Test Scandinavian Dictionary - With Sound!

This is just a quick test of embedding sound files into a PDF document of a dictionary. It's just a few words extracted from the SamSkandinavisk-Engelsk Dictionary. I've formated the words nicely and put clickable pronunciation guide for each word. It's mainly just an exercise for me to play with the interactive PDF features of Adobe InDesign 5.5.


NB If you just open the PDF on GoogleDocs, you will not be able to hear sound. Download the file to somewhere else and open it in Adobe Reader. If you click on the little speaker icons, you should get a speech example for each word.


SinPlatt Spoken by a Human

Here is a second attempt at the extract from De Kartuse fan Parma. This time it's spoken in my own sweet voice.


SinPlatt Spoken by a Finnish Femmebot.

Here is a speech sample from my translation extract of The Charterhouse of Palma.
It is created using Google Translate's speech synthesis option. It's using the Finnish voice, because the Finnish language had most of the phonemes that I needed and the orthography rules are very regular. If you write text the right way, you can force Google Translate's text-to-speech to say pretty much what you want. It does mean that the SinPlatt will have quite a Finnish accent.

“Ik pries de lüttele husar an,” riep de merketantin. “De junge bürger heft ene modig hert.” Korporal Aubry marschärde forbie uten seggen een word. Acht oder tejn soldaten liepen fort and kåmen med him toosamen. Hi leidede hin toorügg ene grote eek, umgegeven med dornen. Wan kam hi dår, hi settede hin fort de rand fan de busch, noch uten seggen een word, an ene wied gestrekkde front, eelke stond toomindest tejn schreden af siene nåjbuur.

Arabic Auxlang Aborts Before Take-Off

First off, here's a provisional name for my hypothetical Arabo-Islamic auxlang, that I postulated in my post called Arabic Auxlang Anyone?

As a contrast to the name of the romanoclone auxlang name Occidental, I dub my hypothetical language Oriental. The Oriental which I am referring to isn't in the more modern sense where it's understood to mean the Far East and cultures such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean. I'm harking back to the old-fashioned Oriental of the 19th century and the Orientalist aesthetic movement. At this time Oriental included more the Near East and Middle-Eastern, Turkic, Persian and Indic cultures. This realm is pretty close the what this auxlang would cater to.

The most relevant passage of my previous post would have to be:

The source languages that I would propose are:
Modern Standard Arabic
Hindi-Urdu (One or two languages depending on your political persuasion)Indonesia-
Malay (Essentially two standards of a plural-centric language) 
Perhaps the criteria for words could be that they need to have cognates present in 4/6 of the above languages. Or 3/6 if that's too stringent.
Interestingly enough, with the exception of Persian and Hindi-Urdu, these six languages are genetically all un-related. Contrast this [to] Interlingua, where all the source languages are Indo-European and the majority are Romantic.

I've bolded the really critical fact. Here's the problem. Undoubtedly, these 6 languages have borrowed, lent and shared a large quantity of vocabulary. Some through the spread of Islam, some through the military conquests of the Persians and Turks, some through the spread of Hinduism and Buddhism, some through Arabic traders on the Indian ocean. But whereas languages might borrow large numbers of words when in contact with other cultures, they generally have a core-vocabulary that tends not to be replaced with borrowings. These words tend to be the most basic fundamental words in the vocabulary, words for such things as louse, two, water, ear, die, I, liver, eye, hand, hear, tree, fish, name, stone, tooth, breasts, you, path, bone, tongue, skin, night, leaf, blood, horn, person, knee, one, nose, full, come, star, mountain, fire, we, drink, see, new, dog, sun. These are the words that are typically found in a Swadesh list. The list that I just gave was the 40 concepts that have been found least likely to change over the aeons of a language's history.

My critical stumbling block for Oriental, is that these 6 languages are unlikely to have much shared vocabulary for the most basic of words. Oriental will probably have less trouble finding words for law, religion, government, commerce, science, technology agriculture and warfare. But for the most basic concepts, there will be little common ground between the 6 languages.

Take the case of a typical romanoclone auxlang; Interlingua, Of its source languages French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian are all closely related Romantic languages. The other source languages; English, German and Russian are still share a genetic relationship, albeit more distantly by way of Proto-Indo-European.

In my proposed Oriental, the 6 languages come from 5 different language families.
The only languages that share a distant common ancestor are Persian and Hindi-Urdu.

So what could be the selection criteria for the most basic of words, such as are unlikely to have any common ground among the source languages?

I can suggest two possible solutions: 
1. The basic vocabulary is made of words that have cognates in Persian and Hindi-Urdu.
2. The basic vocabulary is made of words from Arabic.

In the first proposal, the common basic vocabulary of Persian and Hindi-Urdu is Proto-Indo-Aryan. For convenience of research, one could base it on Proto-Indo-European. That means Oriental is built as an Indo-European language with superstrates from waves of borrowing from Arabic, Sanskrit, Persian Turkish and Graeco-Roman.. 

In the second proposal, Oriental is an Arabic pidgin with large amounts of borrowings from Turkish, Persian, Sanskrit and Graeco-Roman.

The first proposal happens to be quite close to Olivier Simon's Sambahsa, just with a tighter focus on one region of the world. I guess the wheel has already been invented (by Proto-Indo-Europeans!)


Arabic Auxlang Anyone?

Tonight, I was researching a few words for Germanic constructed languages. I was using multi-lingual dictionaries such as Websters

and Wiktionary:

I was looking for Germanic words, but I found myself distracted when I noticed a large number of similar words cropping up in a cluster of languages. Those languages were in regions as far-flung as the Middle-East, The Horn of Africa, Western China, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Sub-continent and South-East Asia.
for example:

Arabic فرق / farq
Indonesian / Malay furak
Turkish fark
Persian فرق / farq
Hindi/Urdu farq

The obvious connection was, of course borrowings from Arabic and the spread of Islamic civilization.

Very many auxlangs are classified (disparagingly often) as Romanoclones, for example Interlingua, Novial, Occidental, Idiom Neutral, Ido, Esperanto etc. They are based on the common vocabulary of Western Civilization which is mostly a common heritage of words coming from Latin and Greek. Some of those languages, I would say are very very good if you want to make a language that's easily accessible to educated "Westerners" or Europeans. (For the record, I constantly find myself drawn back to Interlingua for various reasons). It's convenient that very many languages of the world have acquired similar words from the same sources, and if you're lucky enough to be a speaker of one of those languages, then it's wonderful that you can take advantage of it.

But not all the world has shared in this cultural exchange -- indeed they might even be part of their own separate cultural clubs.
Perhaps a different type of auxlang could be created for a different cultural sphere?

BTW, I am using "Western" in contrast to "Islamic" as labels for civilizations, but I don't really want to over-load the religious significance of either. "Western" seems to me to be a convenient short-hand for a civilization that has a predominately European, Graeco-Latin and Christian flavour. It's overloading the religious dimension of the juxtaposition to talk about "Christian" versus "Islamic" civilization. The sphere of languages that have had the Arabic influence include the languages of many people who are not predominantly muslim.  The same applies to "Western" civilization -- it a generalization and  it's not entirely defined by Christianity or Europeanness. For example, I'd readily call myself a "Westerner", although I don't live in Europe and am not a Christian. But for the purposes of this post, "Western" and "Islamic" were the best words I can think of to use.

What I would propose is an a posteriori constructed language based on features common to the major languages that have participated in the spread of Islamic civilization. So it would have a similar methodology to Interlingua, but with a different set of source languages. Instead of the major European languages, it would refer to some of the worlds other major languages.
The source languages that I would propose are:

Modern Standard Arabic
Hindi-Urdu (One or two languages depending on your political persuasion)
Indonesia-Malay (Essentially two standards of a plural-centric language) 

Perhaps the criteria for words could be that they need to have cognates present in 4/6 of the above languages. Or 3/6 if that's too stringent.

Interestingly enough, with the exception of Persian and Hindi-Urdu, these six languages are genetically all un-related. Contrast this Interlingua, where all the source languages are Indo-European and the majority are Romantic. 
The common vocabulary would be largely descended from Classical Arabic. But, depending on the entry criteria, could include a lot of words descended from Turkish, Persian, and Sanskrit. Some of these source languages have also participated in the "Western" sphere of lexical borrowing. For example Turkish and Indonesian have borrowed large numbers of words from the same Graeco-Latin sources as many European languages. So this proposed auxlang will probably have a large number of "internationalisms", very similar to those found in Interlingua or Occidental.

Although the base vocabulary would be mostly Arabic-sourced, to make a good auxlang, it's grammar, syntax and orthography would need to be simple and regular. And probably the alphabet would need to be offered in two flavours -- Latinized and Arabic -- with some kind of standardized transliteration scheme.

Now I'm surely not the right person to be creating such a language. It's not my area of expertise and I've too much on my plate already. But I am definitely interested and intrigued if such a language has already been attempted. I would love to see an auxlang that didn't fit the normal romanoclone mold. Not a world-lang, but one that had something to offer to a wide cultural-sphere and can leverage the common vocabulary of that sphere. It wouldn't necessarily be a world-lang any more than Interlingua could claim that title.


The Charterhouse of Parma in SinPlatt

Here is a translation of part of Chapter 4 of the originally French novel by Stendahl into SinPlatt. It is possibly not perfect yet. I started out by tweaking my Frenkisch translation into a SinPlatt-like form. Later I decided that a fresh look was needed.
I'd be interested how intelligible it is to speakers of German, Dutch and English -- the source languages of SinPlatt

De Kartuse FAN Parma
fan Stendahl


Nejts kond him wekken, nejt de musketten nåj de karr geschoten oder de traf fan de perden, dat de merketantin med all hire kraft pitschde. Dat regiment, angefallen unferwajted fan swarmen fan prüüssische kavalleri, after si all de dag in de seg gelöövd hadden, tiejden snell toorügg oder egenlik flooen too de richting fan Frankriek.
De kolonell, ene elegante junge mann, good antwikkeld, dat Macon siene plats genomen hadd, lag dood fan ene sabel. De batalionleider, dat siene plats genomen hadd, ene wiethårige alde, befelde dat regiment too halten.
“Ferdammd,” brüllde hi too siene soldaten, “in de tied fan de Republik, wajteden wi antoo wi gedreven fan de fiend wåren for wi weg rannen. Ferdedig eelke lapp fan terrän, and werd gedöded!” hi riep hin an and scheldede hin uut. “Et is de grund fan dat Faderland dat dese prüüssen nu infallen wollen!”
De kleine karr stoppde; Fabrice wekkde plütslik. De sonn hadd allreid lang gesunken; hi was gansch estonärd too sejen dat et nåjgenoog dunker was. De soldaten liepen hen and toorügg med ene ferwerring dat unsere held seer overraschde; Si såjen ferlegen uut, hi dacht.
“Wat geschejt?” frågde hi de merketantin.
“Absolut nejts. Bloot dat wi in diepe möje sien, miene junge; Dår is de prüüssische kavalleri, dat uns dood höwen, nejts meer. De idiotische general dacht eerst dat si unser wåren. Kom snell, help mi Cocotte hire toom reparären; et is kaput.”
Een par schotten wåren tejn schreden ferr geschoten. Unsere held, frekk and sorgloos, seggde too sikk: “Doch werklik, hebb ik de hele dag nejt alssulk gestridden; Ik hebb bloot ene general begeleided.” “Ik moot gån and strieden” fertellde hi de merketantin.
“Mak kene sorg, du sallst strieden, and meer als du willst! Wi sien ferloren”
“Aubry, miene kerl,” riep si too ene forbiekomende korporal uut, “bewak immer wår de kleine karr fan tied too tied is.”
“Sollt ji strieden?” frågde Frabrice Aubry.
“Ach nee, Ik kleid mi miene pantoffels um too gån too de ball!”
“Ik sall jü folgen.”
“Ik pries de lüttele husar an,” riep de merketantin. “De junge bürger heft ene modig hert.” Korporal Aubry marschärde forbie uten seggen een word. Acht oder tejn soldaten liepen fort and kåmen med him toosamen. Hi leidede hin toorügg ene grote eek, umgegeven med dornen. Wan kam hi dår, hi settede hin fort de rand fan de busch, noch uten seggen een word, an ene wied gestrekkde front, eelke stond toomindest tejn schreden af siene nåjbuur.
“Ach so männen”, seggde de koporal, hi sprak för de eerst mål, “schiet nejt antoo ik et befel: bedenk, ji hebbt enig drie patronen eelk.”
“Doch, wat geschejt dan?” frågde Frabrice sikk. Endlik, wan fand hi sikk alleen med de korporal, hi seggde too him: “Ik hebb kene muskett.”
“Eersts, hald diene tung. Gå fort dår: fieftig schreden for de busch, sallst du een fan de arme soldaten fan dat regiment finden, niewlik fan ene sabel gehakkd; du sallst siene rancel and siene muskett nemen. Roof nejt af ene ferwundede mann doch; nem de rancel and muskett af ene gewisse dode, ond iel sikk oder du sallst fan unsere kameraden geschoten wesen.”
Fabrice rann fort and kam toorügg straks med ene muskett and ene rancel.
“Lad diene muskett and sett di hinden jeen boom, in dat besunder, schiet nejt for de befel dat ik geven sall… Genådeloos God!”, riep de korporal underbroken uut, “hi kann nejt alssulk siene wåpen laden!”. (Hi halp Fabrice des too dooen, fortgåend med siene updragen.) “Infall mag ene fiendlike rieder an di galopären um di too hakken, dråj sikk um diene boom, and schiet nejt antoo hi in nåje reikwiedde is, wan diene rieder drie schreden af di is: wajt antoo diene bajonett nåjgenoog siene uniform trefft.”
“Smiet diene grote sabel weg,” schriede de korporal. “Willst du fan him fallen, in Gods nam? Sulke soldaten sien wi nu gegeven!” 
Als hi sprak, hi nam de sabel and warp him weg böös.
“Du, wisch de füürsteen fan diene muskett med dien dook. Hast du emål ene muskett geschoten?”
“Ik bin ene jager.”
“Dank God!” seggde de korporal med ene diepe süft. “In dat besunder, schiet nejt for de befel dat ik jü geven sall.”
And hi ging weg.
Fabrice was gansch früdig. “Endlik sall ik werklik strieden,” seggde hi too sikk, “and ene fiend döden. Desmorgen warpen si an uns kanonkugels, and ik dääd nejts uten stell mi bloot too gedöded werden; Dat werk fan idioten.” Hi blikkde sikk um, seer niewsgirig. After ene kurte tied, plütslik höörde hi seven oder acht muskettschotten temlik nåj him. Doch hi höörde kene befelen too schieten, allso stond hi still hinden siene boom.


Neo-Teutonic, the prototyping Language

The construction of Frenkisch is based the methodology of Interlingua de IAL. However it doesnt follow the prototyping method of Interlingua exactly.

In this I post will compare the proto-typing method of Interlingua with Frenkisch. And propose a novel and different scheme to that used by Frenkisch (and other attempts at a pan-Germanic auxiliary language)

Interlingua words are based on the Etymological Prototype. Which is basically the ancestral point from which the forms in the various source languages branched out. This means that it retains any conservative features preserved in any one of the source languages. For example, take the Interlingua word foco meaning fire or focus. It is based on French feu, Spanish fuego, Portuguese fogo and Italian fuoco. These words all originally come from Latin focus.

None of the source languages retain the Latin -us ending, So the common point of branching is not -us but the next most conservative ending, o. So the IL word ends in -o. Next, the final consonant of the stem. In French, its lost, in Spanish and Port its evolved to a g. Italian retains the Latin c,. The point from which the French and Port. and Spanish consonants branched was a c. If the Latin c had evolved into another sound before it then branched into the various Romance versions, then that evolved sound would be the point of common branching rather than the exact Latin sound. The most conservative final consonant for the IL word is c. Next the vowel of the stem. In French, the vowel has changed to eu. In Spanish its become ue and in Italian its uo. Portuguese retains what is most like the Latin o. The common point from which these vowels branched is o. So the IL word has a o vowel in the stem. Next the initial consonant. Obviously it the same f as in Latin! So its F+O+C+O = IL foco. The prototype doesnt always have to be Latin. Lets say all the source languages have a word like hotel. The prototype would be the French word hôtel. Even though French hôtel can be traced back earlier to Old French hostel and then to medieval Latin hospitale, the common point of branching for the word which means a largish commercial guest accommodation building for travelers, is the French word hôtel. That there is the Interlingua prototyping method in a nutshell.

Frenkisch doesnt follow this method exactly, although it is the starting point. The hypothetical Etymological prototype for Frenkisch words would often be something like the Proto-Germanic (PG) form. However having words that resemble closely PG is arguably less useful than closely resembling Latin. Proto-Germanic is utterly dead. And it was never written down. However Latin never really died out. It continued a parallel zombie-like existence to the Romance language and was a constant influence on them and other Western languages. Not so for PG, it evolved into the Old Germanic dialects and didnt continue on as a learned language like Latin. No languages are continuing to use PG as a source of words. Many of the common features in the Germanic languages group, are an inheritance from Proto-Germanic. But even-more so, the common features are because of later languages influencing each other and borrowing from each other and from the same Romance sources. To put it another way, many common Germanic linguistic features were never present in PG, they are later parallel innovations. For example constructions such as forgive/vergeven/vergeben are likely to be calques/loan-translations of Latin perdonare.

So Frenkisch words are modernized from their prototype. This modernization is that they are pseudo-evolved along the most common evolutionary pathway that the Germanic source languages have followed. So, if for example, most of our source languages have lost/merged the PG *þ phoneme, then so does Frenkisch. If in German, Dutch and English, the PG *ī phoneme has regularly become a very nearly identical diphthong,s then so do the Frenkisch equivalents. So lets say we have in the Germanic source languages the words, English drive, Dutch drijven, German treiben, Danish/Norwegian drive and Swedish driva. Might this be a good basis for a Frenkisch word? It is. The prototype for those words would be the PG word *drīƀan. But the PG word is not the Frenkisch word. It has the most common evolutionary path pseudo-evolution applied to it. The *ī evolves to [aɪ], the *ƀ becomes a voiced labiodental fricative [v]. The infinitive *n is lost. The final vowel in the unstressed suffix is generalized to a schwa [ə]. So the PG word pseudo-evolves to Frenkisch [ˈdraɪvə], spelled dryve.

If the makers of Interlingua had followed a modernization method similar to that of Frenkisch, the language would not look so conservative  or Latin in form, it would look more like an average modern western Romance language, perhaps looking similar to Occitan/Langue doc or Catalan. Lingua Franca Nova has been decribed as resembling those languages in form.

Anyway, this brings me to the point of this long long post. What would a conlang that used the true etymological prototype of the modern Germanic languages look like? Would it really be less or more recognizable and instantly intelligible?

Note that the etymological prototype would not always be identical to the reconstructed PG form. All evolutions that were common to all the source languages, would be present in the prototypes. So changes such as some i-mutation, generalization of unstressed vowels to Schwa, merger of *hl and *l, *hr and *r, and some Ingvaeonic loss of nasals would be applied. Interlingua often resembles Vulgar Latin/Proto Romance in form, rather than classical Latin. These Germanic prototypes would be some kind of Vulgar Proto Germanic.
Now that biggest advantage to this language that I can see, is that PG had a much simpler vowel phonology than modern germlangs. It might make a language that is easier to learn the pronunciation for and possibly easier to devise a spelling system that needed no/less diacritical marks.
Next post on this topic, I shall experiment with a few sample words, a pronunciation and orthography scheme and method for borrowing Romance and Greek words.



Welcome to Konstspraik. In this blog I will be covering news about the constructed languages that I am working on. Plus any ideas or opinions I have about other constructed language projects. Plus anything else about which I have an opinion which I think is profound.
I have been trying out constructed languages since I was a teenager. Some of these have been serious languages, some experimental, some have just been fictitious languages for fiction and fantasy. I take a keen interest in other constructed languages and have learned Interlingua.
At the moment I am working on:

A Germanic auxiliary language. It is concerned with aesthetic and naturalistic considerations as well as usability and ease of learning, which makes it somewhat of an art-lang. It is an a posteriori constructed language, based on 6 Germanic languages (English, German, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish). Outside of the Germanic language group, it also refers to French and Russian as source languages. This language now has a dictionary of over 6000 words.

This is another pan-Germanic auxiliary language. It is intended as a co-operative project with other contributors and participants. This project began in 1995. I joined the Folksprak effort in 2004 and the language has gone through much debate and evolution over time.  Much of the effort in this language has been adapted and applied to my other constructed language projects. Folksprak has a tighter focus on pan-Germanic commonality, regularity and ease of learning.

SinPlatt is short for Synthetic Platt. This is a Low German-like art-lang, it is a posteriori and refers to English, Dutch and German as its source languages. In fact it doesn't refer directly to actual Platt/Low-German -- hence the Synthetic part of the name. It has features common to 2+ out of 3 of English, Dutch and German. I've made little effort to make it easy or regular - instead it's intended to have a naturalistic typically West Germanic flavor. The prominent linguistic feature of this language that I think makes it interesting, is it makes use of phonemic consonant length as a regular part of phonology - otherwise known as the phenomenon of "stretching" vowels. This isn't a major feature of any of it's source languages, but it exists in a subtle latent form in all 3, it was a feature of the common ancestral language and understanding it unlocks some of the mysterious features of the Germanic languages. SinPlatt, currently has a pronunciation/orthography guide, a bare grammatical overview, and a vocabulary of about 300 words. This is my first attempt at a constructed language where the definition language is other than English: I am simultaneously creating Sinplatt - English and SinPlatt - French dictionaries.

This is the beginning of a pan-Scandinavian aux-lang. It is intended to give speakers of Scandinavian North-Germanic languages a common standardized language. These languages are semi mutually intelligible. Samskandinavisk is intended to offer a "neutral" alternative to the current status quo: where Scandinavians either muddle-through just about understanding each other's speech, at time deliberately pretending not to understand each other's speech and at times using English. It is a naturalistic a posteriori language based on Danish, Norwegian and Swedish. It follows a similar methodology to that of Interlingua, basing the form of Samskandinavisk words on the etymological prototypes of words common to at least 2 out of 3 of Danish, Norwegian and Swedish. Currently it's in an embryonic state with no grammar and a demonstrator vocabulary of 400 words.

As my time allows, I will be posting more detail about these languages and the principles used in developing them.