Outline of a talk given 7 July 2007 at the second
Language Creation Conference
Glossotechnia is a card game in which the players collaboratively
create a new language, and attempt to translate certain challenge
sentences into this game-language. It combines competitive and
cooperative elements, and probably has potential for use in teaching
certain concepts in linguistics, though this aspect hasn't
been tested yet.
- History -- Glossolalia, freeform game with no restrictions on
phonology; its tendency to relex English grammar and imitate English
- Ideas about redeveloping it as a board game, later as a card
- Posting on CONLANG about it; feedback (January 2007)
- High-level rules overview: two-deck structure, turn structure,
rules for coining words and translating challenge sentences
- Results of first playtesting session (March 2007)
- last-minute creation of challenge sentences. excessive variation
- Minor changes in deck and rules as a result: 4 cards per hand
rather than 3; hard limit of one word per turn; separate Subject and
Predicate decks; higher proportion of syllable cards to phoneme cards,
to get word-coining play started as soon as possible; higher
proportion of grammar change cards
- number of phoneme and syllable cards in play tends to grow
indefinitely; there should be some mechanism for limiting the number
of either in play at a given time. Still not settled on a good
mechanism; probably cards to increase or decrease a limit set by an
initial dice roll?
- Winning sentence:
sJisJ2 Znu&Z s&SiNi p&d& myd&Ni.
you-PL options more should give
You should offer more variety.
- results of other playtesting (if any...)
- How Glossotechnia might be used to teach some aspects
of linguistics, esp. language change -- solicit ideas from
audience on improving it in this respect? more realistic
sound change and grammar change cards?
- Remaining problem of tendency to relex English; word-coining
player demonstrates word's meaning with charades, pictures etc.
but guessing players use English words. How to limit the
close imitation of English?
- Tendency to create an isolating language, with little or no
inflection. How to weaken this tendency? More "Add
Inflection" cards? Or remove those cards and allow adding
inflection on any turn as alternative to coining new word?
Should there be Typology cards that place the game-language
on the isolating/agglutinative/fusional/polysynthetic scale?
Or which determine the case alignment of the language,
nominative/ergative/active/tripartite...? At present these decisions
are left to the discretion of the players, leaving a possible tendency
to unreflectively imitate English.
- At present the Phoneme card and Syllable cards define the
segmental phonology of the language, but tone and stress are
left undefined. Should there be cards added to the deck
to define the use of tone and stress? If so, how?
- More detailed rules overview; show projections of sample
cards from deck
- Comparison with other collaborative conlang creation methods,
esp. the Kalusa engine
- Invitation to play right after talk, or Saturday or Sunday evening
Main Glossotechnia index page
Glossotechnia deck composition
Main Conlang page
My home page
Last modified February 2008