Justin Gagnon wrote: > Once the phonology, culture and general grammar is decided for an a priori conlang, how do you get around to making up thousands of words? It seems like after a few hours of invention they would just all start sounding like each other and one might end up even using the same word twice, or forgetting which words they've already assigned and giving two translations for the same word. How do you, general conlang community, get around this problem? > > -Justin > > I know exactly what you mean about ending up with words from a particular work session all sounding the same. I get around that by not spending hours inventing words and not inventing words in list format. (That is to say, I don't start with a list of concepts and then go down the list and invent words for each.) I sometimes end up with lists of related words because I've been walking around thinking about just the right words for days (or weeks, in the recent case of words for tableware), but mostly I come up with new words very slowly as I need them. I have done lists of words in the past for expedience, and I found that it works best if I have a set of pre-constructed words and then sort of match those up with the words on the list. These days I keep track of vocabulary in a searchable form (text document, spreadsheet, whatever) so I can search for either the conlang word I have in mind (to see if I've used it) or I can search for something in the definition to see if I already have a word for what I am trying to say. This has made everything easier. But what I used to do when I worked only on paper and I found that I'd used the same word used twice was to just reassign one of those words, and if I had two words that meant the same thing, I'd vary the meaning of one of them slightly in a way that wouldn't significantly change the meaning of my existing texts. For instance, if I had two words for 'dinner plate', one of them might end up meaning 'flat dinner plate' and the other 'shallow, plate-like bowl'... And then later there might be other words related to those-- perhaps 'shallow, plate-like bowl' and 'shallow impression in the ground' would be related, for instance. On a tangent about method, once upon a time, back when I worked pretty exclusively on paper, I didn't follow the common 'phonology, basic grammar, then words' sort of method for creating languages. In fact, other than deciding basic word order and what general sort of language it might be (agglutinative, isolating, whatever), I didn't actually write a grammar at all. I wrote a lot of notes in margins and many, many sample sentences illustrating different constructions (often with additional notes and explanations written in a way decipherable only by me). This turned out to work pretty well for me, and was really good for my fluency at that point, since I was writing in the language all the time. I also kept a simple journal in the language, and would go back later and look for mistakes to correct, or new things I'd tried that I might want to make note of in a margin somewhere. I find that deciding on a phonology and then working out the grammar and then applying the words ends up presenting me with all the same difficulties I face studying natural languages on my own, which I am very bad at. That's how I work now anyway, since it seems to be the 'right' way. (And that's probably pretty stupid on my part, given how bad I am at learning languages outside of a classroom setting.) Mia.