runa27 (runa27) wrote in linguaphiles,

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A Linguistics Newbie Masochistically Attempting to Make Some Conlangs...

Because I find it interesting and because I am working on a family or two of conlangs for a story of mine and feel like it would go easier and work better if I knew this kind of thing:

I have no idea what people mean when they use words like "fricative" and "postveolar" (sp?). Heck, I have some bit of trouble remembering any grammar terms more complicated than "direct object".

So, I was wondering... does anybody have or know of any resources, particularly free ones, for explaining these kinds of things in relatively clear language and examples? Not just grammar terms/functions, but linguistics terms of the kind that get brought up here all the time.

Additionally - shifting gears here - I've seen some free resources for conlang development linked from here before, but I can't seem to find the posts they came from, so I'd appreciate it if someone here was kind enough to dig them up...? :) Most especially useful would be anything that can aid me in either keeping track of my grammar/vocab constructions, or anything that can help me simulate the drift or mingling of languages over time. Additionally, resources on ancient and classical Eurasian dialects would be very helpful...

See, in the story, the people in question are, though not human, directly related to us (it's a fantasy, in case you're wondering), and have through differing clans of theirs had contact with and possibly influenced several of the languages in ancient and classical Eurasia. This includes everything from Ancient Greek and Classical Latin, to early Slavic and related dialects, to the Chinese language family. One clan of them in particular even manages to (at least on the surface) sound like it's speaking a hodgepodge of Romanian and Chinese with most of the tonal elements taken out, due to being a mixed clan of individuals from east Asia and eastern Europe, all of whom also speak a lingua franca that sounds distinctly Greco-Latin-esque (I can almost hear it, now if only I can construct it... :D).

(One problem of mine in this being, these people's languages have also been evolving in the time since about when pre-Christian Rome was at its peek... in isolation, since, basically, Rome's military might unnerved them and they literally locked themselves underground for few thousand years. Complicated by the fact that they themselves can live for several thousand years - which has the potential for slowing some of the usual linguistic drift, wouldn't you think? I mean, obviously it doesn't stop completely - anybody alive knows that slang, for one, changes with the times even from year to year, and so do the more nuanced meanings of words and phrases. But... yeah. I'm a masochist!)

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