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2015-11-15

Video: Do Mountains Alter Speech?

I found this interesting video about a correlation between phonology and geography. New studies (links on the bottom of the post) show that certain sounds are found in areas that share specific geographic features, like temperature, forestation and altitude.


As Artifexian, the creator of this video, explains, this may be a big coincidence. However, you can ignore the uncertainty and use this idea for your languages in your fictional world. For example, the Pakti tribe, which lives in the mountains, settles the uninhabited plains. The great Bagde nation has voiced the Pakti voiceless stops and lowered the Pakti vowels.

Evidence for Direct Geographical Influence on Linguistic Sounds: The Case of Ejectives: http://goo.gl/AKc1s7
Response Article: http://goo.gl/QwygtC
Climate, Econiche and Sexuality: Influence on Sonority in Languages: http://goo.gl/uu7WMs
Climate, Vocal Folds and Tonal Languages: http://goo.gl/UwTb5l

2015-11-09

Getting Started With Conlanging

A good place to start with conlanging is the Language Construction Kit made by Mark Rosenfelder (aka Zompist). It is one of the easiest to understand and the most used guide to conlanging on the internet. For people who want more information and are willing to spend money there is a book version which is longer and has sequels. Although the guide assumes some basic familiarity with theoretical linguistics, there is nothing that you cannot understand in it after reading related Wikipedia articles for a month (this has been tested by a person without any prior linguistic knowledge, aka me). The author has also made his own fictional world filled with conlangs, including two spoken by other humanoid species! There are plenty of other web resources linked on his website, but many are out of date. To view those, copy the URL and use archive.org/web/.
I also recommend using Wikipedia and The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language by David Crystal. However, some of the information in the encyclopedia on language families is outdated and should by checked on Wikipedia. Another highly recommended guide is the Wikibooks' book on conlanging.
Of course, even if you are totally uninterested in the Language Construction Kit, you may still be interested in other things on Zompist.com. He writes about his opinions on lots of non-linguistics topics, such as:
  • Culture
  • Phrasebooks
  • Names of things in alchemy
  • Politics in US
  • How people from 1900 would think of 2000
  • Sciences
  • Science fiction
  • Gaming
Among his linguistics stuff, there are many interesting things such as how spelling in English corresponds to actual sounds, writing English like Chinese, why there is no language instinct, why people learn languages, and whether all human languages sprang from one source or not.