Saturday, June 05, 2010

Constructed Languages...

Good Evening:

As I try to adapt to Life After Birthing, aka Life With A Newborn, I find myself thinking about the use of language in my roleplaying games. While I tend to use regional languages for my games, I find myself enamored by the constructed languages used in various sword & planet novels, such as the Barsoomian tongue in Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars series. When I ran my own planetary romance campaign, I created my own language for the world of Samardan. That was how I found out about constructed languages or conlangs.

Conceptually, it doesn't take much to create a fully functional conlang. For an example of what it takes to properly communicate, check out the concept of Basic English. There are some great websites to help those looking to explore this interesting avenue of world building, including the Language Creation Society, How To Create A Language and my personal favorite, The Language Construction Kit.

Don't expect to get everyone speaking a new language you've created. However, conlangs do offer you the chance to create a unique flavor. Even simply naming old monsters using your new naming system, or implementing new titles of nobility and naming conventions, can make your world stand out, even if there is no difference in your campaign or setting in terms of rules or other elements. For example, Middle Earth and Dragonlance both have their own versions of the Elven language, and fans of either setting will claim that their elven conlang variants are "real Elven." Characters are named using these conlangs, and the flavor of each language creates a distinctive flavor that says "this is an elven name" in both settings. If you enjoy highly detailed world building, you can achieve the same thing in your own campaigns through the use of your own conlang.

If nothing else, reading a little bit on the subject may help you develop the cultures of your own setting just a little.

Hope This Helps,


Brian Barker said...

Personally I'll stick with Esperanto.

Apart from having become a living language, it's in growing international use.

Your readers may also be interested in

Flynn said...

Another resource for constructed languages used for naming can be found here:

Hope This Helps,