Conlangs, short for “constructed languages,” are languages that have been invent, as oppose to natural languages produce by social consensus pass down over centuries. Languages develop as a code use only by a minority, as a would-be universal language, or like in the majority of cases, as part of a fictional story, a new system of expression can draw inspiration from several sources.
List of Languages Which were Invented from Scratch
Lingua Ignota is most likely the oldest conlang in history.
It dates from the 12th century and was create by Hildegard von Bingen, a German-born nun who also compose music, wrote poetry, draft medical and theological treatises, and founded monasteries.
Not much is known about Lingua Ignota today as very few texts written in this language still exist.
All that remains is a glossary of 1,011 words and evidence that this conlang’s grammar is similar to that of Latin.
Solrésol is a music-base system of expression invent by French composer François Sudre (portrait) in the first half of the 19th century.
His goal was to transpose the universality of musical transcription.
As per his writings, learning a language base on notes would be easy because everyone knew do, ré, mi, fa, sol, la, and si (ti).
Solrésol has no real word classes (adjectives, nouns, verbs, etc.).
For example, “sirélasi” means “to constitute,” “constitution,” “constituent,” “constitutional,” and “constitutionally” all at the same time.
A term’s location in a sentence determines its classification.
The French Navy try to use solrésol to transmit messages, but without great success.
Esperanto is the the world’s most widespread conlang.
Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof create the language in the 19th century as a universal means of communication (the word “esperant” means “one who hopes”).
While many people still dream of Esperanto replacing English as the international mode of expression, many conlangers criticize its quality.
First, it’s very eurocentric.
Base on European languages, Esperanto uses the Latin alphabet, which doesn’t really accommodate Mandarin or Arabic speakers, for example.
Second, it pushes the patriarchal nature plaguing many natural languages to the extreme.
The word for “mother,” for example, is “patrino,” literally “female father”!
Interlingua was create in the 1950s, and while it’s consider a conlang, none of its characteristics were invent.
As per the Union Mundial pro Interlingua website, every characteristic of Interlingua is based on “at least three languages of European origin” and defined as “simplification without artificiality.”
Even the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been translate into this conlang.
In 2004, Nina-Kristine Johnson, a linguist and fan of the video game The Legend of Zelda, created Va Ehenív, a language based on that spoken by the Gerudo tribe from the Ocarina of Time instalment.
She’s also written a book on the subject.
Va Ehenív grammar is based on Japanese.
Toki Pona was creates by Sonja Lang and publish online in 2001.
This conlang is meant to be simple.
Its 14 sounds are consider easy to pronounce regardless of a speaker’s linguistic background.
The writing system consists of ideograms, symbols that illustrate an idea.
Approximately 100 people speak this language fluently, using it primarily in forums and on social media.
Christopher Paolini invent the Ancient Language for his series of books entitled The Inheritance Cycle.
Characters find it impossible to lie or betray an oath when speaking it.
The Ancient Language is also use to practise magic.
Linguistics students at the University of Amsterdam documented its grammar for one of their courses.
Huttese comes from the world of Star Wars.
This language is spoken on Nal Hutta, home of the Hutts, the most famous of which is, of course, Jabba the Hutt.
He is heard speaking it in Return of the Jedi (1983).
Huttese was create by Ben Burtt, who refer to, among others, the indigenous South American language of Quechua when designing it.
To develop the film’s many Huttese dialogues, Burtt asked for help from Larry Ward, a linguist who became the voice of Jabba the Hutt.
R’lyehian (also calls as Cthuvian) is a language invented by H.P. Lovecraft, creator of the Cthulhu universe.
It first appeared in 1928 in the short story ”The Call of Cthulhu”.
R’lyehian is a synthetic (or fusional) language, meaning it uses affixes (prefixes and suffixes) to form words.
For example, the prefix “ph-“ means “beyond,” so ph’shugg means “beyond the earth.”
The Cityspeak, the language spoken by the inhabitants of Los Angeles in Blade Runner (1982), was creates, in large part, by Edward James Olmos, the actor who played Gaff in the film.
Cityspeak is a mix of French, Chinese, Japanese, and Hungarian, and Gaff speaks it more than any other character.
In fact, Olmos’s talent earn him a larger part in the story than originally plan.
Klingon is speak by the people of the same name in the Star Trek universe.
Director Leonard Nimoy and producer Harve Bennett want to further define this language for their movie Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), so they ask linguist Marc Okrand to expand it.
The majority of Klingon sounds come from the back of the throat and were deliberately design to be very difficult for humans to pronounce.
Dothraki was create by linguist and conlanger David J. Peterson for the HBO series Game of Thrones.
Author George R.R. Martin had not develop it much in his novels, so Peterson use the few elements found in the books to design a much more complete system of expression for the TV series.
He drew inspiration from real languages, such as Russian, Turkish, Estonian, Inuktitut, and Swahili.
Created by linguist Nick Farmer, Lang Belta (or Belter Creole) is spoken by inhabitants of the asteroid belt in the SyFy series The Expanse.
In addition to combining several existing languages, it includes a series of meaningful gestures that help people dress in spacesuits and unable to speak to each other verbally to communicate better.
Na’vi was develop by linguist Paul R. Frommer for the James Cameron film Avatar (2009).
Strongly influence by Maori, an indigenous New Zealand language.
Lapine was create by author Richard Adams for his novel Watership Down (1972).
It’s spoken by a community of rabbits (”Lapine” comes from the French word for “rabbit”) and primarily consists of vocabulary words used to identify various objects.
Adams has admit to not giving his language a predefined structure.
“I just constructed Lapine as I went—when the rabbits needed a word for something, so did I.”
Dovahzul is spoken by dragons in the video game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011).
Apart from a few exceptions, its structure is almost identical to that of English.
This language drew inspiration from cuneiform, the world’s first form of writing base on wedge-shaped symbols.
Alienese also calls as alien languages can be find in the animate series Futurama.
It’s not so much a language, as a written code that, when deciphered, leads to English.
Its first version was a simple character substitution, while a second version turn out to be much more complicated.
The series’ creator develop Alienese as a sort of challenge to viewers.
He went on to design a more comprehensive third version, but its complexity prevent its release.
It took nearly 50 years and close to a hundred people to create Lojban,
a simple, universal language that’s free of exceptions and based on logic.
Lojban was design to facilitate communication with computers of the future.
Its logo was develop in 1990 by Guy Garnett.
This language represents a linguistic utopia.
Created by Suzette Haden Elgin for her feminist science-fiction trilogy Native Tongue, Láadan
aims to provide “women with a language capable of expressing their specific experience of life and the world.”
The author even claims to have design it as a test to confirm several hypotheses (linguistic relativity, for instance).
The Tolkien estate should be receiving royalties from linguistic departments.
Many who enter this field do so after being impress by the genius of J.R.R. Tolkien.
The author create not just one language, but many, with their evolutions, social variations, and internal histories.
The most popular is undoubtedly Sindarin.