Archive for the ‘Conlangs’ Category

Klingon or Esperanto?

February 18, 2016

Recently heard a rumor that Klingon had surpassed Esperanto as the most commonly spoken conlang (constructed language, sometimes called artificial language). This is a massively unlikely possibility, for reasons sketched in the Wikipedia article on Marc Okrand’s Klingon language, Meanwhile, Esperanto flourishes as a second language in large communities of users around the world, and new Esperanto translations of literature continue to appear. (I’m not an Esperantist, but a number of my friends and academic colleagues are.)


Two from BZ

February 10, 2015

I don’t usually pass on postings from other blogs, but on the 5th Ben Zimmer blogged two notable things on Language Log that are worth drawing attention to: one on an amazing headline from Bloomberg News and a death notice for Suzette Haden Elgin.


On the conlang patrol

October 15, 2014

Lee Tucker on Facebook yesterday:

I must be going mad Arnold Zwicky. I just read an article that included the phrase “voiceless uvular ejective affricate.” For the record, I flinched.

That article would “Utopian for Beginners: An amateur linguist loses control of the language he invented” by Joshua Foer in the 12/24/12 New Yorker, where we read:

More than nine hundred languages have been invented since Lingua Ignota, and almost all have foundered. “The history of invented languages is, for the most part, a history of failure,” Arika Okrent, the author of  [In the Land of Invented Languages (2009)], writes. Many of the most spectacular flops have been languages, like Ithkuil, that attempt to hold a perfect mirror up to reality.

Ithkuil is a conlang (constructed language), very much in the spirit of the 17th century. And yes, it has a mind-boggling assortment of phonemes, especially consonant phonemes.