> Have you based your conlang(s) wholly or partially on a Celtic language?
> If so, on which?  or combined with which?
Yes, Welsh
> What is your name and what do you call your conlang(s)?
Andrew Smith, Brithenig, Zelandish, Vayaun, 2.0

> When did you start it/them?

> Are you still working with it/them or have you abandoned it or them?
Brithenig is inactive.  While I am still working through a backlog of
translations for my own amusement I am no longer publishing them.  The
shared world in which Brithenig exists, ill Bethisad, has other

> What Celtic features have you borrowed?  What is the structure of your
> language?  Be specific.
Welsh soundchanges and initial mutations.  Brithenig has a Romance
grammar and lexicon.

> What innovations did you introduce?  (new constructions, perhaps a new
> script, etc.)

> What features of Celtic languages (or a particular Celtic language)
> initially inspired or intrigued you?
The inspiration comes from a footnote in DB Gregor's Celtic: A
Comparative Study where he speculates on what the Strasbourg Oath would
look like in a Brythonic Romance language.

> On the other hand, perhaps the Celtic structures, their VSO, their
> paraphrastics, their initial mutations, their spelling conventions, their
> general strangeness caught your fancy, not necessarily their "beauty" or
> "romance."  Comment?
Brithenig has some of these features: the initial mutations, the
spelling conventions.  The others were not appropriate.

> How many of you are also scholars of Celtic languages?   Scholars of other
> languages?
No. No.

> PART II:  INSPIRATION BY TOLKIEN (tangential to the questions on inspiration
> by Celtic languages):
> How many of you were inspired to invent a language because of your exposure
> to Tolkien?
No.  If you said cartography then yes, but his languages, no.

> How many of you based your conlang on one of Tolkien's languages, or your
> conculture in Middle Earth?

> How many of you have a constructed world, and, if so, does it include some
> of the races we associate with Celtic or Scandinavian mythology? (Elves,
> Dwarves, medieval societies of humans, Faeries or Fays?  Selkies?  Wizards?)
Yes.  If I want to think about otherworldly races then one of my first
sources is Nancy Arrowsmith's Field Guide to the Little People,
particularly English, Scottish and Russian.

> How many of you were inspired to examine Welsh, Hebrew, or Finnish because
> of your examination of Tolkien?

> How many of you were inspired to invent a conlang or a conculture because of
> some influence OTHER than Tolkien?
Yes.  I did four years of French at high school.  My first foray into
conlanging began at this point.  I can even remember borrowing a book on
the Passover Seder from the library  and transliterating from the Hebrew
letters.  This information has now been lost.

> How many of you were inspired to invent a language because you engage in
> Roll-Playing Games?
I played, but not long enough to influence my conlanging.

> How many of you were inspired to invent a language because you heard of this
> listserv?
No.  I was inventing languages before I joined this listserv.

> How many of you are members of the Mythopoeic Society, or the Society for
> Creative Anachronism, or other High Fantasy Groups?
No.  I joined a metal weapon historical reenactment group instead, no
longer active.


> So what is unappealing about the Indo-European model for conlanging?  Or
> Tolkien's Elvish?
Nothing.  I work closely within the Indo-European models.  I just don't
find parsing Elvish exciting, that's all.

> How did you start conlanging?  What was your initial inspiration?
Mid 1980s, see above.

> Did you know about Tolkien's inventions?  Read the books, the appendices?
> etc.  Or not?

> What language types have you modeled your language(s) after?
I tend to be eclectic.

> What features of these languages or language types appeal to you?
Creole is good.  I favour short words, information intensive.
Inflections are interesting.  Present-Past-Imperfect-Future is normal.

> Some of you, and I'm thinking in particular of a conversation I had with And
> Rosta, are not interested in producing a language that is
>  "mellifluous"--that "mellifluousness" is a thing to be avoided in your
> conlang and especially as it is associated with Tolkien's Elvish or copiers
> of Elvish.   Is this so?  Why?
It is irrelevant to me.  A lot of what I do is a posteriori stuff, and
the choices of sounds are based on that.

> For how many of you, though, is beauty and/or efficiency a factor in your
> language?  Or elegance?  How would you define these terms?
Elegance is the ease of pronunciation and the conciseness and economy of

> For how many of you is the "exotic" a desired feature of your invented
> language?
Hard to say.

> How many of you invent a non-human language?  And if so, how alien are its
> sounds and constructions?
I have speculated, but I have not pursued it.

> Do you prefer inventing an a posteriori language or an a priori language?
Most of my work is a posteriori.  I have no extent a priori languages in

> How many of you invent a language based on a particular type (Ergative,
> Accusative, Trigger, etc.)?
No normally.  If I inflect I favour accusative languages.

> To what degree is difficulty and irregularity of language important to you
> in your conlang?  what natural language eccentricities (or efficiencies) do
> you like and try to reproduce?
Irregularity is more important, although nowhere near the cancerous
growths of maggelity.  The language I call 2.0 has a lot of
irregularities through together out of my collection of grammars to see
if I could create a consistant language.

> To what degree is accessibility, efficiency, and regularity important to
> your conlang?  What natural language "faults" are you correcting?

> How many of you invent logical languages?

> How many of you invent IALs?

> How many of you have invented non-Tolkienesque or non European concultures
> and what are they like?
If European means approaching high fantasy melieux then no.  Brithenig
is part of Britain; Zelandish is a diary language derived from Old
English.  2.0 is spoken by a goblin race (not orcish) who live in an
unspecified city-state.  Vayaun is spoken by a dark-skinned race who
speak an Indo-European language on a steppeland in an unspecified
fantasy world (this would have to be my current favourite).

> How many of you started out by pulling words out of the air, originally?


> How many of you have chosen a more methodic form of vocabulary building?
> I.e., how have you gone about setting up the framework for your words and
> your grammar?
This is my current favoured method.
> PART IV:  THE LUNATIC SURVEY REVISITED (because we are all "fous du
> langage," according to Yaguello and other French critics.
> Why do you conlang?  Who will speak it?  Read it?  What's the point?  What's
> the beauty?  what's the intellectual draw?
It is recreation.  It keeps me amused and occupies my mind.

> To what would you compare a conlang?  Is it a miniature?  Is it a model?  Is
> it a tapestry?  Is it an act of obsession and madness? <G>  Or is it a
> communicable language?
It is the display of a craftsman's wares.  Each construction is a unique
piece to be admired on its own.  Together they form an 'opus', the
summary of a life's work.  A single piece may be one line long, or it
could be a grammar or a longer text.

> If it is a communicable language, to whom do you speak it?
To myself, my cat or anyone who is sympathetic enough to listen.  People
who share a flat with me have to be tolerant, and not just for that

> To what extent is the opacity or "alterity" of your language something that
> pleases you?  In other words, the sounds and the script have, even for you,
> a quality of being foreign, and this delights.
> Comment?  (I know that when I make maps of cities, and imagine myself in
> them, they delight me because they are both familiar and foreign at the same
> time.)
Everything has to come together.  A word in an eclectic language has to
sound right and not 'jar'.  Sometimes I have toyed with words or
constructions then discarded them because they did not please me.
Balancing contextual features within a conculture is important.  I
looked through The World's Writing Systems and decided that the Ajma,
the Vayaun script was based on Kharosthi with features borrowed from
other Indic and Asian scripts.  All written on paper, I'm afraid, I
don't have the hardware/software support to show you more about it.

> How many of you are fictive map-makers, designers of fictive floor plans,
> fictive yachts, fictive star-ships, world-builders, calligraphers,
> cartoonists, etc.?  (These pursuits have been associated with conlanging.  I
> 've done most of them.)
Maps.  I've never got closer in than that.

> How many of you have a special script in your conlang?
Yes.  I try to make Vayaun in roman letters look like a transcript of
the original ajma letters.

> If you use Roman script, how recognizably "phonetic" is your writing system?
> In other words, do you use unconventional letters to represent sounds?
Vayaun is phonetic but I try to make it look intuitive.  It has long and
short vowels, fronting and lots of fricatives.
> This is a question Heather asked, but I also asked it four years ago:  how
> many of you write in your language?  What do you write?
Vayaun was originally an attempt to create a fictive religion out of a
pastiche of religious texts.  After a while I decided I wanted to create
a language for the 'original' text to be in.  So I started working with
material that I had copied out of the American Heritage Dictionary.
Then I started exploring what the background conculture was like.  The
work is slow - in a year I have done two pages of text and they need
revising.  It is not at the stage yet where I am ready to put up a
webpage about Vayaun.

> How many of you sing in your language and have invented songs for that
> purpose?
No.  I am not a composer.

> How many of you started conlanging when you were a teenager and have stuck
> to the same language over many years?   Why?
I started when I was a teenager but I have not kept my original
material.  At one point I destroyed a lot of material for religious
reasons, a form of purification or self-sacrifice if you like.  It was
an action I continually regret.

> How many of you change conlangs regularly, developing structures for many
> languages but not sticking with any one for very long?  Why?
On average I stick with a project for 1-10 years and then let it lie
fallow (place it under a rahui - a Maori word meaning the same thing).
Otherwise I would grow bored with what I'm doing.

> For how many of you does your language function as a spiritual instrument?
> This is a deeply personal question--let me give you an example.  When I
> first started inventing "Tayonian" in my early teens, what I wrote were
> spells and prayers.  They had a talismanic quality.  Does that ring a bell
> for anybody?
No.  I use English, my first language, as my language of prayer.  If I
used a created language for this purpose I would feel that I was being
insincere.  My devotions consist of a Bible reading and quiet meditation
followed by a short prayer every morning, and a recitation of the Nunc
Dimittus before I go to sleep at night.

> For how many of you was your language at least at one stage of its making
> meant to fool others, or to write secret diaries? (Me, waving my hand).
My journal is written in Zelandish, or Zelandisch, a conlang based on
Wordcraft and the Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary.  I have been writing
in this language for about six years.  There is no write-up on this
language although it desparately needs one.

> How many of you can speak your language, at least to yourself and your pet?
> child?  spouse?  <G>  To what extent?
Sometimes to my cat or myself in Zelandish or Brithenig.  Only small

> How many of you have put up websites where your language can be showcased?
> If so, what is the website address?
Brithenig is written up at
None of my other stuff is on the web.

> How many of you are comfortable talking to your boss, your professors, your
> family members about this pursuit?   How many of you have received
> condescending or other negative responses to your disclosure?  (I have.)  Or
> even been called "pathological"?
My mother was amused that I used to read grammars and dictionaries for
new words.  My flatmates think it is an eccentric hobby, but not one
that is life-threatening.  They can be supportive when it comes to doing
a webpage - the joys of computer geekdom!  Talking about conlanging in
public can range from incomprehension (normal) to downright contempt
(happened once).

> For how many of you is the damning statement "better to learn real languages
> than invent private ones" a criticism you have encountered?  What would be
> your response to such a remark?
I find it depressing, especially when people think I spent a long time
studying a threatened language group like the Celtic languages for the
purpose of inventing my own.  I try to disarm them by apologising
profusely.  Then I just carry on as before.
> What is your age (optional--and can be general: 30-40, for instance).

> What is your profession or your station in life (i.e., if you are a student,
> what is your MAJOR; if a middle or high-school student, what is your
> intended major)?
Currently unemployed.  I do volunteer work at a national church archives.

> What is your gender?

> What is your nationality and your native language?
New Zealander, English

> What natural languages do you speak or have studied?
French, Maori, Biblical Hebrew, Old English, Old Norse.

> How many of you have chosen a profession in linguistics because of your
> interest in inventing languages?  Or plan a profession in linguistics?
I did two years of linguistic studies at University.

> What have you learned from conlanging?
That it's fun.

> What texts on language and linguistics have you consulted to help invent
> your language?
For Brithenig:
Celtic: A Comparative Study
From Latin to Romance in Sound Charts
An Introduction to Romance Linguistics
The Romance Languages
External History of the Romance Languages
Proto-Romance Phonology
Language and History in Early Britain
The Romance Languages
An Introduction to the Celtic Languages
Latin and the Romance Languages in the Early Middle Ages

For Vayaun:

Comparative Indo-European Linguistics by Beekes
Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans by Gamkrelidze and Ivanov
There are other books I have consulted but I don't have the references
at hand.

For Zelandish:
A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary
Teach Yourself Old English
Sweet's Anglo-Saxon Primer
A Guide to Old English
Bright's Old English Grammar and Reader

For 2.0 I went through every book I have on the shelf and then saw how I
could fit it together: 28 books.

> Do you know of anyone who has not connected with the Internet or the List
> who has invented a language? (I'm firmly convinced that "conlanging" has
> been a private pursuit for many people long before the list started, but
> that the list has increased its visibility as an art).

> Can you give me a short sample of your language with interlinear description
> and translation?

Lla 'spirediwn di lla Ghemr k'es esser wen di llo thum di lla Ghemr

DEF.f inspiration of DEF.f Cambria REL_be.PRES.3s be.INF come.PRES.3s of grave of DEF.f Cambria REL_be.PAST.3s

The inspiration of the Cambria that is to be comes from the Cambria that


Medhvo ir er norta a vetha eparit, at tsaimmo.

Medhvo.NOM.f 3pm.ACC out_of east.m.DAT to west.m.DAT lead.PAST.3s to

Medhvo (a goddess) led them from the east to the west, to the home


Ik gaa toemorns toe werde myn efsing tweer stund efter middeg.

1s go.PRES.1s tomorrow to become.INF POSS.1s haircut.VN two.GEN hour
after midday.

I go tomorrow to get my hair cut two o'clock in the afternoon.


"Mu ti olhal, e?" yedentes ve scaste ot, pulteni gi trisken pilarma ya

inside be.PRES.3s anyone QUES go_by_riding.AGENT NONPRES say.PAST.3s
away_from_speaker door.ADV when strike.INF light.PP ASSOC moon.DAT

"Is anyone in?" the rider said, striking on the door lit by the moon.

> Would you object to my mentioning your conlang/and or your name in my talk?
> I will be discreet about some of the more personal questions you answered.
No, I will not object.

- andrew.
Andrew Smith, Intheologus                         [log in to unmask]
alias Mungo Foxburr of Loamsdown