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Showing posts from June, 2014

"Conlang" and the OED

So, conlang got an entry in the OED a few days ago. The word has been in use since the early 1990s, and in the post-Avatar, post-Game-of-Thrones world, it is unlikely to fade out of existence any time soon, so this is an obvious move on the part of the OED editorial team.Compared to some conlangers' reactions, my own personal reaction to this is fairly muted. I absolutely do not view this OED entry as any sort of vindication of the art. First, if I needed approval from others to pursue my hobbies, I wouldn't play the banjo, much less conlang. I don't usually look to others for approval of my pastimes (except my neighbors, I suppose, if I decide to do something unusually loud). Second, there are all manner of very unpleasant behaviors also defined in the OED, which no one takes as a sign of OED editorial approval. The word's in the OED because it is being used now, has been for a few decades, and is likely to continue to be used for decades to come. The OED entry …

The Ultimate Dictionary Database System

Is text. End of post.Ok, it's not quite that simple. You probably want some sort of structured text, semantically marked up if possible. But at the end of the day, all you can really rely on is text. Why Spreadsheets SuckFirst, the format is proprietary and often inconsistent across even minor version changes. You will be in a world of hurt if you want to share your dictionary with anyone else.Second — and this is the biggest problem by far, assuming you're trying to make a naturalistic conlang — a real dictionary for a real language does not look like this:kətaŋsleepkətapbookkətəshangnail on the left little finger which interferes with one's needleworkkəwatreekəwahnoodlekəwecomputerkəweŋhardA few words between two languages might have (nearly) perfect overlap, and the early history of word in a conlang might start as a simple gloss, but a simple word-to-word matching is profoundly lying to you for a real language, and in a conlang signals a relex.A real dictionary ent…