How to Build a Lexicon

Some conlangers really enjoy building a lexicon piecemeal. This method creates a rich vocabulary where sounds and morphemes are all hand-picked. These lexicons have the advantage of highly customized, original etymologies.

Sadly, I am not one of these people (yet). I, more or less, just wanted a vehicle for writing pseudoglyphs. The lexicon was generated randomly—with little etymological attention—using some amazing software.


LangMaker can generate words according to patterns of consonants and vowels you specify, can transform words according to sound changes, can derive words from etymologies, and much more (read on).

LangMaker is a great program created in 1997, by Jeffrey Henning. Find it on his now largely defunct Model Languages website.

The wizard has some good pattern generators.

Or create your own rules.

I generated ‘Umu on the Lexical File VOCABULD for LangMaker, based on Rick Harrison‘s Universal Language Dictionary. The ‘Umu Word Class system corresponds with the .lex file’s classification system.

The drawbacks are obviouse: pre-assigned parts of speech, pre-assigned compounds, an English etymology. Still this is a good place to start.

This is why the ‘Umu word for cat is ‘a’a and the ‘Umu word for pig is ‘u.


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