Author Topic: Dictionary Update Proposal  (Read 8591 times)

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Dictionary Update Proposal
« on: December 14, 2017, 06:00:46 am »
Yesterday, I worked to compile every root morpheme I could find in Dothraki as a way for me to better understand the core meanings of words. I condensed each one down to their smallest form, and any vowels at the end of root (unless absolutely necessary to the morpheme, or apart of a geminate) were removed. In total, I counted about 630 root morphemes in Dothraki. This is really impressive, seeing as English has about 1,000 or so morphemes (over halfway, baby!).

Despite the huge amount of morphemes that Dothraki has, it doesn't appear that we're using them to their full potential. If, for argument's sake, we assume that each root can generate a noun, adjective, and verb form, Dothraki should have about 1,890 words. Not bad! Almost half the number of words we have currently. However, these roots are largely semantic in meaning, so we can generate multiple meanings from each of them. If we take those roots and split them into just two other separate meanings (as a conservative guess), we will have 5670 individual words in Dothraki. Not only that, but verbs can be turned into a transitive and intransitive form, so we can have about double the amount of verbs and add another 1890 words to the dictionary (630 verb roots * 3 semantic meanings *(transitive verb forms/2 verb forms)), making the number of words around 7,560.  On top of all this, we still have the adverbs, conjunctions and prepositions to account for, which should all together be an extra 40-60 words, making the dictionary around 7,600 words long. This alone nearly doubles the amount of words we have currently, and that doesn't even cover the possibilities we have with derivational morphology and compound words!

*Currently, the equation we have for estimating the amount of words looks like this* 
630 roots*3 semantic meanings*3 parts of speech+(630 verb roots *3 semantic meanings*(1 transitive forms/2 verb forms))+ 60 estimated minor parts of speech = 7610 words

*and the formula looks like this*

On the Dothraki Words for the Modern World thread, I posted a list of 50 root words from PIE, Greek and Latin that would be useful to Dothraki if we made our own roots with the same meaning. Adding those new roots and going through the same calculations, Dothraki could potentially have 8,200 words (without including derivational morphology or compund words)! The crazy thing is all these estimates are pretty conservative too, and many of these root morphemes could generate four or even five different meanings by themselves; we could easily generate 13,500 words with this method and not have to worry about derivational morphology or compound words at all.

Now come the derivational morphemes.

The numbers get crazy if you factor them in. For nouns alone, we have seven derivating morphemes to make new words from the roots. Using the conservative guess at the amount of meanings a root can derive, this means that the amount of nouns that can be added hits a whopping 14,280 (680 roots*3 meanings*7 derivations). Verbs have four derivations, so we could make 8,160 more verbs.  Finally, we have adjectives with their two derivations, making their list make 4,080 more words.  This makes the conservative numbers 34,760 total words in the dictionary.  If we use our liberal estimates, the number reaches a staggering 57,760 words.

When all said and done, the size of the dictionary could reach a word count ranging from a very conservative ~34,800 to a very liberal ~57,800 (not including compounds, either).  This puts Dothraki's word count on the same level as natural languages and could super benefit the range of topics and mediums the language could cover.  Now, I do understand that not all of these roots can be broken up that many times, or even broken up at all, but even if my estimates have a +/- 50% margin of error, the thousands of words that could exist would be nothing but beneficial to the conlang. 

I'm going to start on this project and build new words as I work my way through translating Amikumu.  I need a lot of words ASAP and I can't really afford putting that translation project down while I work on making a dictionary.  I will start a thread on this forum, and each day I will post any words I make while translating so that we have a record of what we should put into the dictionary later on.  I'll probably start the process of generating as many meanings from each root as I can this summer while I work on the Dothraki Atlas.  I hope you all take my proposal into consideration, and anyone interested in volunteering for this project feel free to send me a message about what you could do to help!

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