The following is the de facto Conlang-L FAQ, hosted at .

I will post it once a month, copied directly from that page, for the
benefit of new members. If you would like to change it, please edit it
at the link above.

- Sai

PS I'm trying out rich text this time, to make it less ugly. Let me know how
it works for y'all.

Where to get Conlang-L

The official archives are at From there, you can
search the archives, get an RSS feed, manage your
subscription, etc.

It's also the ONLY place you can go to sign up and post things to the list.

A read-only archive with a nicer user interface is at . [As of April 2009 this archive has ceased
mirroring new messages. Henrik Theiling knows about the problem and has said
he's planning to fix it but hasn't had time to do so yet.]

Conlang-L is also *mirrored* as a Yahoo group, but there is no way to have
posts to the Yahoo group sent to the actual list. Do *not* subscribe to the
Yahoo group. It has no admin anymore. Go to instead!

A brief history of the list

The list evolved from some informal email conversations among an early group
of language enthusiasts. The earliest mail mirror was run by John Ross out
of the BU physics department, and was up and running by 29 July 1991. It
moved to Denmark on 23 March, 1993.

The original note reads in part:

*By agreement with John Ross, the CONLANG mailing list has been moved to, the mail hub of the CS Department of the University of Copenhagen.
Send all submissions to CONLANG at diku dot dk. The address at buphy still
works, but it is just an alias for the new list.*

*Lars Mathiesen (U of Copenhagen CS Dept) (Humour NOT marked)*

(Note that the submission address in that historical note *NO LONGER WORKS*

Later, growing traffic and changes at the university necessitated a move. In
January–February of 1997 the list moved to its current home at Brown
University's LISTSERV server. David Durand made the move and actively
moderated the list from that point on.

Before the move, threads centered on debates on the relative merits of
auxlangs <> had become common on CONLANG; these
were often incendiary and irritated many listmembers. Accordingly, when the
new CONLANG list was set up at Brown, a sister list AUXLANG was set up to
cater to participants of these threads, and auxlang advocacy was banned from
CONLANG. It still is. (Dispassionate discussion of auxlangs is welcome.)

In ??? John Cowan took over actual moderation duties, as "Lord of the

Later the torch was passed to Henrik Theiling.

Subject Topic Tags

In the subject line of a post, you can mark the post with one of the
following tags. Tags are only recognised if a colon follows and not other
decoration (e.g. brackets) are used. Any 'Re:' etc. is irrelevant -- the
software skips it.

Good tag syntax:

 CHAT: Is the world really round?

Bad tag syntax:

 [CHAT]: Is the world really round?

These are the official tags the listserv software can be instructed to
filter automatically. There are currently exactly three:

   - CHAT: off-topic stuff of the conversational sort
   - USAGE: natural language usage (all of the YAEPT and similar should use
   - THEORY: linguistic theory discussions

Only the above three tags are official and configured for filtering.
However, most advanced mail clients can be set to have extra filters, such
as for the following unofficial tags:

   - OT: should not be used, use CHAT instead as some software had problems
   with 'OT'
   - OFFLIST: not actually seen on-list, this tag is added to make
   explicitly clear that you are taking a subject offlist (i.e. you're emailing
   someone directly about it)

The following are explicitly not included in the list of filterable tags:

   - META: threads about CONLANG-L itself
   - TECH: technical issues (e.g. email programs, list-related technical
   problems, etc)

Finally, there are two meta-tags:

   - [CONLANG]: This should not be actually added when starting a new
   subject; you can make the listserv prepend it automatically to all email (so
   that you can set your mail client to filter all list traffic)
   - "was": used to change the subject, or more commonly, to indicate that
   the subject of a thread changed a while ago and you're no longer pretending
   it's about the original topic


 JAMA says flat earth leads to flat [@] (was CHAT: Is the world really round?)

Note that tags ARE included after the "was", but "Re:" is NOT, nor is

Posting limits

As a traffic-limiting measure, if the list receives more than 99 messages in
a given day (in Brown's time zone), all subsequent messages will be
automatically held and not delivered until the admin unblocks the list.

Sometimes, during longer periods of high traffic, a further limit is imposed
restricting each person to five posts a day. *This restriction is currently
in force.* Posters are encouraged, during such periods but also in general,
to consolidate several shorter replies on a single topic into a single


List of acronyms specific to the Conlang Mailing List:

   - AFMCL - "As for my conlang.."
      - AFMOCL - "As for my own conlang"
   - ANADEW - "A natlang's already dunnit, except worse"
   - ANADEWism - Something you thought was unique, but ANADEW
   - LCC - the Language Creation Conference <>
   - NLF2DWS or NLWS - Non-linear [fully 2-dimensional] writing system
   - YAEPT (the original acronym) - Yet Another English Pronunciation Thread

      - YADPT ... Dutch Pronunciation ...
      - YAGPT ... German Pronunciation ...
      - YAEGT ... English Grammar ...
      - general pattern: YA(Language)(Topic)T

 Other conlang-specific vocabulary

From here <> and
here <>. See also Conlang
terminology <> at Conlang


   - constructed __ (generally a contraction): conlang, conworld,
   conhistory, conculture, ...


   - a language characterised by ___ (generally a contraction): conlang,
   artlang, auxlang, ...

artlang <>

   1. A language constructed for the beauty or fun of doing so. [From
   art(istic) + lang(uage)]
   2. (See conlang) [From art(ificial) + lang(uage)]

auxlang <>

   - A language constructed to replace or complement natlangs to facilitate
   cross-linguistic communication. [From aux(iliary) + lang(uage)]

concultural [From con(structed) + cultur(e) + al]

   - Adjective form of "conculture".

conculture <> [From con(structed) + culture]

   - A fictional culture created as a backdrop to a conlang. See also

conlang <> [From con(structed) + lang(uage)]

   1. n. A constructed language
   2. v. To construct a language

caps), conlang-l, Conlang-L, or CONLANG-L

   - A very active conlang mailing list hosted by, and currently
   operated by Henrik Theiling

conworld <> [From con(structed) + world]

   - A fictional world created to host a conlang or conculture. See also

engelang <> /ˈendʒlæŋ/ [From eng(ineered) +

   - A conlang that is designed to certain criteria, such that it is
   objectively testable whether the criteria are met or not. This is different
   from claiming that the criteria themselves are 'objective'. For example, the
   Lojban/Loglan roots are designed to be maximally recognisable to the
   speakers of the (numerically) largest languages in the world in proportion
   to the number of speakers. It is not a matter of taste whether this
   criterion is met; it is something that can be tested. (by John Cowan) [From
   eng(ineered) + lang(uage)]

etabnannery /raːmnænəɹi/ (rare)

   - The state of appearing entirely unpredictable, but, upon closer
   analysis, failing at even being that. [From Etá̄bnann(i), a conlang by
   Tristan McLeay, which was supposed to have an unpredictable orthography, but
   ended up just having a confusing one. Damn people trying to make patterns
   everywhere. At least it's a bugger to typeset!... errm... back to the
   derivation + -ery]

maggelity /mə"gɛːlIti/ (rare) [From Maggel, a conlang by Christophe
Grandsire which has a rarely predictable orthography]

   1. The state of being entirely unpredictable. (Tristan McLeay)
   2. The state of being regularly unpredictable, such as to horribly
   confuse anyone unfamiliar with the language, lulling them into a full sense
   of security before pointing out, cartoon-character-style, that the ground no
   longer exists where they're standing. (Tristan McLeay and H. S. Teoh)

Maggel's Paradox (rare)

   - Your radical ideas have already occurred to others. (Muke Tever)

natlang <> [From nat(ural) + lang(uage)]

   1. A natural language, i.e., one that naturally developed in the world,
   as opposed to a conlang.


   - Just before something about conlanging in an otherwise off-topic post.
   - From ob(ligatory) + conlang (i.e., an obligatory on-topic comment about
   conlangs just so that the post isn't completely off-topic).

translation relay<>

   - A game similar to Telephone or Chinese Whispers, wherein the
   participants translate a passage one at a time, in serial, into their own
   languages - and then marvel at how far from the original the translations
   have gotten.

 CXS (Conlang X-SAMPA)

CXS <> is a version of X-SAMPA for use on the
CONLANG mailing list. X-SAMPA is a way to write the IPA (International
Phonetic Alphabet) using normal plain-ASCII text that everyone can read.

   - Theiling Online: Conlang X-Sampa (CXS) <> -
   includes CXS-to-IPA conversion chart
   - CXS (Conlang Modified


   - Arthaey's Conlang FAQ <>
   - LangMaker <> - repository of many conlang
   - Frath Wiki <> - a similar site, and host of the
   Conlang-L (wikified) FAQ
   - Omniglot <> - which has information on more
   writing systems than you thought could exist