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500 constructed languages.
July 7, 2009 3:03 PM   Subscribe

Amabil amico, Con grand satisfaction mi ha lect tei letter de le mundolingue. Arika Okrent, author of the new book In The Land of Invented Languages, lists 500 constructed languages, from the well-known (Esperanto, Volapuk, Loglan) to the utterly obscure (Neulatein, Rosentalographia, Mundolingue.) MetaFilter's own languagehat reviews the book. Okrent writes about Klingonophones in Slate. Alternatively, you might choose to learn not to speak Esperanto. Previously on MetaFilter, all you wanted to know about Loglan/Lojban but were too syntactically ambiguous to ask.
posted by escabeche (30 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cool. It's always good to see a friend credited for inventing a language.
posted by In The Annex at 3:08 PM on July 7, 2009


As a kid I always wanted to start my own religion, but I decided that I probably needed my own language to begin with. I never got beyond picking the triangle as one of my "symbols".
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 3:31 PM on July 7, 2009


As a kid I always wanted to start my own religion, but I decided that I probably needed my own language to begin with. I never got beyond picking the triangle as one of my "symbols".

You know, the Greek bits in the bible have a lot of triangles in them; are you sure you didn't write those?
posted by Sys Rq at 3:34 PM on July 7, 2009


Previously: An index to 1,696 constructed languages.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:34 PM on July 7, 2009


Can't be that hard; Stanley Fish gets each of his freshman writing students to invent a language every year!
posted by yoink at 3:35 PM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Blah blah "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" blah blah Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis blah blah glossolalia blah blah Marain.
posted by infinitewindow at 3:36 PM on July 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think you meant "Blah bleh 'Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius' blah blahda Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis blah blah glossolalia blar blah Marain."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:00 PM on July 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh word, invented languages are so cool, will look out for that book, or ask for it as a birthday present. But how could you leave out a link to Zompist's Language Construction Kit? You know, if you're going to inspire people to make their own language, least you could do is give a hand up. (Oh, and respect for linking to Xibalba, yay!)


I used to play a game with friends trying to describe everything in English but without using French or Latin derived words. If you couldn't think of an already existing substitute word, then you had to make a new one up from bits of English that described whatever it was. I don't know if you could call it a constructed language, but when you took it to extremes it was hardly recognizable as English.
posted by Sova at 4:11 PM on July 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sova, you might like Altutonish.
posted by escabeche at 4:33 PM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you couldn't think of an already existing substitute word, then you had to make a new one up from bits of English that described whatever it was.

Sounds like Gorilla Sign Language.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:36 PM on July 7, 2009


This is a really well-written book. I tagged it as a beachread on my Twitter reviews--that's how accessible it is. Accessible, but not dumbed down at all. Do not miss it if you're interested in this topic.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:41 PM on July 7, 2009


Okrent's book is made of awesome, and way kinder to auxlangers than we probably deserve. It's totally bizarre when you read an actual account of the birth of a listserv that you've been a member of for years in a historical account.

I would recommend a look at Ygyde for a laugh. It's sort of at that bizarre point where a philosophical language meets an attempt at an auxiliary language, and we were bombarded for months by its creator with outlandish claims as to how amazing this language was. The hubris to imagine that, sooner than later, everyone would be speaking your language that "crams record number of different meanings into two letters long morphemes" is staggering to say the least.
posted by graymouser at 4:54 PM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is it possible to have any dicussion about invented languages without mentioning Boontling? I, for one, think not.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:05 PM on July 7, 2009


I'm also shocked (shocked, I say!) that there was no reference to Unamunda! (PDF link)
posted by StrangeTikiGod at 5:09 PM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Blah blah "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" blah blah Sapir-Whorf....
I think you meant "Blah bleh 'Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius' blah blahda Sapir-Whorf...


Bloody prescriptivists.
posted by rokusan at 5:27 PM on July 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


Fun conlang fact: In the 1950s and '60s, thousands of journal articles were published together with "summarios in Interlingua," abstracts written in the constructed language Interlingua.
posted by gubo at 5:45 PM on July 7, 2009


I can't tell you how much I love this post. Estas reale mirindega.
posted by blucevalo at 6:06 PM on July 7, 2009


The author gave a rather kick ass interview on 'On Point' last month.
posted by farishta at 6:18 PM on July 7, 2009


I can't tell you how much I love this post.

Ditto. My favorite conlang:
http://www.eskimo.com/~ram/lexical_semantics.html
(I've been meaning to do an FPP on this and related and sundry items at some point.)

Some great (shorter) essays on language construction:
http://www.eskimo.com/~ram/essays.html
posted by zeek321 at 6:46 PM on July 7, 2009


Arika Okrent, author of the new book In The Land of Invented Languages

M. Okrand, creator of Klingon

One of these must be the proto-Indo-European root of the other.
posted by dhartung at 6:46 PM on July 7, 2009


Sova — sounds like Anglish.
posted by Lexica at 7:28 PM on July 7, 2009


Hundreds of scientific abstracts or not, the most fun text in Interlingua is probably the decent translation of Megatokyo into the language. Of course, this being Interlingua, you probably shouldn't have to even learn it before diving in. (Your Mileage May Vary.)
posted by graymouser at 7:34 PM on July 7, 2009


When I was in third grade I had this teacher who told us he was going to teach us another language--Esparanto! I still remember a little.

I've since read that the multi-billionaire George Soros is a native speaker of Esparanto. Yes, you read that right. Esparanto is his first language! He had a goofy father who was into the whole culture.

So I'm thinking that maybe I ought to take it up again. Must be something to it.
posted by eye of newt at 8:28 PM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Esparanto/Esperanto
posted by eye of newt at 8:31 PM on July 7, 2009


I also want to add, and this also fits in four FPPs down, that William Shatner, before he made Star Trek, made a movie calld Incubus, filmed entirely in Esperanto.

I wonder if George Soros dreams in Esperanto?
posted by eye of newt at 8:36 PM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


How could I miss Astro Zombie's review of Incubus?
posted by eye of newt at 8:43 PM on July 7, 2009


Excellent. 3 minutes after reading hyperenthusiastic reviews of a book on a subject of which I am fond, I've got a copy. (The book is available on Kindle.)
posted by jimfl at 8:49 PM on July 7, 2009


I used to play a game with friends trying to describe everything in English but without using French or Latin derived words

Uncleftish Beholding
posted by DU at 5:32 AM on July 8, 2009


It was a pretty good book, competently written. I enjoyed it, but wish I'd checked it out of the library rather than buying it (my library didn't have it).

I did really enjoy that French universal language, with music, gestures, finger spelling, etc. That was really cool.
posted by QIbHom at 7:33 AM on July 9, 2009


I picked up the book on the strength of this MeFi post— I enjoyed it a lot.
posted by hattifattener at 12:38 AM on July 22, 2009


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