Reposting this a thread on the ZBB:

You may have noticed that I’m not much of a conlanger, but sometimes I do get the hankering for something (I mean, that’s what I’m here for). But conlangs are a bit too elaborate and they take too much effort for very little gain (which is why I like neographing better: immediate results), and I don’t have the patience for it.

But I’ve been thinking for longer times that there should be more intermediate stages of conlang complexity. We start from simple language games, like Pig Latin, go through those intermediate stages (like, say caesarean codes that are readable because substitutions are made in such a way that the structure of the text remains language-like: vowels for vowels, etc.).

I’m currently planning/working on a small game project (check out my flatworld thread you guys) I’m thinking of writing in Ren’py. It’s going to be similar to one of the greatest glorantha-based clan politics simulators, King of Dragon Pass, except Finnic instead of Celtic, and with a splash of Dorf Fortress.

For the purposes of keeping everything simple, the naming-lang I’m going to use in the game will be simply a simple sound-change list applied to Old Finnic, based on modern Finnish texts.

I call it

[b]Finnicky[/b]

Use as a basis Old Finnish, with some sound changes reversed: diphtongisation, consonant gradation, ti > si and e# > i#, for one. Also suppose certain lenited consonants are left, like -t/D- and many -s-es.

Merge front vowels into back vowels, who needs those!
ä > a, y > u, ö > o
In modern Finnish, -nen alternates with -se-. So crazy. I think it’s from -ńśen- or something similar, but eh.
-{nen} > ne
Finnish -lle, the whateverite case is a fun example of analogy: sna > ssa, lna > lla, sta > sta, lta > lta, so len > lle (its counterpart in the -s- cases is -Vn or sV:n, etc, which makes it slightly weird). Here, we’ll have the same analogy take place, just to keep it simple:
len > “lne”
v > w just cuz w is cooler
Voicing of plosives attached to a nasal
Single consonants between vowels are voiced
Geminates are shortened (in this order, obviously)
h > 0
The second syllable of a root is lost if the coda is not heavy or too heavy consonant clusters are formed, lots of fudging is involved.
voiced consonant + voiceless > voiced geminate
l > n / _m _p _t _k _w (this bit is shamelessly stolen from Udmurt… though I know it only because the equivalent of Ilmarinen in udmurtian mythology is Inmar)
r# > l
k#, ks, kt > ć /tS/
t# > i
m# > w > u
sn > z (this to have something else than -ssa, which is pretty distinctive… And reminds people of quenya)
n# > l
st > ś [S]
sk > śt
sp > śp
nt# > n (a good chance to reintroduce word final n, and to fix a word that contained “cunt” in it :| )
Nasal assimilation, except for !nm and some other stuff I haven’t thought of yet.

Example sentence, with before and after:

[b]The Universal Declaration of Lorem Ipsum[/b]
[i]Kaikki ihmiset syntyvät vapaina ja tasavertaisina arvoltaan ja oikeuksiltaan. Heille on annettu järki ja omatunto, ja heidän on toimittava toisiaan kohtaan veljeyden hengessä.[/i]
Caić inminei sundwai wabaina ya taswertainina arwontāl ya oigeućintāl. Einne ol andetu yarc ya ondund, ya eidal on tointawa toināl cotāl weleudel engeza.

[b]First and second stanza from the first rune of the Kalevala[/b]
[i]Mieleni minun tekevi, aivoni ajattelevi lähteäni laulamahan, saa’ani sanelemahan, sukuvirttä suoltamahan, lajivirttä laulamahan. Sanat suussani sulavat, puhe’et putoelevat, kielelleni kerkiävät, hampahilleni hajoovat.[/i]
Mienni minul tegwi laddani launmāl, sanni sanmāl, sugwirdda sōntmāl, laiwirdda launmāl, sant sūz’ni sumwai, puēt pudelwai, cēlnneni cercawai, ambasinneni aiwai.
[i]
Veli kulta, veikkoseni, kaunis kasvinkumppalini!
Lähe nyt kanssa laulamahan, saa kera sanelemahan
yhtehen yhyttyämme, kahta’alta käytyämme!
Harvoin yhtehen yhymme, saamme toinen toisihimme
näillä raukoilla rajoilla, poloisilla Pohjan mailla.[/i]
Welcun, weicneni, caunis caswincumplini!
La nui canza launmāl, sal cel sallemāl
ućel ućtuamme, caćyanta caudamme!
Arwoil ućeu ućumme, sāmme toine toinimme
nainna raucinna rainna, polininna Poyal mainna.

[b]A bit from the fi.wikipedia article on Väinämöinen, the Eternal Sage and the dirty old man of Finnic mythology (plus the Demiurge and creator of the world)[/b]
[i]Monissa kansanrunoissa Väinämöinen on olemassa jo ennen maailmaa. Hän auttaa maailman luomisessa. Väinämöisen syntymästä kerrotaan joko, että hän syntyi yksin, tai että hänet synnytti Iro-neito. Eräässä yleisessä kansanrunossa Väinämöinen syntyy yöllä, tekee päivällä pajan, takoo rautaisen hevosen, ja ratsastaa sillä veden päällä. Katkera lappalainen (sama kuin Kalevalan Joukahainen) ampuu Väinämöisen hevosen selästä alkumereen. Monissa myyttisissä kertomuksissa toistuva pohjoisessa olevan pahan maan (Lapin tai Pohjolan) ja “omien” tai “hyvien” vastakkainasettelu on siis olemassa jo ennen maailmaa.[/i]
Moniza canzanrunoiza Wainmaine ol onmaza jo endel māinmada. Al audda māinmal lōmneza. Wainmainel sundmaś cerddāl yog, eta al sundi ućn, tai eta alt sunddi Ir-neī. Ersaza ulineza canzanrunoza Wainmaine sundu uonna, tege paiwanna pajau, tago raudineu ebneu, ya ratsastā sinna wedl pānna. Catcra lapplaine (sau cuil Calwalal Youcaineu) ambu Wainmaineu ebneu sencäś ancmerel. Moniza mūtniza certmućiza toiśuwa pojineza olwal pāl māl (Lapil tai Poilal) ja “omiel” tai “uwiel” waśacainastelu ol sīs onmaza yo endel māinmada.

The purpose of this whole exercise is to create a simple conlangette or codelang. It should be so simple that if someone is foolish enough, they could learn how to translate from Finnish into this quite easily. Yet, at the same time it was a different look to it, and it isn’t immediately obvious to an untrained foreign eye that this is Finnish.

Some names I’ve made up, I mean, this *is* a naming lang:
Väinätär (female version of a Väinä-based named… A version of Väinämöinen would literally be Väinämätär, I guess, but nah.) > Waindal
Ilmari or Ilmar (root in Ilmarinen) > Inmal.. Maybe I’ll have an Inmadal or Indal Lemb, Lembingaine?

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Procrastination gets the creative juices going

Hi, still unemployed. I have trouble getting anything done. Some small stuff on the script, but not much.
I’ve got some inspiration for a game, though. A relatively simple one, with lots of writing but little coding, using Ren’py as the engine.
“King of Dwagon Fortress” is the working title.
It’s a King of Dragon Pass clone, with a Dwarf Fortress-lite-like theme. Not straight-up rip-offs of either, but, y’know. Steal from the best and the popular. King of Dragon Pass is one of my favourite games of all time, and I’ve been thinking for a while that someone should attempt to make a modern clone of it. Dwarf Fortress, similar to King of Dragon Pass in its theme, is popular memetically, and the combination just has that delicious smell, doesn’t it? The roleplaying and gaming aspects of King of Dragon Pass with the sociopathic comedy of Dwarf Fortress…
Writing a KoDP game with Ren’py should be relatively simple. The game itself is a very close cousin to the VN genre, and certainly you can create quite complex simulations in Ren’py, if you add a lot of Python code inbetween the easy bits. KoDP is a game that runs through five seasons of the year, each year strewn with random events and other stuff happening, and everything happens on static screens sans animation: just background images, music, text and your excellent clan ring advisors. The most difficult bit to emulate would be the clan ring: seven people in the lower part of the screen that give you pertinent (and not-so-pertinent) advice, information and story; each advisor is chosen from a pool of “PC” nobles, with their own stats, main-gods and personality. Try KoDP, it is great; it was published in 1999, but the original publishers at A#Sharp are still selling copies ($20) when someone can bother to run the cd-burner. In any case, the game won’t be a completely clone; probably rather simplified, but still. Something very much like it.
Dwarf Fortress is inspiration for the setting, but in other ways, it won’t be very influential. The fact that the people in DF are dwarves (or is it dwarfs in DF?) isn’t really important, so the people in KoDF will be just humans. Bits I’ll steal: mining, underground, overground, comedic sociopathy, sieges, crafting and that there won’t be as much diplomacy as in KoDP: in KoDP, the game is centered on the fact that you’re in the eponymous valley with a bunch of other clans, while in DF, you’re a lone colony in the wilderness. Something between these two would probably be good.
I’ve been thinking about the setting further, and I’m thinking of simply hiding a lot of Finnish and Finnic fluff in a fantasy skin. Why reinvent sliced bread? So this game won’t have very much of my heartblood in it (like would be in the case if I ever make Three and One Hearts), but if it smells like Dwarf Fortress, booze and Finnishness, it should prove at least marginally popular: this is important if I ever want to finish the game, because I’m certainly not going to be able to do it alone.
The mythology of the setting will be Finnic, with a lot of animism. I mentioned crafting: in DF, dwarves sometimes get a feverish urge to create a masterpiece craftwork of some kind, which is a very neat bit of fluff to steal. One idea to incorporate this into KoDF would be that craftsmen get possessed by a spirit of an object (one that has died or maybe a new one that is yet uncreated), and then they create a treasure (with bonuses and uses as magical items as in KoDP). Magic would be shamanistic and sympathetic, good old “hard fantasy” style religious magic, not modern autistic Vancian engineer magic. In Finnic mythology, spells are cast by saying secret runes; in modern fantasy literature, you have the concept of “true name”, which is a bit taken from some real-world mythologies, but in Finnic mythology names aren’t the important bit, but the Origin Stories of things. Thus, if you know the Origin of Fire, you can control it, etc. This is very similar to the mythology in KoDP (Heroquests in particular; the whole thing is probably pretty common in world mythologies), but it’s a nice way to distance this game from other magic systems. Other spells are done by controlling spirits, etc. In KoDP, there were shamanistic Heroquests that were segments of roleplay, where a PC would attempt to re-enact old myths to gain the favour of the gods (or rather, to become one with them); there’s a lot of shamanistic Finnic stuff too, though it’s more commonly just travelling in the underworld or in the land of the dead for information or help. I’m still not sure whether to have something similar to heroquesting in KoDF, though.
In any case, if I ever write the basic code, the PC engine, and some basic events and stories and stuff in Ren’py, the next step is to go around to beg for someone to replace whatever placeholding graphics I’m using at the time. But that’s still long off.
I’m just writing this down to remind my future self of what a fool he used to be.

Short sitrep.

Out of college, money spent, etc. I am currently trying to find a job, etc., which means a lot of free time.

Thus, I’ve gotten quite a lot of work done on the script. Currently, I am clearing one of the bigger hurdles of the script: derivational suffixes.

Finnish has a lot of these. And they are really, really hard to make glyphs for. Mainly for these reasons:

  1. They are too abstract in meaning. Some of them are so old that they have no discernible meaning at all; they’re just morphological fossil dust bunnies, like one of the -ex suffixes.
  2. They are all too alike. About 68% (made-up number) of all the primitive nominal suffixes of Finnish are some form of diminuitive. All the myriad verbal suffixes can usually be classified into frequentative, continuative, momental, etc. in meaning, though thankfully some of them are reflexive or reciprocal. There is no discernible difference between -AhtA- and -AltA-, but they’re etymologically completely separate and require their own signs because they are not complementary.
  3. idno i just needed a third here to pad out the list

Another thing is that I am finding that the “style” of the script is all over the place, because of the great lengths of time involved. I sometimes innovate a particular small thing, but then I only use it once or twice, and because I work in a very compartmentalised fashion, those particular styles tend to group around a specific semantic or morphological area. I have probably a dozen ways to draw a man with fours arms (or just the four arms, floating… It’s a symbol for “action, work, verb”, that sort of thing.) I’m also finding myself itching to redesign most of the older signs I have.

Otherwise, things are going well, thanks to the social security net of Finland. If I cannot find other work, I am almost guaranteed to get some temp jobs as a substitute teacher at my old high school (good old nepotism… is that the right word). They’re always in need of substitute teachers.

I am soon graduating.

I am done with my studies of linguistics at Helsinki University (at the moment: maybe, maybe I’ll try to go further), and summer is here again.

WHERE DOES THE TIME GO OH MY GOD

i am going to die some day

why am i suddenly so old??

Sitrep.

101109

This image of my progress this far overlaps with the previous post.

Anyhow, I am now done stylising all the glyphs that I’d created previously, so not much inkworking for a while. Now I have to start working on developing more glyph-paths, and I might do all the steps, including the last pen-generation, semi-simultaneously this time, now that I have the means. I’m thinking that it might be best to go through Hakulinen, make a list with simple derivations, and do those, intersped with some obligatory lexical glyphs from which to derive the derivational glyphs.