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How to create a (fictional) language in one day


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#1 sicher   Members   -  Reputation: 126

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 12:51 PM

Maybe this interests some of you.

http://www.sicher.or...age-in-one-day/

/M
Mikael Säker <mikael@sicher.org>
(Visit my blog at www.sicher.org)

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#2 Liosse de Velishaf   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 05:14 PM

I've left a comment on your blog. I'm going to go into a little more depth here on the forums:


You are completely misrepresenting what you did with your function. It is not creating a langauge. It's is not translating from English into a created language. It's not even applying English grammar to a made-up vocabulary. It's just cyphertext. You've generated an encryption program that prints out something that has letters and spaces in it. But there's no meaning behind it. <qewo> doesn't mean <it is>, for example. It doesn't mean anything, It's just there to look pretty in your game.


And there's nothing inherently wrong with that. But there is something wrong with telling people that you've done something you haven't. You should be upfront with your blog readers about what you really did, and not lie to them in order impress them. Especially when it's clear to anyone with even cursory knowledge of linguistics that you have no idea what you're talking about.


Do proper research and be honest with people about your results. Even though you haven't actually created a language, in one day or otherwise, your technique could still be very useful to people who want to create the appearance of a constructed language without spending the time to create one themselves.



#3 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19022

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 05:59 PM

While I essentially agree with the above, the article does outline a simple and effective way to quickly create something that looks reasonable and would be good to drop into a game.

Thanks for sharing, I'm sure that will be of use to some people!

#4 Ron AF Greve   Members   -  Reputation: 626

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 06:57 PM

Interesting read. Very useful to create ones own 'universe'.


Thanks for sharing.
Ron AF Greve

#5 Liosse de Velishaf   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 07:40 PM

While I essentially agree with the above, the article does outline a simple and effective way to quickly create something that looks reasonable and would be good to drop into a game.

Thanks for sharing, I'm sure that will be of use to some people!


I think it could be very useful for indie developes who want to add the illusion of a constructed language to their game. For someone without the time, knowledge, or money to develop a true constructed language, the post suggests a reasonable method for generating something that will achieve that effect with relativly little effort and without requiring s huge investment in something that is probably not a major point of interest in the game.

[If it was a major point of interest, I would expect more from the game.]


My main issue was that the blog was presenting this as an accurate technique to generate a constructed language, and it isn't. The post itself is full of misinformation on--and misapplication of-- linguistic concepts. As long as the blogger acknowledges that he is not really creating a language and that readers should not see the post as an accurate presentation of linguistic concepts, but rather as a method for generating a reasonable text-based illusion, this could be a useful thing for some people to apply to their game. :)

#6 sicher   Members   -  Reputation: 126

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 12:21 AM

My main issue was that the blog was presenting this as an accurate technique to generate a constructed language, and it isn't. The post itself is full of misinformation on--and misapplication of-- linguistic concepts. As long as the blogger acknowledges that he is not really creating a language and that readers should not see the post as an accurate presentation of linguistic concepts, but rather as a method for generating a reasonable text-based illusion, this could be a useful thing for some people to apply to their game. :)


I don't know why you read the post like that. I certainly not intended to give the illusion that this is a full alternative to create a real language but something that could function (as much faster solution to create that part of a game universe). What you end up with is something that is pronounceable, writable and that has many properties shared with real language (which is different from generated gibberish). I think it would thus be quite hard to figure out that it's not real.

The whole point of the method is to sidestep the proper linguistic concepts you would have to care about and arrive at a crude approximation that still do the job pretty well.




You claim that my "understanding of actual linguistics is severely lacking." (on the blog comment) and that I "lie to them in order impress [the readers]" which are quite harsh words and also implies you know about my knowledge and the reason for sharing. I have no idea what you know about anything or why you claim that, but I'm concluding from what you have written that you have a totally different understanding of the article than I intended.


/M
Mikael Säker <mikael@sicher.org>
(Visit my blog at www.sicher.org)

#7 Liosse de Velishaf   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 01:07 AM


My main issue was that the blog was presenting this as an accurate technique to generate a constructed language, and it isn't. The post itself is full of misinformation on--and misapplication of-- linguistic concepts. As long as the blogger acknowledges that he is not really creating a language and that readers should not see the post as an accurate presentation of linguistic concepts, but rather as a method for generating a reasonable text-based illusion, this could be a useful thing for some people to apply to their game. :)


I don't know why you read the post like that. I certainly not intended to give the illusion that this is a full alternative to create a real language but something that could function (as much faster solution to create that part of a game universe). What you end up with is something that is pronounceable, writable and that has many properties shared with real language (which is different from generated gibberish). I think it would thus be quite hard to figure out that it's not real.

The whole point of the method is to sidestep the proper linguistic concepts you would have to care about and arrive at a crude approximation that still do the job pretty well.




You claim that my "understanding of actual linguistics is severely lacking." (on the blog comment) and that I "lie to them in order impress [the readers]" which are quite harsh words and also implies you know about my knowledge and the reason for sharing. I have no idea what you know about anything or why you claim that, but I'm concluding from what you have written that you have a totally different understanding of the article than I intended.

/M







The "lie" thing was a misunderstanding on my part. I don't have a magial understanding of your reasons for the post. I'm sorry. I think it's great that you're trying to provide people with a useful tool. But you should be careful about how you present it to people. To say that it creates something strongly resembling a constructed language is not true. It may not be a deliberate lie, but it is still a false statement. At best, the program generates an encryption of the English using Linear B as the encryption key. Although it's not really a cypher, either.

And I won't take back my statement that you lack understanding. I looked at how you applied the concept of agglutination to your cipher program, and it was just plain wrong. Mushing together articles with their nouns, for example. does not make agglutination, and the example results you provided are not consistent and would be impossible in a natural language. They attach the suffixes to the wrong words, and in one case it breaks up a compund noun in a way that would not be found in a language. Also, the articles apply to the nouns, but you have them attaching to adjectives and prepositions in some cases. And judging from your intermediate form, your coding doesn't work as described in the post, because it attaches the "suffixes" as prefixes in some cases.

Further, your language is not actually "pronouncable". You've based it off of the English alphabet, and that means that a reader who hasn't seen the words before--and they couldn't possibly have, because you just generated them--can only make a guess based on the most common reading of each letter. As a note, "q" by itself doesn't really have a reading, so that also makes it hard to pronounce.


It fails the test as a language because if I were to apply computational linguistic methods to translate your end product, it would fail, because you've applied your "translation" rules inconsistently.
It also fails because a true language can be used to create new content, whereas your method can only convert from English to gibberish.



The task you are trying to accomplish is to provide the illusion of a constructed language in the game world. And if you had presented it that way from the beginning, I would never have had a problem with it. But you presented it as creating a real constructed language, and it isn't. You've given the readers false information. For example, "someguy" says he wants to learn linguistics after seeing your article. Normally, I would give you props for that. But what you've done really has very little to do with linguistics. "Tony" is under a similar false impression. In reality, the post has nothing to do with creating a language.


It wouldn't be all that difficult to figure out that it's not real, especially if there are English equivalents given in the game. It shares very little with an actual language. I could write a random text generator taking into consideration only the attributes of "vowel" and "consonant" that could create a random gibberish almost as language-like as your ciphertext. The only difference being that your text gets what consistency it has from the original English text, whereas I would need a few extra lines of python to create the majority of my consistency.



I could create a decent conlang in one day, assuming I used a word generator; vocabulary is the most time-consuming part. If it didn't affect gameplay, then using an encryption algorithm as you did and creating some relatively consistent gibberish in five minutes would serve just as well. But that doesn't make them equivalent processes, and whether you intended to or not, that's the impression you gave in your blog post.

#8 CRYP7IK   Members   -  Reputation: 986

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 01:31 AM

The task you are trying to accomplish is to provide the illusion of a constructed language in the game world. And if you had presented it that way from the beginning, I would never have had a problem with it. But you presented it as creating a real constructed language, and it isn't. You've given the readers false information. For example, "someguy" says he wants to learn linguistics after seeing your article. Normally, I would give you props for that. But what you've done really has very little to do with linguistics. "Tony" is under a similar false impression. In reality, the post has nothing to do with creating a language.


Hrm, you should talk to the people with blogs of realistic lighting, or of physics or anything because the majority of these techniques are about faking it while keeping it as close to the real thing as possible.

I don't see why this would be any different.

Anyway, very cool stuff. Your example looks like some kinda goblin language. Posted Image
To accomplish great things we must first dream, then visualize, then plan...believe... act! - Alfred A. Montapert
Gold Coast Studio Manager, Lead Programmer and IT Admin at Valhalla Studios Bifrost.

#9 sicher   Members   -  Reputation: 126

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 02:24 AM

And I won't take back my statement that you lack understanding. I looked at how you applied the concept of agglutination to your cipher program, and it was just plain wrong. Mushing together articles with their nouns, for example. does not make agglutination, and the example results you provided are not consistent and would be impossible in a natural language. They attach the suffixes to the wrong words, and in one case it breaks up a compund noun in a way that would not be found in a language. Also, the articles apply to the nouns, but you have them attaching to adjectives and prepositions in some cases. And judging from your intermediate form, your coding doesn't work as described in the post, because it attaches the "suffixes" as prefixes in some cases.

To make proper agglutination automatically noone can do today. There is not even a 100% certain way to decide if a word is a noun in English. What I have done is touching what agglutinating languages do, very rough and incomplete, which gives rise to artifacts. To expect something else from some dozen lines of Python is just silly.
But seriously, I don't want to have this discussion. Let's make games instead.
/M
Mikael Säker <mikael@sicher.org>
(Visit my blog at www.sicher.org)

#10 Liosse de Velishaf   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 07:27 AM


The task you are trying to accomplish is to provide the illusion of a constructed language in the game world. And if you had presented it that way from the beginning, I would never have had a problem with it. But you presented it as creating a real constructed language, and it isn't. You've given the readers false information. For example, "someguy" says he wants to learn linguistics after seeing your article. Normally, I would give you props for that. But what you've done really has very little to do with linguistics. "Tony" is under a similar false impression. In reality, the post has nothing to do with creating a language.


Hrm, you should talk to the people with blogs of realistic lighting, or of physics or anything because the majority of these techniques are about faking it while keeping it as close to the real thing as possible.

I don't see why this would be any different.



There isn't anything wrong with faking it. As long as you tell people up front what you are doing. Ignore the technical details of what I said if that makes it easier for you to understand that I was objecting to the blog's presentation and not its method.


#11 sicher   Members   -  Reputation: 126

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 03:23 PM

There isn't anything wrong with faking it. As long as you tell people up front what you are doing. Ignore the technical details of what I said if that makes it easier for you to understand that I was objecting to the blog's presentation and not its method.


As you hopefully understand it was never my intention to give that impression. I have updated the article and clarified my intent.

/M
Mikael Säker <mikael@sicher.org>
(Visit my blog at www.sicher.org)

#12 Liosse de Velishaf   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 12:58 AM


There isn't anything wrong with faking it. As long as you tell people up front what you are doing. Ignore the technical details of what I said if that makes it easier for you to understand that I was objecting to the blog's presentation and not its method.


As you hopefully understand it was never my intention to give that impression. I have updated the article and clarified my intent.

/M



Yeah, I think it's pretty clear at this point. I'm sorry for getting so out of hand with this. I didn't do a very good job of presentation myself. XD




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