Tuesday, October 16, 2007



Years ago, back in Clockwork Storybook days, Mark Finn sent me a link to Langmaker.com. Among other cool features, the site contained pages about all manner of "conlangs," or "constructed languages." Not just things like Esperanto or Lojban, but also those devised for use in fiction, like Barsoomian or Klingon. Having at one point been a card-carrying member of the Klingon Language Institute (seriously, I was), I was fascinated. I spent a bit of time poking around the site, and then went off to do other things.

Last night I got caught up in one of those Wikipedia chains of association, where you start searching for one thing, end up following links to other topics, and before you know it have fallen down the rabbit hole entirely. In this case, I was watching old episodes of Star Trek: TNG as ongoing research for my Star Trek novel, and in a few of the Ron Moore-penned episodes we got a lot of Klingon action. I got to wondering what Marc Okrand was up to, as you will, since I don't remember having seen much about him since he devised the Atlantean language for Atlantis: The Lost Empire. One thing led to another, and I ended up back at the list of conlangs on Langmaker, for the first time in about six years.

In the intervening time I've "invented" two languages myself, though both are hardly deserving of the name. One, the native language of Kovoko-ko-te'Maroa, is really just Maori with a bit of consonant drift, while the other, the Sakrian language of Paragaea (which is itself a degraded form of Atlantean) is only a vocabulary of a few dozen words and a pretty simple syntax. Both serve their purpose well enough, but don't go much further than that.

But check out this list of constructed languages. Some of these people have put a lot of work into these, and it shows. I lost the better part of an hour just poking through here. I've been toying with the idea of another language, the dialect of the Varadeaux region of Switzerland which is name-checked a few times in the expanded Set the Seas on Fire, and in the forthcoming End of the Century. I think, though, if I did it again I'd put more effort into it than I did with Sakrian and Te'Maroan, doing something more along the lines of some of the efforts on this list.

In any event, check it out if the idea of modeled, artificial, or fictional languages is of any interest to you. Me, I find this stuff fascinating.

Thanks for posting this; this is pretty cool stuff that I am also interested in (but by no means am I an expert!).

In the general interest of sharing, here is one of the coolest sites I've stumbled into, it's called Ardalambion:


In it are the complete known corpuses and analsysis of all of Tolkien's languages, including the ongoing debates on grammar and structure. There is quite a bit of information buried there about how Tolkien chose his words (i.e., "That word just SOUNDS like a rock to me"). Also included is a massive 300+ page manual on learning Quenya (Elvish latin) and a shorter manual on Sindarin (the language of Galadriel's elves).

I printed the Quenya manual and went about 30 pages in, just to get a feel for it and to try and figure out how he built the language. Quite interesting, really!
Hey, Sam, thanks for the tip! I'll *definitely* check it out.
No prob. Since you're looking at making your own conlang, here's another site that might help --

The Language Construction Kit
Another good tip, Sam!
Another related site, for written languages of all kinds, is Omniglot.com. It is an amazing reference for everything from Arabic to Klingon, including conlangs for games, books, movies, and personal use. Includes links to related sites, and often gives examples of text in each language.
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