Archive for the ‘WHATL’ Category


October 11th, 2008
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I decided to rename “WHAT”, the Western Hellenic Alternate Timeline, to “WHATL”, the Western Hellenic Alternate TimeLine, on my blog, following a suggestion on the CONLANG mailing list.

The basic problem is that “WHAT” is nearly impossible to Google for, since it’s such a common English word. Hopefully, this renaming will ameliorate the situation.

Categories: meta, WHATL Tags:

New conlang Engadinese: Greek with Romansh sound changes

October 10th, 2008
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I’ve been thinking about another WHATL-based conlang, though I haven’t put pen to paper cursor to editor yet. It’s not even got a name, though one working title is “Engadinese”. (

The premise is that it’s Greek with Romansh-based sound changes — essentially, what Romansh would be if the Romans had spoken Greek instead of Latin.

The vague idea is to bias the sound shifts in favour of the “Ladin” varieties of Romansh (Putèr, Vallader, and — if I can get my hands on information, since it’s a spoken but not a written dialect — Jauer), essentially because front rounded vowels are cool. (The Ladin varieties have “ü” and “ö”, which have unrounded or split to  “i” and “e”/”eu/”ieu” in the Rhine varieties of Romansh as well as the compromise standard Rumantsch Grischun.)

Though on the other hand, that throws a spanner into the works of the idea I had to have certain additional orthographies for the language.

You see, I had intended to have not only a Greek-based orthography (naturally, since the Roman alphabet is non-existent in WHATL and Europe uses Greek letters) and a Latin-based orthography (based on real orthographies for Romansh idioms), but also a Latin and a Cyrillic one based on Croatian/Serbian, since I had read once that the phonology of Romansh and BCS is very similar (for example, differentiating between ć and č, spelled ch/tg and tsch respectively in Romansh).

But that probably applied specifically to Rumantsch Grischun; certainly, BCS doesn’t have /ø/ or /y/.

But that’s only a small deal. I expect that the “Croatian” orthography will use “ö” and “ü” (like the standard Latin one) and that the “Serbian” one will use ө and ү, which I think is pretty much the standard representation for those sounds in the languages which have them and which use the Cyrillic alphabet. (I briefly considered getting sounds for /œ/ and /ʏ/, too — perhaps ӫ and ұ — but probably won’t go that route since the Latin orthographies underspecify that difference [not to mention several other vowel phoneme distinctions], too.)

Ideally, I’d have a big old list of Romansh words — in as many different idioms as possible — along with their Latin ancestors and their cognates in Modern and Old French (since as I understand it, Romansh is more closely related to French than to Italian, from amongst the “big” Romance languages, and more specifically, the ones I’m familiar with), to help me derive sound changes (and to see what words in Ladin look like).

There’s a set of books that looks as if it could be useful, but it costs CHF 90, so that will have to wait a while. (Assuming it’s still available by the time I get around to buying it… books in or about Romansh tend to have a low print run.)

I’m also undecided quite where the language is going to be spoken, though I’m currently leaning to “those areas currently in Graubünden east of the Albula Range”, i.e., Engadine, Münstertal, and Valposchiavo.

Categories: Engadinese, WHATL Tags:

Easter in Rhaetia

February 7th, 2008
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I’ve been considering what to do about the date of Easter in Rhaetia, since there’s no official word about how WHATL does it and I think the Julian-Gregorian algorithm is extremely complicated.

I think I may just have it always be on the 14th of Ξανθικό, regardless of the day of the week (a different kind of Quartodecimanism…).

When I mentioned that to Stella, she seemed a bit shocked and said that Easter had to be on a Sunday, that it was very symbolic and you couldn’t just move it around the way you could, for example, Christmas. In which case my fallback plan is to have Easter always fall on the third Sunday in Ξανθικό, which will fall in roughly the right period but will stop all that faffing around with Ecclesiastical New Moon and stuff.

“The first Sunday on or after 14 Ξανθικό” might also be an option.

Categories: Rhaetia, WHATL Tags: , , ,

Gregorian-to-WHATL calendar conversion

January 26th, 2008
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So I tried to make a little program that would convert Gregorian dates to the equivalent WHATL dates.

The first version only used the current date; then I wrote one which would parse a date or a time_t value on the command line. After messing around with it, I eventually got it to work – and found that it gave wrong results in leap years.

Apparently, it was off by one. I had used code from Zefram’s Stardate program, and apparently that assumed that the epoch was 0001-01-01 rather than 0000-01-01.

What annoyed me, too, though was that it only worked during the time period where gmtime() and friends work – on my system, until early 2038.

And since WHATL years and Gregorian years are the same length nearly always (by a fortunate coincidence), you can simply convert from one to another by adding or subtracting four to the year and a certain bias to the date (which depends on the month and whether it’s a leap year or not, and varies between 6 and 9). So I wrote a second version which did that.

After a bit of playing around with that, I think it more or less works now. Pity that I can’t output month and day names in Greek, though (it’s a C command-line program and my command line is not Unicode-aware).

Perhaps I’ll write a Java program or something, though I’m not sure how to integrate it into Java’s existing i18n framework. Presumably a subclass of Calendar and one of DateFormatSymbols. But I don’t see any way to tell DateFormat to use a different calendar, and even SimpleDateFormat can only be passed separate DateFormatSymbols. Where does that leave people using different calendars? Somehow, I think that it’s only half-baked. Perhaps IBM’s ICU will be more amenable.

Or I could just forget about them and just write a little class of my own, which will not have as many features and may have a different interface, but does work with my dates.

Categories: WHATL Tags: ,