On Tue, 19 Mar 2002 15:51:27 -0700
"Sean M. Burke" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> A question to all language constructors:  once you've settled on the
> phonology and phonotaxis of your language-in-progress, how do you go about
> making up the phonological forms of new words (as opposed to their meaning)?
> Do you use a random number generator?
> Or just play it by ear?

Occasionally a nice word pops into my head, but I find that trying to produce
one on demand is as easy as getting hair-gel from a rock, so I almost always
use a random-word generator to generate a few hundred words and read over them
with the meanings I want in my mind. Usually I won't actually use any of them,
but I'll see a few that give me ideas, and I modify these as I please. Seems to
work fairly well, though it's rather labour intensive. If I forced myself to make
up words without any such stimulus, they'd all be the same shape and conform
to a terribly boring (and not even very nice) phonology like {a i T f k} ;).

I think of it as a linguistic analogy to monte carlo computational techniques -
wait until the random number generator produces the word that's just on the
tip of your tongue ;) (or epiglottis)