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achemel



Joined: 29 Mar 2009
Posts: 555
Location: up for debate

PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:21 am    Post subject: Advice Reply with quote

I've been reworking the history of the world in which my most developed languages are spoken, but I've hit something of a rut - I don't really know how to proceed in the history without considering alterations in language, which could ultimately mean my languages will change into completely new creatures and leave the current forms obsolete, which I don't want to happen. And, I already know generally how I want history to go, but that still means I'd have to take into account cultural and linguistic exchanges I hadn't considered when I was working only on the languages, so it almost seems like a choice between altering the history or altering the languages (or, one more than the other).

Does anyone have any advice on how I could handle this? I've already made changes to the geography of the world so that some of the history makes more sense, as well as adjusted the timeline to allow for some changes in the land itself as well as later technological advancement, but I'm really hung up on the idea of having to entirely rework my languages. Any thoughts would be very welcome...
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Tolkien_Freak



Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 1231
Location: in front of my computer. always.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, that's a tough one. I don't know that there's much you can do. Like you said, you pretty much have to decide how much of each you want to change.

If the problem is unexpected contact, you can probably get by with a few loanwords here and there (if it's not really strong). If it's unexpected lack of contact, there's not much you can do besides remove what's already there.
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achemel



Joined: 29 Mar 2009
Posts: 555
Location: up for debate

PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, there's definitely contact, and I think the general flow of people from the origin point to the rest of the world is going to remain basically the same. Some of the trouble, though, is that I'm not sure how much exchange might feasibly happen before, say, a war, and how much it would be cut off or continued during the war, and how it might pick up again afterward. Then there are the native races, which I have currently as contributors to both culture and language, but also as receivers, and it's hard to find a good point to pull them apart and say "this is about when they made first contact, and everything before is purely native." The more problems I come across the more discouraging it is. (-_-)''' I'm okay with making a certain amount of lexical changes to the languages, but if I can avoid major grammar changes in the modern forms that'd be awesome. I can imagine grammar and lexical shifts in dialects enough in the past that the modern forms are separate languages... I suppose that's something to think about.
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Tolkien_Freak



Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 1231
Location: in front of my computer. always.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

achemel wrote:
Some of the trouble, though, is that I'm not sure how much exchange might feasibly happen before, say, a war, and how much it would be cut off or continued during the war, and how it might pick up again afterward.

My guess is, if the war isn't very long it won't have much of an impact, and if there's not much nationalism going around it won't have much of a lasting effect either. Unless it somehow manages to establish a hatred for one or both sides, it won't slow down borrowing much.

[qupte]Then there are the native races, which I have currently as contributors to both culture and language, but also as receivers, and it's hard to find a good point to pull them apart and say "this is about when they made first contact, and everything before is purely native."[/quote]
If you've got clearly native-race loanwords in one of your languages for things you think they would have had a word for earlier, just come up with an earlier version and say the loan word ended up replacing it. (Actually, you can probably do the same for external loanwords into native-race languages.)

Quote:
The more problems I come across the more discouraging it is. (-_-)''' I'm okay with making a certain amount of lexical changes to the languages, but if I can avoid major grammar changes in the modern forms that'd be awesome. I can imagine grammar and lexical shifts in dialects enough in the past that the modern forms are separate languages... I suppose that's something to think about.

Yup. It's a bit hard starting with an end product and then coming up with a history. I've got the opposite problem -- I'm starting with the sources, but I haven't made any progress in ages since I don't feel like working on any of them ^_^
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