Conlangery Shorts 27 Lexember 2017 Wrap-up
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Welcome to Conlangery, the podcast about constructed languages and the people who create them. I'm George Corley.
It's the beginning of the year, and as usual I'm going to do a short talking about last year's Lexember event. I retweeted and reblogged people's words all month from the Conlangery Twitter and Tumblr accounts and I just want to highlight a few people whose words I especially liked.
First of all, I want to mention a trend I saw overall that was interesting. Following the overall trend that's been going on with Twitter recently, a lot of people on there shared their words using images. Those ranged from screenshots of dictionary entries to beautiful little definition cards with lots of information on them. It's a really nice way to present the info and get around character limits. The only thing I will say is that it's not ideal for accessibility, as images might not work for accessibility. I have recently heard that Twitter has an image description feature, so that might be something useful to turn on for next year.
There was somewhat of a theme this year of worldbuilding through conlanging. In a sense, whenever you are building the lexicon of a naturalistic conlang, the story of the conculture needs to be in your mind, but I saw a few really great examples of people using Lexember to illustrate something about a conculture. One that sticks out immediately is Zeke Fordsmender (full disclosure: a Patron), who created a lot of vocabulary about date farming. He clearly researched a lot about dates, producing words for parts of datepalm trees, stages in the growth and processing of dates, and often some odd things that related date terminology to camel terminology in unexpected ways.
Twitter user Meg C (@separatrices) also did some research on plant life. Her words were more general, indicating classes of plant life used for different purposes, various shapes of flowers, and some terms for legumes submitted one day. Early on she talked about how she was trying to figure out whether her conpeople would be aware of pollen and what she found about it in the real world (it's credited to some Europeans in the 1700s but there may have been earlier knowledge).
Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets, an occassional guest on this show, always has very detailed Tumblr posts about his Lexember words, and he had about a week's worth of words for Hatoyépi focusing on the importance of names and the naming ceremony in his conculture, including a word that began as a word for a nameless child which became so commonly used as a pejorative equivalent to "stupid person" that it was replaced in its original meaning -- a common process in real languages.
Tumblr user languagesofgalhaf did a lot of good general worldbuilding in their submissions. They started off with some kinship terms, which is always a language/culture intersection that tells a lot about culture, and moved into a few other things, including a term for "unnamed god" and words for political titles.
Margaret Randsdell-Green (also a patron) wrote up a piece on gender in one of her cultures to illustrate why one of her words applied to gender.
There were a few other interesting things from particular conlangers. Tumblr user sopih has a conlang with a logographic script that is similar to Chinese, so of course all of their words came with interesting graphic etymologies. You'll also find places where I retweeted some definitions that had an interesting range, with one word covering a lot of different senses in a realistic way. You can go back through our Twitter and Tumblr timelines (both usernames are conlangery) to see what I shared.
Before I go I want to talk about a couple things. First Patreon never did actually implement the fee change I discussed last month. Enough users complained that they decided that it was a bad idea and went back on it. We'll still have the Patreon, but I have opened up a couple other options, particularly for people who would prefer to make a one-time donation. Kofi allows you to donate $3 whenever you like, and we also have a Flattr account, meaning that if you use Flattr you can assign a percentage of your money to go to Conlangery.
Finally, I have been working with Pete Bleackley and the Conlang Sources Wiki to provide transcripts of all of our podcasts. Because I don't have a lot of time for transcribing or the money to hire a human transcriber, I have the original scripts for my shorts and am working on getting machine transcripts of other episodes up for people to correct themselves. At present, only the most recent full episodes have a starter transcripts to work from -- the earlier episodes were done with Pete's self-made transcription script, which didn't have the best results, but you can look at the Kaye Boesme episode as a guide and try to correct the more recent episodes. It would really help us and many of the listeners to have transcripts available, so give it a shot, will you?
Anyway, thanks everyone for listening, and for anyone continuing the Lexember spirit with Lextreme 2018, as a few people are, I will be watching that, though I won't be retweeting quite as much of those. I'm planning to have full episodes again starting in February. Until then, happy conlanging!