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George says: check out the LCS Podcast interview of Sheri Wells-Jensen.  Meanwhile, on this side of the conlanging podosphere (literally, the other side, there are only two podcasts), we talk a little about how you can fill out that lexicon with words.  And after that we talk about a language whose creator apparantly decided not to bother too much with words.


Featured Conlang: Toki Pona








11 Responses to “Conlangery #07: Word Creation”

  1. Roman Rausch

    You could say that the Toki Pona numeric system is just like Roman numerals spoken aloud.

  2. Wm

    That online word generator I was thinking about when we recorded this: Awkwords. Check out the help page to see how to make certain sounds occur more often.

  3. Tristan

    What are other good word generator sites or programs? Awkwords seems to have 404-ed.

    Also, are there any good English (thematic?) vocabulary lists available online? So far I’ve only found TEFL resources, which aren’t quite what I’m looking for. I’m interested in them mostly for helping me learn other foreign languages, rather than just conlanging with them (although that, too).


    • Adam

      The universal language dictionary (ULD) is a pretty good one with a couple thousand words listed by about 40 different themes.

  4. Shirkamisamyogai

    @Conlangery Admin:
    The old Awkwords URL still works.
    It is found at:
    I lost it for a while, and had to jump through a lot of searches to find it again.

    @Tristan, I know it’s half a year late, but here’s a list of words in themes for several languages:
    The Universal Linguistic Database was created by Rick Harrison and has words in the following languages: English, German, Netherlands, Italian, Japanese, Esperanto, Novial, and Tsolyani. *Note that not all languages have all words.

    I hope these help.

  5. Rhamos Vhailejh

    I absolutely adore the theme music in this podcast (almost as much as the podcast itself). How do you spell the musician’s name, and does he have any of his stuff up on Youtube?

      • admin

        Ah, I’m not sure if that’s what he’s talking about. This episode still has the old music. I believe the name was Xander Vedejes, but it seems my original records (the script for the old ending spiel and my communication with him on the ZBB) are lost.

  6. Matthew McVeagh

    Toki Pona is basically an explang seeing what happens with extreme parsimony, based on a Daoist philosophy of simplicity. Once again it doesn’t really make sense to judge a non-artlang by the standards of artlangs, e.g. that it doesn’t contain lots of words or a number system that makes it easy to construct high numbers. 123 words is fine for a language aiming to talk about things in a simple way and with a phrasal combining structure that allows for greater complexity. If you look into semantic structures like WordNet you see that meanings can be arranged in trees with many specific meanings as ‘hyponyms’ to fewer more general ‘hypernyms’. Toki Pona just only lexes at the level of hypernyms. Then you can combine those to create more specific hyponyms. Just not as many as most languages, but that’s deliberate.

    Chinese is after all very similar in having a low number of basic phonological words, and morphemes. Complex concepts require phrasal combinations of several simple morphemes; this was mentioned on the podcast. Chinese writing (hanzi) actually expands on the amount of meaning being expressed by adding features, e.g. the third person singular pronoun is “ta” for all genders, but in writing it’s made masculine, feminine or neuter by the addition of a symbol. Altho I’m not really interested in learning and using Toki Pona it occurred to me someone could contribute a morphographic writing system for it, which would not be too hard to learn as there would only be 123 characters. This would then save space in writing as hanzi does compared to other writing systems. The result would be quite like Chinese, but even simpler and easier to learn and with no tone system.


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