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What Are Conlangs?

Languages, chances are you know at least one. You’d have to, in order to read this. English, like most if not all of the languages you’ve heard of, and every* language with native speakers, is a natural language, or a natlang. One that was not intentionally created.

So then what’s a conlang?

Conlang is short for constructed language. Wikipedia defines it as “a language whose phonology, grammar, and vocabulary, instead of having developed naturally, are consciously devised for some purpose, which may include being devised for a work of fiction.”

Tell me more.

Conlangs can be divided into three main catagories:

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  1. Engineered languages
  2. Auxiliary languages
  3. and Artistic languages

Engineered languages are made for the purpose of testing or experimenting with linguistics, logic, or philosophy. Auxiliary languages are meant to be used in international communications. And finally, artistic languages are for creative use, such as in fictional worlds, or hypothetical alternate universes.

What are some examples of Conlangs?

  • Esperanto – An auxiliary language created in 1887. It is the most widely spoken language of its kind, with around 2 million speakers world wide. And despite my earlier statement that every language with native speakers is a natlang, here lies the one exception to the rule. Esperanto is estimated to have one thousand native speakers, children who were raised speaking Esperanto as well as the local language.
  • Elvish Languages – A group of artlangs created by J R.R. Tolkien, which are spoken by the elves in Middle Earth
  • Klingon – The language of the Klingon from Star Trek
  • Na’vi – From the Avatar movies, this language is spoken by the Na’vi

Anything else?

Conlanging is a really interesting topic. If you’re curious, there are plently of articles and videos out there teaching about conlangs, people talking about their own, how to make conlangs. Duolingo even teaches a few conlangs: Esperanto, Klingon, and High Valyrian

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About the Contributor
Kennedy Keuning, Journalist

               I joined the Golden Times because I like to write lots of things but I'm usually pretty busy. I also like to draw, play video games, and make up scenarios and stories in my head. I'm a 10th grade AICE student. I am also a cat, dog, snake, and guinea pig appreciator. Also, contrary to the picture shown, I do not have purple hair (anymore).

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