04 July 2011

A Guide to Constructed Languages: Finale: Create Your Words

This is the part that people either really love or really hate: Create your words and compile your dictionary.

Depending on what you're doing, you might come up with a different method for creating words. You can
  • Go by what sounds right;
  • Create a game, such as picking letters from a hat, create an algorithm for generating letters, toss a coin or coins on a matte of letters, &c.;
  • Base your language on another language (maybe it will be a Romance language);
  • Use the language game method;
...or whatever else you can think of. The easiest way to begin creating words is by translating sentences into your language. I usually use common phrases and translate common words. So, some sort of greeting and inquiry of health, as well as pronouns. I also really like having words for 'yes' and 'no', so they're words I come up with fairly quickly as well. (Some languages don't have words that exactly equate 'yes' and 'no', such as Mandarin.)

You don't have to do it all at once; you're probably going to create a lot of words, unless your language is really simple.

It's helpful to have sets of words, such as your pronouns, your greetings, your colours, your numbers, your months and days of the week, labels for a human body, various terms used for family members, etc.

At this point, you may find that there are inconsistencies, things you don't like, or some other things you may want to change. Feel free to change them. This is where you really get to see what's working and what isn't.

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