I think Tolkien’s phonæsthetic theory was correct, as shown later by studies on phonetic symbolism (albeit a whole less universal and more varied than he imagined). In particular I think his notes on conlanging as an expression of the individual’s inherent language (in «A Secret Vice») hold. I also think synesthesia is involved, and that everybody is a little bit synesthetic.

It follows that I think ppl with stronger forms of synesthesia would make great conlangers.

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(also follows that automated vocabulary generators are bad)

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@nohomosuperior if you accept phonetic symbolism (which I do), it follows that some sounds are more appropriate for some meanings (cf. Berlin-Kay statistics on American native languages and other modern ideophone research).

it follows that a sound generated by a human for a given meaning will intuitively have more fitness (in the Tolkenian aesthetic sense) than one that is generated purely out of phonotactics, without adding meaning into the algorithm.

Appropriate objectively, by language, or by speaker? Also do u have any links?
I've never put much stock into phonoaesthetics because it didn't seem useful enough but it'd b sick as hell if I could leverage it into conlanging lol, creating base roots and morphemes is the bane of my existence

@nohomosuperior all of the above; some phonosemantic tendencies are, as far as the data goes at least, universal (e.g. the contradictory tone contour, size/politeness correlation, vowel openness/size correlations); some are language- or language family-specific (e.g. the slithery, slimy, sluggish associations of sl- in English); some are individual aesthetic tendencies.

@nohomosuperior (unless your algorithm does phonosemantic statistics, in which case I want to see it x3)

I should reword that and be less judgemental. My interest in conlangs is 100% on the artlang side purely for aesthetics, so instead of saying a technique is 'bad' I should say 'is less fruitful for what attracts me to conlangs'.

@nohomosuperior but universality is a red herring; the point is that a given individual's linguistic aesthetics will reflect all of basic physics, human species, and this one individual's languages, cultures, position in history.

So if you offshore vocab generation to a purely phonetic algorithm, it's this holistic, personal sound-symbolic fitness that's lost.

(will look up articles later)

Yeah shoulda specified universal in known human natlangs lol

I use awkwords or gen to test out phonology and orthography, then to generate candidates for roots from which I choose kinda randomly, then derive from there
But I usually get stumped by lexicon bc I'm bad at choice and it means choosing base concepts and chunks of sound to associate them with 😱

Synaesthetic conlang stuff would be neat as hell
Not sure about the phonoaesthetics stuff tho

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