ADD INCHES TO YOUR DICTIONARY OVERNIGHT
Anthologica Universe Atlas / Academia / Department of Creativity / ADD INCHES TO YOUR DICTIONARY OVERNIGHT

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? Rhetorica Sleepless Scribe
posts: 1242
, Kelatetía, Canada
message
Because the only true widely-accepted measures of a conlang's quality are "how Asian is your phonology" and "how big is your dictionary," and I loathe tones, it's time for a thread about my all-time favourite topic: lexicon padding.

There are two reliable sources of words: deriving stuff by gluing affixes onto pre-existing words and trawling through mountains of technical vocabulary to tease out neat things. For example, in Lilitika, I added an almost completely regular list of chemical element names based on atomic number. This should have been an unforgivable nooblang cop-out, but atomic force microscopy is one of the few reliable benefits of the wonky magic system that the Lilitai have access to, so that particular bacteriophage plaque1 has actual worldbuilding importance. Other sources of fabulous dictionary growth I've explored include rhetorical vocabulary and place names.

What vocabulary padding goals do you have? How do you scratch your lexicographer's itch when it strikes?

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1. gloss as "cavity"
? Hallow XIII Primordial Crab
posts: 502
, 子 of Kentucky
message
I pretty much lack that itch, to be honest, probably mostly because a lot of my conlangs are extremely regular in their morphophonology. The language of mine with the biggest lexicon is Jalvaan, which is very in love with stem (and tone) alterations; that lexicon, however, only has about 200 entries.

Well, maybe the first paragraph was wrong. I lack that itch, but the appeal of irregularity can interest me anyway.

Anyway, dictionary expansion with me is mostly with poetic names and kennings, formal terms, borrowings et cetera. Technical terms matter less because I both do very low-tech conworlding and wouldn't write (many) technical texts either.
? Nessari ?????? ?????? ????????
posts: 932
, Illúbequía, Seattle, Cascadia
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So far I've only done it with numbers.
? Morrígan Witch Queen of New York
posts: 303
, Marquise message
I never got very far in terms of composing texts, so vocabulary was always pretty limited on my languages, other than basic material culture, and the physical world. And basically, anything that occurs in the PIE lexicon...
? Izambri Left of the middle
posts: 897
, Duke of the Findible League
message
My conworlding is like 33.3% creating new lexicon. And that lexicon is created to explain things (like historical events) I deal with in my "conworld articles", so it's mainly about etymologies and evolutionary linguistics. Due to that I'm currently focusing on protolangs, so I can derive words for various languages that now have pretty narrow and limited vocabularies.
    I distinguish, though, between 'creating lexicon' and 'padding lexicon'. To me the latter means the art of creating words to improve the appearance or enhance the size of a whole language lexicon; and by 'improve the appearance' I mean, for example, to make a conlang look more natural by having irregularities and oddities at the vocabulary level and regarding popular language and language evolution. To do that I like to torture words with sounds changes like metathesis, contraction or apheresis, among others, and I don't refuse to create almost inexplicable evolutions/derivations originated from popular/vulgar sources, as it occurs so often with natlangs. I also like to create toponyms: in part because it's necessary for my conworlding project but, again, because I need to explain almost anything in my conworld thru etymologies, from the name of a historical figure to a placename. Making toponymy, though, is also a good way to increase a lexicon's deviation ration, since it's one of the best fields to plant those irregularities and oddities I like so much1.

So basically now I'm creating a pair or three new protolangs and their respective sound changes so I can expand the lexicons of my current babylangs. Once that is perpetrated I'll put them all in the pool of congeohistory and let them interact: padded lexicon will then appear as if produced by magic elfs.

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1. Respect to toponymy creation, please. Sometimes making a placename has led to the developing of an entire conlang and its attached history and geography.
? Uzhdarchios posts: 19
, Foreigner in Unknown Kadath
message
I generally just translate or compose texts and create words as necessary in transit, adding derived forms as I go. I’ve always thought this approach made the most sense: you get words as you need them, you simultaneously puzzle out any uncertain syntax, you get attestations of all your words, you can incorporate cultural points of interest, and you have the beginnings of a con-literary-tradition.

Otherwise, the old standby Swadesh list and its ilk are standard points to begin from, if not very interesting. As far as plain padding goes, though, it mostly comes down to throwing on affixes and more affixes. I’ve not done much in the way of technical terminology for the same reasons Hallow cites.
? prettydragoon Speaker-to-Animals
posts: 13
, Serf, Haru, Rireinu
message
In Rireinutire, I've done unit prefixes, milk products, military ranks, noble titles, and some astronomical terms. So totally not random lists of things, right? I've tried to avoid totally regular derivations because those are transparent (or will be once I actually let anybody see the list of (still productive) derivational affixes).

I started with the Swadesh list and the Laadan core vocabulary and Rireinu kinship terms, and then expanded in random directions. No clearly defined goal; I just want more! More! I'm still not satisfied!!!
? dhok Eastern Establishmentarian
posts: 235
, Alkali Metal, Norman, United States
message
I have planet names for Classical Quazian, now...unfortunately I then realized I wanted to add /ts/, and have no planets which use it, which is sort of unlikely-seeming...
? Nessari ?????? ?????? ????????
posts: 932
, Illúbequía, Seattle, Cascadia
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It seems unlikely to you that a language with /ts/ would lack them in its names for the planets?
? Torco Learner of Stuff
posts: 220
, Conversational Speaker message
english has /z/ and yet zero of its planet names uses it. is /ts/ somehow different ?
[unless people say venuz ?]
? Rhetorica Sleepless Scribe
posts: 1242
, Last Kelatetía of Canada
message
Tsupiter, Zaturn... it's all good.

quoting prettydragoon, Serf, Haru, Rireinu:
In Rireinutire, I've done unit prefixes, milk products, military ranks, noble titles, and some astronomical terms. So totally not random lists of things, right? I've tried to avoid totally regular derivations because those are transparent (or will be once I actually let anybody see the list of (still productive) derivational affixes).

I started with the Swadesh list and the Laadan core vocabulary and Rireinu kinship terms, and then expanded in random directions. No clearly defined goal; I just want more! More! I'm still not satisfied!!!

I shall race you. I shall race you to infinity! (Note to self: do comprehensive set of computer science terms.)
? Nessari ?????? ?????? ????????
posts: 932
, Illúbequía, Seattle, Cascadia
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And BEYOND!
? Izambri Left of the middle
posts: 897
, Duke, the Findible League
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Now that I'm working sadreghinea again I should do the names of planets, some stars and constellations. I have many meanings/translations, but now I need to find the Hellesan names and their etymologies.

    ● Mercury "twilight (star)".
    ● Venus "(white) mistress of dawn".
    ● Earth Taura.
    ● Mars "wandering reddish".
    ● Jupiter "twelve".
    ● Saturn "slow-moving cold".
    ● Uranus "iced pearl".
    ● Neptune "oceanic".
? Izambri Left of the middle
posts: 897
, Duke, the Findible League
message
quoting Rhetorica, Last Duchess of Canada:
Tsupiter, Zaturn... it's all good.

I can buy Zeupater as an alternative to Jupiter.
? Nesescosac Verborum qaghatun
posts: 31
, Foreigner message
I've recently started doing a lot of astronomical terminology, and time words along with that. Music and chemistry terms are also terms that I've recently expanded into. All of these I have yet to upload into Antho - gotta regain my place on the leaderboard.
? Matrix Chronicler of the Myriad
posts: 216
, Conversational Speaker message
I did some basic scientific terms for Salenzian last month or so, only recently uploaded to the dictionary here - just the names of some fields, like physics, chemistry, geology, biology, psychology, magiology, linguistics, and economics.
? Izambri Left of the middle
posts: 897
, Duke, the Findible League
message
It would be interesting, regarding technical lexicon, to see what people has come up with, especially concerning the meaning of terms. For example, giving the word for "telescope" the meaning "far seeing", or "lenses tube", or "eye to stars", etc.
? Uzhdarchios posts: 19
, Foreigner in Unknown Kadath
message
Or perhaps little through-seer, going by what Galileo called it before ‹telescope› was coined.
? Izambri Left of the middle
posts: 897
, Duke, the Findible League
message
Ah, yes. "Little through-seer" is a good one.

On the other hand my alchemical glossary is a matter pending. I should find a good list of terms and start studying and translating them.
? prettydragoon Speaker-to-Animals
posts: 13
, Serf, Haru, Rireinu
message
quoting Rhetorica, Last Duchess of Canada:
Tsupiter, Zaturn... it's all good.

quoting prettydragoon, Serf, Haru, Rireinu:
In Rireinutire, I've done unit prefixes, milk products, military ranks, noble titles, and some astronomical terms. So totally not random lists of things, right? I've tried to avoid totally regular derivations because those are transparent (or will be once I actually let anybody see the list of (still productive) derivational affixes).

I started with the Swadesh list and the Laadan core vocabulary and Rireinu kinship terms, and then expanded in random directions. No clearly defined goal; I just want more! More! I'm still not satisfied!!!

I shall race you. I shall race you to infinity! (Note to self: do comprehensive set of computer science terms.)

Oh, it is so on, sister! *cut to training montage*

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