Esperanto? Lojban? Quenya? Bah, make you own!
December 6, 2010 9:00 AM   Subscribe

If you've ever wanted to created your own conlang, or are simply interested in how languages work, the Language Construction Kit might be a good place to start.

Many more resources are also available from the homepage of the Language Creation Society.

(On preview, it looks like the LCK was linked a long time ago. Hopefully it's been long enough that a revisit isn't out of order. Plus, there's now a print version available.
posted by kmz (10 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Oh HA. I just bought the Planet Construction Kit.

Zompist is good people. His entire website is worth a look.
posted by The Whelk at 9:05 AM on December 6, 2010

An oldie but a goodie. For an idea of what not to do, check out this extensive criticism of Esperanto.
posted by theodolite at 9:12 AM on December 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

chuntol florex?
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:17 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

art shall be constructed, grab the girders beam high and toss string and fusion glue.
posted by clavdivs at 9:33 AM on December 6, 2010

When I was being bullied around to be as realistic as possible when creating game worlds I used this to make the languages. (Now I just create worlds are that are maximum fun and only as "read" as I need them to be. I even remember finding it from the original post you linked to.

I still find it handy if I want to create a unique sounding set of proper names for something - create the rules with this and then create a script in the Ever Changing Book of Names.
posted by charred husk at 9:47 AM on December 6, 2010

I found this a few months ago while reading the excellent In the Land of Invented Languages.
posted by DU at 9:53 AM on December 6, 2010

No Lex and Yacc?
posted by benzenedream at 10:25 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

I only recently learned that aircraft maintenance instructions are written in Simplified English, a precisely-defined constructed language which can easily be learned and automatically translated into other languages. It may be the most widely used conlang, or at least the most widely used one that has a formal grammar.

The automatic translation aspect is particularly interesting -- English-speaking engineers can write instructions with special software that checks that their grammar and vocabulary fits the precise rules of the language, and then know that it can be instantly and correctly translated into every other language.

It'd be fascinating if a novel could be written in such a language, although I don't think it could include any poetry!
posted by miyabo at 11:34 AM on December 6, 2010 [6 favorites]

Why do constructed languages get a flag?
posted by doublehappy at 6:46 PM on December 6, 2010

"Simplified English", if you're referring to what I think, is fairly problematic. Cf. John Clifford's discussions of "semantic primes"; reducing the size of vocabulary just increases the number of arbitrary fixed recombinations one has to remember, sneaking it in de facto. Toki Pona is a good example.

Re automatic translation, I highly recommend reading Lexical Semantics of a Machine Translation Interlingua by Rick Morneau (as well as his other essays, and Hofstdater's Le Ton Beau de Marot.

(tl;dr: it's really hard.)

Why not get a flag? It came up on list, people decided to make one, and voila we now have a flag. (Incidentally, the LCS may be ordering a bunch of full size cloth ones soon; email us if you want one. They'll probably cost ~$25 + shipping.)

full disclosure: I am founder & president of the Language Creation Society.
posted by saizai at 7:55 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

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