Jörg Rhiemeier's Conlang Page

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What is a conlang?

Conlang is an abbreviation for constructed language. Another frequently used word is artificial language. A conlang is thus a language for human (or other sapient) beings that was designed by a single individual or a work group, rather than being the product of centuries of cultural evolution as "natural" languages (natlangs) are. Programming languages and similar systems, though undoubtedly constructed, are usually not considered conlangs, because they aren't languages in a stricter sense of the word.

You probably already heard of Esperanto, or of Quenya. These two languages are the most famous representatives of the two main branches of conlanging. Esperanto is an international auxiliary language, or IAL or auxlang in short; it is meant as a tool for international communication. Quenya is an artistic language, or artlang in short; it is a piece of art. While you can learn and use it, it is not meant as a tool for international communication, but exists for the sake of itself. In the case of Quenya, it is the national language of a fictional nation (the High Elves of Middle-earth); this is often the case with artlangs, hence such languages are sometimes referred to as fictional languages.

The line between auxlangs and artlangs is not always as clear as one may think. There are languages that lie somewhere in between. And there is indeed a third pole on the continuum. These are the engineered languages or engelangs: languages designed to meet objectively testable criteria (while the design criteria of artlangs are more subjective notions).

Auxlangers and artlangers tend to dislike each other. Artlangers are for the most part put off by the proselytizing characteristic of the auxlang movement and the constant debate which of the various proposals is best. Auxlangers, on the other hand, consider artlanging a geekish waste of useful resources - they say that instead of desiging languages nobody would ever speak, the artlangers should help promoting an international auxiliary language.

My own interest lies primarily in artlangs, especially naturalistic ones (i.e., ones that resemble natural languages in their richness and complexity). In my opinion, the race between the auxlangs is already as good as decided - and English is the winner.

Essays and resources

The art of conlanging

Natlangs

Miscellaneous

My conlangs

Lostlangs

Hesperic languages

Indo-European languages

Miscellaneous

Languages of Akana

Akana is a collaborative conworld to which I have contributed three languages.

Links

Note: I am not responsible for the contents of the sites listed here.

General resources

Linguistics

Community

Selected conlangs

Artlangs

Engelangs

Auxlangs


© 2007-2013 Jörg Rhiemeier
Last update: 2013-12-21