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I have a new mini-project. It is a conlang, currently unnamed. It is based on a bogus concept: a bogolang if you will. Thanks to the experienced conlanger Geoff Eddy for his introduction to the concept (on his now no longer available websites). A bogolang is a constructed language wherein sound changes are applied to one language so that it will sound like another language. The most famous example of this is Brithenig (Latin to Welsh), created by Andrew Smith. I find that David J Peterson, the creator of the Dothraki language and many others, has the best description of the language:

There are two methods Geoff describes: the 'historical' approach vs the 'adaptive' approach. The first applies sound changes from the history of the target language onto the source. The second is described as "sound-changes which approximate to how a native speaker of the target language would unconsciously render the source language." I feel that this does not explain well the adaptive method. The method is supposed to yield the whole target language's phonology, whereas a real approximation would not go so far as that.

I will be using the adaptive method to make a language that has an Icelandic-style grammar but sounds like French. My source language will be Old West Norse from the 9th/10th century, and my target will be French (albeit with a few Norman characteristics). To begin with, I need to compare the phonologies of Old West Norse and French (using the International Phonetic Alphabet):

Sounds of Old West Norse
/p b t d k ɡ/
/m n̥ n/
/r̥ r/
/f θ s h hʷ/
/j w/
/l̥ l/

/i y u e ø o ɛ œ ɔ a/, plus nasalisation, length and long nasalisation
 ɛ a/

/n̥ r̥ l̥/ only occurred word-initially
The voiced plosives were lenited to a fricative in between vowels except in the beginning of a compound word.

Sounds of French
/p b t d k ɡ/
/m n ɲ/
/f v s z ʃ ʒ ʁ/
/j ɥ w/
/i y u e ø o ə ɛ œ ɔ a ɑ/
/ɛ̃ œ̃ ɔ̃ ɑ̃/

Initial work
We can see already what needs to go away and what needs to be innovated:
Lose /n̥ r̥ r θ h hʷ l̥ ø ɛ a/, all nasalised vowels except for /ɛ̃ œ̃ ɔ̃ ɑ̃/ and phonemic length
Gain /ɲ ʃ ʒ ʁ ɥ ə ɑ ɑ̃/

Here are some ideas I will include in my sound change list:
/hʷ/ → /w/ before a vowel and /g/ otherwise
/w/ → /u/ when not directly preceding a vowel
/θ/ → /t/
[ð ɣ] elide
/r̥ r/ → /ʁ/



People caught on camera what appears to be a malnourished black man being transported against his will in a horse trailer with the NJ license plate TNP41W. This was filmed at or near Interstate 84 between Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. See here for more detail. Please report anything possibly related to this to the police and spread the news in hopes that someone can help.


Just for fun: Who I'd Vote For

If I could vote in previous elections with my current views but without hindsight:

1796: John Adams
1800-1820: I'd just sit these out
1824-1828: John Quincy Adams
1832-1844: I'd just sit these out
1848: Lewis Cass
1852-1856: Gerrit Smith
1860-1864: Abraham Lincoln
1868: Ulysses S. Grant
1872: Horace Greeley
1876: Rutherford B. Hayes
1880: I'd just sit out on this one
1884: James G. Blaine
1888: Benjamin Harrison
1892: I'd just sit out on this one
1896-1900: William McKinley
1904: Theodore Roosevelt
1908-1912: Eugene V. Debs
1916: Charles Evans Hughes
1920: Parley P. Christensen
1924: Robert M. La Follette
1928: Al Smith
1932-1936: Franklin D. Roosevelt
1940: Wendell Willkie
1944-1948: Thomas E. Dewey
1952: Dwight D. Eisenhower
1956: Adlai Stevenson II
1960: John F. Kennedy
1964: Lyndon B. Johnson
1968: Hubert Humphrey
1972: George McGovern
1976-1980: Jimmy Carter
1984: Walter Mondale
1988: Michael Dukakis
1992-1996: Bill Clinton
2000: Ralph Nader
2004: John Kerry
2008-2012: Barack Obama
2016: Hillary Clinton

In hingsight, Debs and Mondale are the only ones on the list I that I know much about and actually like. I wonder what one would think my political views are based off the list alone. Feel free to guess as a comment on the blog!


Sokolataboureko, or chocolate wraps

After making baklava a while back, I had some leftover frozen phyllo dough. Because it was a difficult recipe, I decided that it was a one time thing. I needed something else to do with the dough. I tried filling it with honey, but it burned. (I liked the taste, but burnt honey is not a good idea for baking). Chocolate is generally safer. It was an instant success with my family!

To make this, I used:
  • 1 stick (100 g) unsalted butter
  • 200 g bittersweet chocolate bar*
  • 8 sheets of a 9 x 14 inch phyllo dough roll
  1. Melt the chocolate over boiling water
  2. Cut the butter into small cubes; add it to the chocolate
  3. Mix well and remove from heat
  4. Use a tablespoon to spread the sauce in a line about half an inch wide on top of two sheets of dough
  5. Gently fold the dough around the sauce. Be careful, as phyllo very easily breaks or tears with the slightest touch.
  6. Repeat 4-5 on the same sheet next to the rolled part. Repeat this step until the entirety of the two sheets are covered.
  7. Repeat 4-6 to create three more pieces. Cut the four pieces a necessary to fit them on the baking pan.
  8. Put all the pieces on a pan with parchment paper. Bake for 6-7 minutes 400 F/ 200 C.
  9. Give it a short time to cool and enjoy!
Sokolata is the Greek word for chocolate. I came up with this name by analogy with galaktoboureko, a favourite of mine at a Greek restaurant near where I live.

*Any quality brand, minimum 40% cocoa mass.