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Constructed language
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Constructed language

An artificial or constructed language, colloquially known as a conlang, is a language whose vocabulary and grammar were specifically devised by an individual or small group, rather than having naturally evolved as part of a culture like a natural language. Some, like natural languages, are designed for use in human communication (usually to function as international auxiliary languages), but others are created for use in fiction, linguistic experimentation, secrecy (codes), or simply for the sake of it. Conlangers differ on whether linguistic creation of the latter kind is to be considered an art or a hobby. These languages are sometimes associated with conworlds.

The term planned language is also used, when referring to international auxiliary languages, and by those who may object to the more common term "artificial". Speakers of Esperanto, for example, have argued that "Esperanto is an artificial language like an automobile is an artificial horse".

Constructed languages are often divided into a priori languages, in which much of the grammar and vocabulary is created from scratch (using the author's imagination or automatic computational means), and a posteriori languages, where the grammar and vocabulary are derived from one or more natural languages. A posteriori planned languages can be further divided into naturalistic planned languages - which closely follow the natural languages from which they are patterned in order to minimize learning time - and schematic planned languages, whose features are deliberately simplified or synthesized from various sources.

Fictional and experimental languages can also be naturalistic, in the sense that they are meant to sound natural and, if derived a posteriori, they try to follow natural rules of phonological, lexical and grammatical change. Since these languages are not usually intended for easy learning or communication, a naturalistic fictional language tends to be more difficult and complex, not less (because it tries to mimic common behaviours of natural languages such as irregular verbs and nouns, complicated phonological rules, etc.).

In light of the above, most constructed languages can broadly be divided as follows:

A constructed language can have "native" speakers, if children learn it at an early age from parents who have learned the language. Esperanto has a considerable number of native speakers, variously estimated to be between 200 and 2000. A member of the Klingon Language Institute, d'Armond Speers, attempted to raise his son as a native Klingon speaker, but found that at that time the Klingon vocabulary was not quite large enough to express the large number of objects normally found in the home, such as "table" or "bottle".

Proponents of particular constructed languages often have many reasons for using them. Among these, the famous but disputed Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is often cited; this claims that the language one speaks essentially limits (or expands) the way in which one thinks. Thus, a "better" language should allow the speaker to reach some elevated level of intelligence, or to encompass more diverse points of view. Many question the validity of this claim.

Table of contents
1 Auxiliary languages
2 Artistic languages
3 Logical languages
4 Other conlang types
5 See also
6 References
7 External links

Auxiliary languages

Historic auxlangs

Languages published before 1952.

Recent auxlangs

Languages published from 1952 on; some of these were only published online.

Artistic languages

Languages of fictional worlds and peoples

Professional artlangs

Languages that were professionally published in books or multimedia.

See also

Amateur artlangs

Languages published only on the Web:

Logical languages

Human-usable loglangs

Knowledge-representation loglangs

Other conlang types

Non-verbal languages

Language games

See also

References

External links

Communities

How To

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