- Argot or Direct Translation. The author just substituted made-up words for the words of their native language, and to translate it back you just substitute them word-for-word back (even if this would produce a "Blind Idiot" Translation in any real language). Realistically, this may be a secret language used solely to exclude others from the conversation. Results in Conveniently Precise Translations. In linguistics, this is called a relex or a relexification. It is a type of Indo-European Alien Language.
- Foreign conversion. The language is closely based on a language foreign to the audience, but only differing slightly (in either words or structure) from its derivative. May include special letters and phonemes that are not found in the native language, and require a special pronunciation guide to be spoken properly. Not the same as foreign-sounding gibberish.
- Complete original. Very rare; words, grammar, and pronunciation are made up entirely by the author. More likely to include a unique alphabet and special pronunciations. May be loosely based on a foreign language, sometimes a dead language, but even then a hard translation.
- Newspeak. A language derived from our own with limited change in the actual words, usually as an advanced form of Future Slang. Overlaps with Strange-Syntax Speaker. For the Nineteen Eighty-Four version, see Newspeak.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Crest of the Stars uses Baronh, based on a variation of ancient Japanese, and having gone through several thousand years of lingual drift into something that sounds nothing like Japanese. Its alphabet, Ath, is further based on Latin characters rather than Chinese idiograms, though some vestiges of Japanese katakana can be seen in a few of its characters. Further complicating things is the fact that Baronh spelling is non-phonetic, especially when transliterated to English (the female lead's name, which is pronounced "Lafiel", is actually spelled "Lamhirh").
- Super Dimension Fortress Macross and the other Macross shows include Zentradi. It was originally based on Japanese syntax, but drifted away as more was added to it.
- Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind has a very detailed Dorok writing system (in which Dorok dialogue is rendered, in addition to appearing on signs and buildings), but leaves out the actual language under it.
- Tintin has Syldavian and Bordurian; a conlang enthusiast attempted to analyse Syldavian into something coherent, although it turns out it's basically the Brussels dialect of Dutch/Flemish with extra letters spewed all over it. There was also the earlier Arumbayan language, also based on the Brussels dialect in the original French version, but altered to phonetically-spelt Cockney (though it's heavily disguised so as not to be obvious) in the English version.
- ElfQuest has Elvish. There's a small official dictionary in one of the encylopedias, but for the first twenty-or-so years of the series, the only way to know what the words meant was to deconstruct some of the characters' names. (Ex. "Leetah" - "healing light", "Tyleet" - "healer's gift": so "leet" apparently means "heal-".)
- The DCU has not one, but two alphabet ciphers that translate to one of 26 Roman Alphabet Letters: Kryptonian and Interlac. It's explicitly stated that English sounds different than Kryptonian (which has been hinted as vaguely Swedish sounding), which sounds different from Interlac, despite having the same amount of symbols to depict those sounds, and that each symbol matches a Roman symbol as well. Makes some sense in Interlac's case, since it could be descended from our alphabet. Some of the symbols might've been repurposed for new sounds, too; the Greek vowel letters were consonants in Phoenician. They have one non-cipher language: the language of the Indigo Lanterns. Anyway there's an official Kryptonian alphabet and an unofficial Kryptonian language page.
- Supergirl writer Steve Orlando stated -as he discussed his Supergirl (Rebirth) book- that he created Kryptonian grammar in the book, from scratch.
"If you want to translate Kryptonian, it's not just English with Kryptonian characters. There are rules here."
- C'hovite, the language of C'hou, in With Strings Attached. Mostly used for difficult-to-translate concepts, though the four don't always understand what the C'hovites are saying even when they're using plain English, thanks to their slang. Entirely a construction of the author, and has internal consistency.
- Hivefled created it's own version of Alternian; most of the words we've seen thus far have been slurs (such as mutevir, meaning slut) or proper nouns (the trolls' ship is Naelenurenna, or Mindscar). There is also Piltara, the sacred language of the Dyelus.
- Oversaturated World: The language of Sirens. Wavetongue, with its own grammar and specific words for magic, and things.
- In Harry Potter fanfiction The Parselmouth Of Gryffindor, due to the story's focus on it, Parseltongue, while still usually rendered as italicized English, is sometimes shown "as it is" and rudiments of vocabulary and grammar are beginning to surface.
Films — Animation
Films — Live Action
- The Star Trek films gave us a functional Klingon language, developed by linguist Marc Okrand, who's also responsible for the Atlantean language of Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Okrand was brought in to develop a full-fledged Klingon language for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, which was based on the Klingon phrases that appeared in the previous films.
- In fact, there are two competing Klingon languages (see also Diane Duane's Vulcan language in Literature, above). Okrand's is much more functionally extensive, but "Klingonaase", created by author John M. Ford for his novel The Final Reflection, has its fans.
- So functional indeed, that they
translatedfound the original Klingon Hamlet.
- Which is now being produced as a play by at least one theater, in the Washington DC area.
- All the Klingon spoken in every Star Trek film - from Star Trek: The Motion Picture through to the 2009 reboot - is "tlhIngan Hol", and often Okrand coached the actors himself. Unfortunately most writers in the TV series (Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) just looked up the words in the Klingon dictionary rather than using them properly, presumably due to time/money constraints.
- Linguist d'Armond Speers tried raising his child to speak Klingon as a bilingual speaker but abandoned the effort after several years, finding that the vocabulary was not extensive enough and the child abandoned speaking the language when he found only his father spoke it.
- An attempt was made to translate the Bible into Klingon, but it fell apart because the translators couldn't agree on whether to translate the peace-and-love passages of the New Testament literally, or to instead tailor them for Klingon culture.
- The Fifth Element director Luc Besson developed the "divine language" heard in the film on his own and taught it to Milla Jovovich. They had conversations in it and wrote letters to each other in it to practice.
- The Na'vi language from Avatar, developed for the film by linguist Paul Frommer.
- Frommer also created a Martian language for Disney's John Carter.
- The Lord of the Rings movies make much use of conlangs in conversations and background chorus lyrics, and while the languages were created by J. R. R. Tolkien, often they weren't developed enough, or the linguistic material published about them was lacking. The two Elvish languages used (Quenya and Sindarin) are fairly complete, and the only additions needed were in vocabulary, which was entirely based on existing roots. For Dwarvish, Black Speech and Orkish, however, linguist David Salo had to develop those languages nearly from scratchnote . Indeed, Salo's version of Dwarvish is known as "Neo-Khuzdûl"* to distinguish it from Tolkien's.
- For Thor: The Dark World, a language for the Dark Elves was developed by linguist David J. Peterson (see the Live-Action TV folder for more of his work).
- In The Dark Crystal, the Pod People speak a language of the "foreign conversion" variety. It mostly uses Serbian words (or Croatian, or Bosnian - they're very similar languages), but is pronounced with an accent more akin to Russian.
- Though it's never spoken aloud, Man of Steel features an original written Kryptonian language developed by Professor Christine Schreyer, an expert in anthropology and linguistics. The "squiggles" you see on various Kryptonian structures and clothing, including Superman's suit, are actually full phrases in Kryptonian script.
- The Blade Trilogy gives vampires their own language. While made up for the films, the book Fictional and Fantastic Languages notes that it appears to have Slavic roots with mixes of Czech and Russian.
- For the Lone Wolf series of gamebooks, Joe Dever developed the Giak language used by the Darklord armies, with a vocabulary of about 400 words, and rules of grammar for agreement of adjectives and adverbs. It was described in the source book The Magnamund Companion, and readers found that the words spoken by the Giaks in the previous gamebooks were actually translatable.
- Older Than Print, thanks to The Divine Comedy:
- In the seventh canto of Inferno, the demon Plutus speaks about Satan in an ugly language that seems to borrow from Hebrew and Greek. A damned Roman is able to understand his tongue while our living protagonist is lost to its meaning. Plutus says more after the initial sentence about Satan, but that first sentence is all that is made available to the audience.
"Pape Satàn, pape Satàn aleppe!"
- In the seventh canto of Paradiso, the saint Justinian sings of God in a divine mixture of Hebrew and Latin. Said blessed Greek is able to understand the song while our living protagonist is lost to its meaning. Justinian sings more after the first verse, but the rest of the chorus is only made available to the audience through the joy and dance described elsewhere in the Canto.
"Osanna, sanctus Deus sabạth,
superillustrans claritate tua
felices ignes horum malac̣th."
- In the seventh canto of Inferno, the demon Plutus speaks about Satan in an ugly language that seems to borrow from Hebrew and Greek. A damned Roman is able to understand his tongue while our living protagonist is lost to its meaning. Plutus says more after the initial sentence about Satan, but that first sentence is all that is made available to the audience.
- Phenomena: has one called milescript that is sorta described which at first sounds like runes but are different. It seems to have rules similar to Japanese with some being like kanji and another script being hiragana to assist it. The lack of better describing can be explained by that it was supposed to be a Picture Book series but the publisher wanted it to seem more "mature" (probably because it'd be cheaper to print). There are also many other languages like Aldran, Dragon language, and many more, and scripts but Eliassen seems to have given up on constructing them.
- J. R. R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings, etc.) is the Trope Codifier. The guy was a language professor at Oxford — he knew his stuff. His grand dream since his childhood was to create a language. He then realized languages didn't exist in a vacuum - they require people that speak it and a culture in which it developed. As a result, he created a world full of languages, language families, and dialects (just read through them.) with an internal history, along with several scripts and modes in which they could be written. Although most of them are not actually fully detailed languages, several are more detailed than others, and at least the Elven languages Quenya and Sindarin are complete enough to be learned and spoken. Indeed, the (Elvish) languages came first, and the setting in which they could be spoken came after. The attempts by fan scholars and creators of adaptations to extrapolate from and expand the existing material are usually referred to as Neo-(insert language name). Tolkien's languages are not just shoehorned mutilations of existing languages, but very much own living languages with own grammar, orthography, phenoms, pronunciation, and rules.
- See also the main page in Quenya
- If you're wondering, Quenya was heavily influenced from Finnish, and Sindarin was based off of Welsh.
- Tolkien's academic paper "A Secret Vice" was one of the first serious studies of constructed languages as an art form in itself, focusing mostly on his own work and youthful experiments with language. He coined the term glossopoeia to describe creating languages for artistic purposes.
- Likewise, Ursula K. Le Guin knows her stuff. The Earthsea series has Hardic, which we see a little of. And Kargish, Osskili and Old Speech, in which wizards cast spells. Not that the author is above a pun—the word for stone in Old Speech is tolk and that for sea is inien, making Earthsea translate as... Tolkienian!
- 1984 does this with Newspeak, which is not a new language but a degrading hypersymplification of English. Bonus points because an exact guide for the simplification is given.
- Watership Down gave us the Lapine; a language for the rabbits.
- The Wheel of Time gives us the Old Tongue.
- A Clockwork Orange had Nadsat, created for use by the teenage subculture, based on English but with Russian influences.
- The Cthulhu Mythos fandom gives us R'yehian and Aklo.
- Discworld gives us the Kad'k.
- Similar to the J.R.R. Tolkien example above, C. S. Lewis's Space Trilogy gives us Old Solar; the interplanetary language spoken throughout the Solar System, which is completely constructed from scratch. The reason why it no longer exists on Earth (Thulcandra) is two reasons: firstly, because Thulcandra is "bent", i.e., evil and tempted away from Maleldil, and secondly, because of the Tower of Babel.
- Tarzan gives us Mangani.
- Tad Williams' novel Tailchaser's Song is an example similar to Watership Down, in that all of the characters are animals (cats, in this case), with their own language.
- The water voles who appear in Robin Jarvis' Deptford Mouselets book Whortle's Hope have their own language. They refer to the titular character as a "rimpi-too" as that is their word for "field mouse".
- Will Self's novel The Book of Dave introduces a far future where the common language Mokni (a phoneticised cockney initially quite tricky to read) is peppered with bastardised London cabbie slang since their religious book is the rantings of a present day taxi driver.
- The Inheritance Cycle has "The Ancient Language" spoken by elves and magic-users (in which it is impossible to tell a direct lie), and relatively less-detailed languages for dwarves, urgals and nomadic tribes.
- The "Ancient Language" is based very closely on Old Norse (as per "Foreign Conversion", above), but the Dwarves' language is far, far closer to a true "complete original". Paolini has been known to speak paragraphs in his Dwarvish language when requested to do so at conventions and such.
- English relexification shows in a few places, most notably in the plot point differentiating between "shielded" versus "shield" (the verb). There is no language in the world that forms the transitive past by adding the past tense morpheme to the noun form of the verb—however, in English, the present transitive and the verbal noun happen look the same, which is where the confusion arises. This is seen in a few Germanic languages.
- Also, "may you be shielded" is NOT the past tense of "may you be a shield". It's the passive non-past optative subjunctive of "to shield," which just happens in English to use the past participle of the verb.
- The Ancient Language could have the same rule, and probably does, seeing as the only significant difference from English grammar is placing the adjective after the noun.
- Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land has Martian, which is presented as an essential tool to unlock spiritual potential in humans. The characters spend most of the novel learning the language and, eventually, writing a full dictionary. Interestingly enough, it works almost exactly the same as Orwell's Newspeak (abolishing the need for synonyms), but would lead to a utopian society, instead of a dystopian one.
- Suzette Haden Elgin's Native Tongue series (Native Tongue, Judas Rose, and Earthsong) featured a "women's language", Láadan. Elgin is a linguist, and the language was an attempt to test the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis — she actually made up the language, and there are online lessons.
- Ricardo Pinto's The Stone Dance of the Chameleon has Quya. The opening poem is written out in both Quya and English. There is also a system of glyphs to write Quya in and the name of every chapter is written out in both English and Quya glyphs. Sometimes attention is drawn in the story to a peculiarity of the language — which completely passes the readers by. Hear the author speak it here.
- Anathem has Orth.
- In the Heralds of Valdemar series, there is Karsite and the Kaled'a'in language family (ancient Kaled'a'in, Shin'a'in, and Tayledras). The last three are notable because the second two are dialects of the first which evolved into new languages, and there's a mild language-family resemblance (tale'edras and tayledras, she'chorne and shay'a'chern, etc.)
- The Artemis Fowl series has lines of Gnommish and Centaurian running along the bottom of each page (omitted in some U.S. editions.) Rather than being graphemes of a full-on Conlang they constitute a Cypher Language offering an Easter Egg to those who decode them. There are a few spoken Gnommish words such as "d'arvit", which is an emphatic swear word.
- The Wind on Fire books contain plates with Old Manth writing; again, this is just a Cypher Language with some unusual features (a single character for th, no double letters...)
- In Barry B. Longyear's Enemy Mine, two main characters learning the other's language is a major theme - so the readers learn some Dracon along with the protagonist. The language is also used in a couple other stories set in the same cinematic universe.
- C.J. Cherryh:
- Diane Duane created partial languages for the Vulcans and the "Rihannsu" (Romulans) in her Star Trek novels, most of the words of which are given only approximate translations. There was supposed to be a dictionary to go with the Rihannsu series, along the lines of Marc Okrand's The Klingon Dictionary, but it died in Development Hell. The fans, however, took the groundwork laid in-series and ran with it.
- In-story, the Rihannsu language was originally a direct translation conlang. When the first Rihannsu left Vulcan, they invented a new language — with very different phonemes, but near-identical grammar, to make it easier to learn — and started using it immediately, all in an effort to distance themselves from the planet they were leaving. They went back to Old High Vulcan and took it in a different direction, a bit like making up your own Romance language by fiddling with Latin.
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: The Nautilus crew uses a language that The Professor Aronnax cannot recognize, but Verne didn’t bother himself making any word of it except "Nautron respoc lorni virch." that Aronnax thinks must mean: "There's nothing in sight.". Aronnax describes it like this:
"… a language I didn't recognize. It was a sonorous, harmonious, flexible dialect whose vowels seemed to undergo a highly varied accentuation".
"Don't you see, these people have a language all to themselves, a language they've invented just to cause despair in decent people who ask for a little dinner! Why, in every country on earth, when you open your mouth, snap your jaws, smack your lips and teeth, isn't that the world's most understandable message? From Quebec to the Tuamotu Islands, from Paris to the Antipodes, doesn't it mean: I'm hungry, give me a bite to eat!"
- Given that the Nautilus crew is a N.G.O. Superpower, it makes sense this language is a Conlang Completely Original, designed to replace all the other “continental” languages that were original to each of the crew countries that the crew has abandoned. Aronnax observes that just moments before his death, one of the crew forgets to use that Conlang and ask for help in French. A hungry Ned Land also theorizes:
- The Railway Series and its companion books give us Sudric, the native language of the Island of Sodor. Influenced by Manx, it appears in the roots of various place names in Awdry's Fantasy World Map.
- In The Traitor Game, this is combined with Multilingual Bonus. Mereish and Evgard combine a multitude of words from different languages spelt weirdly. Also, lots of Latin.
- M.C.A. Hogarth is fond of creating languages for her various series, one of the most developed is the Ai-Naidar language from the Kherishdar series. In the Paradox series most Pelted languages were invented in-cinematic universe by the linguistically talented Seersa.
- Basic in Space Cadet. It's definitely not English, because a psychiatrist offers to speak to the protagonist (who is from North America) in English instead of Basic.
- Cherry Wilder's Torin stories include occasional words and phrases (and, at one point, an entire verse of a song translated from English) in the Moruian language, which is developed in sufficient depth for it to have its own puns.
- In Samuel R. Delany's Babel-17, Babel-17 itself is an in-cinematic universe example. It is a language specifically constructed to take advantage of the Language Equals Thought trope. Learning Babel-17 has significant effects on the way you think. When Wong first starts to learn the language, she finds it makes certain kinds of strategy puzzles much easier to solve. Later, she also finds it has some additional not-so-pleasant effects.
- Joanne Greenberg's I Never Promised You A Rose Garden has Yri, the sacred language of Deborah Blau's Kingdom of Yr. It is a secret language, and there is a cover-language based on Latin, a facade for the real thing. To speak regular Yri all the time would be "like powering a firefly with lightning bolts." Deborah actually thinks in Yri and sometimes has difficulty remembering English. It is rich in metaphor and has morphemes to indicate levels of intensity. This language got started because as she entered adolescence, Deborah had begun to have thoughts and experiences that there seemed to be no English words to describe. One word can suffice to explain all the emotions and memories of a single significant day in her life. A doctor who pinch hits for Deborah's regular psychiatrist attempts to dissect Yri as a mishmosh of French, German and Latin. The book is autobiographical, and there actually was such a doctor during Joanne Greenberg's hospital stay; she dismissed Joanne's language (actually called Irian) as bastardized Armenian.
Live Action TV
- Kamen Rider Kuuga has the Grongi Language, which is a cipher of Japanese with some words that don't change ("Kuuga" and "Linto") and some grammatical flipping just to screw with the audience.
- Similarly, Kamen Rider Gaim has the language spoken by the Overlords, which is also a cypher of Japanese.
- Sid and Marty Krofft hired a Ph.D. linguist to create a language for the proto-human Pakuni in Land of the Lost, with a grammar, syntax, and two hundred word vocabulary. The full language is included as an extra on the Season One DVD.
- Linguist David J. Peterson became the go-to guy for this trope in Sci-Fi and Fantasy shows in The New '10s:
- He reified the Dothraki language for the 1st season of HBO's Game of Thrones. For the 3rd season he also reified High Valyrian, including several rules to transform it into different dialects of Low Valyrian. It's reached the point where George R.R. Martin consults him on the fragments he puts in later books.
- He has created languages for the Castithans and Irathients in Defiance.
- He created the Sondiv language for the Atrians in Star Crossed.
- He created Lishepus the language of the angels for Dominion.
- For The 100 he came up with the Grounder language, Trigedasleng, which is English that drifted over three generations under pressure from enemies. The Grounders can still communicate with the standard-English-speaking Ark arrivals and Mountain Men, however.
- He created the Verbis Diablo for Penny Dreadful.
- He created Noalath, the language of the Druids that is spoken in The Shannara Chronicles.
- For Emerald City he created the Munja'kin language spoken by the people of the same name, and Inha, the tongue the witches use to cast their spells.
- For this particular example, Inha was divided into four separate dialect, called Earth, Fire, Water, and Air Inha. Peterson did not come up with this idea, but Ana Ularu, who played Mistress West in the show, did.
- For a comment on Klingon in the Star Trek TV series, see the Films — Live Action folder above.
- The book series on which The Expanse is based, has a melting-pot language derived from several source languages, and adds hand gestures. In the TV series, Belters (residents of the asteroids) communicate in their language but can code-switch relatively effortlessly between that and English.
- Andy Kaufman created a language for his Foreign Man character when the persona was adapted into Latka Gravas for Taxi. He later taught it to Carol Kane when she played Simka, taking her to dinner and refusing to speak to her in any language but the one he'd created.
- The French progressive rock band Magma invented a language called "Kobaïan" for their albums because they felt French wasn't expressive enough. The constructed language also enabled their albums to sound more alien and prevented people from over-scrutinising the lyrics (although unofficial Kobaïan-French and Kobaïan-English lexicons were constructed by fans, and band leader Christian Vander eventually revealed the meanings of some words). Does it even have to be said that most of the band's albums constitute an extended Rock Opera based around the human race settling another planet? No? Didn't think so. TOW has details on the language here.
- On Enya's album Amarantine, about a quarter of the songs are in the Conlang "Loxian," said to be from a distant planet.
- Lisa Gerrard also sings in a mysterious language, but it is a kind of glossolalia and not a structured language. She says "The words are in my own internal language, and mean more than I could ever explain."
- In 2005, one of the entries in the Swedish version of the Eurovision Song Contest was Cameron Cartio's "Roma." Word of God is he came up with the language himself.
- Yuki Kajiura's Kajiurago. Nobody besides her knows the meaning of the language. It can be heard in the Madlax theme "Nowhere" and the Puella Magi Madoka Magica song "Credens Justitiam (Mami's Theme)."
- Susumu Hirasawa's Hirasawanese, a language mostly created for a few Berserk songs (Sign, Sign 2, Aria), a mix of elements of German, Thai and Latin. The meaning is unknown to anyone but Hirasawa himself.
- S.K. Thoth prayforms in a language of his own creation.
- Following the example of Magma, their disciples in Ruins and Koenjihyakkei (the two of which share some of the same musicians) utilise what appears to be another constructed language for their songs, although unlike the case of Kobaïan (where some of the words have been officially translated to French) it's not known what any of the words mean or indeed whether they mean anything at all. (It's also possible that more than one Conlang is involved, since as TOW notes, orthography has been known to vary between albums and songs).
- Akiko Shikata sometimes uses the conlang of whatever video game's theme she's singing, the most famous example being the Hymmnos lyrics used for several songs in Ar tonelico.
- Some of Yoko Kanno's songs are either in constructed languages or Singing Simlish, with perhaps the most famous example being Cowboy Bebop's "Green Bird".
- siromaru and cranky's "conflict" is sung in a made-up language.
- Beginning in the mid-1960s, Joni Mitchell created a mythology with its own language. Names of people and places were derived from acronyms based on descriptive phrases. A race of miniature women were called Posall ("Perhaps Our Souls Are Little Ladies"), and their men were Mosalm ("Maybe Our Souls Are Little Men"). The beautiful queen was Siquomb — "She Is Queen, undisputedly, Of Mind Beauty." The place name Sisotowbell turns up in her dreamy Arcadia ballad "Sisotowbell Lane" — it means "Somehow, in spite of troubles, ours will be ever lasting love."
- The Kafer Sourcebook for 2300 AD includes a brief overview of Kafer language and writing.
- The language of the Drow in Dungeons & Dragons has been given a fairly extensive vocabulary and sophisticated grammar. Several in-cinematic universe proverbs exist which illustrate the character of the drow, such as, "All trust is foolish."
- Both Elven and Draconic has received vocabularies. Several, in the Elven case, consistency not always being 100% (sometimes explained away as dialectal differences, and sometimes not).
- Empire of the Petal Throne, set on the world of Tekumel, has a serious and early case of Complete Original, including Tsolyani and many other languages designed by an academic linguist, M. A. R. Barker, complete with a hard core non-Roman written form. They are notably unlike European languages.
- Magic: The Gathering has very harsh and alien-sounding Phyrexian language created by a professional linguist. Unfortunately now it exists only in two promo videos and a preview version of Elesh Norn card. Probably Wizards have big plans for the next Phyrexian block.
- Traveller has enough languages and sublanguages to cover thousands of worlds. To handle this a system is provided for random generation of words as well as sample words and details about linguistic style from various culture. However "Ganglic"(evolved English) is the common speech of trade and travel.
- Warhammer have Khazalid, the language of the dwarfs wonderfully described with grammar and pronounciation. The elfs and chaos tongues get some of this but not as much.
- In Warhammer 40,000, both the the Tau and Eldar have their own lexicon described.
- Werewolf: The Forsaken uses many examples of the First Tongue, the language of the Spirit World. The creators have pretty much said it's generated by going back as far back into Proto-Indo-European language tree as possible and making a few detours on the way.
- Outcast has the Talan language, with the growing dictionary provided to the player. Talans will use some words from it when talking to the hero, and there's also a whole song in it, written in the hero's honor.
- The Elder Scrolls:
- The most complete and oft-used is Daedric, the alphabet of which is simply a cypher for Roman.
- Three now extinct races of Mer (Elves) each had their own. The ancient Dwemer had Dwemeris, the ancient Falmer (Snow Elves) left their own simply known as the "Falmer Alphabet", and the Ayleids (Wild Elves) left their own in Ayleidoon.
- Skyrim adds Dovahzul, the language of the Dragons. It is also a Language of Magic, where the words can actually be used to slightly alter reality. With sufficient understanding, certain words can be shouted to produce magical effects such as conjuring fire, cold, or wind; slowing time; or pushing an enemy away. This ability is known as the Thu'um. The Player Character is a Dragonborn or "Dovahkiin", a mortal born with the immortal Aedric (loosely Angelic) soul of a dragon. With it comes an innate understanding of the dragon language and mastery of the Thu'um. The main theme song for Skyrim, "Dovahkiin", as well as the endgame theme song, "Sovngarde", are sung in it. It also has it's own alphabet, consisting of 34 letters of pseudo-cuneiform, based on scratches with dragon-claws.
- The "Elder Alphabet" is a yet-untranslated one, whose characters appear on such Eldritch items as the Elder Scrolls themselves as well as the Eye of Magus.
- Jel, the language of the Argonians, is another. Unlike the other languages of Men and Mer, it does not descend from Ehlnofex, but rather comes from the Hist. It is unique in that it has no past tense or future tense verbs, only present tense.
- Ta'agra is the language of the Khajiit, which obviously makes heavy use of the Punctuation Shaker. It famously has no word for "rules," with the closest word, Thjizzrini, meaning "foolish concepts". "Khajiit" itself loosely translates to "desert walker" in Ta'agra.
- "Giantish" is the language of the Giants, and is a very simple language. To an outsider, it sounds like an incomprehensible string of grunts and roars. However, it can be learned by non-Giants, and Giants tend to have greater respect and reduced hostility toward Giantish speakers. Giants are not known to have any written language, though they will carve/paint symbols with some sort of meaning into their own bodies, the tusks of their mammoths, and around their campsites.
- Nymphs, a type of nature spirit who take the form of beautiful, naked women, have their own language as well. It is said to sound similar to Ayleidoon, but does not actually share a vocabulary with it. Mortals who can speak it have been known to render Nymphs non-hostile.
- Final Fantasy X features Al Bhed, which is made up of a simple cypher of English/Japanese (depending on which localization of the game you play obviously) but is spoken in the game by the Al Bhed as a real language. As an added feature, the player can pick up 'primers' throughout their visit to Spira and slowly translate the language, letter by letter. This is part of a small New Game+ bonus: The next time a player decides to play through the game, if they had collected most/all of the primers before, they can load up their completed 'dictionary' and understand what various characters/signs are saying right from the beginning!
- Myst: D'ni is a completely original version.
- The Ar tonelico series has Hymmnos, a language vaguely based on English, Japanese, Sanskrit and German. In the setting of the games, it is an obsolete language, used to interface with ancient technology in the form of songs. Unusually, Hymmnos is a language constructed specifically to express the singer's emotions (with special grammar rules that aid them). Though Hymmnos and one of its dialects (New Testament of Pastalie) are the ones that gets the most attention, the series also has the Carmena Foreluna and Ar Ciela languages, predecessors to Hymmnos. A detailed insight into all three of these can be found here.
- And its prequel, the Surge Concerto series, follows suit with two conlangs: Emotional Song Pact, with glyphs based on the Korean Hangui, and REON-4213, which is practically a programming language.
- World of Warcraft has a whole host of these, with Common (humans), Orcish (orcs), Darnassian (night elves), Gutterspeak (undead), Dwarven (dwarves), Gnomish (gnomes), Zandali (trolls), Draenei (draenei), and Thalassian (blood elves) barely scratching the surface. An interesting note with the Undead: During the beta for World of Warcraft (a.k.a. "Vanilla"), the Undead (being formerly living humans) could speak Common, acting as a Translator between the rival factions. However the player-base's tendency to be... juvenile led directly to the creation of Gutterspeak, and is the primary reason you can never learn additional languages, despite some characters knowing 1-2 languages (Faction and Racial).
- In a note of ingenuity and perhaps an example of metagaming, Players have over-time, made simple translations for some of the more commonly spoken enemy chatter as perhaps a way to quickly denote if the enemy player is going to be combative or not. (For example, an Alliance player who says "lol", would be heard by a Horde player as "Bur", and going in the other direction, it would read "Kek", to an Alliance player who encounters a laughing member of the Horde).
- While most people who encounter these languages might cross them off as just made up chatter, there even exists a degree of similar word structure between the Night and Blood Elf languages, given their in-game distant shared ancestry (Darnassian and Thalassian respectively), which shows that the Blizzard creative team probably Showed Their Work in conlanging. Since in-game NPCs often speak these constructed languages from time to time (battle cries & so forth), any player will inevitably come across some words multiple times, but a complete translation of these languages is unavailable, and only a select number of phrases and words have been given official translations by Blizzard.
- More information can be found here: World of Warcraft Languages
- It should be noted that since these languages appear when the game "translates" player communication into an unintelligible from for those whose character doesn't know said language, a translation back into English is impossible for anything remotely complicated said. The "translation" is intentionally lossy, with many different English letter combinations resulting in the same "translated" words (e.g. both "you" and "lol" are rendered in Orcish as "bur"). This is done on purpose, to prevent players from being able to understand what their opponents are saying even if they have translation software on their side. (This not only prevents the Alliance from getting wind of what the Horde is up to and vice-versa, it also prevents rival teams from hurling insults or death threats at one another; the hot-tempered environment of a Battleground would make this a real danger otherwise.)
- Klonoa has Phantomile. The second game actually has a song sung entirely in the language.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- The Zelda series features Hylian, of which there have been six variations of so far. Outside of the Hylian seen in A Link to the Past, each variant can be translated into either written Japanese or English, depending on the game. However, spoken Hylian was only heard once in the series before proper voice acting was introduced in Breath of the Wild; this being when Zelda sings during an early game cutscene in Skyward Sword. Otherwise, characters other than Link were heard speaking sort clips of gibberish in the 3D games.
- In Twilight Princess, Midna speaks Twili, the language of her character's race. The language is never seen written, but the spoken aspect is basically scrambled and fragmented English. If one takes the time to unscramble every phrase Midna speaks, you'll find that it is applicable to the given situation. For example, Midna's statement when teleporting you being "I will take you there with my power."
- Breath of the Wild introduces proper in-game words and translations for the Gerudo language, as opposed to their more random typography that has existed since Ocarina of Time. Examples include "voe" and "vai" meaning man and woman, respectively. It's very bare-bones, but it's more than can be said for any other language in the series.
- Star Fox introduced the Dino language (also called Saurian) in Star Fox Adventures which is used on Dinosaur Planet (Sauria in Star Fox Asssault). Like Al Bhed in Final Fantasy X it is a cipher language. More info here: Saurian Translator
- The Splatoon series features a universal language used by both the Inkling and Octarian races. However, unlike the Nintendo series listed above, it cannot be reliably translated. Word of God says that its almost completely random, with the spoken and written parts of language occasionally taking cues from both Japanese and English, respectively. Splatoon 2 contains some text that looks like legible English (for example, MakoMart has a cereal box with "Choco" on it and there's a sign saying "Stay Fresh"), however most text is still unintelligible.
- All the songs in NieR (except for one) are in languages made up by the vocalist herself, who may or may not know what the lyrics mean.
- Although details didn't really start coming out until later in the Wing Commander series, there is a good bit of detail about the Kilrathi language beyond occasional "color" words.
- Jade Empire has some NPCs speak "the Old Tongue" (Tho Fan), a mixture of Asian languages specially invented for the game by a Canadian linguist. Sadly wasted, unfortunately: the spoken phrases are chosen mostly at random and consist almost entirely of cow jokes.
- Phantasy Star uses its own lingo for spells, otherwise known as techniques, which are augmented with specific prefixes, complete with 'language drift' across games (though this is very likely a happy accident caused by translation difficulties). In the fourth game, the prefixes used seem to indicate numerical magnitude: Gi- for times three, and Na- for times ten, based on the spellcasting animations. And this is, of course, never referenced anywhere.
- The Phantasy Star Online sub-series has a Foreign Conversion conlang in the form of Coralian, which is English with a new, distinct alphabet.
- The Phantasy Star Cinematic Universe sub-series continues the use of Foreign Conversion conlangs:
- The language used on Parum is most similar to what was used for Coralian in PSO, being a simple (if sometimes Engrish-y) instance of English with a new alphabet.
- The language of the Wutai planet Neudaiz uses the English alphabet, but with letters that look more like distorted kanji. Neudaiz script is also used as an Argot to write in Romaji (Japanese transliterated into the English alphabet), just to further confuse the native Japanese player base (and confuse foreign players even more)!
- The Moatoob language also uses its own alphabet for English writing. Moatoob also has its own language (as evidenced by Photon Arts and weapons originating from the planet), but it's not been made clear if this is an Argot or something more.
- Phantasy Star Online 2 will continue the post-millennial tradition of Foreign Conversion conlangs, featuring a new distinct alphabet for Star Fleet Oracle.
- The Sims's simlish, of all things, has aspects of this. Some of it is gibberish, and it's really hard to catch, but if you listen hard enough there are actually a good few constant words.
- The demon language of Ozkavosh created for the remake of Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars is almost entirely symbolic, full of synonyms and essentially requires context to be understood. It also does not conjugate, and due to the demons' nature, the word for "self" (Ozh) is both capitalized and emphasized in speech, or in case of another object of emphasis, emphasized more.
- Tales of Legendia has Relares, an ideographic language that works by conjugating a set of core base ideas into nouns, verbs, and adjectives/adverbs. In-cinematic universe, it's the traditional language of the Ferines, though its modern in-cinematic universe usage is primarily for naming, important declarations, and records of major historical events. It's also used in the game's soundtrack. Relares is notable in that the other functional languages invented for the Tales Series are fairly simple cipher languages based on English.
- Urban Dead users developed several English cyphers to work with and around the limited speech options of zombies, but a few have tried to construct actual grammars. Zamgrh/kiZombie is the most ambitious and zam arrh zambahz gab zam but most know only a few of the most important words.
- Dead Space has Unitology's cypher language, which is often found scrawled on the walls in blood. It is an Argot language consisting of the ten numbers and 26 letters of the English Alphabet, as well as a few additional symbols.◊ It can be translated to reveal several hidden messages,◊ including a few easter eggs. This even includes the seemingly random symbols that pop up during hallucinations.
- Warframe has a constructed language and writing system for each faction. The alphabets are your standard Cypher Language, but they fit into each race's personality.
- The Grineer speak a harsh, guttural language with some recognizable English words and a few that are unique, and write in the English alphabet (minus the letters Q and X) using odd block letters (an "idiot-proof bar code", to paraphrase the developers), albeit with many words having corrupted spelling.
- The Corpus speak an artificial language and write in the English alphabet which uses a Roman numeral-esque font. The Corpus have very odd choices of words and often omit or replace letters - Corpus Sigil Spam includes variations like KORPUS, CORQUS, and so on. Their grammar alternates between English on their motivational flags to nigh-incomprehensible jargon on terminals.
- The Tenno/Orokin language has no known speaker as the Tenno are mute and the Orokin are dead. Their written language is extremely ornamental◊, with a calligraphy-like style where letters look like slashes from a sword, and words are read diagonally, with the vowel accents being to the top left of consonant.◊ Spelling is similar to phonetic spellings in dictionaries; the Latron rifle has EE'OOH AW'R DH'AW'H HOP A'ND F'EE'OO'CH'OOR" inscribed on the barrel, which translates to "You Are The Hope And Future"
- In Telepath Tactics, the lissit have their own language, which is featured in some scenes in the campaign. In particular, Silithis Predat ("Patient Hunter") enjoys inserting Lissit words into her speech. A limited Lissit-to-English dictionary is provided in the manual, allowing players to translate most of the instances in the campaign.
- King's Quest (2015) features Achaka, a knight hopeful from a foreign land hoping to win the knighthood that Graham is after. Since he's from a foreign land, no one understands his native language. Manny, another knight in the running, attempts to translate, but runs into problems. Later on, an entire puzzle is based on learning a few phrases from him; "stalama" meaning no, "affa nata" meaning yes, and "shrekee" meaning dragon. While the player never sees his language in written form, it can be assumed its written as it is spoken.
- Far Cry Primal is set in Stone Age Europe, and dialogue is in Wenja, which is based on Proto Indo European. Deluxe editions of the game will come with a Wenja phrase book.
- Team ICO's games all feature a conlang spoken by the main characters of their games, which is clearly based on Japanese but unintelligible to a Japanese speaker. The language is subtitled for the player. ICO had a second conlang spoken by Yorda, which was subtitled in Wing Dinglish to emphasize the fact that she and Ico couldn't speak to each other.
- Aquapunk: Sennan. The dominant language spoken through the story world, and has been in development since 2006. Currently it's used for names, obscenities, euphemisms, difficult-to-translate slang, and some sound effects.
- Yes, it's very fleshed out, and while it bears some similarity to English, it is almost completely original. A "Sennan 101" PDF is currently in the works.
- Juathuur has juathuuvei. It's used mainly for consistency in character and place names; a full sentence has yet to be heard in it.
- Even Dahm created a few different languages, complete with unique alphabets, for his Overside comics (Rice Boy, Order of Tales, Vattu). The Overside wiki has an article about them.
- The Interstellar Tea House has Sierk D, one of the languages of the Sierk species, which falls into the "completely original" category. The author will sometimes, in lieu of a comic for the day, provide a Tolkien-esque discussion of Sierk syntax and grammar, or ask the readers to offer phrases for translation. (It's Sierk D because there is also a Sierk A, B, and C, and possibly an E and so forth; Sierk D happens to be the language local to the setting of the story.)
- Outsider has Ikkukhak, the language of the insectoid Umiak. Its details are given a full page on the site. There's also a page for Trade Language.
- Darths & Droids represents R2-D2's droid beeping with a series of onomatopoeic beep-like words. These began innocuously enough, but slowly got more complicated until it was eventually revealed in-story (after 1180 strips!) that the beeps are a comprehensible language, which Chewbacca has at least partially decoded. It was only at this point that the readers of the comic became aware that R2's beeps were not just random sounds, thus launching a fan decoding effort using the corpus of previously published strips. This spawned a long discussion thread on the forums, where readers worked together and realised the language was much richer than anyone had suspected.
- NationStates has many user-created languages in varying levels of refinement.
- Centaurians in The Pentagon War speak their own language, but it's intentionally not fleshed out. The author didn't want to spend years developing a real, working language for an alien species that speaks out of 4 mouths simultaneously (!).
- The Ill Bethisad project started when someone wondered what English would look like if the British Celtic languages were supplanted by Latin, and Romano-Britons were capable of resisting the Saxon invasion? The result was Brithenig, spoken in the nation of Kemr (Cambria). Other languages included are Wenedyk (Latin-based Polish), Dalmatian (a Romance language based in the Dalmatian coast), Narbonosc (the lingua franca in southern France)... and many, many more.
- The first wide-spread artificial language was Volapük, which meant "World speak." The language's author was attempting to build a universal language that everybody worldwide could use to communicate. It wound up fizzling due to, among other things, bizarre pronunciation, and it was displaced by easier languages such as Esperanto and Interlingua.
- Stanley Unwin built a career out of his invented language "Unwinese" also known as "Basic Engly Twentyfido". Deep Joy!
- Esperanto, the Universal Language counts so much so.
- Loglan was developed in the 1950s to test the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. Lojban: A realization of loglan (short for logji bangu or "logic language") is a derivation intended to be used as an actual language.
- John Quijada's Ithkuil is well-known for packing a lot of meaning into as short a space as possible.
- The Other Wiki mentions Helene Smith, a medium who spoke in the Martian language while in a trance.
- A Northern California argot called Boontling, one of Cracked's 5 secret languages that stuck it to the man. It uses English grammar but replaces many of the content words.
- Artificial language was part of the 1926 SAT exam for college entry in the United States. In 1924, the Secretary of the College Entrance Examination Board wrote a seven point list of things to test for in the future; number seven was "Facility in conversation in foreign languages." Questions about a constructed language tested for this without favoring speakers of any specific natural language. note
- The entirety of the /r/conlangs subreddit.
- CBB forum
- Conlanger (in Polish)
- Zompist.com is the home of the online version of The Language Construction Kit, which is an excellent resource for getting into conlanging. The site's home page also includes a link for purchasing the printed version, which expands upon the online version, including several chapters exclusive to the printed version. In addition, the author has also created another book on conlanging (Advanced Language Construction) which goes into the finer aspects like logic, pidgins/creoles, and logographic systems.
- Also, the creator of the kit has come up with quite a few constructed languages for his own conworld.
- In The Land Of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent is a wonderful introduction to the history of constructed languages. It focuses primarily on interlanguages, those like Esperanto, Volapuk, aUI and Blissymbolics which were invented to help humanity understand one another, but she doesn't neglect art-languages like Elvish. The author describes attending a Klingon Language Institute conference and learning to speak basic Klingon.
- Linguist and computer programmer Tom Scott spoke on the Numberphile YouTube channel about how conlangs seem to ignore numbers and often simply make up systems for numbers that match the writers' native language. Klingon is somehow a base 10 numerical system like Englishnote , which even when factoring in that all Star Trek races have a common ancestor, doesn't explain how different numbers are between English and other languages on Earth. He discusses how soixant-dix in French and otteoghalvtreds in Danish show how words for numbers aren't remotely similar, the remnant use of "score" and "dozen" and "gross" in English to represent non-base-10 systems, the lakh and crore system in India and other South Asian nations that don't count large numbers in multiples of 1000, the differing use between the comma and the period to mark either decimals or thousands, Chinese hand gestures for numbers, and the most common denominator base-21 system used in several islands in the South Pacific which depending on the island is counted differently across the body.
- Mathematician James Grime discusses the proposed change to a Base 12 system as an example of a con...math. Or is it con maths?
- This is a tendency that was eventually subverted by David J Peterson (see "Live Action TV" section, above) during his work on Defiance, as Forbes noted in their profile on him: "the Indogene people use a base-six mathematics inspired by their hexagonal irises", a system that was included in the conlang he created for them.
- Elizabethan astrologist John Dee developed the Enochian Language with assistance of Edward Kelly. It was allegedly dictated by Angels using a Crystal Ball and it's supposed to be the language of both Angels and Demons and also that of Adam and Eve before they were cast out of Eden. The language is still used, mostly in Esoteric Orders and Western Magick Traditions. The language has its own alphabet and grammar and can be learned, but it’s very basic so it's use outside of ritual purposes is limited.