Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by IIIIIIIIII, Sep 10, 2015.
For fun... not for mimicking the Esperanto or Signs Language purposes.
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People sometimes invent a language for fun. But people also invent them in order to make it difficult for outsiders to understand. This type of "secret language" is called a cant. The best-known one is Shelta, the language of the Irish Travellers, a somewhat nomadic people who have a lot in common with the Gypsies and have even included some of the words from their Indic language in their own cant.
The vocabulary is a combination of English, Gaelic and (as I noted above) some Gypsy words--although they often jumble the syllables to thwart comprehension by outsiders. The grammar uses a pattern similar to English. "Moniker" is one of several Shelta words that are used as slang in English.
Actually, the best-known cant is Pig Latin. But it's not very effective because almost everyone (above age seven) can understand it. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
As for creating a genuine language for other purposes, Esperanto was invented in the late 19th century; Volapük and Interlingua were created in the 20th.
Esperanto has an extremely simple grammatical structure that allows (or actually demands) the creation of compound words. This reduces the vocabulary to be learned, so most people can learn to speak more-or-less fluently in six months. The biggest problem is that all those compound words are pretty long, so it's hard to speak quickly. Moreover, it doesn't have many synonyms so Esperanto poetry is not very flowery.
Volapük is similar, but the words are a bit shorter. The biggest problem is that it uses a lot of Germanic vowels like ü and ö, that are difficult for many people to pronounce.
Interlingua was originally named "Latine sine flexiones," i.e., "Latin without inflections." It really is Latin, but without all the tongue-twisting grammatical endings. It's surprisingly easy for people who speak European languages to read since most of those languages have many words of Latin origin. But unless you actually know Latin, you won't be able to write it. For a few years, a couple of scholarly magazines included a couple of pages in Interlingua, introducing some of the most important articles.
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Klingon and Elven (from Lord of the Rings).
Thats what i was going to say.Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
Dothraki from Game of Thrones.
Lewis: Hlab-Eribol-ef-Cordi, language of the Fields of Arbol.
From the Perelandra Trilogy.
Like the other fellows who answered this post, my views are more positive and would relate more kindly to a person more alike to JRR Tolkien Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
Sure. But I see a significant difference between inventing a language for people to use in communication (even if the language is a cant, deliberately devised to "avoid communicating" with outsiders), and inventing a language that is only used by characters in a book or movie (and a cadre of dedicated fans).
I don't hold Elvish and Klingon up against Esperanto and Interlingua.
Is the difference really that significant, though?
It is not common, but not rare either, for twins to create their own language. Usually forgotten as they need to use their parent's language. A few have been studied and do seem to support Chomsky's views about innate language structures.
I had heard (although it's probably apocryphal, or anecdotal, or something) that JRR Tolkien was foremost a linguist and crated the language first, and then built the world of Middle-Earth afterwards as somewhere for his language to exist.
If you're making up a clever new language that will only be spoken by people (or other creatures) in a book or TV show that you have created, you have free rein. You will create all of the dialog without having to worry about people having to learn to think in the language, use the grammar correctly, and understand each other. Your only real problems will be training them to pronounce it correctly, including pitch and pauses. They won't even really need to know what they're saying, although it would certainly make it easier if they do.
But if you're designing a language for people to actually use, it has to be logical, the grammar has to be not too easy to learn, and you're going to have to create a vocabulary. This is a LOT more work!
Zamenhof spent several years perfecting Esperanto. I'm sure that Klingon went from general design to actual dialog in a "Star Trek" episode in a few weeks.
As for Elvish, Tolkien was a strange fellow who probably imagined his most dedicated readers trying to speak it among themselves.
Ironically, it's Klingon that has caught on. There's a modest-size community of people who do their best to learn it and practice it. I know there are people who take Elvish seriously, but I wonder how many and how seriously. In both cases, I'd be surprised if the grammar and syntax aren't very close to English.
Actually Quenya is based on Finnish and Sindarin is based on Welsh.
He certainly chose some difficult languages to work with. Welsh is a Celtic language closely related to Cornish and Breton, but not as close to Gaelic.
Finnish isn't even an Indo-European language. It's a member of the Uralic family, related to Hungarian, Saami ("Lapp"), and several of the minority languages in Russia and the former Soviet republics.
I had no idea about the origin of those languages, but that's pretty cool. JRR Tolkien was definitely a smart guy. He was an Oxford professor of Philology.
JRR was great, we miss Gandalf the White =]
My Polish wife and I often speak a language not only mixed up of Polish and English words, but brand new words which combine bits of both languages Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
It is very useful when we are speaking to each other and don't want either of our families/friends to fully understand what we are saying Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
When this happens on a larger scale, it's called a creole. There is a French/English creole in Louisiana.
And when it's used this way it's called a cant. The most well-developed cant is Shelta, the speech of the Irish Travellers, formed from a mixture of English and Gaelic words, often with the syllables rearranged, with a few Roma words they picked up after finding themselves often in camps neighboring the Gypsies.
The most-widely known cant is Pig Latin, but since everyone over the age of five can understand it, it's not very useful anymore. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
Interesting, I always thought Creole was specific to the French/English variant. The way Creole cuisine is. I see in the context of language that it is more general.
Separate names with a comma.