Beyond writing and video games, linguistics is my next passion. My junior year of college, I assisted Professor Steven Weinberger’s research on fictional alien language phonology at George Mason University, as well as developed a research proposal of my own. The following is the abstract of one such proposal for a study called Accent Realization in American English (as an L2) from a Hypothetical Native Speaker of a Constructed Language.
A constructed language (or conlang) is a language system created by one person or a group of people for a specific purpose outside of the natural development of language (Gobbo 2005). Examples of popularized conlangs come from both literature and academics. For instance, Dothraki, the language spoken in the famous HBO series Game of Thrones, was developed by linguist David J. Peterson specifically for the show. Similarly, languages such as Esperanto and Lojban were created to bridge the gaps between people across the globe by becoming a global lingua franca. A lot of people who choose to engage in the hobby do so for literary reasons. A lot of conlang makers come from creative backgrounds and have the intention to lace their created languages into pieces of art – poetry, fiction, etc. Regardless of the reason, making a conlang is a rewarding and time-consuming commitment. In order to facilitate these creators, this study seeks to bridge the gap between reality and fiction by providing a framework for speculating the accent development by conlang native speakers.
While accent realization varies wildly from person to person, there is a pattern in the speech approximations made by native L1 speakers in a common L2 which could be used to develop a model of speech actualization in an invented language. Specifically, I will be looking at how the speakers of my conlang, Kedl, would be able to produce the English language. Firstly, I will describe Kedl and compare it to some already known languages. Secondly, I will further direct the discussion to the differences in syllable structure between English and Kedl and develop a hypothesis on how Kedl speakers would handle English coda clusters by analyzing other languages with similar features. Lastly, I will design a study to cement the aforementioned hypothesis and discuss how this information could be useful to linguists and hobbyists alike.