I know nothing, zilch, nada, about Celtic languages.  Any similarities
between Asha'ille & co. and Celtic languages is purely coincidental.


I've only read the first three quarters of LotR, and that was only a year
ago, so I don't have the "exposure to Tolkien during my youth" factor
affecting my conlangs much.

>How many of you were inspired to invent a language because you engage in
>Role-Playing Games?

Asha'ille started while I was playing on a MUD.  My sister and were toying
with role-playing a storyline whereby my main character (of a non-human
race) because feverish and started muttering about her past, in her native
language.  It sorta mushroomed from there.  :P

>In the discussions I've witnessed on Conlang in almost five years, I've
>observed that many conlangers have deliberately avoided "Tolkienesque"
>languages, and even Indo-European languages as models for conlangs, and
>especially the "Celtic."  Why?  Boring?  Overdone?  Trite?  Too pretty?
>Too Western?  Or none of the above--just more interested in something else?
><G>  I don't want to give the impression that I think we conlang only
>because of Tolkien, and that anything we invent has to be INSPIRED BY or a
>DEPARTURE from the "Great One"; but in this question I'm eager to see some
>eschewal of or at least indifference towards the Tolkien, the "Celtic,"
>and/or even the Indo-European model.
>What is your name and what do you call your conlang?

My Internet name is Arthaey Angosii, and my conlang is Asha'ille.  I also
have an undeveloped parent language, Gharchove, and the sketchy beginnings
two other languages on the same conworld -- one is called Dehaliysha (at
least that's the tentative name for it in the Asha'illen language) and the
other is unnamed.

>So what is unappealing about the Indo-European model for conlanging?  Or
>Tolkien's Elvish?

To some extent, I do agree that it's been overdone.  I like unusual, new
things in conlangs.  Of course, this doesn't stop me from the times I _do_
follow Indo-European languages.  But I like to at least know how other
languages handle situations differently.

>How did you start conlanging?  What was your initial inspiration?

See Part II.

>Did you know about Tolkien's inventions?  Read the books, the appendices?

I know _of_ Quenya, Sindarin, and Black Speech, and I really admire the
look of the Tengwar.  I haven't read any of Tolkien's books all the way
through, much less any appendices.

>What language types have you modeled your language(s) after?

English, Spanish, Quecha, and any others that had neat features that struck
my fancy.  Asha'ille tries not to be discriminatory in its sources of
inspiration.  :)

>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?

I don't want to be accused of "copying" someone else, and I don't really
like discovering that my "invention" is actually found in, say, 42% of the
world's languages.  I don't dislike Tolkien's Elvish -- in fact, I do like
it -- but many people are aware of it or have modeled their own languages
after it, so I try to stay away from that saturated field.

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

I do try to find words that sound good to my ears -- obviously, this is
totally subjective.  Just because I think |vastille| /vAs"til/ sounds
beautiful and open and free, like its meaning, doesn't mean anyone else has
to agree with me.  :)

>For how many of you is the "exotic" a desired feature of your invented

Exotic is definately something I look for.  Doesn't mean I've acheived it,
:P but I do like the unusual.

>How many of you invent a non-human language?  And if so, how alien are its
>sounds and constructions?

Unfortunately, my Asha'illens aren't human but their language sounds like a
human one.  When I started working on Asha'ille, the species that spoke it
_was_ humanoid, then changed into its own thing (rather feline-esque).  Oh

On a totally unrelated conworld, I have an undeveloped conlang that
requires the aliens (picture a dragon-jaguar combination, sort of) to
produce two sound streams at the same time.  One is higher pitched than the
other, and the two interweave like a sort of harmony with itself.  The
meaning of any given utterance requires parsing both sound streams and
combining them properly.  I'm pretty sure this is a tonal language.  Humans
can't speak this language, except in cases where two people practice a set
speech and then say/sing it together.  And that would still sound very
strange to alien ears, but it would get the message across more or less.
(This language came to mind while reading through the Zompist site for the
first time.)

>Do you prefer inventing an a posteriori language or an a priori language?
>In other words, how many of you invent a language wherein you base it
>closely on a natural language (Arabic, Tagalog) or a combination of
>languages, and how many others of you invent a language from, well, scratch?
>(if that can be done.)

A priori!  From scratch!  I've never done an a posteriori language, nor am
I really that interested in working on one.

>How many of you invent a language based on a particular type (Ergative,
>Accusative, Trigger, etc.)?

Asha'ille is accusative, but unfortunately this is only because I haven't
been exposed to any other type of language.

>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?

Currently Asha'ille is highly regular, but the plan is to make it pick up
more irregularities so that it's more naturalistic.  I plan to add accents,
dialects, and slang, specifically.

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

My lang is an artlang imitating natlangs, not a loglang.  I don't desire
full-scale maggelity*, but neither do I want absolute regularity.

* Interesting that I originally typo'd that as "full-scare maggelity,"
which seems a particularly apt description.  :)

>How many of you invent logical languages?
>How many of you invent IALs?

Nope, and nope.

>How many of you have invented non-Tolkienesque or non European concultures
>and what are they like?

I have European, Native American, and original concultures on Cresaea.

>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?

My primary conworld, Cresaea, where Asha'ille is spoken, was originally an
extension of the MUD I played on but soon spiralled out of control and
eventually lost all ties to the MUD world, except for some of the oldest
words.  These first words were based on mutations of important names in the
MUD.  For example, |vastille| means "beauty and freedom," which came from
the MUD god of freedom, Vastar.  The first color-words came from the ANSI
color codes 0-15:

  black  0  sairo
  blue   1  uan
  green  2  tua
  red    4  foa

But I no longer like these very much and might make them be part of
Asha'ille's parent language, Gharchove (which is supposed to sound harsh
[without copying Klingon, which is hard to do when they're both
warrior-languages!]), but make up an entirely new system for color-words in
modern Asha'ille.

After those mutated words, I pulled things out of the air.  |Jhelle| /ZEl/,
"good," exists because I really like the sound of /Z/.  Similarly, |kre|
/krE/, "bad" means that because /k/ and /r/ sound mean and negative to me.
Once I had a fair lexicon of totally a priori words, I started combining
them to make internally consistent words with native etymologies.  This is
what I prefer to do now.

>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?

I conlang because I think languages are fascinating.  There's so much
variety out there!  My sisters and a close friend have said they'd be
interested in learning Asha'ille.  But the real point is that the Cresaeans
have to speak _something_, don't they?  ;)

>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?

All of the above, to be honest.  That's one of the nice things about this
hobby -- it can be whatever the conlanger want it to be.  Although we
certainly have a devil of a time convincing non-conlangers that it's
anything but a silly obession.  :P

>If it is a communicable language, to whom do you speak it?

My sister.  Sometimes.  Mostly to discuss things/people around us when we
want to feel sneaky.  We don't talk so much in Asha'ille now that I'm in
college, though.

>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

Definitely.  I created the native script of Asha'ille
( and /letterforms.gif) to be as much
unlike the Roman alphabet as I could make it.  Nevermind that it reminds
everyone of Arabic; I didn't know anything of Arabic when I created it.  :)

Mapping the world is a lot of fun.  As for making something foreign even to
me, I've tried to make the culture of a major sea town distinctive, and the
Cresaean's culture strives to be significantly different from cultures I'm
used to.

>This is a difficult question:  how is it that a word sounds "right" to you?
>We recently discussed this.  To what extent are you finding righter, better
>words for the world in your conlang?  (Perhaps unanswerable).

WRT recent discussions here, I'm not a synesthete, so I don't have extra
sensory info backing up my word preferences.  I think I have prejudices for
certain types of sounds.  All other things being equal, stops sound harsh
or negative, (af)fricatives sound flowing and positive, voiceless
consonants and labials sound soft (or weak and pathetic, if you ask the
speakers of Gharchove :P ).  Vowels are more or less equal, except that /u/
and /o/ are rather displeasing and thus don't show up as frequently in
Asha'ille as its other vowels, /A E I O e/ and dipthongs /Ei Ai/.

As for better words for the world, Asha'ille ended up having a large
lexicon to describe the fine distinctions between types of physically
attractiveness -- the differences between "cute," "handsome,"
"good-looking," etc but a lot more of them and more quantified.  These
words really have nothing to do with the conculture, but I find them useful
anyway.  ;)

OT: A while back there was a discussion on whether Laadan's emotion-words
covered concepts that English didn't.  Where is this original list of
words?  The Cresaeans are telepathic, so I need a list of emotion-words.

>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, check.  Floor plans (and hand-drawn 3D architecture), check.
Water-going vessels, sorta; star-ships, no.  World-buildings, check.
Calligraphy, check.  Drawing, check.  That Vogu cartoon has got me thinking
about Asha'illen comics now, too.  I've done fiction-writing, too.

>How many of you have a special script in your conlang?

I do.  My first conscript was obviously based on the Roman alphabet, so I
scrapped it and made the sarapin, which you can see at the link I gave
above.  The first, heavily Roman-influenced script (called "Tasha," short
for "Terranized Asha'ille") still exists in the conhistory, but it wasn't
created until the Cresaeans came in contact with the humans and wanted a
compromise script between the two languages.

Gharchove also has a script, which is what the sarapin is based on.  The
Gharchoven script, geghitanuo, was originally made by the Kegharn (the
speakers of Gharchove) impressing their claws into a clay-like substance.

Both Tasha and Geghitanuo are True Type fonts -- and /geghitanuo.ttf

>If you use Roman script, how recognizably "phonetic" is your writing system?
>In other words, do you use unconventional letters to represent sounds? Why?

When I need to transliterate Asha'ille into the Roman alphabet (as when I
write e-mails), the scheme is very phonetic.  If you want
difficult-to-decipher, stick to the sarapin.  :P

>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?

So far I've only done English-to-Asha'ille translations, but I plan to
write an original short story directly in Asha'ille soon.  I'll outline it
in English, but I'll do the sentence-writing in Asha'ille.  What I have in
mind is a kid's story, perhaps about the alphabet itself or else something
unique to Cresaea culture.

>How many of you sing in your language and have invented songs for that

Nope.  Can't sing in my native language; a conlang isn't going to improve
my lack of musical talent.  ;)

>How many of you change conlangs regularly, developing structures for many
>languages but not sticking with any one for very long?  Why?

I've been working on Asha'ille for a year or two, without any serious work
on anything else.  I enjoy the conworld where Asha'ille exists, so when I'm
not working on concultural stuff, I do conlanging for the conculture.  :)

>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?

I'm rather aspiritual, so I've never used conlangs for this application.
However, in my conworld setting, special properties about the planet
Cresaea helped Terran religions to flourish there more than might have been
expected from a scientist-heavy colony population.

>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).

In elementary school, I made "secret codes" which were nothing more than
ciphers of English.  Asha'ille was created when I was past the point of
wanting to hide my diaries from prying eyes, but it _was_ used to discuss
cute people.  ;)

Emaelivpar Steg Belsky:
>>ool-Nuziiferoi alphabet for writing secret messages and for drawing
>>calligraphy while i was bored in class.  Sometimes i would draw
>>calligraphy on the blackboard between periods as a way to get attention.

Wow, exactly ditto.  :)

>How many of you can speak your language, at least to yourself and your pet?
>child?  spouse?  <G>  To what extent?

I can speak it less fluently than I can speak Spanish -- but that I had as
a high school class, so it's not saying too much.  I own books on English,
Spanish, German, Russian, Swedish, American Sign Language, Latin, and Klingon.

>How many of you have put up websites where your language can be showcased?
>If so, what is the website address?

Working on it, working on it.  Give me time!

>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 entire extended family and friends -- even just acquaintances -- know
about "my language."  I don't try to keep it a secret, and worst response
I've gotten so far has been total disinterest.  No one (so far) has been
condescending about my hobby.

>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've never heard this directed at me, but I've thought it to myself.  My
answer to that critical self that doesn't want to waste time on frivilous
matters is that it's a hobby, as valid a way to pass the time as crosswords
or needlepoint or sports or trivia games.  For practical applications, it's
made me interested in linguistics proper, and theoretical linguistics is as
fascinating to me as physics is to others.

>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)?

Student, computer science major and a minor in linguistics.  :D

>What is your nationality and your native language?

American, English.

>What natural languages do you speak or have studied?

I'm only fluent in English, but I can do Spanish reasonably well (better if
no one's listening -- therefore I'm decent at reading, but I get flustered
when I have to speak).  I'm taking German 101 this quarter.

>How many of you have chosen a profession in linguistics because of your
>interest in inventing languages?  Or plan a profession in linguistics?

I'm minoring in linguistics for the fun of it, not for any intended career
combinations with computer science, although I've been told several times
that it's a good combination for jobs.

>What have you learned from conlanging?

Grammar, linguistics terms, formal linguistics (from my introductory 101
class), and the IPA and X-SAMPA!  Gotta love the IPA...  :)  I also find
that with my increased interest in linguistics in general, I am much more
aware of how people speak.  I actually embarassed my German teacher by
asking her about the sound /Z/ in German after I noticed that she
pronounced "usually" as /jusul=i/ instead of /juZul=i/.  :P

>What texts on language and linguistics have you consulted to help invent
>your language?

  Blackwell Encyclopedia of Writing Systems
  Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, by David Crystal
  Klingon Dictionary, by Marc Okrand
  Language Files, 8th ed
  Language Instinct, by Stephen Pinker
  Phonetic Symbol Guide
  Socialinguistics, by Peter Trudgill
  They Have a Word for It, by Rheingold
  Writing: The Story of Alphabets and Scripts

  Ancient Scripts
  Conlang FAQ
  English Language Statistics
  Field of Linguistics
  How to Create a Language
  How to Make Good Glosses
  IPA Sound Reference
  Language Construction Kit
  Linguistic Olympics
  Representation of IPA with ASCII
  Representing IPA in ASCII
  SIL Linguistics Glossary

Note that I haven't actually read all of these books cover to cover, or
else I'd be a lot more knowledgeable about linguistics than I currently am.  :)

>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?

Vedá'saea lorivaym eg vae'saea.  Cha'sshalníriv ne mlayml cresdin.

vedá- saea      lorav -aym  eg vel-   saea
FROM: grassland live  -1PI  V  WHERE: here

cha- sshalníriv ne   ml-  aym -ml  cresin
IMP- remember   OBJ: POS- 1PI -POS home

We came from the grasslands, and now we live here.  Remember our home!

>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.

Not at all.  Happy to help in your survey!  :)