By: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarian
Everyone has been busy lately, and I have been no exception to this. But instead of cross country and soccer practices, I have been promoting the 3D design competition and practicing for upcoming presentations.
While it’s great to be busy, it’s also important to leave time for your hobbies. Weirdly enough, language has long been an interest of mine. Once upon a time, I wanted to be a linguist, and even minored in linguistics in college. I really did love it, especially syntax, which is sentence structure. Looking at my career options, nothing really appealed to me. Librarianship presented itself, and *POOF!* a librarian was born.
Even though I’m a librarian now, I still have a tiny bit of a linguist inside. That part isn’t trying to break free or anything, but it is delighted when fed linguistic information. I recently encountered an article from Wired Magazine that talks about “conlangs,” which are constructed languages. I love conlangs, and even did a huge presentation on them in library school. This article inspired me to share with you my wealth of knowledge in conlangs.
Conlangs are created to give depth and authenticity to a fictional story and world. The new world must be consistent, and comparing it to the human world may help in the creation process. The creatures living in your world must be considered as well. Do they have the same speaking tools as a human? If so, pronunciation must be considered. For example, you don’t see words from the English language often combining the sounds “r” and “k” consecutively at the beginning of a word, but you can at the end. Sayings and slangs need to be thought of, too. A company used the slogan “Turn it Loose” which when translated to Spanish meant “Suffer from Diarrhea”, which isn’t really convincing when trying to get someone to buy something. Look at other popular conlangs for inspiration!
The television show “Futurama” made a language called “Alienese” that was so easily cracked, they had to think of a second version! (Which was also deciphered)
What would your conlang be? Who would speak it? Would it sound like a Klingon or an Elf?
More Fun Conlang Facts:
- The computer game “The Sims” uses “Simlish” which is made up of garbled Ukrainian, French, Latin, Finnish, English, and Tagalog.
- There is a Klingon Language Institute that teaches all things Klingon!
- “Parseltongue” is named after “an old word for someone who has a problem with the mouth.” There is no written form of this language.
- There is a whole website dedicated to learning the conlang “Na’vi” from Avatar, including a translator!
- You should also take advantage of all kinds of Ted classes, including one featured on conlangs!