Archive for Conlanging

Language extinction and language creation

I just thought of a (not so) funny phenomenon that amounts to a linguistic paradox.  Namely, as languages die out, one after another, so do they arise at a steady rate. This has been a verity throughout human history.  So inexorable are these trajectories that a clever mathematician might be able to work out an equation to account for them.

The cycle of language saṃsāra संसार is ceaseless.

We know well enough how languages disappear — usually forever (see "Archive for Language extinction"; see also here).  We have also witnessed the birth of languages, which happens for a variety of reasons (social, political, linguistic, etc.).  Increasingly, however, artificial languages are being invented in astonishing numbers.

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Hanziyu: The (cursed) Conlang of Characters

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Study the linguistics of Game of Thrones

At the instant of posting this, there are only 18 places remaining out of the 40 maximum in Linguistics 183 001, David Peterson's summer session course at UC Berkeley on "The Linguistics of Game of Thrones and the Art of Language Invention." 3 to 5 p.m., Mon/Tue/Wed/Thu, May 22 to June 30.

It's not a 'Structure of Dothraki' course; it's about how you go about inventing languages (Peterson has done this for film and TV several times, and has been paid money for it).

Hurry to sign up. And don't ever let me hear you saying that linguistics doesn't provide fun things to do.

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"Language is messy," says our new linguistic hero

In the new trailer for the science-fiction movie "Arrival," Amy Adams stars as Dr. Louise Banks, some sort of mastermind in xenolinguistics. "You're at the top of everyone's list when it comes to translations," says Colonel Weber (Forrest Whitaker), before whisking her off to meet the newly arrived aliens she's tasked with interpreting. She seems to get on with them just fine, while acknowledging that "language is messy."

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The Finn-donesian of "The Force Awakens"

Tasu LeechFor my language column in the Wall Street Journal this week, I describe how some alien-speak in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" ended up being created by a young Finnish YouTube sensation, tailor-made for Indonesian actors. We could call it "Finn-donesian," though the character Finn doesn't actually speak it. Rather, the dialogue was designed for the Kanjiklub gang, who briefly face off against Han Solo and Chewbacca on a space freighter packed with slithery Rathtars.

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Linguistics Goes to Hollywood

On April 19, the Linguistics Department at UC San Diego (aka the Extreme Southwest Wing of Language Log Plaza) hosted a special event as part of our celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Department.

The event was entitled Linguistics Goes to Hollywood: Creators of the Klingon, Na'vi and Dothraki Languages, a panel discussion featuring Marc Okrand (creator of Klingon, Star Trek), Paul Frommer (creator of Na'vi, Avatar), and David J. Peterson (creator of Dothraki, Game of Thrones).

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One conlang to rule them all

In Non Sequitur for 10/26/2011, Danae reveals to Lucy her latest plan for world domination peace:

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