Conlangs: Constructed Languages

Glossopoeia: A planned or constructed language—known colloquially or informally as a conlang—is a language whose phonology, grammar, and/or vocabulary have been consciously devised by an individual or group, instead of having evolved naturally. (from the wikipedia entry)

This is a really fun part of linguistics: the creation of your own language. A technical endeavor with room for as much artistic flair and character as you wish. A work of art that is performed with every word spoken. The effort that encompasses every aspect of linguistics, with the shape and sound of the words splashing color and mood on a canvas of structure, history and built-in precepts and values.

Perhaps it is the computer programming combined with my early love of codes and ciphers that forms the foundation of my love for constructed languages. I'm sure NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) plays a huge role as well: attempting via experimentation to understand how words wire-and-fire the complex neural network that is our brain and nervous system. It doesn't get much cooler than that, flying on both the subtle and gross planes of meta-processing of thought and emotion.

I believe our spoken language IS the programming language of our brain, and it forms the approaches, tendencies, blind-spots, assumptions and toolbox of our perception, relationships and problem-solving. The power to learning new languages is in changing those aspects and experiencing the world anew from a different understanding. Now, apply that to the idea of constructing your own language, and you can see the appeal.

If you want to explore more about conlangs, here are some recommended resources.

Famous & Popular Conlangs

The Klingon Language Institute
Esperanto Information Center
Ardalambion, reference site for the languages of J.R.R. Tolkien
Na'vi, the language constructed by Paul Frommer for the James Camron film, "Avatar"

Conlang Professors, Authors, and Geekum Majorous

Speaker's list from the 1st Language Creation Conference
Speaker's list from the 2nd Language Creation Conference
Speaker's list from the 3rd Language Creation Conference

CONLANG: The Movie, a Columbia University student film by Marta Masferrer and Baldvin Kári

Conlang Resource Roundups

Sally Caves' web site. Find her constructed language, Teonaht, here as well as a big list of conlangs.


Wikipedia: Artistic language


Language Creation Society - Yay!
Language Construction Kit, by Mark Rodenfelder. Also available as a print book.

Language Geek Lounges Around the Net

FrathWiki, about conlangs, conworlds and linguistic subjects in general.
zompist bboard, formerly d.b.a. Virtual Verduria Message Board. This board will either leave you confused (if you aren't a language geek) or elated that you've found an enclave of yer peeps (if you are a language geek). Eo in per curiositas quod audacia!

A few constructed languages

E minimal - aim is to be smallest and most compact language possible. Neat. Most words are one syllable, then you combine with other syllables for new words, degree, etc.
Teonaht by Sally Caves (nom de plume), for her fictional worlds of cat-inspired beings.
Ithkuil, an artificially constructed human language systematically designed to blend a high degree of communication of cognitive intent and meaning with a high degree of efficiency, i.e., to allow speakers to say a lot in as few syllables as possible. Created by John Quijada.