Let’s Talk About Language

As I was writing my book, I kept thinking that I wanted there to be more languages spoken in Ardún. It wouldn’t make sense that everyone on the whole planet, all ten billion people, spoke English. So, I began, calling my new language Tetra (As in Latin for four). It didn’t really take off; I made up some words for “you” and “I”, and “this” and “that”, but never really did anything with it. Then, after completing the first rough draft of my book (there would be many, many more), I decided to put some thought into it. That started with giving it a new name: Nímar

And thus, a new language was born! Well, not quite. I had a name, I laid out letters and phonemes and even toyed around with a script for the alphabet. The process was slow, though. I tried to have themes for words, making them all sound like they came from the same language, but it was hard. So I sort of left it as a tentatively working system for a while. Then, when my book looked like it was nearing a completed state (it wasn’t, actually), I went back. I updated the dictionary of about a hundred words, and started to tackle the grammar.

Let me give you an overview of the basics of language writing:

First, you have to decide Phonemes. These are collections of sounds that can change a words meaning. So, the sounds a ‘c’ makes, or ‘sh’ or the ‘ti’ in “cuation”.

Next, decide if you’re doing an Alphabet, Syllabery, Logography. An Alphabet is like in English, a set of letters that make sounds and when put together, make words. A Syllabery is like an alphabet, but instead of letters denoting sounds, they denote full syllables. A Logography is unlike either system; each of it’s words have a different symbol that is unrelated to the spoken language.

Here, usually, people would decide on Grammar and Pronunciation rules for their language. But no! I had to just jump right in to making up words. I did eventually go back and decide on how verbs would be conjugated, but for Pronunciation, I waited until I’d done absolutely everything else. It was a poor decision.

Finally, make words. This is sometimes the easiest part, sometimes the most difficult. You find the words you want to use in your native language and create a word in your new language.

So yeah, I went a bit out of order. But now, I have a language with a working grammar system (complete with conjugations), pronunciation rules, an acceptable script, and a dictionary of almost three hundred words. I do plan on writing more about Nímar, but that will be a post for another time.

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