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Semi-natural and semi-con lang?

Posted: 2018-11-26, 9:25
by langmon
Are there any examples of semi-natural and semi-con langs?
A 50% : 50% language or anything like that?
And if yes, why do they exist?
Reconstructed modern languages are also on-topic :).

Re: Semi-natural and semi-con lang?

Posted: 2018-11-26, 15:29
by Dormouse559
SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:Are there any examples of semi-natural and semi-con langs?
A 50% : 50% language or anything like that?

I can't say I've heard of such a thing, and I'm having difficulty even figuring out what "A 50% : 50% language" would look like. Are we talking about all aspects of the language, like syntax, phonology, pragmatics? Because the only area where such a division would begin to make sense to me is vocabulary.

The "50% : 50%" thing is tripping me up, so I'll try to look at other things. With any luck, I'll bring up what you were looking for. A common distinction made in conlanging is between a priori and a posteriori conlangs. The exact boundaries vary from person to person, but the definitions I use are the following:

a priori - not regularly derived from a natural language

a posteriori - regularly derived from a natural language

Either of these kinds of conlang could be "semi-natural" in a sense. An a priori conlang might take inspiration from a natural language (e.g. Esperanto), and an a posteriori language by definition has a natlang as its starting point. There aren't any conlangs fitting my definition of "a posteriori" with any pop culture currency, but Brithenig is the most well-known example among conlangers; it is a Romance language developed under Celtic influence.

You might also look at cyphers, which most conlangers don't consider true conlangs. These are simple re-encodings of natural languages. For example, a cypher might seem unfamiliar on the surface, but if you looked closer you'd see its vocabulary and grammar map 1:1 onto English vocabulary and grammar. The Ancient Language from the Eragon series is such an English cypher.

SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:And if yes, why do they exist?

Short answer: Because someone made them.

Long Answer: People can have any number of reasons for making any kind of conlang, or even a cypher. A person making an a priori language could choose to take inspiration from a natlang in order to make the conlang more familiar to their target audience. A posteriori languages can serve to explore alternate histories, like Brithenig does. I'm making an a posteriori Romance conlang, and the process helps me better understand the actual history of the Romance languages. Making a cypher could be a matter of expediency for someone who needs a language for a story, but it could also come from ignorance of what is truly possible with language creation.

SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:Reconstructed modern languages are also on-topic :).

Care to elaborate? Reconstruction usually applies to dead, unattested languages. Given modern languages exist now, why would we reconstruct them?

Re: Semi-natural and semi-con lang?

Posted: 2018-11-26, 16:02
by langmon
Dormouse559 wrote:
SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:Are there any examples of semi-natural and semi-con langs?
A 50% : 50% language or anything like that?

I can't say I've heard of such a thing, and I'm having difficulty even figuring out what "A 50% : 50% language" would look like. Are we talking about all aspects of the language, like syntax, phonology, pragmatics? Because the only area where such a division would begin to make sense to me is vocabulary.


Well, I wrote "50% : 50% or anything like that" because the exact percentage wouldn't matter :). In other words: any mixed language, not purely natural or constructed.

SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:Reconstructed modern languages are also on-topic :).
Care to elaborate? Reconstruction usually applies to dead, unattested languages. Given modern languages exist now, why would we reconstruct them?


Reconstructed modern, as in: "contemporary, but reconstructed" ;).
Or maybe it would be better to say: based on an ancient natural language, but with some contemporary constructed elements (simplification/etc.).

Re: Semi-natural and semi-con lang?

Posted: 2018-11-26, 16:40
by Luís
SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:
Or maybe it would be better to say: based on an ancient natural language, but with some contemporary constructed elements (simplification/etc.).


Modern Hebrew?

Re: Semi-natural and semi-con lang?

Posted: 2018-11-26, 17:12
by langmon
Luís wrote:
SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:
Or maybe it would be better to say: based on an ancient natural language, but with some contemporary constructed elements (simplification/etc.).


Modern Hebrew?


This also came to my mind. But I don't have a real overview, people differ on certain aspects.

Re: Semi-natural and semi-con lang?

Posted: 2018-11-26, 18:02
by linguoboy
SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:Or maybe it would be better to say: based on an ancient natural language, but with some contemporary constructed elements (simplification/etc.).

I did once come across a conlang based on Proto-Indo-European. I think it was being proposed as an interlanguage for the EU. The name was based on the PIE root *dn̥ǵʰwéh₂s "tongue". I'm not having any luck tracking down the page now. I did, however, find this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sambahsa.

ETA: I did find the site for "Dnghu", but it crashed my PC, so proceed with caution: http://dnghu.org/.

Re: Semi-natural and semi-con lang?

Posted: 2018-11-26, 21:28
by Dormouse559
linguoboy wrote:
SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:Or maybe it would be better to say: based on an ancient natural language, but with some contemporary constructed elements (simplification/etc.).

I did once come across a conlang based on Proto-Indo-European. I think it was being proposed as an interlanguage for the EU.

Ah, that reminds me of Latino sine flexione, a version of Latin with simplified inflections and the same vocabulary, and I assume, the same grammar, aside from morphology.

Re: Semi-natural and semi-con lang?

Posted: 2018-11-27, 5:42
by langmon
Dormouse559 wrote:Ah, that reminds me of Latino sine flexione, a version of Latin with simplified inflections and the same vocabulary, and I assume, the same grammar, aside from morphology.


Read about it a couple of years ago. Then I entirely forgot it.
But I don't know if anyone uses it nowadays.

Re: Semi-natural and semi-con lang?

Posted: 2018-11-30, 7:15
by razlem
I think it's hard to define naturalness in terms of linguistic structure. For me, a 'naturalistic' conlang is one that has speakers that can use the language with regularity, with a full-on natural language being one that's used as a first language.

Re: Semi-natural and semi-con lang?

Posted: 2018-11-30, 7:23
by langmon
razlem wrote:I think it's hard to define naturalness in terms of linguistic structure. For me, a 'naturalistic' conlang is one that has speakers that can use the language with regularity, with a full-on natural language being one that's used as a first language.
Regularity as in: frequency of use? Or as in: inner-language consistency?

Re: Semi-natural and semi-con lang?

Posted: 2018-12-01, 20:44
by razlem
Frequency of use, to establish a speaking community.