Cryptopian - Inventing Languages Just For Fun

Gary J. Shannon
Created Dec. 13, 2004
Last Updated Apr. 1, 2019

What This Site is About

This is a website about homemade languages. A little knowledge of liguistics would be helpful, but realistically, you probably know more about linguistics than I do.

Quoting from my post to the Conlang Mailing List on 17 DEC, 2008:

My first conlang was around 1952, as best I recall, and was inspired by Pig Latin. I called it Pig Russian (Igpaya Ussianruski). Rather than the one transform rule of Pig Latin, it had 26 different rules depending on the first letter of the original word. Being a trivial relex, it had no grammar of it's own.

I discovered Esperanto around 1958 or 1959, but I didn't care for it. A few years later, in high school, I took Latin for a year and German for two years. That gave me exposure to non-English grammars and made my several unfinished conlangs less like a simple English relex.

In college, majoring in computer science, I took more German, a semester of Russian, and two semesters of ASL sign language. While taking sign language I devised simple system of "pictographs" representing each sign as I learned it. Over the course of those two semesters my pictographic writing system became so complete, and I became so fluent in it that I took class notes easily in the conlang.

Many years, and three children later, all my conlang notes were lost in a house fire, including around 2,000 file cards with my pictographic dictionary. From time to time I still go back to trying to reconstruct my lost pictographic conlang.

Some Constructed Language Projects

Tazhu - The Tazhu Corpus Project (Last Update: Jan. 9, 2005)

To quote from my journal regarding the creation of Tazhu from the text of the 1879 edition of McGuffey's Reader:

Dec. 23, 2004 PM. I used to keep some sort of "things to do" list for my conlang projects, but now the only item on my "to do" list is translate the next sentence in the reader. If I keep doing that the rest of the design process takes care of itself.

Soaloa - A Language with a Peculiar Grammar (Last Update: Feb. 10, 2010)

This constructed language was first created in 2004, and I've fiddled with it from time to time, but it's still a very long way from being "complete". (Whatever that might mean for a language.)

Pop - A Language with a Peculiar Grammar (Last Update: Jan 18, 2014)

This constructed language was an offshoot of Soaloa (mentioned above), and is a much more practical implementation of the basic concept.

Txtana, A 30-Day Constructed Language (Last Update Nov. 21, 2010)

This page is where I kept a record of my attempt to construct an entire new language in 30 days. The first 22 days are at the link above. Day 22 and on is at This Link.

Pandári - A Formal Grammar (Last Update: Sep. 8, 2014)

This constructed language is built around the concept of a formal grammar. It uses a modifies extended right regular grammar to define the entire language.

Ai Basata (Last Update May 4, 2009)

Yet another constructed language. This was an attempt to build a really systematic grammar.

The Alice Project (Last Update Apr. 1, 2019)

Here is another corpus-based conlang project, similar in most respects to the old Tazhu corpus project. The idea is to take an English text, in this case, Lewis Carroll's Alices' Adventures in Wonderland and to translate it into a new created language by coining each new word and each new gramatical feature as needed. Just as in the old Tazhu corpus project, "...the only item on my 'to do' list is translate the next sentence..." in the corpus. "If I keep doing that the rest of the design process takes care of itself."

Speedlang

And just to prove that conlang projects don't have to be long and involved, I quote this project originally posted to the conlang mailing list many, many years ago:

A conlang created in less than an hour during a boring business meeting.
Circa 2003 or 2004

Nouns:

Article or indicative pronoun as a suffix and case as
a prefix. Root word is ordinary English word with
possibly minor spelling change, especially to get rid
of final vowels when that works better with the
affixes. "book" -> "buk", "farmer" -> "famar",
"house" -> "haus" "tree" -> "tri"

Nominative singular / plural

boy / boys ............... boy / boyen
a boy / some boys ........ boya / boyena
the boy / the boys ....... boyat / boyenti
this boy / these boys .... boyatis / boyatim
that boy / those boys .... boyada / boyenda
all boys ......................... / boyenu

Genative singular / plural

boy / boys ............... saboy / saboyen
a boy / some boys ........ saboya / saboyena
the boy / the boys ....... saboyat / saboyenti
this boy / these boys .... saboyatis / saboyatim
that boy / those boys .... saboyada / saboyenda
all boys .......................... / saboyenu

Dative singular / plural

boy / boys ............... deboy / deboyen
a boy / some boys ........ deboya / deboyena
the boy / the boys ....... deboyat / deboyenti
this boy / these boys .... deboyatis / deboyatim
that boy / those boys .... deboyada / deboyenda
all boys .......................... / deboyenu

English = book tree house farmer
buk tri haus famar
buken trien hausen famaren
buka tria hausa famara
bukena triena hausena famarena
bukat triat hausat famarat
bukenti trienti hausenti famarenti
bukatis triatis hausatis famaratis
bukatim triantim hausantim famarantim
bukata triata hausata famarata
bukenta trienta hausenta famarenta

the farmer's books -> buken safamarat

Verbs normally begin a sentence. When a verb is not
at the beginning of the sentence mark it with v' (for
"verb") prefix, as in "Go" at the start of the
sentence and "v'go" elsewhere.

Verbs get suffix for tense, mood, voice, person

(no sufix for first person singular except present
tense -o. -us suffix for first person plural)

v'bringo I bring - present tense
v'bringam I was bringing - imperfect
v'bringer I brought - perfect

-u second person singular

v'bringu You bring - present tense
v'bringamu You were bringing - imperfect
v'bringeru You brought - perfect

v'bringat Bring - imperative

-as third person singular ( -i third person plural )

v'bringas He/she/it brings - present tense
v'bringamas He/she/it was bringing - imperfect
v'bringeras He/she/it brought - perfect

-na negates the verb as in

I brought these books but I did not bring those books.
Bringer debukatim but bringerna debukenda.

Giveras famarat sabuka deboyenti. Denisami boyenti
ioifil en essaifil.

-> Gave the farmer a book to the boys. Then-were the
boys joyful and excited.

Bringat tame detoyenu vik v'breakeras boyatis des
careless

-> Bring (to) me all the toys that broken-were by
this careless boy.

Who says long boring meetings are a waste of time!! ->

Sayamas hu des v'areo meetinen dewaista sataim!!


Words are derived from English words with some spelling differences and differences due to rules of word formation.

Clusters of three or more consonants are not allowed.  A vowel is placed between the first and second consonant of a three-consnant cluster.  If there is an 'a' or an 'i' somewhere in the word before that cluster then that vowel is duplicated.  If there is not, then 'u' is inserted.

   spring -> supring
   example -> examaple

'r' is used only immediately before a vowel, or as the last letter in a word.  Any 'r' that occurs in a different location is dropped.

   farmer -> famer
   turpentine -> tupentine
   word -> wod

Final 'e' that follows a single consonant is dropped and 'y' is inserted before the consonant. Final 'e' that follows a double consonant is dropped and 'u' is inserted between the two consonants:

   example -> examapul
   pine -> piyn 
   science -> sienus (scientific -> sienusivig)
   guide -> guiyd

Any noun that ends in a vowel gets 'n' added after the vowel, except where the last consonant in the word is already 'n', in which case 'y' is appended instead.

   area -> arean (areas -> areanen)
   arena -> arenay (arenas -> arenayen)