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May 24th, 2011

I’ve been thinking about making a polysynthetic conlang, where words can take lots of affixes.

And since I’m an a posteriori sort of person, I’ll probably base it on Inuktitut, with probably some influence from (Modern) Greek. For example, I expect Greek will take the place that English does in Inuktitut, and Danish in Kalaallisut, such as as the source of loanwords for things like higher numbers. I expect there’ll be some sort of concultural explanation for why the Greeks ended up having linguistic influence on an arctic people, but OOC, it’s mostly that it’s a language I know a fair bit about and that is already the basis for a number of my previous conlang projects.

Depending on how creative I get, it may be fairly close to Inuktitut, a relex with the same phonology, a relex with different phonology, or merely inspired by the idea, using it as an example of what sort of things polysynthetic languages do. (I suspect that it’ll fall somewhere near the beginning of the list. Which may also have the positive side effect of teaching me more about Inuktitut, a language I wouldn’t mind knowing more about anyway. On the other hand, I might also end up learning a bunch of wrong things which I would have to un-learn later, if I wanted to learn Inuktitut seriously.)

The tentative code-name for the language is Ilatamiutitut, from Ilata “(name of the place where the Ilatamiut live)” < Greek Ελλάδα “Greece” + -miu(t) “inhabitants (of a place)” + -titut “(similative case ending: like …)”; that is, “(speaking) like the inhabitants of Ilata”.

Though the area where they live should probably have a better name than Ilata eventually; it seems rather unlikely to me to simply call it that, without at least a “New” qualifier. (But that would break the single-word language name. So I’ll have to see.)

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