LANGDEV

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A Brief History of LANGDEV

Sometime around the seventh grade, I came into possession of, likely by means of “borrowing” from my parents' meagre reference collection, my grandfather's dictionary, Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, College Edition.1 Now, having grown up mostly with Merriam-Webster primary-school dictionaries,2 and being presented with what was at time of publication an (albeït abridged) serious contender for the largest American desk dictionary available at the time,3 I was astonished to find that:

  1. It was, indeed, possible to format and print a dicitonary of the English language which was interesting and pleasant to read, and
  2. Looking up words in this dictionary fascinated me.

You see, having actually had the foresight to read the frontmatter of this large tome, I had encountered an aptly titled section called Guide to the Dictionary, which, lo and behold, was in fact an incredibly useful guide on how to read the dictionary and get something out of it besides. One section, in particluar, grabbed my attention:

IV. Etymology

Etymology has deliberately been made one of the strong features of this dictionary. During the years of preparation, the etymologies of all the entries were re-studied in light of recent publication, early dated quotations, and the chief new etymological dictionaries. The results of this survey, often original in character, are here presented with a fullness altogether unparalleled in any previous American dictionary. A striking innovation is the exhaustive treatment accorded to words of native origin, hitherto comparatively neglected in most English dictionaries…

And, indeed, I have never opened a print dictionary with more complete or engaging etymologies in the Americas since.

Having discovered the modern sciënce of word-origin, I promptly decided then and there that it was something I wanted to pursue. My grandfather had been an entomologist, after all, and from entomology to etymology surely wasn't that great of a leap. I was at that time, and have always been, a writer, and was then caught up in a story about the Middle Ages, alchemy, and spirits, and so I decided to invent for myself a fictitious Old English language based on the word rꝏts that my favoured dictionary proposed. I called the results of this endeavour The Old Language, and they are preserved here.

From these humble origins my interest in language grew. A few years later, I was working on a great fantasy epic, codenamed 7c, and began working on language development anew. This time, however, my goals were somewhat different: Rather than produce a language modelled after English, I hoped to achieve an etymologically-distinct, comprehensive language complete with its own culture and unique grammars. This project grew into Sevensi, and of the language-families developed as part of the LANGDEV Project, it is the most complete.

From Sevensi came the LANGDEV Project proper. It's goal: to assist with and help generate fictional languages and the technologies required to support them. Feel free to browse this site to learn more, and I hope you enjoy your stay.

Gô SHOEMAKE,