On Wed, 20 Jan 1999, Kristian Jensen wrote:

> That makes sense. For me at least, I chose to implement phonation in
> Boreanesian after reading about them. Then I realized that the
> languages I speak had these features to a certain degree. So I did
> some more research about them to understand them properly.
> Afterwhich I now know how they are implemented in Boreanesian. I'm
> curious as to how Kenji decided to implement pharyngealized vowel
> harmony in his conlang Sayat. I have read that this is a feature of
> Tungusic languages of which Sayat is supposedly a member of. Does
> that mean that Kenji's linguistic experience includes some knowledge
> in speaking a Tungusic language, or is it just purely based on
> research, or is it a combination of both?

Mostly the latter.  My (academic) field is Manchu language history, and I
have quite a bit of experience with (written) Manchu.  Along the way, I've
read fairly extensively about other Tungusic languages, but have
absolutely no experience speaking them at all.  (Yet :) )

It's a wonderful sort of synergestic excusability:  studying North
Tungusic is justified by my "real" work, and it justifies (well, sort of)
monkeying around with a conlang based on it. :)

> Boreanesian. In many ways, Boreanesian might be seen as an extreme
> case demonstrating my theories on triggers.

I'm curious -- do you (or have you) studied linguistics formally?  I mean,
does this interest grow out of an academic basis, or does the interest
grow _into_ an academic shape?

> These are linguistic experiences... indeed.
> Everyone, I'm interested in hearing what linguistic experiences
> triggered the creation of your respective conlangs.

I'm not sure of any one particular experience doing this.  I grew up in a
pretty multilingual environment, and even though English is now my only
'native language', it wasn't my 'mother tongue'.  Tolkien definitely
planted a seed, although I have to confess I always thought his elves were
hateful little poseurs and always cheered when one of them came to a sad,
sad end.  MAR Barker's Tsolyani was really more what got me started on the
idea of actually doing it _myself_; I ran across it in the RPG context
when I was around ten or eleven, I think.  It was only after I'd been
studying different 'exotic' languages in college that I actually started
to play around with the idea of creating my own languages; a lot of it was
ultimately inspired, I think, by the sheer joy of handling 19th-century
grammars and readers of Sanskrit & Tibetan (no, really!  They're a

Kenji Schwarz