Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Introduction: My Language and Me

First, a little bit about me. I've been conworlding for...holy cow, 7 years now. I've been conlanging for probably 4 years, and my language has gone through many changes as I continually develop it. I am a professional student even though I'm not currently in school, and I'm working on a music degree. I have written several novels and short stories, which are the primary reason for my interest in conlanging. I got into the Conlangery Podcast a few weeks ago, and in listening to it, I've learned mountains that I wouldn't have before I discovered the podcast.

As far as languages, I'm a native English speaker, and I've studied Spanish through Rosetta Stone (which I highly recommend). I'm far from fluent, and my grammar is a wreck. A woman asked me the other day, "¿Hablas español?" Crestfallen, I replied, "Me no hablo español muy bien. Un pocito, pero no bien." I intend to change that. I currently want to learn the following to some degree of usability:
  • Spanish (fluently)
  • Italian (fluently)
  • French (conversationally)
  • German (conversationally)
  • Esperanto
  • Mandarin
  • Russian
A tall order, I know, but I would love to have some facility in these languages if for no other reason than to make it easier to sing in foreign languages.

Now for a little bit about my conworld and its conculture. The world's name is Hra, and it is a planet located approximately fifteen light years from Earth. I started developing the language to some degree on the same day that I started developing its speakers, the hra'vakh. The first thing I developed was the script. I started playing around with the phonology, but it was awful to pronounce for the longest time. As I started creating words, things changed and I made it easier to pronounce. A couple of years ago I finalized the script and started on the syntax.

I put it away for a while, but after hearing an interview with Karen Traviss about Mando'a, the language of the Mandalorians in the Star Wars universe, I became intensely interested in finishing Hra'anh to the point that it was actually teachable and speakable. I currently have almost 200 out of the 2000 that Traviss suggests for minimum conversational capability.

I keep changing the grammar, syntax, word order, etc. But it's good that I'm moving away from relexing English, i.e. keeping the grammar, syntax, etc. and just coming up with new words. If all goes according to plan, I'll have my children speaking Hra'anh and English.

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