Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fun with languages

I'm a casual language dork. I'm not disciplined enough to become fluent in other languages, just to learn smatterings here and there, like having a co-worker teach me enough Croatian for a brief "hello, how are you?" exchange.

Here's a couple of items I stumbled across.

The first is the Wikipedia list of constructed languages. If you're a language dork like me, it should provide some amusement. Like Tolkien, I like to have languages for the cultures in my fantasy world. However, being neither industrious nor a linguistic genius, I settle for using existing languages and tampering with them.

As an example, one of the major languages in my campaign is Qatalan, the original language of fallen empire of Qatal and spoken by outlying kingdoms where that ethnic group is predominant. Qatalan is bastardized Catalan, usually with final vowels in nouns dropped and some tampering with initial consonants like replacing hard c with a q (which sounds more akin to "ch" in loch). I haven't even bothered to work out verb conjugation or anything like that... it's mostly used for place names and minor phrases to remind the players they are speaking to someone of that ethnic group.

The second item is more specific. It's the Universal Translator Assistant Project. It deals with languages created for Star Trek. If you're a Trek fan, legh.

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