On Tue, Jul 23, 2002 at 12:11:39PM +0000, Robert Neo Hill wrote:
> Tule!
> Well, I think I have come far from what I was doing before, conlang wise, but
> one part of creating languages is getting to me. I dont know if I am creating
> my syntax correctly. I guess what I am asking is for like a checklist or
> guideline for creating the syntax. Also, a checklist of what I should include
> in the would be MUCH appreciated.

I'm not sure what you mean by "syntax" --- do you mean the *grammar*?

As far as grammar is concerned, here are some things that I think all
conlangs should address, one way or another (this is most likely
incomplete, so everyone else please add to it):

- word order (free, or not; if not, what are the rules)
- how to construct subordinate clauses & relative clauses
    - noun clauses (eg., the dog _which had a spot on its back_)
    - quoted discourse (eg., he said, "I don't want to do this")
    - indirect discourse (eg., he said that he did not want to do it)
- interrogatives (how to ask questions)
- imperatives (commands, eg., "Do this now!", "Go outside and play!")
- negation (eg. "he did not do this" --- there may be more than one kind
  of negation)
- comparatives (eg. "he is taller than her", "she is the smartest in her
- conjunctions (and, or, then, etc)
- conditional statements: if A then B, ... etc.
- numbers (probably optional for con-cultures that don't need it)
- demonstratives of some sort (eg., "this thing here" vs. "that thing
  there", etc.)
- temporal clauses ("now", "in the past", "in the future", "since that
  time", "until another time", etc) - probably optional for alien langs
- proper nouns (how to differentiate between names and ordinary nouns)

Not all of the above must be directly addressed by the grammar, although
it should be possible to express these concepts in *some* way, even if
it involves a circumlocution. E.g., some languages don't have a word for
"if", and may phrase conditionals using conjunctions: "Do this and then
you will feel better" == "*If* you do this, you will feel better".


One who has not yet appreciated the beauty of language is not worthy to
bemoan its flaws.