The Advanced level of this book is for those familiar with the internal structure of the elements of language, who want to learn how to create sophisticated, unusual, and even really exotic conlangs. It aims to introduce you to language features and techniques that can be used to create conlangs with extra flair.
At the edge
At the Beginning level, everything was fresh and exciting. We had something of an overview of the subject, because we didn't have enough details for us to lose track of the forest amidst the trees. At the Intermediate level, as we were learning the names for features of the landscape, the big picture got harder to see, and we were fighting a tendency for things to seem overly cut-and-dried.
Now we're at the Advanced level, and the character of this level is different again. While we can never fully recapture that sense of wholeness from the Beginner level, at this level things not only interconnect, but often seem to start bleeding into each other. There are folks who present a neatly ordered, cut-and-dried picture at this level, and they may explain — truthfully — that all their close colleagues agree on these things; but if so, it's because all their close colleagues belong to a close-knit school sharing that view. You may find other folks presenting ordered pictures inconsistent with that one; and the different schools may use different sets of advanced jargon, with similar-sounding names that sometimes mean very different things, or very different-sounding names for substantially the same thing.
This is the realm of controversies.
For conlangers looking to innovate, this can also be a treasure trove. Exactly because of the controversies, and the blurring of distinctions, there's wide-open scope for modifying, remixing, and repurposing features, breaking out of some molds altogether while creating fresh takes on familiar themes. It's certainly possible for an expert in a subject to get hide-bound, rigid in their thinking; but this is also where you can improvise new approaches that are not just different, but persuasively different.
What's in this level?
Each section describes features and techniques in a different aspect of language design. The sections are:
- Phonology: Unusual ways to make speech sounds.
- Grammar: Unusual ways to form and arrange words.
- The link between a Language and its Culture.
- Metaphor and its applications for Conlanging.