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DominicX's avatar

Have you ever created your own language?

Asked by DominicX (28762points) August 14th, 2010

I know this is a long shot because this is not a very common thing to do, but has anyone here ever created or attempted to create their own language?

It’s been something I’ve been working on for several years. It never seems to end because as I take more linguistics classes, I think of more and more to change and add. I haven’t done all that much yet towards my constructed language, but I have to say it is one of the most interesting and enjoyable things I have ever done.

Has anyone else done this kind of thing or I am really just that far out there? :P

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12 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

I did when I was a youngster, age 10 or younger. The structure was essentially basic English grammar with invented vocabulary substituted for ordinary English words. It wasn’t enough that I made it up; I made my friends learn it as I went along, drilled them in it, and insisted that we speak in it at least part of the time, especially when parents were present. It bugged the hell out of the parents.

It never actually got very complex, and after a while the fun wore off and we forgot about it. It never crossed my mind that language wouldn’t have the same fascination for others that it had for me. And I was always the one with the ideas for games, so they just went along with whatever I came up with.

In high school I developed my own writing system. It was strictly English, but with my own characters and with certain special conventions so that it was mostly but not entirely a straight symbol substitution. That was to defeat a purely cryptogram-solving approach to breaking it. I became practiced enough in it to be able to read and write in this code as fluently as in the Roman alphabet. Also I created symbols with a kind of stylistic consistency so that it had an integrity of design and was very pretty to look at.

I can no longer read the diaries I wrote in it, but I’d be able to decode it pretty quickly if I sat down and worked on it.

I know this is different from what you’re doing, @DominicX. You are probably attempting something more like what Tolkien was up to, correct? But it isn’t altogether unrelated.

jesienne's avatar

hahaha I do hope everyone should have the “right” to create their own language. Well I think although people speak the same language for communication all the time they are still a million miles away from understanding each other.

lapilofu's avatar

When I was in 5th grade I thought I’d create a language—but I got too caught up in the minutia of the concept and logic of the language that it never really got off the ground.

I haven’t really worked on anything like it since, but the idea still holds a certain appeal for me.

DominicX's avatar


That’s very interesting. I’ve tried creating my own writing system, but then I can’t use it on the computer and that’s what I really like doing.

And yeah, I’m probably doing more like what Tolkien did. I’m planning out the language in a grammar-book format on Microsoft Word. It sounds a little dull, but I absolutely love doing it. I just keep adding and changing things. Makes it difficult for it to really move forward, but I can write basic sentences in it. :)

Jeruba's avatar

@DominicX, have you looked at those customizable software applications that allow you to create your own fonts?—for instance, so you can make a font of your own handwriting? You could certainly use one of those with the characters of your choice to create a writing system, and it wouldn’t be any weirder than the “Symbol” font’s half-assed matching of the Roman alphabet to the Greek.

You could even use a graphics program to design your characters so they have the consistency of line and stroke and proportion that a properly designed font has. Wouldn’t be so easy, but it’s doable. People create new fonts all the time.

ratboy's avatar

Yes, but I don’t understand much of what I write or say.

Frenchfry's avatar

When I was younger we made a code to write and pass note with…. It was pretty cool. We would sit there and decipher what we wrote. Then laugh about it.

perspicacious's avatar

I didn’t create a language but I learned one based on English in high school that only four of us knew. It was great fun using it in groups and around our parents. I still can speak and understand it well and my sister and I use it occasionally for a laugh.

downtide's avatar

Apparently when I was a pre-schooler I had my own invented words for certain objects, but that’s as close as I came to inventing a language.

garydale's avatar

I thought about it before. When I was a kid my friends and I spoke Pig Latin and other “code laguages”. I speak Esperanto and have looked into other languages so maybe that is enough. Do you speak any international planned languages?

hug_of_war's avatar

Yes I have several languages, partially documented on my blog. I have been making sophisticated languages since I was 14 (with advanced grammars and phonologies) but also had a more childish language with my friend when I was 7. Most of mine have strong celtic influences. I have my own writing systems and cultures to go along with each as well as regional dialects and differentiation between registers (“proper“way of speaking, when talking to friends, when talking to elders).

I also have some knowledge of Tolkien’s languages.

stardust's avatar

Not a language as such. When I was a kid, my friends and I used to talk in code and make up new words as we went along. It provided many hours of entertainment for us :)

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