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  1. # Panglossia
  2.  
  3. ## Goals
  4.  
  5. The purpose of this project is to produce phrasebooks in computer-generated languages
  6. to add flavor to role-playing games or other media.
  7.  
  8. ## Anti-goals
  9.  
  10. This project does not aim to produce comprehensive grammars, dictionaries, or other
  11. resources for learning or using the generated languages. The goal is to generate just
  12. enough of the language for it to be plausible and feel like it has some historical depth.
  13.  
  14. ## User persona
  15.  
  16. A dungeon master (henceforth, "the DM") who is preparing an encounter with NPCs from
  17. a culture different from the PCs' culture, and wants the NPCs to have their own
  18. language.
  19.  
  20. ## Proposed approach
  21.  
  22. - In order to provide a feeling of verisimilitude and make the language immediately
  23. usable by the DM, the output of `pangloss` is a phrasebook. A set of stock phrases in
  24. English are translated into the target language. Since each English phrase can be parsed
  25. and tagged by hand, this approach obviates the need for the program to parse or interpret
  26. English text.
  27.  
  28. ### Constructing the Phrasebook
  29.  
  30. - generate a phonology.
  31.   - How many vowels are there? A/I/U or A/E/I/O/U?
  32.   - Are there diphthongs?
  33.   - Does length distinguish vowels?
  34.   - What contrasts between consonants are there? How many points of articulation? Is there a voicing distiction? Aspiration? Glottalization? Palatalization?
  35.   - What is the syllable structure like?
  36.   - What sounds are most frequent?
  37. - generate basic grammar rules
  38.   - What's the word order among verb, subject, and object?
  39.   - What's the word order among noun, adjective, numeral, quantifier, article, prepositional phrase, and relative clause?
  40.   - Is there grammatical gender? Masc/Fem, M/F/Neuter, Animate/Inan., or something else?
  41.   - Is there grammatical number? Singular/Dual/Trial/Plural/Paucal?
  42.   - What constituents of the sentence must agree? Is agreement by gender, number, or both?
  43.   - How are cases marked? Subject/Object, Ergative/Absolutive, Trigger, some kind of exotic theta-role marking?
  44.   - Where are cases marked? IIRC, Swahili marks them on the verb, by adding affixes that agree in gender with the noun constituents of the sentence.
  45.   - Are there prepositions, postpositions, or case affixes for marking oblique roles?
  46.   - What tenses/aspects/moods are distinguished?
  47. - generate root words in an ancient form of the language
  48.   - More or fewer syllables may be required per root depending on the number of possible syllables in the language.
  49. - For each sentence in the phrasebook, choose a *phrasing*. I.e. how does the language translate this abstract
  50.   conceptual structure into words?
  51.   - For example, in English we say "I like my pet axolotl". Spanish using a different phrasing: "My pet axolotl pleases me." Irish uses yet another: "My pet axolotl is good for me."
  52.   - Having a variety of phrasings in the language model makes it less likely that the resulting language will
  53.   look like a word-for-word translation of English.
  54. - Build the sentences from the ancient roots, inflecting them appropriately with grammatical affixes.
  55. - Apply sound changes to the ancient sentences to modernize them.
  56. - Write the resulting sentences in a quasi-phonetic transcription.
  57.  
  58. ## Priorities
  59.  
  60. MVP: generate a phonology and some roots; do a morpheme-by-morpheme translation of the English text.
  61. The phonology can just be letter frequencies + syllable structure.
  62.  
  63. # Toponyms
  64.  
  65. ...
  66.  
  67. # Greetings
  68.  
  69. Hello.
  70. Greetings.
  71. Many greetings.
  72. I greet you.
  73. Welcome.
  74. You are welcome.
  75.  
  76. # Introductions
  77.  
  78. I am a warrior/priest/musician/poet/wizard/traveler/alchemist
  79. And you?
  80. Who are you?
  81. Are you a warrior/priest/musician/poet/wizard/traveler/alchemist
  82. What is your business with us?
  83. Why do you seek us?
  84. Why do you seek me?
  85. Whence do you come?
  86. Whither are you going?
  87.  
  88. # Lost
  89.  
  90. What is this place?
  91. Where does this road lead?
  92. We are lost.
  93. Which way to ____?
  94.  
  95. # In Battle
  96.  
  97. Hold positions!
  98. Wait for my command!
  99. Attack!
  100. Help us!
  101. Save us!
  102. Someone hear me!
  103. Can anyone hear me?
  104. Where are the soldiers?
  105. Fall back!
  106. Kill them!
  107.  
  108. # Gratitude
  109.  
  110. Thanks.
  111. Thank you.
  112. Many thanks.
  113. You have my thanks.
  114. The bards will sing your praises!
  115.  
  116. # Party
  117.  
  118. I like this song.
  119. That was a good poem.
  120. This is a good drink.
  121. Bring us drinks!
  122. Bring us more meat!
  123. Come eat with us!
  124. Come drink with us!
  125. This tastes like blood.
  126. How do you eat this?
  127. Are you supposed to swallow them whole?
  128. I have a headache.
  129. Where is the bathroom?
  130.  
  131. # Emo
  132.  
  133. Forever.
  134. They are gone.
  135. I am sorry.
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