My time is very limited these days, so I'll only answer a few of these, and
details may be lacking.

On Sun, 5 Jan 2003 15:10:24 -0500, Sally Caves <[log in to unmask]>

>What Celtic features have you borrowed?  What is the structure of your
>language?  Be specific.

I've always liked the Welsh "ll" sound, and I've included it in many of my
languages. Initial consonant mutations are also featured in some of my

>How many of you were inspired to invent a language because of your exposure
>to Tolkien?

Tolkien's etymologies inspired me to create a family of related Elvish
languages, of which two (Rynnan and Cythin) were reasonably well developed
by my standards of the time (though little more than sketches compared with
Jarda or Tirelat). Galtani, another of my Elvish languages, had a complex
set of noun cases inspired by Finnish.

>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?)

I've had a constructed world for many years. I originally had elves,
gnomes, and dwarves, along with humans. I still have the elves, but they've
changed quite a bit.

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

I started learning about Welsh and Finnish because of Tolkien.

>How many of you were inspired to invent a conlang or a conculture because of
>some influence OTHER than Tolkien?

My idea of "fictional languages" (the category that most of my early langs
belong to) may have been inspired by seeing the alien languages in Star
Wars. Some of my languages from that period were also inspired by

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

I created one language, Lyzantura, specifically for an AD&D campaign that I
ran, for my own personal notes and such things. I've used other languages
(e.g., Zarkhand, Kazat Akkorou) to fill in place names on maps and create
names of characters.

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

Some of my Elvish languages include features of Slavic phonology. Turkish
morphology was an inspiration for one of my human languages, Kazvarad. I
created a number of ergative languages after reading R.M.W. Dixon's book on
the Dyirbal language of Queensland, Australia.

>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 think it's appropriate for Elvish languages to be beautiful. Some of the
features I consider "beautiful", like the Welsh "ll" sound and lots of
voiced fricatives, might not appeal to everyone. More important is that a
language should have its own aesthetic style or "personality".

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

For languages intended to be spoken by non-humans, I think they should
definitely have some "exotic" features.

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

I've done non-human languages before, mainly Elvish, but also the Mizarian
languages (spoken by humanoid rodents) and a few Thrinn languages
(relatives of the Zireen). Lately I've been trying to come up with a family
of related Zireen languages, but I haven't had the time, and I don't have
the experience with historical linguistics that I need for this project. So
what I'll probably end up doing is come up with a "model" Zireen language
first. Zireen are small furry people, about 2 1/2 feet tall, related to
elves (or I should say, related to the Draconian people that I conveniently
refer to as "elves"). I don't use any sounds that humans can't pronounce. I
know that's not "realistic", but when I was designing my world in the first
place, it was more fantasy than science fiction.

>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.)

Most of my languages have been a priori, with the occasional borrowing of
words. Eklektu and Ludireo, based on words from languages around the world,
are the main exceptions. I also made some sketches of a werewolf language
(Thelwik, or Thuic) based on Proto-Indo-European roots.

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

I've always liked ergative languages since I first learned about them.

>How many of you invent IALs?

Deverrin is a fictional IAL, with words from fictional human and elvish
languages. Does that count?

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

The Zireen have their own culture, which isn't based on any existing
culture that I know of (at least consciously). They have a society that is
very free and open, but at the same time guided by ancient traditions. They
love music and dancing, story telling, cave exploration, and fun of all
kinds. I suppose in some general ways they might have something in common
with hobbits; I've been noticing some general similarities since I've been
re-reading _Lord of the Rings_ for the nth time recently. If nothing else,
they'd certainly appreciate good pipeweed, and their idea of government is
more like the casual, less regimented style of hobbits than the societies
of the humans in LOTR. But I didn't have hobbits in mind at all when I
started thinking about Zireen, and the similarities are vague. Among other
differences, Zireen eat mainly insects, and have radically different family

>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?
>(I started out pulling words out of the air.)

I've found that the words I end up keeping tend to be the ones I pulled out
of thin air.

>Why do you conlang?  Who will speak it?  Read it?  What's the point?  What's
>the beauty?  what's the intellectual draw?

I suppose you could say I conlang because I enjoy it, but the question then
is why something like conlanging could be enjoyable. I haven't figured that
one out. At one time I used conlangs to add a bit of authenticity to
fiction, but I don't write fiction any more, and even then, the conlanging
came first.

>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?

I guess one comparison would be to something like a Japanese brush
painting, which suggests the form of a thing with a few well-placed
strokes, rather than trying to capture an image in photographic detail. A
model is a fair comparison, but I don't know if "miniature" is really quite
right. My interest is not in making a communicable language (except as far
as the fictional speakers are concerned).

>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).

Generally speaking, a word sounds "right" if it doesn't sound "wrong". :-)

Seriously, if I knew the answer to this question, I'd have half the work
done already. Part of the problem is trying to find the elusive
"personality" of a language that exists only in a potential form.

>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.)

I used to do lots of maps. Recently, to come up with a background for my
Zireen language family history, I've gone back to designing maps, but
that's a secondary goal. I've done some calligraphy in my langs, but I'm
not very good at it.

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

Most of my fictional languages have their own scripts. I also have scripts
for some of the other langs, like Tirelat.

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

Some langs like Tilya and Ludireo use unconventional spellings to avoid
having to add diacritics, which used to be awkward to type before I started
using Tavultesoft Keyman.

>How many of you started conlanging when you were a teenager and have stuck
>to the same language over many years?   Why?

I was around 14 when I started Olaetian, and used it for over 10 years,
although I've always had multiple languages in progress at any one time.

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

I did this up to the point that I started working on Jarda. Since then,
I've had one main language (first Jarda, then Tirelat) and a handful of
secondary ones.

>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).

Iftinas was designed as a secret language. I originally didn't even have an
Iftinas-English vocabulary list, and the only grammar notes were tables of
paradigms without any explanations.

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

I spoke Sarbleski to my gerbils, and used it for grocery lists and cursing
at traffic, although whether it deserves to be called a language is

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

>How many of you have made soundbytes of your language so the rest of us can
>hear it?  If so, give the site.

>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"?

I haven't had any negative reactions. Actually, the subject came up in my
job interview, and they still hired me. :-)

>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)?

Computer programmer (or "software engineer" if you prefer)

>What is your gender?


>What is your nationality and your native language?

US (native of Michigan), English

>What natural languages do you speak or have studied?

Define "have studied". :-) I took classes in French and Spanish in high
school; German, Russian, and Chinese in college. I've tried many times to
learn Japanese, without much success. I've learned little bits of many
other languages, mainly from books.

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

Probably the most useful is Thomas Payne's _Describing Morphosyntax_.
R.M.W. Dixon's _Ergativity_ and Ladefoged & Maddieson's _Sounds of the
World's Languages_ have also been useful.

languages of Azir------> ---<>---
hmiller (Herman Miller)   "If all Printers were determin'd not to print any  email password: thing till they were sure it would offend no body,
\ "Subject: teamouse" /  there would be very little printed." -Ben Franklin