Grammar Geek

Since he was a small child,Dax has been obsessed with languages. He made alphabets when he was six, started creating his first conlang when he was eight. He didn’t know then what a conlang was, or that lots of other people find this fun. All alone he toiled, filling his spiral notebook with words, trying out sentences like, "Ugu doni blek? Yerk!"

His parents were not sure what to think. They talked to the pediatrician, who said that if Dax stopped speaking English, they should contact a psychologist.

When he read LOTR his brain almost exploded. Not only were other people doing this, but it was finally clear – creating languages wasn’t a symptom of a deranged mind! Reassured, he continued working on his languages. None of those early efforts ever went far, but he learned a lot about languages as he worked on them.

Are ‘do’ and ‘does’ the same word? What about ‘did’?
Why do we say, "Do you want?" but we don’t say, "Do you be?"
Why does "not" usually require a "do" or "does"?
Do all nouns have to form their plurals in the same way?
Do verbs have plurals, as nouns do? What about adjectives?
What is the relationship between good, better and best? Are they one word, or separate words?
How many tenses does a language need? Should they be formed periphrasticallly (he looked up that word), or by means of inflectional endings?
How do you index a a glossary when all the words are pictographs?
How many symbols does a syllabary need?

Dax went on to learn both Latin and Greek, as well as Spanish, German, and a bit of French and Italian. He had a short love affair with Esperanto, but left it to pursue Anglo-Saxon when he started writing a book about Vikings. Recently he has dabbled in Romanian and Afrikaans, but is more serious about learning Japanese.

He has been working on a conlang – so far unnamed – for several years now, made up entirely of affixes. Who will speak this language? He’s been thinking about a race of self-cloning beings who can predict the future through numerology. Stories can grow out of all kinds of things; why not create characters to speak a language you’ve already created? They’ll need a way to write their language – maybe a syllabary. Will they write poetry, or directions for cloning oneself? Why not draw them a map of their world while you’re at it?

This is the kind of geek he is.


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