Guide:Conlanging tools

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This page collects a number of entrusted, and foremost - free, sources of linguistic and specialised information by the conlanging community, and the users of the Linguifex Wiki.

General

Wiki tools

When you're making your own clade diagrams, it can easily get messy. For that, you can use the tool developed by an user on Wikipedia. Just go to downloads and get CladeEd.zip, extract, run!

Code Converters

The X-Sampa to IPA Conversion Tool is a handy online code converter that transforms X-SAMPA to IPA. This is particularly handy when you receive material from another source that uses X-SAMPA for mapping phonology and don't know the IPA equivalents for X-SAMPA notation.

Conlangery

The Conlangery Podcast is a weekly podcast created by conlangers, for conlangers. Every week, the hosts George Corley, Bianca Richards (née Mangum), William S. Annis, David J. Peterson and Mike Lentine, as well as the occasional guest talk about a conlanging- or linguistics-related topic one week and feature a conlang or natlang the next. The episode are full of interesting and knowledgeable discussions which last around the hour. It is also available on iTunes and you can now support them on Patreon.

The Language Construction Kit on Zompist.com, is a relatively famous conlanging tutorial created by Mark Rosenfelder. It is intended for anyone who wants to create artificial languages—for a fantasy or an alien world, as a hobby, as an interlanguage. It presents linguistically sound methods for creating naturalistic languages—which can be reversed to create non-naturalistic languages. It suggests further reading for those who want to know more and shortcuts for those who want to know less.

Conlang.org, LCS, is a site for conlangers, would-be conlangers, those interested in or curious about conlangs and anything else to do with conlanging. The Language Creation Society is a prestigious body of professional conlangers and resources. The members offer conlinguistic services and organises Language Creation Conferences for the conlanging community. Notable members of the LCS are David J. Peterson, the creator of Dothraki, and John Quijada, who created Ithkuil.

Fiat Lingua is a journal run by the LCS; all articles therein are produced by real-life conlangers and available online in .pdf format. A new article is published on the first of every month.

The Conlang Atlas of Language Structures, CALS, is a conlanging analogy to the World Atlas of Language Structures, which is an editable atlas over linguistic features in conlangs, for statistics, linking to the corresponding articles at WALS.

A WikiProject that aims to create and improve articles about conlangs.

Glossary

SIL International (formerly the Summer Institute of Linguistics) is a US-based, worldwide, Christian non-profit organization, whose main purpose is to study, develop and document languages, especially those that are lesser-known, in order to expand linguistic knowledge, promote literacy, translate the Christian Bible into local languages and aid minority language development. SIL provides a database, Ethnologue, of its research into the world's languages. It also host an interactive glossary on linguistic features and terms.

Ethnologue is SIL International's online compendium of statistics for over 7,000 languages and dialects.

Glottolog is a bibliographic database of the world's lesser-known languages, maintained at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig.

Linguistics

Wikipedia has a good reputation of having technical and well-sourced articles covering a wide span of both natural and constructed languages, as well as linguistic topics.

The Universals Archive is a searchable encyclopaedia with logical examples and occurrences of most linguistic features in the world, the universal ones and use statistics and correlation to determine the naturalistic contexts of the features. It is available in the form of a searchable archive, enabling its online users to retrieve universals in terms of any of the individual words or combinations of words that occur in their formulation or in their documentation. It is also possible just to browse through the Universals Archive.

The World Atlas of Language Structures, WALS, is a database of structural (phonological, grammatical, lexical) properties of languages gathered from descriptive materials. The information is well-sourced and edited by knowledgeable linguist from all over the world. The atlas provides information on the location, linguistic affiliation and basic typological features of a great number of the world's languages. It interacts with Google Maps to show geographical diffusion and concrete examples. The information of the atlas is published under a Creative Commons license by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and by the Max Planck Digital Library.

The Atlas of Pidgin and Creole Language Structures, APiCS, is similar to WALS but is just for pidgins and creoles.

Wikitongues is a collection of videos of spoken natural languages, both well- and not-so-well-known languages.

The Ling Space is an education project whose mission is to help make linguistics more accessible and fun, by making videos and blog posts and so on.

“PHOIBLE Online is a repository of cross-linguistic phonological inventory data, which have been extracted from source documents and tertiary databases and compiled into a single searchable convenience sample. The 2014 edition includes 2155 inventories that contain 2160 segment types found in 1672 distinct languages.”


“The World Phonotactics Database is a searchable database containing information about phonotactic restrictions of languages of the world. Using it, you can compare and contrast phonotactic patterns in different languages, group languages by features, investigate the frequencies of different settings for different features, and view the areal distribution of such patterns through the use of the interactive map.”

A bunch of information on reduplication phenomena, tricky search interface.

101 examples on affix borrowing between languages. “It includes an online interface with descriptions of borrowed affixes in terms of their forms and functions, examples of combinations of borrowed affixes with native stems, search functions, maps, and over 230 bibliographical references.”

Recommended reading materials

Celtic

Orthography

AutoCorrect in Microsoft Word

Taken from http://www.langsci.ucl.ac.uk/ipa/ipafonts.html

"Eureka!" by Dermod Quirke and Brian Holser describes how best to keyboard characters that are not on the keyboard, using a poorly documented feature of Word. With the permission of the authors, an unzipped version of the article can be downloaded from the UCL server here.

To apply these ideas to the question of keyboarding IPA characters, see the article by John Wells here.

Keyboard layout editors

Keyboard layout editors allow the users to create their customised keyboards, which enable them to write the full Unicode, and a large portion of the International Phonetic Alphabet, as well as a veriety of international writing systems.

International Phonetic Alphabet

TypeIt is a free web-based keyboard which enable the full International Phonetic Alphabet, IPA, and some extensions to it, to be simply copy-pasted. Some web browsers have a couple of problems with the shortcuts when writing online, but mouse-clicking always works. TypeIt also features 20 Latin alphabets and their extensions as well as matematical, currency and miscellaneous Unicode symbols.

An IPA chart by the devoted web-developer Weston Ruter. Allows a quick access to all symbols and diacritics of the Phonetic Alphabet as of 2005.

Vocabulary

Word generators

Word generators allow conlangers to quickly create a lexicon from a simple phonology and a defined syllabic structure. This may be used to create a full lexicon or to simply pick the genereated words that appeal to you.

Sound change appliers

The Sound Change Applier, SCA, is a program created by Mark Rosenfelder. This page describes a simple program which can apply a set of sound changes to a lexicon. You can use sounds to help work out a reconstruction for actual languages, to create plausible descendants of a conlang, or in fact to make any structured set of lexical changes to a database of words.
The Haedus Toolbox SCA is a very nice, phonetic segment-operating sound change applier created by Fiona Morrigan, a computational linguist and conlanger. Runs from the command line using Java and is easily configured with text files.


Social media

A friendly group of Facebook-present conlangers.
The amazing one and only Conlang Mailing List. The oldest (est. 1991) and most active mailing list for conlangs. A small FAQ can be found on FrathWiki here.


If you have other suggestions for the page, please discuss it on the page's talk page before editing.