Conlanging, the art of creating a language, is a very in-depth, but fun, process. It is considered an art form by many. The people who conlang are called conlangers. Conlanging isn't just a hobby, though. You can learn a lot about how real languages work by creating conlangs and improving them.
Why construct a conlang?
- To learn about linguistics.
- To explore how the way we speak affects the way we think.
- To have private conversations with trusted individuals.
- For personal diaries.
- For use as a Lingua Franca. (Famously, Esperanto.)
- For use in a work of fiction. (Famously, Klingon.)
- For the sheer pleasure of artistic creation. (Famously, Tolkien's Elvish languages — which inspired him to works of fiction.)
What are the different types of conlangs?
- Engineered Languages (engelangs) — designed to meet objective criteria.
- Logical Languages (loglangs).
- Philosophical Languages.
- Auxiliary Languages (auxlangs) — designed as common second languages for people with different native languages.
- International Auxiliary Languages (IALs).
- Artistic Languages (artlangs) — designed as works of art.
Since each kind of conlang has a different goal, each involves a different process of creation.
The most common conlangs are artlangs. Many conlangers create a conworld to go with their conlang. They create a conrace, with a conculture. The process of creating a conworld is outlined in the Conworld wikibook.
The different types of conlangs will be discussed, with examples, in the next section.
Where do I start?
This wikibook is designed to help you, the conlanger, create a fairly involved conlang. It will take you step-by-step through the process.
As you work through the steps outlined in this wikibook, you will probably have numerous questions. A good central place to find resources, including community resources like mailing lists and blogs, is the Language Creation Society.