Post-presentation update

Two weeks later / In the living room stressin’

from “Helpless” from Hamilton the musical.

Has it really been two weeks since my last update? But so much has happened since then! One such thing is that I was invited back by one of my professors to give a guest lecture on conlanging as well as what I’ve done with it—i.e., my own conlang. That went well! I felt that there was actually more interest when I did it last semester, but you can win them all! I got a couple of laughs and a student made conversation with me after the class, so that’s great! Also, my youngest sister came, and having the opportunity to potentially fuel her enthusiasm with my own is worth it in itself.

You can download a .pdf of the presentation here:

Conlanging Presentation Spring 2019

Though, I must warn you that the information about my conlang is already somewhat out of date. How is that possible? Well, I’ve been working on the font some more (and, also, the name «lem le ki nu» is absolutely not set in stone). I’ve changed the formation of syllable blocks because they just didn’t feel right. Also, I’m trying to create a replacement for «h» because I don’t like the way it looks. Creating that replacement, however, has been tough because I’m struggling to create a glyph that fits the aesthetic of my orthography. lt’s why I’m ♫ in the living room stressin’ ♫. That’s literal—I’ve done some of the work in my living room.

I’ll likely follow up soon because I’ve narrowed «h» down to two options and I’m excited to share the winner and also the runners-up. But, first, I need to ♫ take a break ♫. I’ve been neglecting sleep, video games, GURPS, and even some friends over the past couple of weeks due to my narrow focus.

Using the schwa (ə) in the Greyfolk language

My body is so fatigued from my better posture (which I’ve had to have due to my cervical radiculopathy, which I talked about in my last post), but I’m gonna discuss what I can about the schwa in the Greyfolk language until I herniate another disc. This will be pretty short anyway.

I’ve had an idea for quite some time as to how words sound in the Greyfolk language. Every non-final vowel is /a/, and every final vowel has to be one of /e, i, o, u/. Nouns end in /e/, adjectives and adverbs end in /i/, verbs end in /o/, and other things (conjunctions, prepositions, particles, etc.) end in /u/. So, some example words—that I’m making up on the spot—could be «name», «pataki», «fasaho», or «lawayu».

But what about the schwa? Well, there isn’t any lexical stress in the Greyfolk language, which really just means that stress doesn’t matter a whole lot for individual words. However, while it is important to clearly indicate the final vowel of a word because they can differ, the pre-final vowels—which, as I indicated, are always /a/—would probably become schwa (ə) because of vowel reduction. Because pre-final vowels will always be /a/, it is not important to articulate them, and that lack of articulation (in contrast with the important final vowel articulation) may lead to /a/ being (optionally) reduced to /ə/.

This is actually different from the previous version of the Greyfolk language in which the stress was always on the final syllable. This is because it was important to articulate the final vowel to distinguish noun class. In this current version, articulating the final vowel is still important to distinguish words, but I decided that lexical stress is arbitrary/non-meaningful because I am much more inspired by international auxiliary languages (IALs) this time around, and I feel that a good IAL would leave out something like lexical stress because there are a lot of languages (spoken by many people—like Mandarin) that don’t use lexical stress. So, including it would mean a lot of extra work for a lot of speakers of natural languages here on Earth.

That’s also why my phonemic inventory is the way it is—to appeal to the largest number of natural language speakers on Earth while retaining an identity that is definitely Greyfolk. More on that another time.