Minor languages of Teppala
Note that, despite the title of this page, it might be better described as Orphaned conlangs of Teppala. These are not actually minor languages; they're languages that don't have a place in my current conworld because it's historically impossible for them to exist alongside the others. None of them has proper diachronics because I created these languages at a time when I didn't know better.
- 1 Pre-Moonshine languages
- 2 Moonshine (1994)
- 2.1 Moonshine
- 2.2 Phonology of Moonshine
- 2.3 Moonshine culture
- 2.4 Moonshine alphabet
- 2.5 Moonshine grammar
- 2.6 Dictionary
- 2.7 Derivation of Moonshine words
- 2.8 Inflections
- 2.9 Aesthetics and goals
- 2.10 Bé
- 3 Asup
- 4 Echo
- 5 Thaoa (1998)
- 6 Fojy
- 7 He pam, e`oqaaniam?
- 8 Tarise
- 9 Xap
- 10 Xap II
- 11 Xap III
- 12 Later conlangs
- 13 Notes
I did not create any organized a priori conlangs prior to 1994. For Camia I used distorted English when I was about 10 years old, of a type that changed from one story to the next and thus was never a proper conlang.
Buidu - - - - -> pabappa pubaba, poswa pwerabo "welcome home "
Not really a single language since I changed it from day to day. One day Camia was Old English flawlessly preserved since 700 AD, the next it was basically half Spanish with diacritics strewn about to the point that I cant even type it here. I remember final-vowel alternations such as waro "fight" vs waru "deadly fight". At one point I actually called the language Neo-Latin, but later I seem to have decided I didn't like Latin loanwords although I still continued to use some Spanish loanwords since they didn't seem foreign to me at the time. I also came up with the name Jafa (/jafa/) for the language, although the Jafa people were actually a culture living in Camia rather than a linguistic group.
One of the few words I remember is clarasarapel. Clarasarta "light source" was my word for the sun, and clarasarapel meant "east-west; following the path of the sun". The lack of a t in the second word was probably my mistake even though i was writing on paper and therefore it could not have been a typo.
I was fond of pseudo-intellectual Greco-Latin cooinages like califloron "beautiful flower; flower", although because I changed the language so frequently I sometimes used them and sometimes didn't.
Also not a single language, "the Wamian language" is essentially a term for any lanuggae consisting of features I dont like, which goes to the nation of "Wamia", which itself is not a single nation but rather a term for any nation fulfilling a similar role.
When I was 10 years old, Wamian was essentially English spoken by a particular boy who had a speech impediment. So severe was his speech impediment that he didnt replace all /l/ and /r/ sounds with /w/, as stereotypical toddlers did ,but instead replaced all /l/, /r/, and /w/ sounds with /b/. (As some toddlers do.) The boy's name was Gary, but he could only call himself "Gabby". Thus just as Wamians "couldnt even say their own country's name", he couldn't say his.
Later I seem to have decided that Wamians spoke a language that had changed very rapidly over time, whereas Camians spoke a language that was extremely conservative. If planet Teppala had been settled by the Proto-Germanic people, Wamians today would be speaking modern English, while Camians would be speaking something resembling Gothic or perhaps even a language still intelligible with proto-Germanic itself.
Wamia was identified as being settled from planet Earth hudnreds of years later than Camia was, and its people retained a close connection to those of planet Earth. At the time, I had said that there were only two languages on Earth: Camian and "a symbol language" which had no spoken form. This is a contradiction, though, since Camia and Wamia spoke mutually unintelligible languages, and Wamian had only recently come from planet Earth. If I had noticed this, I would likely have corrected myself by adding Wamian as a third language.
- Comparison to Earth languages
I know that I disliked French, and I even made a "French" section of planet Namma populated by people whose men only stood as tall as their women's hips, which I later renamed Repilia. Repilia was a large area of land centered on the Equator with a hot climate consisting of both jungle and dried out savanna-like areas.
I associated French with feminine things like perfume, poodles, and pantyhose, and therefore my calling Repilia "French" meant that I intended it to be an area of the planet where females were in control of everything and males woke up early every morning to do unpleasant chores while the women giggled and enjoyed themselves. It was a "Jack Spratt" Society. For the most part, the women completely ignored their men, as if men were subhuman creatures and the best among men could only hope to be considered equal to house pets. But sometimes, the women had temper tantrums and argued with each other, and in Repilia a man trying to pick a side in an argument between two women would stand as much chance as a mouse taking on a fully grown housecat. Thus men had to scurry and hide whenever they heard an angry female voice, because even if that woman was not angry at him, any man would make an easy and unsympathizable victim.
Even though I was a feminist myself, and female characters in my stories nearly always appeared in positive roles, the people living on the Equator of Namma were a female dominated society "in all the wrong ways". Repilia could be seen as being the embodiment of my childhood "girls are icky" mentality which had otherwise faded away as I began to be interested in girls (I did not consider myself gay at the time). I had fallen for a story once where a girl told me that in French, word for unpleasant or embarrassing objects, such as toilets, are always masculine, and words for beautiful or impressive things are feminine. I remember being upset when I noticed that France had a city called Brest sticking out into the Atlantic Ocean, as if the entire city were somehow a celebration of the female body that I was not allowed to participate in because I was a boy. This is the kind of feminism that "French Namma" believed in.
By contrast, in the female dominated societies of the cold climates, such as #Moonshine, men obeyed women willingly and were only a little bit smaller rather than a lot. (Mappa at one point refers to her boyfriend as "a little Sakhi boy", even though he was tall for his age, because he was still shorter than most girls.)
The real French also appeared briefly in my stories, as when one million-strong army of female dominated teenagers was able to take over the entire planet, all they managed to do in France was to get the French to change the word chaud "hot" to chau.
In 1993 I was working on a novel that I never finished, as a side project to my comics. In that story, two young boys visit planet Namma and meet up with a smaller boy who speaks a language that only one of the boys understands. (This was a plot hole that I didn't notice until much later, which is ironic because I spotted the same plot problem in The Time Machine movie.) The Namman boy's language, which I at the time called Danta, was superficially similar to Pabappa.
I saw Danta as a stereotypical "childlike" language, as the vast majority of the village's population seemingly consisted of children. It wasn't that I intended the people to be literally different biologically such that they would have more kids, it's just that when the STW kids visited that planet, they interacted with the children there and only rarely with adults. So to them, it was a society consisting almost entirely of children, and I felt I needed a language to suit them. So in Danta, all the words were short, vowels were ample, and there were no guttural consonants at all except possibly word-initial /h/. The commonest consonants were /p/ and /b/. The sentences I remember are
- Ble Danta tapa.
- Jo baba Treba? Har tapa ipo?
- Mana laru home [placename].
In one draft of the story, the two boys figured they would need to give themselves new names because the villagers wouldn't be able to pronounce the consonants of their birth names. I later scrubbed this as too unrealistic, and later realized that it would be the vowels in their English names that would be difficult for the villagers to pronounce. Still, the stereotype of a language resembling baby talk was in my head and I kept it there for the next 15 years or so while working on other languages.
After I gave up on the novel, I drew a few more comics and wrote plotlines for comics that I never got around to drawing. As I grew older, I moved the age of the self-insert character higher to match my own. Eventually I decided he should have a girlfriend and that it should be the girl he met on one of his early trips to Namma. I seemed to have felt that it was inappropriate for a teenager to be speaking a Pabappa-like language, and therefore moved her from the Southern Hemisphere of Namma, where the seemingly all-child societies were, to the icecapped North, where men were tall and women were taller, and both spoke a language that I later came to call #Moonshine.
My next a priori language was "Manni", spoken by a series of tribes of people in Camia who superficially resembled Native Americans, particularly the Algonquians who were native to the area where I lived. I actually pictured them with green skin, but I seem not to have taken this idea seriously, since when I drew Manni characters in my comics they looked the same as the white characters.
Their language had voiceless nasals and I think four vowels. However, for some reason I decided to create an alphabet for this language and write the Manni words entirely in that alphabet, and when I lost the piece of paper that told me which letter was which, I couldn't even read my own notes and thus my entire memory of the language was lost. The only word I remember is man(n)i itself, the name of the language, which meant "beautiful", although it may have been a subconscious loan from Algonquian manito. I mispronounced this word, giving it a Spanish-like pronunciation, and didn't realize my mistake for more than 20 years afterward.
My work on this language coincides with the brief time in which I introduced a character named Manitoman, who resembled Captain Planet in that he was an adult male superhero who was often summoned into battle by a team of child superheros, and also in superficial ways such as my picturing him with green skin (sic; not blue) and having a similar hairstyle. However, unlike Captain Planet, Manitoman had his own superpowers, and did not become stronger when summoned to battle by the kids. In fact, I soon reduced Manitoman to equal status with the kid superheros, saying that he traveled with them rather than leading or being led by them. By this time, the main "kid" characters were in their mid teens, because at that time I always made the main characters the same age as myself, so having a full-grown adult among them would not seem as strange to outsiders as it had a few years earlier when Nanuko and Bob were hitching rides aboard spaceships piloted by children 10 years of age and under.
I intended to pattern the Manni religion after that of the Algonquians, and (this was 1995 or so) I found a Native American man online who told me that their religion was similar to Christianity, which actually pleased me. I was still outwardly Christian but was feeling conflicting emotions regarding some of its basic ideas, and to find out that a completely unrelated religion that appealed to me shared much in common with Christianity made me think that I could follow both religions without any conflicts. However, I soon lost interest and returned to mainstream Christianity for a while, and the Manitans became a dead-end storyline in my work, which I eventually explained away as being the relic of an immigration from planet #Namma.
the "ice cream" language
Briefly I worked on a deformed English used by the teenagers in FILTER. it was modified English, just like most of my previous languages had been, but it was separate from those languages. It actually occupies the same place in the story as what later became #Moonshine. All I remember are a few words like boid "boy", boi "body", and gird "girl". I seem to have formed several derivations of each word, though, intending each word to be part of a word family rather than just existing by itself.
This language was also a spelling-reform language, in that, despite being only slightly different from English, the spelling varied starkly from English. For example the word for "wound" was spelled oön despite being pronounced /wun/, essentially the same as English except for the loss of the final -d.
Since I had already started two a priori languages by this point, regressing to distorted English afterwards seems odd to me now. I think the explanation is that I intended this language to have evolved from English, but that I simply didn't understand how languages change over time and therefore produced something that was much lower-quality than what I had come up with when I was younger and worked on static a priori languages.
By this point, I had decided to purify the language of anything having to do with warm climates, and that meant getting rid of the Spanish loanwords. I hated French too, and even loanwords in English that came from those other languages. This is why I identify this language with ice cream and candy, and therefore with #Moonshine.
This was a language I created in 1994, and was my first true a priori conlang. It had no ancestors or daughters, and I remember considering it to be eternal. It was very compact, and I remember writing "Power speaks a language that works in its written but not its spoken form". That is to say, Moonshine was so full of homophones that it was literally impossible to communicate in Moonshine out loud without being ambiguous. It could be compared to a hypothetical Japanese in which the kanji are used freely, meaning that, for example, the syllable /shō/ could refer to any of more than 70 kanji, which nevertheless would be perfectly understandable when written down.
Phonology of Moonshine
Early signs of my love for babylike speech were visible in Moonshine. On my very earliest sketch of the language, I gave it a phonology with no dorsal consonants at all: there were labials and coronals, and that's all.
In the early days I created words by babbling as a baby does, usually imagining in my mind the thing I wanted a word for or in some cases (for verbs) acting it out with my hands. For some reason, a lot of the words I created were vowel-initial. Remembering as best I can, I had īsa "girl", ēbo "boy", èpèp "to drink", amñ "to eat", ūmu "water", and āme "love" among the very first words I created. I seem to have had about six distinct consonants, if onomatopeic words such as amñ can be ignored (it was the only word with /ñ/).
Those consonants were /p b m w t n/. I remember making a few words with the cluster /nd/, but this could be analyzed as /nt/ since I never had a contrast between /mp/ and /mb/ either. Some words had [s], but only when it bordered /i/. /t/ > [s] before /i/ is apparently a common sound change in languages with simple phonologies, so perhaps I was pulling on something that made sense subconsciously that I didnt discover until much later.
I wrote with a five-vowel orthography, using accents for long vowels (and later for tones), but I think mentally I was pulling from a four-vowel setup of /a e i u/, where /u/ is lowered to [o] when not adjacent to another high vowel.
Had they not been on paper that got thrown out over the years, I could probably spend hours just poring over the complicated derivations I used to get from basic words like these to ideas for concepts like "lab rat", "brainchild", and so on, since I know that I never used babbling for complicated things like that.
I slowly drifted towards a more complicated phonology over time. I seemed to want to make all of the onomatopoeic words canonical, and therefore added finer distinctions such as labial vs labiodental and voiced vs voiceless nasal. Eventually I ended up with a setup of five POAs and six manners of articulation, for a total of 30 consonants.
There was a full series of bilabials and a full series of labiodentals. Likewise there was a full series of dentals, a full series of alveolars, and a full series of postalveolars, with no consonants further back than that. However, I slowly warmed to the idea of pushing the postalveolar series (/č ǯ š ž ñ ṇ̃/, the last being a voiceless nasal) into velars.
Another trait that Moonshine had in common with baby babbling was that there were no /r/ or /l/ sounds. However, this was because I wanted the language to have a perfectly symmetrical phonology, and could not figure out a way to work liquids into the system. Later on, I added them anyway, saying that /r/ was the opposite partner of /l/. All in all, the language had 32 consonants, which is far above average, but I'm not sure if I had any reason for making so many consonants other than that I felt I needed them for symmetry. I didn't explicitly identify the language as having a simple phonology or resembling baby talk so the large consonant inventory never bothered me.
There was no phonemic /j/ or /w/ in the language. I seem to have had diphthongs in a few words early on, but later on I flattened them out into long monophthongs. Later still, I decided to introduce /w hʷ/ by saying that the voiced and voiceless labiodental nasals had changed into these.
Moonshine was also tonal, but I literally didn't know what tones were, even if one might think it should have been obvious. I seemed not to realize that it was possible for people to change the pitch of their voice while speaking and thought that it must have been a metaphor for some concept I didn't fully understand. Later, I abandoned the tones and repurposed the high-tone vowels as diphthongs, meaning that there was exactly one diphthong for each pure vowel.
Almost every root, even those for complex things, was monosyllabic. I remember wanting a language that looked "modern" and compact, and I remember holding up Hungarian as a model to follow.
Consonant clusters were allowed, and in fact I decided early on to have no phonotactic rules at all, such that a word like vgt /vɣt/ "to injure" was allowed, but on the whole I seemed to prefer to have a vowel/consonant ratio close to 1.
Moonshine thus was very compact. Nevertheless, I spilled a little extra here and there, to give the language variety, and I remember writing in a comic book "ádas benuṗunūsītsén" (the spelling may be slightly off) and "ās vasapāmsītsén", thus Moonshine did sometimes have long words. But the English translations of these words are far longer than the Moonshine originals. The first, I think, means "one who wishes that those who are in power should remain in power" and the other means "supporter of heartbreakers" but I know it had some metaphorical meaning that I dont remember.
I always identified Moonshine with cold weather, imagining its population as somehow consisting entirely of teenagers and children eating ice cream outdoors in the middle of a blizzard. It was the language spoken "north and east of Russian". I remember distinctly being disappointed when I realized that Russian was totally unlike Moonshine since it seemed stand in the way of a trend of languages becoming distinctly more Moonshine-like as one moved east in Europe. However I soon learned that not just Russian, but all Slavic languages in general, had those characteristics I disliked.
Later, I realized that Moonshine was a much better fit for Greenland than for Russia, since the Moonshine speakers are most notable for living in climates with cold summers, but not extremely cold winters, since their habitat was mostly coastal.
The Moonshine speakers were very feministic even in my earliest conception, but this had no reflection in the language. However, the word for female was a and the word for male was b, which meant that sometimes an extra vowel needed to be inserted into a word for a man or boy, which made me feel happy.
The name had nothing to do with alcohol, but rather with its speakers' apparent cultural habit of being nocturnal and avoiding the sun. I seem to have subconsciously associated it with icecream, which may come from a single dream I had one night where Old English had been flawlessly preserved on an island off the coast of Massachusetts and the population of that island seemed to consist of teenagers and children who were very fond of eating peppermint-stick ice cream cones outdoors even in cold weather.
I did my earliest Moonshine writings using a modified form of the Greek alphabet, even though the Greek alphabet was poorly suited to the language and I think I needed to borrow some letters from the Roman alphabet even then. (e.g. I have no idea what my /ñ/ letter would have been). Digamma was in the alphabet.
At one point I created an a priori script for Moonshine in which two syllables could be represented in just one character. I think I was inspired by Hangul since I remember the elements for /b/ and /p/ being straight lines (I dont remember what I used for /m/). I know that I developed this script into a fully functioning form because I remember once changing my screen background to a word that meant "my computer" in Moonshine in the a priori script. However, as my notes for the script were on paper, I soon lost them and, just like with Manni, my knowledge of any notes I had made in that script were lost. (But I rarely wrote in the script.)
Moonshine was a mathematical language, meaning that new words were oftne derived by mathematically adding two words together. Each phoneme had a defined number, and this value never varied, but I never came up with a methodical way of adding words together. For example, k + vasabadas produced fasabadas, but pad + i produced pēd. That is, any letter within the word could change; I never had a rule that stated whether letters at the edge of a word or letters in the middle of a word were preferred and used both methods randomly.
The short, low-tone vowel /e/ had the value of 0, and was automatically inserted to break up certain consonant clusters, although I didn't apply this rule faithfully. The short, high-tone vowel /è/ had the value of -0, though I'm not sure if I ever developed a rule for which one to use.
The voiceless bilabial stop /p/ had the value of 0, and was automatically inserted to break up vowel sequences. The voiced bilabial stop /b/ had the value of -0, and was automatically inserted to break up certain vowel sequences. Here again, I'm not sure if I ever had a firm rule of which to use. I know that my word for boy was peb, consisting of three 0-valued phonemes in a row. For that matter, the entire bilabial row /p b ḟ ṿ m m̥/ all had the same value of 0. I dont think I ever used anything but the stops as automatically inserted consonants, though.
Short low tone /a/ was more common than by chance; I even had a word /vasabadas/, with 4 of them in a row.
I used negation to form opposites, and some words could have more than one opposite. For example, k "God" had the value +4, and ġ "Satan" had the value -4. But there was another word in this family with the value of -4: ẓ "to worship". That is, since God is worshipped, his opposite is worshippers. The sound ġ was highly taboo to me for this reason, and I often substituted ẓ or ṃ (voiced labiodental) for it early on. Likewise, the creation of ḍ "fire" led me to immediately create ṭ "fire extinguisher" because I was afraid of fire at the time.
A few words were homophones. For example, a meant both "female; girl" and the agentive suffix. The agentive suffix was always followed by the nominative ending -s, producing -as, and to denote a female in a career I used -asa, which is an unusual choice since it is a noun that does not end in a nominative case marker. By coincidence, the a sound also had the value +4, which meant that the word for God did not have a vocalic form since it would have collided with these other words.
One longstanding problem in Moonshine was that words were mostly written with mathematically positive sounds, but voiceless sounds were positive and voiced sounds were negative (except /l/, which I added very late). Thus most nasals were negative and voiceless nasals occurred far more often than one would expect.
other gramnmar info
I had morphemes that served both as pronouns and independent words: ā "I", ē "you", a "she; woman", b "he; boy", etvc.
Although I had access to a computer, I kept my dictionary on paper, which meant that the dictionary was not in alphabetical order, but rather in the order that I came up with each word. In part, this was probably due to the large phoneme inventory of Moonshine, especially the nasals, of which, in the early form of Moonshine, there were ten phonemes sharing only two Roman letters: /m mʰ ṃ ṃʰ ṇ ṇʰ n nʰ ñ ñʰ/, where the underdots mark out labiodental and dental consonants. Later I moved the palatals to velars, but this would have been no easier to write on a computer.
Some years later, when I copied the English side of the paper wordlist to a computer, words that had been created on the same day in the original Moonshine ended up being next to each other alphabetically in the new language. This is why the words for "housewife" (wurop) and "urethra" (wupurop) resemble each other so much in Pabappa and other languages that I derived from this old paper wordlist.
Derivation of Moonshine words
I didn't seem to create compounds; I used the mathematical grammar to create new words which seemed to be monomorphemic, even for complicated concepts. Thus, there was a monomorphemic word for "supermodel", "lab rat", and "brainchild that helps inventor". I also remember a word fdi for "to time travel". (This word is probably missing some diacritics, because I used this in a video game where I didnt have access to an expanded keyboard.)
It didnt occur to me at the time that in a fully developed language this kind of setup would be impossible (although one conlang, Yiklamu, tests it by having 90000 individual monomorphemic roots). Any of these words that were on my paper wordlist were carried down into my later conlangs, which means that even Poswa more than 20 years later also has words for "supermodel" (plažalla) and "lab rat" (webiam) which are not visibly derived from other words in the language. However, I plan to fix this by deriving new etymologies for these words, though keeping the modern form intact, so that they can at least be explained as having originally been compounds. (I seem to have thrown out the brainchild word at some point, even before Xap.)
I was fond of oddly specific words, particularly words that seem to have a missing piece that can only be filled in by forming a compound. e.g. as if English "bad hair day" were broken up as "bad" + "hair day" and then a new word meaning "hair day" were formed.
There were a few compounds in the language, such as lōpét "Tree of Life" (intending to be the tree in the Garden of Eden). But it could be said that the few compounds I had were all proper nouns.
Infixes and circumfixes
THere were a few circumfixes, such as n...h "composed entirely of" and s...s "can _ have a ..."? This is one feature I have copied into Poswa, although they are pseudo-circumfixes in Poswa formed by adding static suffixes to changeable suffixes.
I sometimes used the mathematical grammar to produce an ablaut-like process that formed word families. For example, I had pad "play" and pēd "work". Inversion also took place: another word family consists of pād "clean" and bát "dirty". Thus, every phoneme had an opposite.
I started work on a classifier system, which could be considered technically a type of compound. The only classifier I used often was -m̃ (that is, a voiceless /m/) which meant both "body part" and "place". However, I think I remember deriving other "classifiers" such as ṗ, which may have meant either "army" or "country, nation, place of life" ... I dont remember. There was also h/ō "human". It could be said that there were no classifiers, just a series of one-phoneme words. I did once create mek "Heaven", and tūk "Bible; holy book", where k meant "God", showing that the placename classifer m could serve as the root of a word if it was padded with another classifier, and that that classifier could also be an independent word.
Earlier I had used dema for God, and insisted that "dema is not a word and cannot be inflected", and never really worked out a solution for how to use dema in a sentence without making the context unclear.
I liked ifnlection, but never really got around to deriving much of it for Moonshine. All nouns had a nominative suffix -ī (after consonants) or -s (after vowels). The day I derived it (in gym class) I created an alternate form -us/-h which could be substituted for any reason at all, and was equally correct. (I liked making things optional to an extent not seen in natural languages; at one point there were two genitives, -í and à, also fully interchangeable.)
Because the nominative -ī (+6) and the genitive í (-6) were mathematical opposites of each other, they canceled out in compounds and therefore nominal compounds had no suffix after the first word. I didnt follow this rule early on, and early compounds had two nominative endings at the end of the compound instead, which combined to form a single new ending -n̥ (voiceless /n/). I think this nominative case-stacking setup would be an interesting feature for a conlang to have, not necessarily related to math.
Aesthetics and goals
Despite the handicap of a paper dictionary (which my mom eventually threw out) and a naive phonology, I considered Moonshine my best work for a long time, and it is the only one of my "oldoldold" conlangs that I've attempted to revive. I had such high standards, though, that the lexicon was never more than a few hundreds words at its peak and it is lower than that now. In fact, when I derived words for #Asup, I had to first derive them for Moonshine and then carry them through. These were not sound changes, but rather a series of formulas meant to cipher one language into another. I still did not seem to know about true sound changes and would not for a few more years.
I seem to have associated Moonshine with childhood, despite having worked on it primarily during my middle teen years. What set Moonshine apart from later conlangs was that Moonshine was a SpeedTalk-like conlang, where all words were as short as possible, and in some translation tests I managed to achieve 4X the compactness of the English translation. For example I had a word that meant "Power, the only boy and the laborer of the group, whispers his battle plan to the girls." In my later conlangs, the words had more room to grow and I for some reason seemed to associate these long words with literal tallness and short words with my own short stature as a child and early teenager. (I have always been very short for my age.)
I did not understand sound changes at all at this stage of my development. I had only occasional access to the Internet, and this was long before Wikipedia and other such sites existed. If asked, I might have said that sound changes usually follow patterns but often are random. I even came up with an idea to turn Moonshine into an all-vowel language, saying all of the consonants had simply disappeared over the years, leaving only the vowels and tones.
I just remembered this language, which was meant as a foil for Moonshine. It was related to Moonshine, but was unlike Moonshine in almost every possible way. "ab ensp baonom" is one sentence I remember from Bé. My work on Bé was actually older than most of my work on Moonshine, and the Moonshine it was intended to contrast with does not really resemble the Moonshine of my later teen years. For example, Moonshine was originally intended to be a very conservative language, such that its speakers could understand words written by their ancestors of 5000 years ago, whereas Bé, like "Wamian", changed so rapidly that parents could barely understand their own children. However, as I moved towards developing Moonshine as a language for its own sake instead of representing a particular culture on a particular planet, I lost interest in the ideals of preserving the proto-language and essentially turned Moonshine into a timeless language with no parent language at all. Although I've revived Moonshine as a traditional language whose ancestor is Khulls in my newer work, my goal is to recreate a language that resembles the Moonshine of my late teenage years, not the Moonshine of my early teenage years.
Thus, I will probably revive Bé as a sister language of Thaoa instead of a sister language of Moonshine. This makes sense because the political entity that is Thaoa in my modern work was originally a Moonshine-speaking nation; essentially my childhood conworld had Moonshine spoken on a planet called Namma, and that Namma corresponds to just a small piece of the southeastern part of Rilola, and not to Nama at all, in my modern conworld. If Bé were a sister language of Moonshine, I would have to explain how Khulls speakers penetrated the Thaoan Empire and appeared on the other side near the south coast, without leaving any traces of their migration along the way. More importantly, though, the speakers would be a racial mismatch for the culture I have in mind for them, as native Khulls tribes were far taller than the Thaoans, and therefore would be difficult for the Thaoans to look down on, both literally and metaphorically.
However, since Thaoa is the most difficult of my modern languages to work on, and because it's also my least favorite among all of my major languages, I will probably have nearly nothing to show for Bé.
One of a few names for a conlang I created in 1997 and played with for about a year afterwards. I also called it Gaze, but I think this may have been originally a name for their religion. It was rigidly structured, and good at succinctly expressing religious concepts. For example, the root word for church was an, and there were two roots for God: al and m. (I believe that I didnt capitalize them.) There were also monomorphemic roots for things such as "forgiven baby" (īpp) and "spirited man" (I dont remember this one though). Both of these were intended to be interpreted with meanings related to Christianity.
The phonology of Asup was not as babylike as that of Moonshine. However, I still do not consider it to have been a "harsh" guttural type of language. There were five vowels and an array of consonants somewhat smaller than that of Moonshine. There was also a syllabic m, which could be short or long (this was around the time that the song MMMBop came out).
All nouns ended in vowels or -y. The word for butterfly, I think yulīsse, was etymologically "beautiful animal that has its own refuge". I can only remember a few Asupian words. Dese "boy" and sta "girl" appeared in many people's names, because at the time I was mostly thinking of superhero names that people might give themselves rather than typical birth names.
There was also a numeric system, and I ported over most of Moonshine 's vocabulary. The only rule was that the numeric values of the words needed to match. However, since Asup's numeric system was totally different from Moonshine's, the Moonshine words sounded nothing like the Asupian words. The classifier -m became -y. Boy was the word for outer space. I made a few exceptions to the rule of borrowing morphemes numerically when I decided to take over the Moonshine noun suffixes -o, -a, -(e) as such instead of deriving longer equivalents.
Adjs could appear as infixes. E.g. ābbe "baby", ābbie "small baby".
In some ways, I identify the spirit of the Asup language with Khulls, even though they look nothing alike on paper, nor do they sound much alike to the ear either.
Asupian was a very dynamic language, in the sense that I changed it rapidly as I worked on it. Eventually I shaded into Echo.
Echo was a language I created in 1998. It was my first language to embrace ideas that I disliked, such as a relatively small phonology, and a slow speech tempo that made sentences in Echo longer than in English quite often. I remember ovàvu "water", where previously my word for water had often just been a single letter.
It was a "tropical" language as well, in the sense that when I was working on Echo I had fallen in love with tropical Africa and wanted to make the Camians somehow a warm-climate culture, despite their history of having always identified themselves with cold. THis is why Camia was suddenly a racially diverse nation, with the self-insert character being halfway in between white and black. I did not consider him mixed-race; I felt that Camia would have a separate identity for people like him that didn't depend on what his parents looked like. However, I seem to have considered dark-haired people to automatically not be white, meaning that someone could actually change their race as they grew up if their hair got darker (I didnt know at the time that people's hair often changed color ,despite it having happened to myself).
Phonology of Echo
Echo was also the first language to have proper tones, as Moonshine's tones were created at a time when I didnt understand how tones worked. This was part of the "tropical" atmosphere of the language, as I was rejecting the Semitic-influenced "dry" phonology of the Asupian language in favor of the new, softer, "wet" phonology. However, it was a pitch accent language, with only one stressed syllable per word, and therefore not truly tonal. The bilabial consonants /b/ and /p/ were very common, but /w/ was rare. Neither vowels nor consonants had a length distinction.
The consonant cluster -bh- seems to have been common; one of my favorite names in the language was Yuyabhoybakopa and another one was a similarly long word that I'm still using as a password. This was not a voiced aspirate; I just didnt seem to be bothered in having an /h/ follow immediately after a voiced stop. Yabhoy was the word for human.
Use of voiced stops
I used a lot of voiced stops in Echo, with words like dagʷomàbada. This is a common trait of the Bantu languages of sub-Saharan Africa, although I did not know this and was probably working subconsciously. I now hate this feature and many of my current projects, even minor ones, either have no voiced stops at all (Andanese, Palli, some descendants of Khulls) or have an incomplete set (Babakiam with just /b/, Poswa with just /b g/, intermediate stages of Khulls and some others with just /d/). Of those with a full set, the voiced stops are always much less common than the voiceless stops. This is especially true in Khulls where the voiced stops are only just barely above being rare-place allophones of the nasals.
I have a vague memory that towards the end of my time with Echo, I dropped all voiced stops from the language, but I must have abandoned the language shortly afterwards because I don't remember ever looking at devoiced versions of personal names such as Pango and Batu. It's possible that this was actually a different language altogether and the memory has blurred in my mind. I went through a stage with a lot of names that could be said to belong to no language at all, like "Simpax". It wasn't that I had regressed into my old 10-year-old self's manner of changing the entire language every day; I think I just was trying to create too many languages without bothering to create any words other than a few personal and place names.
Unstressed syllable reduction
Echo also introduced unstressed syllable reduction, a form of classifier suffixes. For example, the word for tree was something like debi, but the morpheme for tree as a classifier suffix was -di as in dabondi "apple tree". I believed I had borrowed this phenomenon from Dutch, as seen in koolsla "kale salad", but this Dutch word seems to be just an isolated irregular example. Something similar takes place in Poswa, but instead of involving classifiers, it generally involves inflectional suffixes, although content words can be contracted as well. See Poswa_phonology#Morphophonology.
Vocabulary of Echo
I still derived Echo nouns from Moonshine when I could. However, I still did not have ready access to the Internet, and had not yet learned how sound changes worked. So essentially every single word followed its own rules for sound changes. e.g. sometimes -e was dropped, sometimes not. Echo was also a very dynamic language, and never had a finalized phonology. I had no formal process for deriving tones, since it had evolved from a toneless language. Words with tones may have simply been those that I created out of thin air rather than those that had been maintained from the time when Echo had been #Asup.
There was one loan from English, saraboy "sun", where the sara- part is from my 10-year-old self's word for "(light) source" and the -boy part is Asup's classifier suffix for outer space, which i later changed to -bey and then -be. Snabbey means both spaceship and underpants, because for some reason the spaceships I drew early on resembled men's underwear.
Thaoa was a language I created in 1998 and used in a computer game that I never published. I sometimes also called it Palli. Both of these names are being used for different languages in my newer work.
Thaoa/Palli was the first language I created with the explicit goal of imitating the speech of preschoolers. However, I seemed to have no idea what I meant by this:
"Thaoa is the language to end all languages. What it is, is the speec of preschoolers, in some foreign language, brought up to a sophisticated adult level without changing the language. Thus, adult speech in Thaoa is only a more complicated version of children's speech, not a completely different thing."
I also wrote that Thaoa was actually a set of languages that were bound together by having identical grammatical rules. I believe that I also meant that they had identical phonologies. The concept of two languages having the exact same phonology and grammar, is an idea I later reused with Andanese and Palli.
Thaoa had tones, but I was writing on a computer and simply didnt bother to write them down, so that information is lost even from the small wordlist that remains. I remember the tones for only a few words. I also know that my work on this language overlaps with that of #Xap at least a little bit because of the one word /patali/ "shopping carriage".
Thaoa was messy on purpose. The name Tebbala arose from attaching a meaningless two syllable affix -(b)ala "of" to a one syllable content word, a loan from Moonshine. Like a toddler carrying her parents around on her back, Thaoa perversely made the most inefficient choices possible in its grammar. (I say the same thing about Japanese orthography.)
I've revived the name Thaoa for a different language that does not resemble the language I called Thaoa in 1998. The new Thaoa is my least favorite of the languages I'm currently working on, with very few interesting features. The only connecting feature between the two Thaoas that I can think of right now is the name Tebbala, which becomes Čebbala in the classical Thaoa stage of the language (Tebbala is explained as an exonym).
Culture of Thaoa
Thaoa was a language without a culture, although I did at one point write a story about a boy living in Deppam who spoke Thaoa. However, Deppam was a nation of immigrants, so the language would need to have originated elsewhere. At one point I remember calling Thaoa "the language of thirst", as its people had previously lived in a cool, humid, heavily forested area where food and water were easy to get and nature was never threatening. But the climate had somehow changed (perhaps they were exiled), and the speakers of Thaoa had found themselves living in a hot dry desert climate where food and water were difficult to reach and both animals and plants were dangerous, so full of sharp points and poisons that the humans spent their time trying to isolate themselves from nature as best they could.
In any case, the name Thaoa would have to be explained as an exonym if I were to revive this language, since it did not have aspirated consonants. However, I'm currently using the name Thaoa for an unrelated language where it makes more sense.
An extremely complicated language I worked on during high school. It was based largely on complex mathematics, the details of which escape me now. It was entirely CV, but had 15 tones and a large array of both consonants and vowels. Vowels could also be pharyngealized or nasalized or both. The 15 tones were actually broken down as 5 tones for vowels and 3 tones for consonants, with the intent that the "tone" of the consonant determines the starting point for the tone of the vowel, with the vowel's own tone merely being the ending point.
Due to the gigantic phonology, I had to regress to writing everything on paper, and I've lost my entire source material over the years and remember very little else. I think I later came up with a system that wrote the tones with vowel letters, so that, for example, "láykàa" could indicate a word where the two syllables start high and low, respectively, and end on the y and a tones, respectively, which are from a set of five rather than a set of three. There were no diphthongs since it was a purely CV language, so this system actually made sense.
Note: I seem to have used j to denote vowel hiatus.
Every consonant could be soft or hard. Generally, hard consonants were found in root words and soft consonants were found in infixes which marked inflections. Thus, a name like Mutuphijojewijygi is actually just a root word, I think Muti, with the infix -uphijojewijyg-.
Eevery word was literally a number. Many words began with fo- because this marked leading zeros in the number sysytem. I intended to have a "smoothed" version of the language that would sound more like a typical human language, but I never got around to it.
I remember one place name, Uyxowaka, and I don't remember if the y is a consonant or a vowel. I seem to have assumed it was a vowel when I decided to use that name as the proto-form of the word for wolf in the Tapilula language. This word becomes Andanese ihuka and Pabappa pap.
He pam, e`oqaaniam?
I also briefly worked on a language with no name, but which was spoken in a place I called Kebanq. This was actually another regression to distorted English, at least some of the time, since I remember creating words like peyack for "five" and laika for "glacier". It was actually supposed to be the language of Sam Thompson, so deriving it from English made sense. Since Sam Thompson had autism, I decided that he must have a private language with which he communicates with his mother that is similar to English but has "private words". There were, however, some words in this language that were truly a priori. I also referred to the language as "Martian", because the nation in which it was spoken, although located on Earth, had territory on Mars as well and came to be associated with Mars by the other nations on Earth.
I associate this language in my mind with Tapilula, but they really share nothing in common at all, neither in phonology nor vocabulary nor grammar. However, the few true a priori words in that language conform fairly well to Tapilula phonotactics, so long as the final -m is assumed to be syllabic and the /q/ is assumed to be the velar ejective ḳ.
Tarise is a language idea I've tried to complete several times but have never succeeded. My goal when I first created Tarise in 1999 was to create a language that is simultaneously feminine and very powerful and harsh sounding. I seem to have decided that the vowel letter y was feminine, perhaps because of its exotic appearance. I also added the voiceless ejectives /t_>/ and /k_>/ to the phonology, because to me ejectives somehow sounded both feminine and very sharp, as if representing a woman's long fingernails. Labial consonants were rare; in particular, /p/ was almost entirely absent from the phonology, and the vowel /o/ had shifted to a schwa-like sound (the y vowel spoken of above). The scarcity of labials had nothing to do with female genitalia, or, for that matter, with kissing and romantic contact, but rather with my lifelong subconscious association between baby talk and timidness and lack of violence.
I still did not understand sound changes by this time, so the few sound changes I used for Tarise's history are mostly unrealistic. I seemed to think that it would be possible for the Tarise speakers to have universally shifted all /r/ to /s/ in all positions with no exceptions, and then shifted all /p/ to /r/ with no exceptions.
Probably the main reason I have not been successful with developing Tarise is that it has the very sort of phonology I most dislike, and therefore the only way that I can succeed with Tarise is to make it, to me, a very ugly language.
Tarise's main contribution to my present-day conlangs is that all of the languages I have created in this century start with a wordlist containing a wide array of terms for menstruation and related concepts such as tampons and pantiliners which one would not normally expect to be familiar to a culture living with only prehistoric levels of science and technology.
This language could be considered to be as one with Andanese, since it shares the same phonology and alphabet, and has a similar grammar. But Xap's lexicon was still of the type where the language did not have a proper history, and therefore I "spammed" the dictionary by dumping in thousands of words from old, abandoned conlangs that didn't make sense when mixed together. On the other hand, the freestyle approach to lexicon building allowed me to make oddly specific words such as:
- kutaka "mayor sign in the middle of the road"
- kahalaca " locked in jail with the hands and head stuck outside the cell"
- yukana " relying on intelligence and physical strength only "
- nihilalaka "without any divine intervention"
- luala "to behave like a "mascot", trying to sweep away conflict by making jokes"
Some words had private definitions that, even with explanation, would still be meaningless to other people:
- muhua " uipila abandon all hope ye who enter here"
- kutau "Beethoven"
` The language also had enormous piles of synonyms, with no difference in meaning whatsoever between many words. For example, the words ahahama, kumihanana, kuna, kunana, lanahala, and luna all mean "moon" and each can substitute for any other with no change in meaning. (Luna is not a loanword from any Earth language; even here, I stuck firmly to a priori instincts. The pre-Andanese form of the word was something like lónay.) I think these six are just six of a much larger set of Andanese words of which most have not survived, because I remember once saying that Andanese/Xap had "nine words for cat and no word for pants" whereas in the dictionary I have now I can "only" find seven words for cat.
The most extreme example I can find is that Andanese has 43 words for "love". Although some are given specific definitions, more than half of them are defined simply as "love" and therefore can substitute for each other with no change in semantics.
Some words were taken from the names of characters (mostly female) in my earlier work. For example, a girl named Kaiciti gave her name to the emotion of being "in awe at the power before her".
History of Xap
Xap actually began as a language called Abapes. This was an attempt to create a language with extremely fusional polysynthetic inflection, such that the entire stem of a word could change by adding an inflection. For example, the name Abapes itself was simply the genitive of Baeba, the name of the city where it had originated.
Xap is the same name after a series of sound changes, although the sound changes were not of the proper historical type; I was still thinking of the language as being detached from culture and time and therefore my sound changes were random and unrealistic. The name "Xap" actually merges several words, not just Abapes. One of them is Zebes, the name of the planet in the first Metroid game. Normally, I've thrown out all borrowed names like that, but in this case I kept it because it's a triple etymology (Zebes, Abapes, and Peepa), where Peepa was a name I had created for myself earlier on.
Sound changes in Xap
However, Xap was my first language to have proper sound changes. They were still very naive, but not impossible, and most sound changes were conditional. For the changes that still seem odd, I am using the explanation now of Andanese being a language that was changed strongly by its neighbors since the Andanese did not have a nation of their own and lived only as minorities in nations founded by other tribes. They even cohabited with a species of sapient tree monkey at one point, although their language had already been extinguished by that time and survived only with ceremonial use.
Lexicon of Xap
I have 4427 words in the 37th edition of the Grand Unified Dictionary of the Xap language (although the title labels it as Andanese). If I have time I would like to pore over the entire wordlist, and look for words that look like they could be related to Babakiam words with the same or similar meaning. I will then delete these words, because they actually should not look similar at all, and therefore are evidence of my past dump of the lexicon of my old abandoned conlangs into Xap and Babakiam. Apart from a very few possible coincidences like /nama/ where neither language's sound changes would have affected the word AND the word is basic enough that the meaning would be the same, there should be no matches at all between the two languages and very few "close friends".
Ulanu ~ Uranu is real, though.
Xap, as above, became a depository for all of the words from all of the conlangs I had previously created. This led to massive tables of synonyms, as above with the six words for "moon" and 20+ words for "love", and also massive piles of homonyms, such as hauaka, which means both "tree" and "human".
I used the simple 30-syllable phonology to make ciphers of Xap that sounded totally unlike standard Xap but were grammatically identical. For example "nupy nutu", a six-vowel system that in some ways resembled Pabappa (which I had not yet started work on).
For a while I worked on Xap II, a language unrelated to Xap but similar in some ways. It was a "sequel", not a daughter language, and it was intended for interspecies use. It could be said that Xap II had no associated culture or that it was an artificial language even on Tebbala.
The phonology of Xap II is similar to that of ogili,but the grammar is very different . Ogili and Xap II were both three tone languages with vowel length.
Xap III was similar to Xap II, but was actually even more complicated, and I remember very little of it today. Like Xap I and II, it was a logical language, so it didn't bother me that it had a lot of unrealistic features.
Xap III was the last language I worked on before beginning Pabappa.
All of the languages I've created since beginning Pabappa in 2004 have been genetically related to Pabappa, and therefore are attempts at naturalistic languages rather than logical or artistic languages. Pabappa today doesn't resemble the Pabappa of 2004 very much except for its phonology, which I have never changed at all.
Early on, I made Pabappa very effeminate in its lexicon, such as making the word for war (then mestabbum) derived from the word for peace (mesta), meaning literally "(that which) eats peace". I later decided things like this were a bad idea, but have returned to it in some ways, such as deriving the word for war from the word for soap (because soldiers need to keep clean so they don't get germs all over them when theyre sleeping outdoors) and deriving the word for arrow from a verb meaning "to throw flowers at someone".
Today Pabappa suffers from the fact that it isn't my favorite language, and has no redeeming features that aren't also in Poswa.
Khulls is a revival of the "powerful" feeling I used to have with Moonshine, but the language feels different. I imagine the Khulls speakers as spanning all the way from the tropics to the poles, whereas Moonshine even at the peak of its power was confined to very cold climates. In my new world, Moonshine is a daughter language of Khulls, but shares little in common with the Moonshine of 1994: essentially the only similarity is the phonology, and even that has differences, although privately I consider it a continuation because I say I would have made the same changes eventually if I had kept working on the old language all along.
Thaoa, by contrast, has no shared features at all with the Thaoa of 1998, other than its name and the word Tebbala, neither of which fit nicely into the list of sound changes I have up and thus might need to be declared as exonyms. Thaoa is my least favorite language of those I'm currently working on, and I've made essentially no progress on it since 2011.
- This might be a later insertion, actually; if so, I no longer remember the original name.
- This assumes that "Manni" and "Manitan" are interchangeable, which I'm not sure of. I may have intended Manni to be the language of just one tribe of Manitans, but I never really got far enough to even consider creating other languages for the Manitan peoples.