This is the first in a series of posts “live-blogging” the creation of a fictional language from scratch, with the help of our readers. We plan to construct a functional language one piece at a time, incorporating suggestions and preferences from our audience along the way. But first, because the “who” and “why” of a…… Continue reading Spec Tech: Conlanging 1 – Introductions
As I mentioned in a post earlier this year (“Language and Culture”, 1/13/11), it is critical to distinguish between what a language has a formalized method for saying and what a language is capable of expressing. Apparently at odds with public opinion, the expressive power of a language is not limited by the words in…… Continue reading Spec Tech: Inception
This week’s Spec Tech post is jointly written by the two linguists on the faculty: Ryan Denzer-King and Chris Doty. Before we dive into the topic of this week’s post, we need a bit of background. All languages have ways of indicating who is doing what to whom, a phenomenon known as person-marking. English, like…… Continue reading Spec Tech: “Wait, who hit who?”
I suppose I should start my first post as a member of the Spec Tech faculty with a brief introduction. I’m a PhD student in linguistics at the University of Oregon, and should be finishing my dissertation at some point — in the future, most likely. I’m also a writer of various things, both speculatively…… Continue reading Spec Tech: Linguistic Quirkiness
Imagine that you’ve just encountered an alien life form. Once you’ve gotten over the initial shock/excitement/etc. of discovering that we are indeed not alone in the universe, you of course want to find out all about it: where it comes from, what its home world is like. Assuming it’s sentient, you’ll also want to know…… Continue reading Spec Tech: Xenolinguistics
As someone who studied linguistics, one of my biggest pet peeves in high fantasy is when our stalwart protagonist first encounters the elves in the forest, and he can of course speak with them because he’s half-elvish. All elves speak elvish. It’s a racial thing. Now, I’m not saying that it couldn’t be a racial…… Continue reading Spec Tech: Excuse me, do you speak Elvish?