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Conlangers Extraordinaire: “Zompist”

Posted on Saturday, June 6, 2009 in Conlangers

This post begins a series highlighting conlangers extraordinaire. These will be based on people who were featured in the Esperanto, Elvish, and Beyond exhibit. In keeping with the last post thanking Ketumak, we begin this series with…

"The Zompist" Mark Rosenfelder a.k.a. “Zompist” of Illinois (USA) has been creating languages and worlds since he was in grade school. One of Zomp’s major gifts to the conlanging community is his Language Construction Kit (LCK) (featured in the Conlang Reference section of the Library). Often the first stop for beginning conlangers, the LCK has now been translated into Portuguese and Italian. The LCK provides a step-by-step approach to creating one’s own language compiled from resources while Mark was attempting to learn linguistics on his own. Topics as diverse as what sounds to use in a conlang to how to construct language families and dialects are covered. The Zompist Bulletin Board, one of the Internet’s main forums for conlangers and con-worlders, is yet another of Mark’s contributions.

Mark’s monumental online work, Virtual Verduria, began as a Dungeons & Dragons setting in his college days. It is the result of over twenty years of tinkering with concepts as diverse as language, history, chemistry, biology, and mythology. Virtual Verduria provides myriad details of Mark’s fantasy world of Almea (from the creation of its planetary system to the evolution of its indigenous inhabitants) and includes comprehensive maps, native stories, and myths of the various nations. There are a dozen individual languages or language families with grammars, vocabulary, and text samples. Mark has succintly explained how he does all this by saying, “I have no kids and I don’t watch TV.”

Although Zomp’s day job may be as a programmer, he has assured himself a spot in the Pantheon of Conlangers with his selfless activities in support of the Art.

(Note: Mark supplied two photos for the exhibit. The one displayed here is the one used in the exhibit and one which Mark himself labeled “less serious.”)