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 --- Sarah Marie Parker-Allen skrzypszy:

> Hello, everyone, I'm new.  My name is Sarah, I currently live in Long Beach,
> CA (it's a little south of Los Angeles, and less than 15 miles from
> Disneyland, for those unfamiliar with local geography).

Welcome to the List! <darn, beaten by Nik AND Christophe this time... that's
what happens when you go to sleep early :) >

> Recently I decided to create my own language, and haven't the foggiest idea
> of where to start, so I just started with vocabulary and grammar and
> everything else simultaneously, as well as developing the appropriate
> culture to go with it.

Well, basically there is nothing wrong with that, just don't forget that
phonology is an important factor too, that makes a language consistent.
This is how I do it:
- A few words to begin with (in my case, it's usually the numbers 1-10, but I
am a numbers freak);
- then some basic grammar (tables, etc.);
- next some phonology, based on what I have done;
- then, in the spirit of all these, new words and a more detailed grammar;
- if I have something around 500 words, I cautiously make some simple sentences
and translations. Then I watch the result, and start to change words and rules
according to my own taste.

I should add that for many list members phonology is more important than to me;
they rather start from a phonological outline.

> I'm getting the impression that I am developing two
> separate languages simultaneously, for two different fictional environments.

Why not?

> [...] My biggest problem remains charting my own path in terms of
> how my language sounds (and also in terms of grammar); everything I've come
> up with so far sounds or is structured too much like Latin.

Hell, why not? Latin is a beautiful and interesting language, and many of us
started conlanging with something that was inspired by, if not entirely based
upon, Latin. Besides, I have a terrible weakness for the so-called "romlangs"
(fictional Romance conlangs, based on Vulgar or Classical Latin, and sometimes
on other, existing, Romance languages).

> I don't understand phonetic markings at all, and this is my next big task,

It is interesting, I admit. But in my case, pronunciation is usually one of the
last things I care about. For me it is more important what the language looks
like than how it sounds.
But there is surely nothing against having a look at the IPA and X-SAMPA
tables.

> In any event, I'm probably not going to talk
> much for a while, except to ask questions.  Then again, the last list I said
> that to, won't let me forget it, as I send at least a message a day.  ^_^

No problem, just remember that this list has a limit of 100 messages a day.
When this limit has been exceeded, the list will be held until the list owner
releases it (if we are lucky, that is after a few hours. But it can be a few
days as well... just imagine: four empty, listless days... :(  )

> I'm curious about one thing: are there many women who are actively
> generating conlangs (I haven't found any online...)?  They seem to be few
> and far between in this area of creative writing, though they overpower
> other genres (e.g. almost every piece of fan fiction I've ever read, was by
> a woman).

Exactly one month ago, there was a whole thread about the subject. Tim May did
a review of the list's members, and counted 271 men, 35 women, 18 unknown, and
18 concealed.
Just a few names of female conlangers: Sally Caves, Suzette Elgin Haden, Irina
Rempt, Esther Schrager, Mia Soderquist, Yoon Ha Lee, Nicole Perrin, Nicole
Dobrowolski, Silvia Sotomayor, Amanda Babcock, Keolah the Seeker (Heather
Dunn), Jennifer Barefoot, Natalia Gruscha, Arthaey Angosii, Mau Rauszer,
Heather Rice, Camilla Drevfenborg, Carrie Schutrick, Natalia Laurila... and
let's not forget Hildegard von Bingen. Google should get you to a lot of
interesting stuff.

Jan

=====
"Originality is the art of concealing your source." - Franklin P. Jones

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