If you want to ask a question on the boards, be sure to read in here before in case your question has already been answered. Also, some questions about more specific areas on the site may be answered in other places on the help page.
For FAQs relating to PhoMo, please see this article.
How should I report a bug?
If you spot a bug on the site then feel free to contact one of the staff or make a thread about it on the general section of the boards. You could also report it using the [report] link on every page. It may also be worth checking the boards to see if the bug that you found has already been discovered by the staff or other members recently.
Does this site work on my mobile/tablet? Do you have a mobile site/app?
The site does work on mobile and tablet, but is not optimized for them. You should be able to use all site features, but will probably have trouble with site display and navigation. We are not intending to release an app or dedicated mobile site at this time (due to our small coding team).
How do I change my display name?
Changing your username is simple. Just go to Profile > Account Settings and then type in your desired name beneath where it says "Change display name". Then click Change Name and it should be all changed.
If I change my display name, will it update on my board and journal posts?
Yes. If you change your display name, it will update on journal posts and board posts you've already written. However, please note that it can not change where people have, in the past, referred to you by your previous display name in their own posts.
What does the circle/dot after a username mean?
On parts of the site (particularly the CWS boards), you may see either a green circle or orange circle after someone's name. The green circle indicates that that user has been online within the five minutes immediately prior to that page being loaded. The orange circle indicates the same, but for activity between five and thirty minutes.
What does 'ADMIN', 'BOT', or 'STAFF' after a username mean?
On parts of the site (particularly the CWS boards), you may see "[ADMIN]", "[BOT]", or "[STAFF]" after someone's name.
"[ADMIN]" and "[STAFF]" indicate that these users are in charge of parts of, or all of CWS. They're knowledgeable and may be able to help you with parts of the site. If they request that you don't do something on the boards or other part of the site, please respect this as it will be for a good reason. Arguing or being rude to staff is a very quick way to get yourself warned and/or banned.
"[BOT]" after a username indicates that it is a "bot" account that staff use. These are usually used for event purposes, or site testing purposes only. If it is an event bot, please treat it with the same respect as staff as mentioned above as these are run by staff themselves. In some cases, you may also receive a PM from one of the bots. These are sometimes automated, but the inboxes of bots are generally monitored, so if you reply, it's not an issue (however, you won't be able to reply to @Admin Sheep or @Mama Sheep as these bots are totally automated).
How do I change my profile picture?
If you joined CWS by logging in with Facebook, this currently cannot be changed. Your display picture will be automatically displayed on CWS using your Facebook profile picture. Please note that this updates each time you login.
Otherwise, to change your profile picture, go to Profile > My Profile and then click  next to your current profile picture. Then, click "Choose file". You can then browse your computer to find the image you'd like to have as your new profile picture. Please note that the uploaded image will be resized to 50px by 50px. Once you've chosen a new picture, click Save Changes and the bottom and then the new picture will be saved.
Why hasn't my profile picture, language flag, conscript, or other file updated?
If you have just uploaded a new file to the site but the site is not displaying the changes, this is probably a browser cache problem. One option is to refresh your cache by pressing CTRL+F5 key on the keyboard (if you're on Windows). If it still doesn't work then you may need to wipe your cache completely. To do this, follow the steps outlined on this site:
WikiHow: Clear Your Browser's Cache. If refreshing or wiping your cache does not solve the problem, there is some other issue; please contact support using the [feedback/report] button.
How long does CWS keep me logged in?
If you login using the standard method, CWS should keep you logged in for 12 months (assuming you don't clear the browser's cookies, use a new browser etc).
If you use Facebook, it's not up to CWS. Once Facebook decides to refuse the session, we can no longer keep you logged in. This could be affected by you logging out of Facebook, using different computers, or other Facebook settings. If you find you're being logged out too, often, set up a standard login which will keep you logged in for up to 12 months.
How do I add a new language?
Hover your mouse over Profile in the top menu and select New Language. You can then enter the details of the new language.
Alternatively the [★] button in the header of the site will take you to the add language page at any time.
I can't add a language - all the codes I try are taken!
Firstly, please note that sometimes the code verifying text box (which should turn green) will stay red even if you do find a valid code. To double-check whether a code is actually free, simply search for that language's summary page: conworkshop.com/view_language.php?l=XXX (replacing XXX with the three-to-five-letter code you want).
We recently changed things up so that your codes can be three, four, or five characters long, so hopefully it will be easier to find desirable codes that actually match your language!
How do I switch between languages?
Your currently-selected conlang and its flag should appear at the very top right of every page on the site. Click on that and a lightbox should open, from which you can select the conlang you wish to switch to.
All language specific settings you change or pages you use will be saved under the language currently displaying on the top right part of the page.
What is a language code?
A language code is a unique three-letter code used by ConWorkShop to differentiate between everyone's conlangs. It is used when tagging articles and can be used when searching for/about conlangs. These are inspired by the ISO 639 language code system.
How do I add sounds to my language?
See this article for an in-depth explanation of how to add sounds to your language.
If the IPA chart is not showing up, check the following:
- Have you actually made a language? If you haven't made a language yet, you will not be able to add sounds.
- What Phonological System are you using? If the system you have selected isn't properly set up, you won't see any sounds. Change this setting on the Language Settings page, under "Phonological System/Species."
My language has a sound that is not on the IPA chart, how can I add this?
That depends on whether the sound you are looking for is a base sound, or if it can be represented by adding a diacritic to another sound (this includes ejectives).
In the former case, you will need to contact a staff member via the boards or personal message to ask them to add the new sound.
In the latter case, you need to add the base sound to your phonology first, then add a quality to it. This can be done on the inventory page, by clicking the sound in the table, and adding the 'quality' to it there. Qualities include labialization, palatalization, tone, and much more.
If you're unsure, please use the CWS Help board to ask for assistance.
What if my language has two (or more) graphemes for the same phoneme?
If your language has two graphemes for the same phoneme (for example using both "c" and "k" for /k/), you can add in the same phoneme twice (or more) but set them to have the different graphemes.
What if my language uses one grapheme for multiple phonemes?
If these are predictable allophones (for example "c" being /k s/ depending on environment), you can set up a Pronunciation Estimation ruleset (under language menu > phonology) using PhoMo rules.
If they are separate phonemes, for example most vowels in English, you should go to Dictionary Settings and enable the IPA field. Then you can customize the IPA for every word as you make it.
How do I add words to the dictionary?
Hover your mouse over the green menu (the text will be the name of your currently selected language) and then hover over Dictionary and then click Add word. You will then be presented with a page where you can add the details of the word you wish to add. Click Add word once you're done.
How do I add words that CWS doesn't have a WordLink for? What if they are specific to my conworld?
Firstly, please note that a WordLink doesn't have to be 100% "perfect" for you to use. For example, if you want to add a verb with the sense of to follow after a person, who may or may not be intentionally leading you a link like "follow (leader)" should be perfectly suitable. You can enable settings like notes or classes under Dictionary Settings to help disambiguate these very minor differences.
Unless you have had WordLink adding privileges removed (because you abused the system), you are free to add new WordLinks if you need them. Simply start typing in the WordLink you want, and then click the ★ new link button that appears at the bottom of the dialogue.
Please do not add new WordLinks that are nearly identical to existing ones, and do not over-rely on hints For example, add "salt water" instead of "water (salt)." This is to help reduce clutter in the WordLink system.
For conworld-specific words like an invented species or country, we do have a collection of conworld-specific WordLinks to help reduce clutter.
Why can't I add the pronoun I want? Why are we restricted to one link for "he/she/it"?
There are literally thousands of different combinations of genders, animacy classes, grammatical cases, proximity, formality, and many other features that can apply to pronouns and other nominals. In order to avoid a massive cluttering of the WordLink system, we will not be adding more personal pronoun links. Please use Classes or Notes (enabled under Dictionary Settings) to disambiguate between different numbers or genders/classes if necessary. Please set up a Grammar Table in order to add your different cases (e.g. he vs him).
If you require a non-personal pronoun WordLink (words like "this [one]", "who", "anyone"), you can request for this to be added using the [feedback/report] feature. (We removed the ability for regular users to add any WordLink with the "pronoun" part of speech.)
How do I add multiple English definitions?
Because of the way CWS handles word definitions (through the WordLink process), each wordlinked entry is a separate entry. We have a function on the add word page that allows you to add multiple duplicate entries, where the only differing detail is the wordlink itself. You can do this by using the yellow '+ Additional WLs' button on the add word page.
This will provide a list of fields were you're able to insert additional definitions for that word. Each entry will then be created by CWS using the details in the main form. If you do not specify a part of speech in the main form, then each entry will be assigned the part of speech of the wordlink.
If you want to add duplicate/similar entries after the word is already added, you can click the '⇉ Duplicate' button on the word summary page and a new add word page will be shown with the details pre-filled. You can edit what you want to change and save this.
If you want to add a similar word to a word you're currently in the process of adding, you can use the checkbox that says 'I want to add another word based off this word, please redirect me on save'. Checking this will automatically redirect you to another add word form which will be prefilled with the same details from the previous word - you just need to then change the English definition or other details and save again.
How do I add Roots to my words?
First you have to enable "Allow setting and display of roots" in your Dictionary Settings. Then, you can add roots to individual words by viewing their page.
A dialect is (generally) a regional variation of your language. This can be a variation in pronunciation, vocabulary, and/or grammar etc. You are now able to assign dialects to your main languages (effectively making these sub-languages). More information.
How do I add a dialect to a language?
On your language summary page (green menu > 'Summary'), there is an 'Add dialect' button that will take you to the form. There is also an 'New dialect' button in the menu (orange profile menu > language > new dialect). The dialects all have sub-language codes attached to your main language. For example, the Govtha dialect of Nithalos (NXS) has been given the code NXS-GOV. Once added, a summary of the dialect will show up on the main language page, and you can click the [view] button for more information about it.
At what point is a dialect considered a different language?
If your language is different enough that you'd need to create an entirely new phonology table or completely change the grammar, then it is recommended that you add this as a new language. A dialect on CWS is mainly for the purpose of recording regional variations in vocabulary and pronunciation in your dictionary. See this article for more information.
How do I add dialect-specific words to the dictionary?
You will need to add the 'dialect' field to your dictionary via the dictionary settings page. When you add vocabulary from then on, there will be a drop down with a list of your language's registered dialects to chose from. These will evidently be displayed on your word summaries also.
How do I get my article to show on my language's page?
You need to add a tag to the article that matches your language code. For example, if your code is 'QAT', you need to add this as a tag and it will show up on the language's summary page from there on. Note that articles do not automatically create a clickable link back to your language, so you may want to add one using the <lang> tags.
Why is there no option for preposition/postposition when adding a word?
The decision was made as a community to merge these into 'adposition'. The reason for this being that there is a lot of confusion around what is considered a preposition and what isn't (especially if something is semantically a preposition, but grammatically a postposition). There was also no consistency with usage, so the decision was to use 'adposition' for both of these parts of speech to simplify and streamline the options available.
Why is there no option for prefix/suffix/circumfix/infix when adding a word?
For similar reasons to the preposition/postposition debate (as seen above), all the *fix parts of speech were merged into 'affix'. Please use this option instead.
Please be aware that it is not common to list affixes in a dictionary - even derivational affixes. This is because in general a dictionary assumes that one knows the general grammar of the language and therefore it is superfluous to list. Consider using Grammar Tables on CWS instead of listing affixes in your dictionary.
What is a Grammar Form?
A Grammar Form is one of the ways in your conlang in which a certain type of word can conjugate or decline. Examples include past tense (PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech) and plural number (PLPlural (number)
more than one/few).
How do I define Grammar Forms for my conlang?
Go to the green menu in the top then click 'Grammar' and 'Define forms'. This is where you need to specify which grammatical forms your language utilises. Take the time to add as many forms your language needs as the next step is frustrating if you forget to add one of the forms.
Note that you only need to add each form once, even if it is used by multiple parts of speech. For example, if you add "plural" to your nouns, you will also be able to use it for pronouns, proper nouns, verb agreement, etc.
How do I add conjugation and declension patterns for my conlang?
Conjugation/declension patterns are stored in Grammar Tables. These tables can be up to 10 wide and 12 high and they can have information about any of the grammar forms you defined previously. You can add a new table by going to the green menu with your conlang's name and going onto 'Grammar' and then 'Add table'. You can also add, delete and view tables by going to the green menu and then 'Grammar' and 'Grammar Tables'.
How do I use the "Add table" and other Grammar Tables pages?
Please see this article for an extensive explanation. Note that you will need to use PhoMo rules, which you can read more about by clicking here.
I already have my lexicon done on Excel. Can I transfer it onto this site?
Of course you can! Importing the lexicon is made easy and quick by the Import Words page.
You can read more about it on this specific help article.
Why is a menu item greyed out?
There are three reasons for this:
- You don't have a language yet, and that part of the site needs you to have one. Simply make a language and you will be able to access it.
- That part of the site is under development or redevelopment, and will be opened to the public once it is ready.
- That part of the site is reserved for staff/admin use only.
What kind of writing systems does CWS support?
CWS supports any script that is supported by the Noto Sans font. Any script can be used in areas of the site that doesn't require word manipulation (such as word entries, articles, translations etc).
For areas of the site that require manipulation, such as PhoMo and the pronunciation estimator, CWS readily supports the Latin script (extended versions also), Greek, Armenian, Cyrillic, Georgian, and any other simple alphabet. Syllablaries can also work, although you may need to define each individual letter. Logographic scripts, abugidas and abjads will not work.
How do I add my conscript?
CWS supports the use of conscripts now, however first, you will need to create your own font file for this. This can be a time-consuming, but rewarding process. For tips and specifics on how to create your font, we'd suggest googling.
Once you have your font made, you can add this to the conscripts page for your language. Here you're able to upload the file, and designate which parts of the site you want it to display. You can also use the conscript in articles and board posts by using <con=XXX>this text in conscript</con>, where XXX is the language's code.
How do I add the same phoneme to my inventory twice?
You can add it twice on the add phoneme page, or when you bring up the individual phoneme editor, you can use the duplicate button to create another identical phoneme record.
What if there is a grapheme in my language that is not considered a separate letter?
In situations such as this (for example, where there is a letter with a diacritic which is just considered as a modification of the original letter and not a distinct grapheme) you can tick the "non-distinct" box next to the grapheme on the Phonology/Orthography Inventory page.
Because PhoMo can be somewhat complicated, it is recommended that you read the PhoMo help page beforehand. You can find it by clicking here.
If you have any further questions regarding PhoMo, then you can either ask on the forums or contact a member of staff. If you come across a bug, then you can either report it on the forums or using the feedback page.
A clan is a group on the site that members can choose to join. The members of the clan usually have a common interest (for example, Romance languages) or a common goal they want to achieve (for example, the CWS collablang project). You can join as many clans as you like but you can only have one primary clan.
How do I join a clan?
To join a clan, click on 'Clans' under the 'Community' menu and then at the bottom half of the page (underneath 'Browse Clans') there should be a list of all the clans and each should have a button to the right of their names (Unless you are already a part of that clan). To join the clan, simply click the button.
What is a primary clan?
Your primary clan is the clan that defines the colour of your name and the colour and symbol of the icon to the left of your name on the boards and in some other places on the site. It is the clan that you choose to represent you, basically.
How do I change my primary clan?
Once you have joined a clan, you can set it as your primary clan by going to 'Clans' (under the 'Community' menu) and then finding the clan in the list on the top half of the page and clicking the little number 1 in the circle next to it.
How do I make a clan?
If you'd like to make a clan and you're sure that your clan won't just be a duplicate of an already existing clan, then you can go into the 'Clans' page (under the 'Community' menu) and click 'New Clan' at the top. You can then adjust the settings of the clan (the name, icon, description and member joining permissions) to how you want.
Please note that there is an admin-set limit to the number of clans available, so please consider carefully if you would like to start a new clan for members to join.
How do I make a poll?
To make a poll in a clan, simply go onto the 'Clans' page (under the 'Community' menu) and click on the clan you want to make a poll in. You can then click 'New Poll' on the clan's page which will take you to a page where you can change the settings of the poll. Click 'Save Poll' once you're done.
How do I attach a board post to a poll?
Firstly, you must make a new thread (or edit the first post of an existing thread) on a board in the same clan in which you posted the poll. On the editing/creating page for the thread there should be a checkbox captioned 'Attach poll to this thread'. Click on this so that a tick appears in the box and then a list should appear underneath. Select the name of the poll you created. You can then edit or create the thread as you would a normal thread and then click 'Save' at the bottom.
How do I create a new translation?
To create a new translation, go to your current selected language's name (Green) in the menu bar and click Translations. Then click 'Add new Translation'. On this page, you can enter the language of the text you want people to translate, the title of the text, then the text itself and a note on the text (this part is optional). Click 'Save translation' once you've finished creating the translation.
Why does the New Language Checklist say I haven't completed a step? How can I make it go away?
The New Language Checklist exists to help you explore the site and get started with your language. If you don't plan to fulfill all of its requirements for whatever reason, but want the banner to go away, simply change your language's status from "New" to "Progressing" (or anything else suitable) on the Language Settings page.
Many of the Checklist items have unlisted or non-obvious requirements. To have the site mark them as completed, make sure you do all of the following:
- Tell us about [your language]. You must add at least 10 characters to the textbox.
- Add a flag for [your language]. As stated in the tip, you do actually have to "tell us something about [your flag]." Once you have uploaded the flag, visit your Language Summary page and click [edit flag info]. You must add at least 1 letter to the textbox.
- Add Typology information. You must highlight at least 3 parameters that you have filled out. This is done by selecting the checkbox beside the parameter in question. Setting this up will give a typology 'preview' on your language summary page, so select the 3-5 features you find most interesting.
- Write an article. You must additionally link the article back to your language by tagging it with the three-letter language code.
Why does the site say I have 0 words now?
This is one of several common 'reset bugs.' We are not sure why they happen (or we would have fixed them). The good news is your words were not actually deleted, it's just that the word counter was reset.
The next time you add a word, or delete a word from a language's lexicon, the count will update itself again and display correctly.
What is CWS2? When will it launch?
CWS2 is a ground-up recode of the CWS website intended to make it more streamlined, faster, more mobile-friendly, improve some site features like the boards and PhoMo, and to eliminate many pesky bugs and glitches that we just can't seem to isolate in the current code. The intention is that everything already on CWS (yes, especially your languages!) will be transferred over to CWS2 on launch.
CWS2 is currently being developed in two separate versions, the original Ruby on Rails team lead by @zee, and a newer Python team lead by @KathTheDragon. We do not have an ETA for launch, not even a really vague one (sorry). Both projects (and the current, original flavour CWS!) are entirely volunteer-run by people who are busy with jobs and school. If you're impatient for the release and know how to code, your help would be much appreciated on either endeavour; head over to our Discord for more information.
What if my question hasn't been answered here?
If you didn't find the answer(s) you were looking for or you have any further questions, then in the first instance, we suggest looking through some of the other help articles as there may be an article specific to your issue.
If you still can't find anything, use the CWS help board to ask us a question. Please try to be very specific with your question, making sure to let us know what language you have the issue/query for.