How do you come up with words!?

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Pasie
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How do you come up with words!?

Postby Pasie » 2015-08-21, 1:20

When it comes to word building, I never know where to start. :shock:

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linguoboy
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Re: How do you come up with words!?

Postby linguoboy » 2015-08-21, 2:52

Pasie wrote:When it comes to word building, I never know where to start. :shock:

Maybe with a Swadesh list?

If that seems too dry, try translating a short text. Some of the conlangers here use the same set of sentences with every languages, others create a new text every time. The advantage to this approach is that it can highlight some of the instances where your grammar needs more work as well.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

SilverSoldier
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Re: How do you come up with words!?

Postby SilverSoldier » 2015-09-07, 12:18

Wel, maybe you can turn English words or some words in another language the other side. For example, hello --> olleh etc. Then make some changes to what you get to make it sound yours. I hope this works. :)

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Vlürch
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Re: How do you come up with words!?

Postby Vlürch » 2015-09-07, 14:08

1) Word generators that give out gibberish(ish) stuff, and then come up with meanings for the words. :P
http://klh.karinoyo.com/generate/words/
http://bprhad.wz.cz/awkwords/index.php
http://www.zompist.com/gen.html
http://www.weirdhat.com/gibberish.php

A bunch I got from those with some übergüťťürääl szeťťýňğz to emulate the xübər-Türgıg bröğtəltý... :lol:
tecieyeg
bižoketfidyi
təmukigjöďky
qekuz̧uğbö
jehuğņət
loşəqğüň

They're pretty lame, although consistent and alright for that purpose... well, let's simplify them to a more uniform and boring state and give them meanings based on what the first impression of them is; it's better to totally overdo the stuff at first in case you want to later do a sister conlang or whatever, or just want to change the stuff but have forgotten why you made the decisions you made in the first place.

tesijeg - a hand filled with water
bijoketfidi - a garbage dump
temukijodki - Genghis Khan's Swiss half-brother from the future
gekujubo - a person who wants to be a Japanese martial arts master but fails on every level
jehunget - Jehovah's witnesses who live a double life as gay porn stars
losegun - Han shot first

Well, those words aren't going to be very useful... so:

tesijeg - swimmer
bijoketfidi - garbage
temukijodki - memorable person
gekujubo - martial arts
jehunget - secret
losegun - war

There! Instant epic vocabulary!

2) Words from actual languages, "evolved"; eg. phonetic changes step by step. For example, let's use the Turkish word "kaplumbağa" (tortoise) and the Armenian word "yerjankutyun" (happiness) because they're pretty awesome words phonetically. First, let's mimic the natural evolution of words into separate directions, whatever sounds cool. Now we have "gəbrümbaqa" and "yerjəņütyün". All those sound changes make sense, so let's take it a step further while sticking to the exaggerated Turkic "gutturalisation" and adding a little bit of pseudo-Slavic squat warlord swag, leading to "cəbřümbaqa" and "jeřcəņğütjün". They might still be recognisable to some people, so one last step of phonetic and then aesthetic changes to make sure they're incomprehensible and brand new: "džäbřyňbör" and "žöřdžäňrytžyň". Voilà!

I hope this is helpful, but if not, that's fine too.

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Re: How do you come up with words!?

Postby Levike » 2015-09-07, 14:13

Pasie wrote:When it comes to word building, I never know where to start. :shock:

First of all, what's the problem exactly.

You don't know what words to translate OR you don't know how to translate them?
Nem egy nap alatt épült Buda vára.

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Pasie
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Re: How do you come up with words!?

Postby Pasie » 2015-09-07, 15:07

Both...

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Re: How do you come up with words!?

Postby Irkan » 2015-09-07, 15:34

I usually just come up with the words I need when translating as I go. I only use generators when I am really stuck (specially with affixes, rather than semantic words). As I have created plenty of conlangs too, I usually recycle some words from my old conlangs (Ebgora: "srum" > Chuhuntali: "sirim" (horse); Levran: "taki" > Chuhuntali: "takî" (stone); Ebgora: "tlatas" > Chuhuntali "tsalla" (sword)). And a lot of times I also draw inspiration from natlangs, usually typing the meaning in the translator and listening to different languages until i hit one i like (for example, I typed in "huge", which gave "ضخم" in Arabic, from which I got Chuhuntali's "ttamha").

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Levike
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Re: How do you come up with words!?

Postby Levike » 2015-09-07, 16:31

Pasie wrote:Both...

1. Take something like "200 most used words in the English language" and begin to translate them.

2. If you don't have a source language to draw your etymology from then just make them up in whatever way.

I take my words from things that remind me of that word, for example I really liked the game "Tetris" so I changed it into "tetrom" which now means "to build".
Nem egy nap alatt épült Buda vára.

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Re: How do you come up with words!?

Postby WallOfStuff » 2015-09-09, 20:51

Levike wrote:I take my words from things that remind me of that word, for example I really liked the game "Tetris" so I changed it into "tetrom" which now means "to build".
That's actually really clever, I never thought of doing that.

I think for my next conlang, I'm going to borrow words from other languages. Not exact copies, but just the idea and change them slightly. I'm not imaginative enough to come up with thousands of a priori words. And using a word creator just seems annoying to me.

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Re: How do you come up with words!?

Postby Cubix » 2016-07-09, 9:48

The technique I use with Bonestalingu consists in translating the word I need into Spanish, Italian and Latin. Then (if they are different) I pick the shortest or the easiest to pronounce. If they are similar, I mix them up.

Ex : Water
Italian : acqua
Spanish : agua
Latin : aqua

Bonestalingu : aquag

But don't use those languages if you don't want to. You can use other roots, like germanic ones.
Langue maternelle : [flag=]fr[/flag]
Fluently spoken : [flag=]en[/flag]
Ich kann ein bisschen sprechen : [flag=]de[/flag]
Kaj esperanto mojosas ! [flag=]eo[/flag]
Et ju posam strugisa lingo : Bonestalingu. And I have a conlang : Bonestalingu.

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Re: How do you come up with words!?

Postby Atluk » 2016-07-11, 12:35

As you can see, OP, everyone here has their own method of creating words. Do whatever works best for you.

What I do when I create words is I begin with pronouns and a handful of verbs.

I start with pronouns because I imagine myself speaking the language and carrying on a conversation with an imaginary speaker.

The verbs are things you would do just about every day. For example, my first verbs are "to be", "to eat", "to drink", etc.

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Re: How do you come up with words!?

Postby sicktwister » 2016-09-20, 6:40

I just take random sounds and align meaning to them.

Zuam-to hunt

Lofol-to miss

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Re: How do you come up with words!?

Postby KpTroopaFR » 2016-10-08, 7:32

sicktwister wrote:I just take random sounds and align meaning to them.

Zuam-to hunt

Lofol-to miss

Same. Although sometimes I make them evolve from other languages and modify them to match my phonemic inventory.

Varindic : parvin-small : evolved from the latin adjective "parva,us,um"
Blúden-blood : pretty straight-forward

Vaku : vkohr-soul : random
wuth-you (plural) : evolved from "vous", in french
French : my native language !
English : I speak it fluently, I guess ?
German : 4th year of learning
Latin : 3rd year of learning
Ancient Greek : 1st year of learning
Conlangs :
Daenarian
Vaku
Varindic
'Allan languages

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Re: How do you come up with words!?

Postby Mentilliath » 2016-10-14, 3:47

Although I also often do the "random sound" method to come up with new lexemes, I always run the random sounds through a "Halvian filter" to make sure it sounds "Halvian" enough. Sometimes that means nothing more than tacking on a typical Halvian affix like -os or -mi, but other times it requires rearranging the sound and repeating it in my head (or out loud) until I deem it good enough for Halvian. (I'm picky!)

For example, I came up with the adverb "atgomos" a few days ago, but that /tg/ combination felt un-Halvian, so I thought "adgomos", maybe to alleviate the unvoiced-voiced stop sequence, but that still wasn't quite right. Looking through my list of words, /dg/ never seems to occur, so I switched them and placed the accent on the first syllable to create a nice Halvian-sounding word, ágdomos ("eventually, finally, ultimately"-post-positive).

Hime niman liktan ge "atgomos" agdomos astrei. (I eventually created a proper word out of "atgomos").
Primary Conlang: Halvian
Additional conlangs: Hesternese (Aikedenejo), Galsaic (sister language of Halvian), and Ogygian (unrelated to the others.

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Re: How do you come up with words!?

Postby Koko » 2016-10-15, 22:00

I do something very similar to Mentilliath for Isyan. I sometimes keep the word even if it kinda sounds non-Isyan, but often I will change it to keep the language structured neat and tidy. I often even go back on words I've already made and change them so they flow smoothly when put into actual sentences. This is why the phone /f/ is so rare word-internally. Almost everywhere I had it I didn't like the sound of the word and it gave a harsh sound in Isyan so I either changed it to a /v/ or rearranged the consonants so that it occurred initially (not in all cases, and I am starting to add internal /f/ in newer words).

I dunno why /f/, a fricative with only slight obstruction of airflow, sounds harsh to me when in Isyan, but geminate voiceless plosives do not -- when total obstruction of airflow is extended :P Fight me

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Mentilliath
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Re: How do you come up with words!?

Postby Mentilliath » 2016-10-16, 5:03

^Yeah, I don't know why I don't like /f/ either. I eliminated it entirely from Halvian. Halvian has /v/, but no /f/ (though historically I explain it as once having had /f/, but it all became /v/). Then again, Galsaic, Halvian's sister language has tons of /f/, including word-finally as it's common in case endings. (Halvian accusative "duénons" vs. Galsaic "búnof")

OP: Another method I use to create words is look at sounds that I haven't used in a while. For example, I was trying to come up with tree-name nouns and realized I hadn't created a word with /kʷ/ in a while, so I tried to come up with a couple that contained that sound. I also might create a noun-forming suffix, like "-[C]ala" and then use it to create some new nouns from verb stems.
Primary Conlang: Halvian
Additional conlangs: Hesternese (Aikedenejo), Galsaic (sister language of Halvian), and Ogygian (unrelated to the others.

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Re: How do you come up with words!?

Postby Koko » 2016-10-16, 8:19

Derivational suffixes play such a major role in Isyan noun-formation. If I wanted to I could make every noun become a verb that somehow made sense, which I already kinda do such as "to play [instrument]" is expressed as "[instrument]-ejan" and the verb treivoëjan is really only used when simply stating that one plays an instrument without specifying which kind. I've had so much fun with forming words like this and an entire sentence could contain only one root but all the words end with different suffixes. (favourite example: Fevaga fevie feve fevernu fevebbu fevejie feve. A thirsty drinker will drink (a drink) to quench their thirst completely by drinking. :lol: I am not glossing that)

Sometimes I will assimilate a person's name into the phonetics of my conlang and apply a meaning based on how I feel about that person or what they make me think of. I want to apply this to names of nationalities/ethnicities as well. Like "kùrda" (friend), "isżayellejan" (to administer genocide), "palistyn" (revolution), "rojav(i)" (warrior(s); incountable).


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