Now that I’ve finished my client work, I’ve gone back to my Next Project.
The working title is The Conlanger’s Lexipedia. Does that sound like something between a lexicon and an encyclopedia, for conlangers? Because that’s exactly what it is!
The idea is, if you’ve read the LCK and ALC, you know how to create a grammar. But you still have the lexicon to create. And you can totally just generate a thousand roots using gen and give them meanings and call it a day, but I’m hoping to convince you that there’s a lot of pitfalls and you should buy a book, something between a lexicon and an encyclopedia for conlangers, to help out.
One reason is that there’s a lot of conworlding that’s buried in the lexicon. Take a word like oxygen. You can simply add a root for it, or look up the etymology and calque that (‘acid-maker’). But really you ought to know some of the basics of chemistry, and know when a culture is likely to isolate oxygen as a gas, and what salient characteristics it has that might be used to name it. So that sort of thing will be in the book.
Or, take color terms. I’d briefly go over Kay & Berlin’s work on color, and talk about opponent-process color theory so you know why humans have the primary colors they do and you can design totally different color schemes for aliens.
I’m also trying to address the perennial question “What words do I really need?” I’ve been assembling a corpus of fantasy/sf works and creating a frequency list– a list of roots rather than word forms. The end result will be a list of 1500 or so words that are guaranteed useful in conworlding.
I’m not very far in, so this is all subject to change.
I still want to get some Almean novels out there, but the clamor for Zompist fiction hasn’t been deafening. But that’ll probably be next.