Oshrio: A Constructed Language

Oshiro is a constructed language that I have been working on, off and on, for the past year. I’m pretty proud of it.
I think its mostly complete, it works for most sentences, but obviously not all. It is relatively understandable; I have been able to translate back things that I have translated.

I am posting this for three main reasons, one, because I’m proud, and what to brag about my language creating awesomeness, two, because I would like help with it, constructive criticism, new ideas, ways to make it less of a carbon copy of Japanese, stuff like that, and three, because I am horribly unmotivated, and need people to get me back to work.

As you hopefully can tell, Oshiro is heavily based on Japanese. This is because I wanted to make a language that sounded like Japanese. I am also using a number of Japanese grammar thingies, like noun particles and honorifics.

You can find the grammar page here (PDF)
and the lexicon/dictionary here (also PDF)
The right-most column in the lexicon is not saying that the language was borrowed words, but rather a personal homage to the sources that I got some of my words from. (sorry if that made no sense)

I can’t really think of anything to say, so comment and criticize please.

Just for fun, here are some sentences in Oshiro, translate them if you can :slight_smile:

  1. Kisamo musu Kizumi-uchi no kanayunin kara kauranshi.
  2. Gankiro-uchi umachi ochiranai

Thats all for now

Not to detract from your work (which is interesting), but you’ll really impress me when you come out with the Klingon <-> Oshrio dictionary.

Belloq: or “. . . if only you spoke Hovito.”

Saluton! Ĉu vi havas vortaron Oshiro-Esperanto?

I didn’t look at your grammar in detail, so you’ll want to take these more as abstract suggestions, but:

  1. This is by no means a requirement, but if you’re designing a language from scratch, you might as well make it user-friendly. It seems like your grammar has been assembled by combining interesting things from different languages, and (assuming I’m not missing something) it makes this a little random, and a lot harder to learn.

  2. In the same vein, if I was designing a synthetic language I would go for a minimalist approach, with an extremely straightforward surface grammar. I’ve never studied it myself but one of my professors tells me that Indonesian is extremely easy for English speakers to learn, so you might want to take a look at how it functions.

  3. Since this is supposed to be fun, I would look at a lot more languages for inspiration: the English influence on your language is understandable, but that doesn’t change the fact that it looks more like a spoken cipher than a language.

  4. You might consider getting a few basic books on linguistics from the library, to see the framework that linguists use to describe languages and to figure out if it’s at all helpful for your purposes.

  5. Get rid of the honorifics and multiple verb types. If there’s a cool reason to do it, that’s fine, but you should know that the presence of both make the language noticeably more annoying to learn.

  6. Try to make the grammar more systematic. This goes back to my suggestion about minimalism, and it might not be what you were going for, but it would be much easier to learn if, for instance, there were three deictic roots with productive morphology instead of what looks like like, umm… eight different words for “this,” “that,” and so forth.

  7. Read some linguistics books. (Don’t buy 'em, though; they’re usually overpriced and, with the exception of anything written by Peter Ladefoged, you won’t need to keep most of them around as a reference after you read 'em once.) Aside from the complexity making it difficult to learn, the greatest weakness I see is, no offense intended, that you don’t know enough about how languages work: your breakdown of the grammar seems clumsy in places, and my quick glance at your material gives the impression that in a lot of places you’ve been thinking up all of the English (or Japanese) function words that you can, and trying to figure out how to map their function into your language. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it can be clumsy, and English is a terrible language to use as a model for creating a grammar. I just think that if you get a stronger background, you’ll be able to make a much cleaner system.

  8. I notice that your question particle is “kon”. The linked pdf doesn’t have anything about sentence structure, but since you mentioned Japanese as an influence I’m assuming that the question particle will be sentence-final, and since that’s the case I would recommend you get rid of the “n”: nasal consonants can be hard to hear in final position, they tend to get butchered in fast speech, and there are various intonational reasons why a final vowel would be happier.

So all in all, I don’t think there are any real problems with your language, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. :slight_smile:

That is exactly the kind of stuff I wanted to hear :slight_smile:

What sort of places could I find good linguistics books? My library was very little in the linguistics section, but if there is any other place…
and you’re right about the lack of linguistics knowledge

I’m probobly going to keep some of the confusing stuff, because I want it to seem less synthetic…

1. My father, Mr Kizumi, will be here at 1:00 p.m.
2. Mr. Gankiro will try to smooth talk him.
Is this close?

Don’t forget:

  1. Sadote-ikonchikosu Opal-eru.

May not be right but I tried.

Bonvolo alsendi la pordiston, lausajne estas rano en mia bideo.

Hmm. I’ll have to look around and see what’s available. I don’t know if interlibrary loan is an option, or if you’re near a university with a decent-sized library (in which case you could see about photocopying the interesting sections in the library), but there are probably some good online resources that I’m unaware of.

Whatever solution you pick, be advised that the learning curve on linguistics books is extremely steep: you get to go through one, or if you’re lucky two basic books in the area of your interest (which I’m assuming is going to be syntax, semantics, morphology, and probably pragmatics), after which you’re usually going to be stuck with either an extremely dense and not particularly well-written book detailing a specific area within the theory, or an alarmingly thick sheaf of technical journal articles. I forget where it was, but a few months ago someone published a really great recommendation for a track of 4-6 books that would get you up to speed with more syntax than anybody probably ever wanted to know.

Others have already addressed the more direct linguistic considerations, so I’ll just mention the social factor. What sort of society do you envision speaking Oshrio? The nature of that society should inform the design of your language to some extent.

For example, let’s assume the principal speakers of Oshrio are anime/manga fans (not to say otaku ;)). If this situation has been stable for some time, we would expect the language to have evolved a certain amount of structure and idiom for dealing with details of color and artistic style. There would probably be a substantial amount of animation-related jargon, as well.

It looks as if your table of sounds is nearly a direct transliteration of the Japanese hiragana/katakana table. This would be why it looks like a carbon copy of Japanese. If that’s a concern of yours, that’s what you should change.

Personally, I can’t stand Japanese for that reason, it sounds like homophonous baby-talk to me. I’d pull some sounds from Mandarin or other languages.

(carefully) Baka sadoshu anaka-chi ha [ochiru?] baka nanaru-akana ren ukasai gajimera. Hami kamishii ren [my hard drive], desu baka taraneshu nanaru ren hami [again].

(Oh God, I probably slaughtered it, didn’t I?)

What I was trying to say: I’ve got the remnants of a language I was working on a couple of years back saved to my hard drive, and now I want to dust it off again. Thanks! :smiley:

sigh I should work on my conlangs again…

There’s tons of good info on the web:

Langmaker.com has tons and tons of links.
http://www.cix.co.uk/~morven/lang/index.html has some good guides too.
http://www.eskimo.com/~ram/essays.html has some different essays to make you think.
http://www.rickharrison.com/language/index.html has more good stuff
A couple different wikis to surf: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Conlang and http://home.unilang.org/main/wiki2/index.php/Main_Page

alt.language.artificial is fun to surf too.

nd_n8, they are both spot on.:slight_smile:

Omi no Kami, I’ll appreaciate any recommendations you can give.

Balance, in all honesty, idioms scare me. I haven’t the slightest idea how one would go about creating them… They’re mysterious things

Cosmic Relief, My complaint about the copied-ness are more about he grammars closeness to Japanese, I actually wanted the sounds. But, do you have any sounds that you like particularly?

Kythereia, give me moment, let me translate it…

A heroic try :), but what does sadoshu mean? sorry…

Silver Tyger Girl, thanks for the links, I’ll be sure to read them. I’m glad I could motivate you to work on your langs, maybe you can confuse me with them latter!
had to remove a trailing [ there…

My failed attempt at conjugating sadoshi, I think. :frowning: How do you add the verb conjugate ending?

Ahhh, once again proof that even a blind dog can find a bone once in a while.

Although, with my translation of “3. Hi Opal”, as much as I searched I could not find a greeting or salutation. Did I miss it?

Since I could not find a greeting I used the context that the Hi Opal cliche is used in, more of a respectful aknowledgement than a greeting anyway.

Cool language though, even if it is a bit of a mirror of Japaneese.