Hallo conlangers!

On 01.06.2015 17:43, R A Brown wrote:

> Bogolangs may be fun but IMO are implausible.

Yes.  The problem begins with grafting sound changes of one language (A) 
onto the different phonology of another language (B).  This always 
requires fiddling just to make it "mechanically workable" (accounting 
for phonemes of B that do not occur in A and are just not covered by 
sound changes, dealing with rules of A that have nothing to apply them 
to in B, and all that); and even if one gets it to be "mechanically 
workable", that still doesn't mean that the changes make *sense*.  After 
all, a phonology is not only a set of phonemes and rules governing their 
behaviour, it is also a world of possibilities for sound changes, and 
this changes a lot when even a small part of the starting phonology is 

So, sound changes that happened in A may just be unlikely to occur in B, 
even if they are "mechanically workable".  Of course, asking for the 
"causes" of a set of sound changes may just be asking the wrong 
question, but once you have a phonology, there are always things that 
are more likely to happen to it than others.  And when you take a 
different phonology, you get *different* things that are more likely to 
happen to others.

Here is a simple constructed example where the bogolang technique yields 
an unnatural result:  A has the stops and affricates /p t ts k q/, and 
the following sound changes operating on them:

k > tʃ
q > k

A nice chain shift, which creates the set /p t ts tʃ k/.  Fair. Now, let 
B have just /p t k/ and no /q/, and applying the chain shift yields /p t 
tʃ/, no /k/.  Bummer.  Such an inventory is not particularly likely.  
Without /q/, the fronting of dorsals that happened in A makes no sense in B.

And that are just *structural* problems.  The overall history of the 
languages in question of course also needs to be taken into account.  
Consider, for instance, Wenedyk.  There is no plausible way of getting a 
Romance language in a "Poland" that is otherwise recognizable as 
Poland.  You'll need an extension of the Roman Empire to the Vistula, 
which would throw the history of Central Europe so utterly off the track 
that ... I think I needn't say anything more about that.  Wenedyk may be 
an interesting and amusing *experiment*, but it is about as plausible as 
the Sun is cold and dark ;)  For the same reason, I have abandoned 
Germanech - I could not come up with a plausible background history for 
it (the best I could do about it was to place it somewhere northeast of 
Heidelberg in the League of Lost Languages, and even that has its 
problems).  I have stated the case here:

> I am trying, painfully slowly, to derive a (hopefully) plausible 
> British Romlang. But the while I think the point of divergence of the 
> alternate history of BART is not implausible, I do accept Puey's 
> critique of my outline of the subsequent development of that alternate 
> history.  Although, in theory, my ceteris_paribus approach is 
> possible, it is not, I concede, the most plausible development:

Fair; there will be different people in BART than in our world, and that 
makes a lot of difference in detail.  There will be no Shakespeare and 
no Tolkien, to name just two; but there will be many others we don't 
know.  Thus, the ceteris paribus approach won't apply to individuals - 
but the overall course of events may still be similar to our world.

... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
"Bêsel asa Éam, a Éam atha cvanthal a cvanth atha Éamal." - SiM 1:1