-be-worked-out relative).

But most of my languages use a (Google) document and a (Google) spreadsheet, and I have templates for both. I use the spreadsheet for the lexicon and affixes, and the document for syntax, semantics, derivation etc. I also have a separate template for sound and grammar changes. (If anybody is interested, I can provide links to the templates.)

But I don't know any conlangers in real life (we seem to be a rare breed), so I haven't really been exposed to any other styles. So how do you all document your languages? Do you etch them into stone walls? Transport your data mentally through hyperspace? If any of you have ideas I like, I might incorporate them into my document ─ this is already version 1.8. This is a place where we all differ, and thus an opportunity to learn.
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Re: Conlang documentation

Post by WeepingElf »

My conlangs live in hand-coded HTML files.
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My conlang pages
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Re: Conlang documentation

Post by Arayaz »

WeepingElf wrote: 18 May 2023 22:20 My conlangs live in hand-coded HTML files.
Now that's impressive.
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Nel Fie
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Re: Conlang documentation

Post by Nel Fie »

My projects are all still sketches, but for what it's worth:

A big chunk of the early documentation, and all the sketching/working out happens on paper, with a pencil. Half of this is because I'll take any excuse to spend less time staring at a screen, the other half is that I enjoy the freedom of working like this and having the option of structuring things as I want, with mind-maps and doodles, and also of laying out any pages next to each other for comparison. But there's enough material here that I have several folders next to me.

For "final documentation" I'd probably create .odt files in LibreOffice because it's easier to modify/fix and get clean results - which can also be exported to .pdf and shared or printed. Also there's the general advantage for things like lexicons that it's easier to parse and search. That said, I'll probably still print them out because I like having a hard copy.

Currently though I'm also working on a piece of software to help me handle diachronics - which can display them in a GUI, but also stores all the relevant data as a JSON file, so I guess that's also a form of documentation, at least if the projects bear fruits.
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Re: Conlang documentation

Post by Reyzadren »

Almost all my conlang books are made with OpenOffice. However, this is a recent development. Prior to joining CBB, I just kept it all in my head whereas some notes were written on paper; many of which are still scattered in my room.

I only use spreadsheets when doing analyses such as phoneme frequency, most common words, Zipf's law etc, and this only happens once every few years.
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Re: Conlang documentation

Post by Khemehekis »

I keep WeepingElf-style HTML files with most of my conlang documentation, and my new Kankonian words go in a Quattro Pro X9 spreadsheet file.
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Re: Conlang documentation

Post by Znex »

I keep everything in .txt files for some reason that I've forgotten.
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Re: Conlang documentation

Post by Creyeditor »

I have rtf or txt files for sketches, and I try to produce presentable pdf grammars with latex. Somtimes I have tables in various other file formats.
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Re: Conlang documentation

Post by Nel Fie »

Reyzadren wrote: 21 May 2023 23:46 Almost all my conlang books are made with OpenOffice. However, this is a recent development. Prior to joining CBB, I just kept it all in my head whereas some notes were written on paper; many of which are still scattered in my room.

I only use spreadsheets when doing analyses such as phoneme frequency, most common words, Zipf's law etc, and this only happens once every few years.
Unless you're using the Apache version of OpenOffice, or you have some other good reason I'm no aware of: I would suggest moving to LibreOffice. OpenOffice is discontinued and had it's final release back in 2011 - meanwhile LibreOffice is intended as a successor and is actively being developed, maintained and supported (latest release was on the 11th of May 2023)

I don't know if there's backwards compatibility, but I would certainly recommend it for new projects and files.
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Re: Conlang documentation

Post by WeepingElf »

Znex wrote: 22 May 2023 07:20 I keep everything in .txt files for some reason that I've forgotten.
Relevant.
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Re: Conlang documentation

Post by Sequor »

Üdj wrote: 18 May 2023 19:59So how do you all document your languages? Do you etch them into stone walls? Transport your data mentally through hyperspace? If any of you have ideas I like, I might incorporate them into my document ─ this is already version 1.8. This is a place where we all differ, and thus an opportunity to learn.
For the grammar, I usually use a textfile, though a Word / LibreOffice Writer can look nicer with little effort.

For the dictionary, which IMO is a much more interesting question, I use a search-friendly formatted textfile — an idea I got from a(n Australian?) conlanger nicknamed Imralu. The concept is to use punctuation (markup) in a way that facilitates searching with Ctrl+F. See this other post for more.
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Re: Conlang documentation

Post by Khemehekis »

Sequor wrote: 22 May 2023 22:32 an idea I got from a(n Australian?) conlanger nicknamed Imralu.
You remembered right; Imralu says he is Australian here.
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31,416: The number of the conlanging beast!
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Re: Conlang documentation

Post by Nel Fie »

(I'm not exactly sure if this is the best place, or if it's something that warrants a separate thread - since I'm not affiliated with the project, I don't think it's my place to open one, exactly.)

In the latest Conlangery episode, ("154 - David and Jessie talk Kopikon")the first release of a new piece of software designed for conlanging was announced, specifically for the creation and maintenance of lexica. It's called the LangTime Engine and you can find it here: https://langtimeengine.framer.website/

Note that it's a small-ish project developed by college students within the confine of their studies, and they are not themselves conlangers (or so my understanding). Part of the idea is also to provide the source code to the public via GitHub, in the hope that others might decide to further develop it.
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Re: Conlang documentation

Post by lsd »

WeepingElf wrote: 22 May 2023 13:27
Znex wrote: 22 May 2023 07:20 I keep everything in .txt files for some reason that I've forgotten.
Relevant.
the less technology we use,
the better off we are...

here the link condemns,
as I often do,
bilingual lists,
which neglect what makes a language what it is,
the unique semantic fields...

if we're going to do that,
we might as well limit ourselves to the only really useful document of a language,
the one that is memorised by its speakers...

so I don't keep anything,
everything is memorised,
I only have a document in my wallet,
in credit card format,
which gives the equivalences 1sign = 1sound...

everything else,
including digital tools,
is dispensable
(font, idiogram-latin converter, ime, etc.)
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Re: Conlang documentation

Post by Khemehekis »

The spreadsheet format forces you into a very limited structure for each word. That structure can never hope to cope reliably with all the different words of a single language, much less the variety of things conlangers come up with (to say nothing of natlang variety). A spreadsheet is a too rigid format to grow the meaning and uses of a word over the lifetime of your conlang.
Oh, really?

What would Lingweenie say about this snippet from my English-Kankonian spreadsheet dictionary?
Spoiler:
take akran
take (my ~ on it) fliked
take a backseat to, to ama ubsnez ad
take a bath, to sewens
take a break, to hatz
take a breath, to an weishan
take a chance, to yikit
take a chill pill, to shass
take a dive, to swu
take a downturn, to vu
take a dump, to uskhuphus
take a fall, to swu
take a gander (at), to piptzo
take a leak, to weiwei
take a leak, to uswawan
take a life, to akran tzazhur
take a liking to, to apash
take a long time (to), to drauyan ad
take a look (at), to piptzo
take a nap, to kaz
take a page from, to helfazpapas
take a pledge, to taumes
take a risk, to yatwahar
take a sample of, to dzhiuss
take a short time (to), to spithe ad
take a shot at, to faz daitrok hel
take a shot at, to (take a strike at) atek
take a shower, to vershk
take a stab at, to faz daitrok hel
take a stand, to wavinez bombos
take a strike at, to atek
take a taste, to shtetam
take a toll on, to dorgeth
take a turn for the better, to gasi bahai ye
take a turn for the worse, to gasi bulush ye
take a walk, to faz tethek
take aback, to hezisya
take action, to hethek
take advantage of, to (negative) hyupart
take advantage of, to (positive) dingil
take after, to shiroembem
take all the fun out of, to pfluzhi
take all the necessary precautions, to helkhospis
take all the necessary precautions, to daskhospis
take an upturn, to frezi*
take apart, to kekosgot
take aside, to tetop
take away (minus) sink
take away X's heaven, to kestut ohos na X
take away, to henersh
take away, to (a privilege) desild
take away, to (subtract, in arithmetic) hedess
take back (reclaim) dis; (recant) ozoyez
take back, to (change a past action) vikid
take back, to (rescind) shuhiz
take by storm, to sphadark
take by surprise, to klazabd
take by the hand, to *epset
take by the heel, to kiyeng
take care (to), to (be careful to) *eba
take care of, to ozhoitz
take care of, to (that will ~ that) dadeft
take care! sereset shil venit!
take chances, to ama yatwahar
take charge, to papasadat
take command, to papasadat
take credit, to iami armamass
take delightin, to efathab
take dictation, to okraveb
take down, to (a poster, etc.) shluduv
take down, to (a YouTube video, etc.) hesketshi
take down, to (an enemy) ketik
take down, to (in martial arts) zaibatshi
take drastic measures, to kezerd
take effect, to zharod
take exception (to), to antir
take for a walk, to adaitrok
take for granted, to shilpilakh
take for oneself, to adhihemb
take heart, to defeski
take home from, to suphmiya ab
take in vain, to reshralb
take in, to (~ a stray dog) eakran
take in, to (~ information) suphus
take in, to (~ the air) shushem
take into account, to denik
take into consideration, to paipsekagiy
take issue with, to kezat
take it easy babsam
take it out on, to hephekt
take it sitting down, to an pumat noerm
take it standing up, to an pumat trakind
take it upon oneself to, to fartz
take it, to (assume) nalosh
take liberties with, to swelek
take note (of), to pispam
take notes, to ekhet tzailemes
take off (of a vehicle) pheriss
take off (have for vacation) shilzin
take off with, to (~ my wallet) akiy hel
take off, to (clothes) akran ukh ye
take offense, to furkherd
take office, to dukhemesiz
take on a life of its own, to advainatztheyish
take on other forms, to enkolos everes
take on the form of, to enkolos
take on, to (an opponent) nevaikar
take on, to (assume) enkolos
take on, to (undertake) bumenan
take one's breath away, to shafwau
take one's time, to gembel
take out of circulation, to ungtoimeof
take out of context, to adoelkosoremin
take out, to (kill) khap
take out, to (remove) tshempos
take out, to (the garbage) adess
take over the world, to halhongdin
take over X's life, to e emenoskmoup ad X
take over X's life: something that takes over a person's life emenoskmoup
take over, to kakeziy
take over, to (after my shift was over, I let Jenny ~) klazabd gisu
take part edetz
take pictures ksakalenes
take pictures of, to ksakalenes
take place, to (be an event) yosked
take place, to (have as a setting) komi: e komi
take precedence over, to dezheo
take pride, to waut
take responsibility for, to (an action) davrud
take responsibility for, to (one's belongings) bervhard: e bervhard hous
take responsibility for, to (provide for and take care of children, siblings, etc.) ambluf
take root, to kheviuz
take seriously, to baraund
take that hakatsh
take the blame, to neblet
take the cake, to tortur zekeno biam
take the elevator, to *iuhoukh
take the elevator, to hel*ihukh
take the elevator, to *iuhoukhs
take the fun out of, to pfluzhi
take the mickey, to irkom wozak ash shizip
take the piss, to irkom wozak ash shizip
take the plunge, to toupoul
take the stairs, to goukhs
take the stairs, to helgukhea
take the trouble to, to vard
take to flight, to adspir
take to heart, to samaut
take to its logical conclusion, to adhalliros
take to task, to nathkat
take to, to aptap
take turns, to bavab
take turns: We took turns pushing Sandy's wheelchair. bavab: Wir bavaben hel brout id posolka na Sandy.
take umbrage, to furkherd
take up (on), to (say yes to an offer) hit
take up arms, to brahiv
take up residence, to aikihilt
take up, to (~ knitting) oshen
take up, to (occupy) betomas
take with a grain of salt, to kulish: tetam hel kulish ash arig na o
take X as a compliment, to bayamail X
take X as an insult, to bayamead X
take X badly, to zenirk X
take X badly, to nezirk X
take X for a ride, to shmep X
take X off Y's hands, to malekh pumas na Y ab X
take X out on Y, to hephekt Y daz X
take X out, to (~ to the downtown shopping center) shiltastalya X
take X out, to (~ to the downtown shopping center) shiltas X
take X under one's wing, to adaikata X
take X well, to drabab X
take X's word, to dunsel arikes na X
take, to (~ a beating) zipi
take, to (~ a bite) mam
take, to (~ a position on) mekhol
take, to (~ an opportunity) oshen
take, to (~ for instance) shiang
take, to (~ the bus; ~ this road) fremet
take, to (a class) faz
take, to (a test) faz
take, to (an approach) nuesh
take, to (bring) seres
take, to (Democrats could ~ the Senate) klazabd
take, to (interpret) sieg
take, to (medicine) kilab
take, to (questions) weikeyat
take, to (require) shunask
take, to (someone's picture) markos
take, to (temperature, blood pressure) paya*i
take, to (this preposition ~s the accusative) pashev
take, to (too much for me to ~) gesh bulush ye
take: I could take it or leave it. howei: Ham as shan tziyim nan howei.
take: I took a cannonball to the stomach. tukus: Is tukusen bompum pai phutelo.
take; to take (in filming) novos
♂♥♂♀

Squirrels chase koi . . . chase squirrels

My Kankonian-English dictionary: 95,000 words and counting

31,416: The number of the conlanging beast!
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lsd
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Re: Conlang documentation

Post by lsd »

the number of entries does not limit the risk of relex...
this type of list encourages you to match
an entry in one language with an entry in a conlang,
and therefore to build a conlang based on your usual language...
monolingual dictionaries are better...
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Sequor
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Re: Conlang documentation

Post by Sequor »

lsd wrote: 27 May 2023 14:39here the link condemns,
as I often do,
bilingual lists,
which neglect what makes a language what it is,
the unique semantic fields...
lsd wrote: 27 May 2023 15:38 the number of entries does not limit the risk of relex...
this type of list encourages you to match
an entry in one language with an entry in a conlang,
and therefore to build a conlang based on your usual language...
monolingual dictionaries are better...
True. Although I would like to note that using simple equivalents is what almost every conlang dictionary I've seen does (with one notable exception), because to do otherwise is a lot of work. You don't need to make a monolingual dictionary to avoid this though, as it is enough to write senses each with an extended description in English, the way you would do it if it was a monolingual one. Say, something like:

akran
vt.
1. to take something by grabbing it with one's hand(s)
2. to take something using a container or tool
3. to become in charge of something, take responsibility about it
4. to conquer a human settlement, such as a city
...
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lsd
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Re: Conlang documentation

Post by lsd »

I can't see any other solution than building from the conlang without translating to separate the semantic fields...
it's difficult to produce text when you're starting from scratch rather than translating when you have a plethora of natural language texts...
it's difficult to find an internal logic in the construction of the language without copying a natural language...
it's certainly the hardest when there's no speaker...
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Re: Conlang documentation

Post by sevenorbs »

Anyone else use the triad of sketch-work docs-db? My workflow (not limited to the act of conlanging, but also in any creative work I do) consists of three phases.

Ideas are fleeting, I don't trust my head, so I keep my friend the poor blue looseleaf binder book and always fill every travel bag and backpacks I own with some piece of blank papers and a pen. In the past I often use any paper I could get (one of my first conlanging sketches happened to be written on a used paper I found in class!).

The collection of ideas is then go through a "proper" research (usually when my mood is finally amicable), annotated and rewritten into a small informal write up. I have my personal latex template for this kind of work and the pdf is used for archival purposes.

The final part, when I'm (finally, but rarely) satisfied with the research, I put the write up and all of the references into my offline knowledge base folder, written in markdown to be read and mapped with Obsidian.

I know this is by no means perfect, but it helps me to keep busy.
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Re: Conlang documentation

Post by appakling »

David J. Peterson has his template document
never heard of that- where can a view it? (if possible)
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