Constructing Languages

Outline of considerations for the development of the Avensitiec and Yunshulean language families.

Recently picked up a volume from Amazon on the constructed language Siwa. The author imagines a Finno-Uralic people traveling through Scandinavia and across the Atlantic Ocean at some point in prehistory to settle alongside the Algonquin peoples in the neighborhood of Quebec.

In the introduction he mentions writing a blog or maybe just a notebook to outline the history of the people and his own process in developing the language. That got me thinking maybe I should attempt some of the same here. Eventually I do plan to host an online publication of multiple language guides on this site as well as self-publish grammars and lexica as he has for Siwa, so this is a pretty good start and it'll help keep me focused on the process.

Purpose

In my case, while I do enjoy a deep consideration of language, the actual practice of conlanging is not ars gratia artis. I have an explicit purpose in mind and I intend to develop a process to facilitate further develop in future.

Following in the footsteps of Tolkien, I am attempt to develop a set of languages to represent the culture and history of a fantasy world. Initially, I was planning to base these languages heavily on Old Norse and Classical Greek, but now I'm thinking of going all in rather than simply jiving other languages to sound unique.

I hope also to develop a process for working with English dialects, such as fictional registers for unusual or interesting cultures.

Prehistory

Imagine a broad steppe country in which dwelt a paleolithic race of man. They live under the shadow of a mountain that is home to worldwrights, a generation of deities that antedate the chthonic gods. There is a cataclysm, the mountain is destroyed, the men turn west to escape the blight.

Over the course of several centuries they migrate westwards until they come to a low range of mountains. A large group of men follow the steppes north of the range. A small group moves southwest and finds a pass leading over and through.

The southergoers are progenitors of the oriental peoples, especially those who live now on the eastern coast of the sea of Ystral, who are called the Yreni. In early drafts, I've pulled random words from a Turkish dictionary as reference, but I don't expect this to continue.

The northergoers settled in a broad, rich vale north of the mountains. They speak a language later scholars reference as the Foretongue, to distinguish it from the First Language. Periods of glaciation split the northergoers into three groups.

The first group went north and further west through the steppes were eventually pushed southwest along the northern rim of the mountains and came to the Kaelitan plains. They form the Kaelo-Yunshulean language family. The Yunshulean branch develops into something like Proto-Germanic and is the ancestor of Edhlash, spoken by the majority of characters in the novel.

The second group was grounded against the mountains and remained small, insignificant, and tribal for millennia until a warming period pushed them back out onto the steppes, where they roam as a horsepeople now.

The third group went south through the mountain passes finding their way early to the northern shores of the sea of Ystral. They eventually took to the seas and populated the coastlines of Avense and worked their way inland. Their language is grounded in the hellenic family, though how is a way yet to be determined. Eventually, on the western end of Avense, a small city was founded called Laurention that would develop into a republic and later empire running from the horn of Echein to beyond the Yunshule Mountains.

History

Laurentiec Empire had about as much influence on the develop of these people as the Romans did on Europe. They brought laws, culture, and later religion through the lands. Subsequent nations developed in imitation of their institutions. By the end, they had direct control over most regions that will feature in the test and federated authority over one significant other: the mountain principality of Goelen.

Goelen brought the Lawbringers in through alliance rather than war and while the proconsol Miliec Barsin would argument for building roads through the Yunshule at the western pass, the Empire chose instead to commit its resources to developing the eastern pass to Kaeliz. By and large, they lost interest in the Goelsh, causing a more minor influence on their development.

When the Empire fell, Goelen reverted to independence without much shift. South of them, the valley of the Fluemin split into the Republic of Emisce and the kingdom of Lim Ealriz.

Languages

From the ancient period there are two languages that require significant development:

From these I need to in turn develop modern languages to reflect placenames and people: Hamiec and Aulrei from Laurentiec. Edhlash and Kuldersprek for the Goelsh.

Similar, but less rigorous work is needed for the Yreni, an easterling people who invade Lim Ealriz during the course of the series.