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Constructed Languages

I've been constructing languages for over eighteen years, and I'm still working on one of the first. In fact, my passion for constructing languages was one of the most important reasons I studied comparative linguistics at the Institute for Comparative Linguistics of the University of Leyden.

A Python app that generates words and applies phonological rules to it is a useful tool for language construction: drift is one such tool. There are others: sounds.htm is a nice sound-change applier, langmaker is useful if you can run Visual Basic apps, while WordSynth is a nice Perl script.

I've prepared a page with a small bibliography of linguistics texts useful for someone creating a languages that purports to be a natural one - I've never been much interested in 'logical languages,' or 'auxiliary languages'. I will add descriptions to the references whenever I feel like it - or, if you have an opinion, mail me.

Doug Ball has given a presentation on Skerre, his constructed language, at the Rochester URC Conference. I'm very glad that I'm able to present his lecture at my website: Skerre, An invented language!

My opinions on what would constitute an ideal grammar will someday lead to an example, but for now, all I can do is invite you to dream with me.

I'm trying to build a language database geared towards fieldworkers projects. This is a serious project, both in terms of the work it entails and the aims. Any and all comments are welcome. The origins can be found in the Mencius project, a pascal program for morphologically analyzing Classical Chinese texts I was busy with at University, years ago.

Descriptions of my own languages form part of the section about my constructed world, Andal.

On the Conlang mailing list, there are regularly translation exercisesq posted. It's a wonderful game, sharpens the brain and produces a lot of lexicon. I'd like to urge everyone interested to look at my translations and exercises. The complete threads can no doubt be found in the listarchives. Recently we've had a translation relay in which I couldn't take part, knowing the original poem, but the results are here.

An interesting application of a constructed language is as a specialized ritual language. For the Dutch roleplaying game Queeste, the author, Joop Oele, has made an interesting magical language, Old Hyksos. I offer here a description of this language from the point of view of someone interested in constructed languages. Even though there are probably more fluent speakers of Old Hyksos than there are of, say, Interlingua, the language is copyright by Joop Oele.

In 1991 and 1992, there existed the Nederlands Genootschap voor Linguafictie, or the Dutch Conlang Society. It even published one yearbook, which contained a lot of information on conlangs and auxlangs, book reviews and a bibliography. The society got its fair share of publicity, on several radio stations and even a column in the NRC-Handelsblad, the most prestigious newspaper of the country. I've recently found my clipping of that column, and have made a png of it available, for those who can read Dutch. (It's big and none too clear, but quite interesting, I think.)


I've also prepared a couple of truetype fonts for created languages. Most of them were made with Corel Draw, but recently I have acquired Pyrus Scanfont and Fontlab, and I'm working on better versions. The Pyrus tools are excellent - the best of their kind. Everyone may copy and use these fonts, as long as they don't claim to be the authors.

And for natural languages:


With the current rate of language death and the current rate of constructed language birth, it seems entirely likely that within a few years there will be more artificial and constructed languages than natural ones. Anyway, that means that it's absolutely impossible to list even a fraction of the websites on conlangs. I'll give here just a few.


© 1999 Boudewijn Rempt - Optimized for Lynx