Gwaur's conlangs: Viossa

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Viossa (vp) is a community-built pidgin language project based on several natural languages. The crew contributing to Viossa has varied over time, but the most central people have been /u/Nikolito, /u/Gwaur, /u/Clausangeloh, /u/Salpfish, /u/IgorTheHusker and /u/BoneHead777.

The project was started on December 24, 2014 by a few users of the /r/conlangs Skype group, and it has been developed using methods similar to how a real pidgin would be constructed. Each contributor represents one or two languages and brings in words from those languages, and this is done by gesturing and showing items (in video calls), or by defining them using what words are known already.

The evolution of the language has been rapid. In just a few days from the start, Viossa could be used to discuss families and work. After a few weeks the language became comprehensive enough to be used to describe its own grammar and define many new words, which has greatly reduced the need for visual communication. At the time of writing, about two months into the project, Viossa has several near-fluent speakers.

The three ground rules of the whole project are:

  1. Use of English is strictly restricted to meta discussion. No word or phrase may be translated directly or indirectly into English or vice versa, and no grammar may be described in English. This is to simulate a circumstance where the contributors truly didn’t share a language, and to allow semantic shifts.
  2. If a phrase is understood by everyone, it is perfect Viossa, even if it was unusually constructed. If no-one understands a phrase, it is by definition not Viossa, even if it used a lot of Viossa grammar and vocabulary.
  3. There are no prescriptions or standards. Because of this, a lot of semantic and phonetic shifts happen, and each contributor has their personal dialect and orthography.

The major contributing natural languages are:

Minor contributing languages have included Irish, Swedish, Northern Sami, Ainu, Old English, French and Latin.

Viossa is the second pidgin attempt in the /r/conlangs Skype group. The first one was called NEA (No English Allowed), but it had no personally assigned source languages and the ban on English was absolute, so many participants simply started speaking in German or other widely known languages. After the success of Viossa, NEA still exists and is active, but today it is more of a playground for trying out and seeing different languages.