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Language Construction

Have you ever wanted to create your very own language? If the answer to this is 'yes!' (or some variation of this), then this is the course for you!

In this course we will be looking at how actual languages are constructed and apply this to build our own languages with its own script, grammar, syntax and words!

Excited? Well, you should be! Sign up now!

Lectures
  1. Part 1 - Lecture 1 - Introduction to Constructed Languages

    In this lecture we will briefly look at the course itself and what makes a constructed language.

Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for this course, except for the intention to learn something from it! Please do note however that this course will take considerable effort.

Syllabus

This course will consist of six parts hosted in a total of twelve weeks. Every two weeks a new series of lecture videos, a new test, and a new creative exercise will be made available. In the tests we will review material covered in the lecture videos along with material from several assigned reading materials. Each creative exercise will directly apply that week's material in order to get closer to the final project: your own language.

The lectures will be made available in the following schedule, with both release dates and due dates at exactly 11.59 P.M. at the noted day.

Part 1 (3.11 - 17.11): Introduction to phonetics. In this part we will discover what role sounds play in languages, look at the IPA, and create our own alphabet.

Test 1 (due 17.11): This test will review the material thought in the lectures from part 1 and will mostly include reading the IPA along with some theory.

Assignment 1 (due 17.11): The creation of an alphabet for your language. You will choose what sounds your language will include, and possibly design your own characters for these sounds.

Part 2 (17.11 - 1.12): Word creation. In this part we will create rules that words need to follow in your language. Of course these rules will change slightly once word functions are explained in more detail, but it will give a general overview of what to look out for.

Test 2 (due 1.12): This test will mainly be about the rules for forming words in different languages and what illegal letter combinations are.

Assignment 2 (due 1.12): In this assignment you will expand the alphabet of your language by adding conjuctions and specifying rules for forming words.

Part 3 (1.12 - 15.12): Nouns and declensions. In part 2 we will look at how nouns are constructed and how we can change nouns to indicate more than just their meaning.

Test 3 (due 15.12): This test will consist mainly of declension tables and grammatical case use.

Assignment 3 (due 15.12): Assignment 3 will consist of deciding in what ways you want to use declensions, what cases you want to use, etcetera. For this assignment you will make declension tables for your language.

Part 4 (15.12 - 29.12): Verbs. In part 4 we will look at the constructions of verbs and what different facts they can represent.

Test 4 (due 29.12): This test will consist of looking at verbs and describing what they indicate and how this is visible.

Assignment 4 (due 29.12): In assignment 4 you will put the theory to practice and write rules of how your own verbs are conjugated and what information they give.

Part 5 (29.12 - 12.1): Other words. In part 5 we will look at all words that have not yet gotten our attention at this point, such at adverbs and prepositions.

Test 5 (due 12.1): In test 5 the key will be identifying the correct type of words for different situations.

Assignment 5 (due 12.1): This assignment will consist of you writing the rules for the construction of the remaining word types.

Part 6 (12.1 - 26.1): Syntax. In the last part we will put everything together to create sentences and complicated word structures.

Final exam (due 1.2): The final exam will review everything covered in this course, with a little emphasis on the syntax as that will not have a seperate test.

Final assignment (due 1.2): The final assignment will require you to translate several (somtimes quite complicated) sentences in your own language and explain PRECISELY why you have translated them in the way that you have.

Grading policy: The first five tests and five assignment will count for half of your final grade, making them each worth 5 points. The final exam and the final assignment will account for the other half, resulting in a worth of 25 points each for those. Tests will be automatically graded. Assignments will hopefully be peer-reviewed, but we are still looking at the available options.

There are no required books for this course, all assigned reading will be available free of charge, but if anyone does wish to buy a book to learn more about the subject there is no better book than "The Language Construction Kit" by Mark Rosenfelder.

Additional information

Lecture videos will be posted online, but there will be several oppurtunities throughout the course to interact with me during office hours in which I will live chat with the students from this course. The times during which these office hours will be held are announced at a later date.

Teacher qualifications

I am an assistant teacher for ancient Greek teaching highschool students and speak 10 different languages, of which 4 (quite) fluently.

Latest Update
Part 1 delay (2013-11-04 20:12:41)

"Dear students,

My sincere apologies for the lack of videos so far. Due to an unfortunate accident (my HDD being fried) I will have to postpone the posting of the first series of lecture by one week.

I apologize again for the caused inconvenience and hope you will not be too angry with be.

Joost Botman"

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