Posted . #conlang

Or, better known as LANGUAGES... IN... SPACE!

Alright. Alright. Settle down there. Do I got my scotch? Yeah, I got my scotch. Good. Good.

So I've been working on something. For a story I've been dragging my feet on. Can't really flex my writing muscles without also pumping my worldbuilding pec juices. If it's not coming up with fictitious geographies, it's making up languages.

And for this project, I've been especially lazy.

For this story, project titled Beneath the Blue Pale (aka, Moonbarred), a novel about a young woman going on vacation at what can best be described as an oil refinery and quarry, except it's a moon. Where she finds love, intrigue and answers. Some of them, to questions she didn't even ask.

But we'll talk about that later.

For the setting, I needed languages. Real languages. Things to bring breath into place names. Our heroine, Tessa M. Prosiri, is a native of Montarzejo, the Mountain Planet. Though she grew up speaking Polish, the nature of Montarzejo (and the rest of the human-habited worlds) is a multilingual, multicultural Pollockesque hell.

So, of course, people default to lingua francas when they can. And I'm working on three. Three languages spoken by people, people in space. You could call them space languages. SPACELANGS!!!

There're three: Spaceperanto, Spaceskrit, and Spacitic. If you know anything of languages, you can sorta guess what this is all about.

Spaceperanto: Esperanto. Spaceskrit: Sanskrit. And Spacitic: Arab. Or close enough on the last two. Spaceskrit is an Indo-Iranian style IAL (international auxiliary language, not international anime language. That's Japanese), that's a simplified and reduced form of Proto-Indo-European. Spacitic is the reduced, consumable form of Semitic languages, in the same vein that Esperanto is a reduction sauce of European languages.


What's so great about Spaceperanto? And why wouldn't Esperanto work?

Because, as much as I find Esperanto to be a fun little language, and I love its goals and aims, it's not that great of a language overall. It sounds funny. It doesn't match up to what we learn about certain European languages (you mean, adjectives end in -a and nouns in -o? bona amiko sounds silly!) So I made some stylistic changes from Esperanto, as well as plugged it with my innovations.

The problem, so far as I see it, with making whole languages for a story is that it seems to be a self-serving process. Very few people will truly appreciate the work the same you do. You can make a 100%, accurate and realistic language... yet no one is probably going to learn it. The success of Klingon and Quenya, among others, is based not on the novelty, the Europeaness, or some other ephemeral quality that we can ascribe, but the popularity of the work.

If people like it enough, they'll make an effort. But that's not entirely true, either. I remember when I discovered Zompist's Verdurian. That language still has me in perpetual awe, and by today's conlanging standards, is rife with tired tropes and retired cliches. But it's the carefulness of the language, the attention, the narrative around it that holds me.

And most other conlangs are absent that.

So while I can post a grammar of that language on this blog (or at the very least, just the changelog from Esperanto), it doesn't seem right. There's no discussion that I can make from it.

So just know. When the story's out there. There's going to be some weird phrases. And there'll be a place where you can figure it out if that's your bag.