Constructed Languages

Constructed Languages, or Conlangs as they are sometimes known, are basically languages that have been invented or developed by one or more people for a variety of reasons.

Perhaps the most well known language of this kind is Esperanto. It was first published in 1887 by a Pole named L.L. Zamenhof, and was always intended to be an 'Auxiliary Language', i.e. a language that could be used by people of different linguistic backgrounds for mutual communication. Although Esperanto has probably remained the most popular auxiliary language, there have been others, both before and after, which have or have had a large following.

Volapük, invented in 1879 by J.M. Schleyer, was one of the first of such languages to meet with any success, and although it was soon to be eclipsed by the much simpler Esperanto, it still has some followers today.

The twentieth century saw the introduction of many more auxiliary languages such as Ido (an offshoot of Esperanto), Novial, Occidental and Interlingua, to name but a few.

Many constructed languages have been devised specifically for fictional characters or peoples, such as the Elvish languages in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, or Klingon, spoken by the alien race of the same name in the Star Trek films.

A further category is that of languages which have been created to follow a specific theory or philosophy. Two such examples are Lojban, based on theories of logic and Láadan, created from a feminist perspective.

Finally there is the category of 'Personal Languages', created for many reasons, and here is where languages such as Xara belong.

For examples of various constructed languages, as well as some natural languages, click here to see a selection of translations of a sample sentence.

There is a wealth of information on Constructed Languages on the Internet, so please do have a look at some of the sites I've selected on the Links page.








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