Conlang Courses Around the Globe

Jessie Sams is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at Stephen F. Austin State University. She generally teaches courses rooted in linguistic analysis of English, though one of her favorite courses to teach is her Invented Languages course, where students construct their own languages throughout the semester (she was even able to get Invented Languages officially on the books at SFA with its own course number). Her research primarily focuses on syntax and semantics, especially the intersection of the two within written English quotatives; constructed languages; and history of the English language and English etymology. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hosting game nights with friends, baking (especially cupcakes), and, of course, conlanging.

Abstract

This is an attempt at a comprehensive list of the various constructed languages courses offered at the university level throughout the world. As courses are added, readers are encouraged to share information with the author, so that the list may be updated.

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Setvayajan: An Abandoned Conlang

Barry J. Garcia is a 40-year-old staff and alumnus of California State University, Monterey Bay. He didn’t major in linguistics, but his interest in constructed languages initially began back in 1999 when he found the CONLANG mail list online after wondering what it would take to make a language. He is not a prolific conlanger and put the hobby aside for a number of years. He returned to conlanging in 2014 with his initial attempt at Setvayajan, now retired. He is currently working on a new version of Setvayajan which may or may not retain the name, but definitely will retain the spirit of the original Setvayajan language. Aside from Setvayajan, past projects have included his first conlang which was an unfinished Philippines-styled language and an experiment in sound changes to remove grammatical gender and reduce verb conjugations in Spanish called “Azhin” (from “Angelino”, the name for the residents of Los Angeles, California). He has also created numerous constructed writing systems.

Abstract

This document is an as-is preservation of the grammar and sound changes that went into what was created for Setvayajan from November 2015 through March 2020, with an introduction explaining why the project was abandoned.

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Qaʃn̩ħeoħelə awo Nħeoħelə: A Grammar and a Cultural Reference for the People of Ħelə

Ariel Robinson is an analyst out of Boston, MA. Since graduating from Wellesley College with a degree in Cognitive Science and Linguistics, she’s leveraged her ability to “translate” complex concepts from one domain into another, including how geopolitics affect businesses and end-users’ emotions affect hackers and cybercrime.

Abstract

This paper describes a culture, language, partial lexicon, and creation myth Robinson originally created as a student at Wellesley College. Of note are the close ties between the spiritual underpinnings of the People of Ħelə and the phonetic inventory, where each vowel represents one of the four elements and the characteristics with which it is associated. The language is highly morphemic—rooted in Robinson’s study of Semitic languages—which was helpful in word formation in the beginning but posed a larger challenge during the second revision and expansion of the content. Though she wasn’t completely sure as a college student how she might use her creation in the future, Robinson has been percolating and has plans to incorporate the language and culture into a future novel.

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Les langues construites Délimitation, historique et typologie suivies d’une illustration du processus de création d’une langue naturaliste nommée «tüchte»

Alexis Huchelmann is an Alsatian conlanger. After completing a master’s degree in linguistics, he is undertaking publishing studies and hopes to join both paths into something which could benefit the conlanging community. Other interests include playwriting and Russian literature.

Alexis Huchelmann est un idéolinguiste alsacien. Après un master de Sciences du Langage, il a commencé des études en Métiers de l’édition et espère joindre les deux domaines de façon à pouvoir aider la communauté des idéolinguistes. D’autres de ses loisirs sont l’écriture de pièces de théâtre et la littérature russe.

Abstract

This master’s thesis provides a tentative definition, history, and classification of constructed languages (or conlangs), as well as a description of the methodology used for the elaboration of an a priori language called Tüchte. (French Text)

Ce mémoire présente une définition, une histoire et une classification des langues construites, ou idéolangues ; et la description de la méthode employée pour construire une langue a priori nommée tüchte, dans le but de découvrir ce que cette occupation peut apporter à la linguistique.

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A Grammar of Eastern Classical Dryadic

Jesse is 21 years old, and enjoys creating languages as well as his own fantasy worlds and cultures that go with them. As far as natural languages are concerned, he speaks English, Korean, Japanese, Polish, French, and Russian. He has also studied a myriad of other languages to varying degrees including Lithuanian, Kazakh, Turkish, Mandarin, etc.

Abstract

This grammar was presented as Jesse Holmes’ undergraduate thesis at the University of Wrocław, in Poland. It includes a description of the grammar, as well as a description of the orthography and fictional romanization systems, and includes example texts.

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mklang

Isoraķatheð /isɔɹɑˈqɑtʰɛð zɔrɛtʰan/ is now the proud owner of at least 20 languages, having created languages since the age of 12. He hails from Hong Kong and has a strong bond to the place, but is currently studying in Nottingham for a physics degree. As such, he has grown up in a trilingual environment, but his command of any of the three languages are somewhat unusual, as is his relationship to and ideas on society and relationships. He has a preference to networks of ideas and nodes that are easily separable, a preference that shows up in the languages he creates.

Abstract

mklang describes a “model” of language that depends on features, a one-liner that may potentially include blanks that could be filled in to create a variety of results that ranges from naturalistic to highly unusual. It is motivated by a lack of a structured alternative to naturalistic conlangs, though creating a language using mklang doesn’t necessarily mean that the language isn’t naturalistic, as it depends on choice of features. Additionally, the author’s creative tools are also explained in brief.

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An Overview of Magwābon

Madeline Barnicle graduated from the University of Chicago in 2013 with a degree in mathematics. She is pursuing a PhD in mathematical logic at UCLA and will have the opportunity to TA linguistics this coming spring. Madeline is a member of the Southern California Conlang Society.

Abstract

This paper gives an overview of some phonological, grammatical, and cultural, inspirations for the constructed language Magwābon. As an example of its narrative usage, a summary is presented of “Star Wars: A New Hope,” together with some usage notes.

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The Language of the People of the Plains

Dashiel N. Stevens received a BA in linguistics from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. With a language-curious background, he stumbled into the world of linguistics through language creation. He has created several languages, favoring a posteriori languages, including Geulish (Geulge), Stranden (Westerlondisc), Briggan (Austerlandisk), Byzerine (Byzedueto), Selenese (Elyird Zeleneziyo), and others. Most of his languages occupy the world of “The Westlands” which is the setting for a tabletop role-playing game and novel that he has been working on for the last few years.

Abstract

The Jogos Nhai are a warlike people who live east of the Bone Mountains on Essos, in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire universe. Their language and culture have been critically underrepresented in associated media, and both are explored (with an obvious focus on the language) in this non-exhaustive reference grammar on Jogos Nhaiang Chahar, the language of the people of the plains, the Jogos Nhai.

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Konstruierte Sprachen – Aufbau, Entwicklung und Vergleich am Beispiel von Hymmnos

Mathias Dietrich started studying Japanese studies and sociology at the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg in 2012. From 2015 to 2016 he studied abroad at the Senshū University in Tokyo. He will shortly finish he studies and receive his BA in 2018. He works as a freelance journalist for the German video game magazine Gamestar and first became interested in constructed languages after playing the playstation game Ar Tonelico which features Hymmnos, a language invented by Akira Tsuchiya.

Mathias Dietrich studiert seit 2012 Japanologie und Deutsche Sprache und Literatur an der Martin-Luther-Universitat Halle-Wittenberg. Von 2015 bis 2016 absolvierte er ein Auslandsstudium an der Senshū Universitat in Tokio. Seinen Bachelor-Abschluss wird er im Jahr 2018 erreichen. In seiner Freizeit arbeitet er als freier Autor fur das deutsche Videospielmagazin Gamestar. Sein Interesse fur konstruierte Sprachen entwickelte er, nachdem er das Playstation-Spiel Ar Tonelico spielte und mit der Sprache Hymmnos von Akira Tsuchiya in Kontakt kam.

Abstract

The expression of emotions plays a big role in Akira Tsuchiyas Hymmnos. After a short basic introduction to conlangs itself, this essay takes a short look on Tsuchiyas conlang and compares the aspect of expressing emotions with German using a theory by Norbert Fries who researched emotions from the perspective of linguistic semiotics. (German Text)

Der Ausdruck von Emotionen ist ein wichtiger Aspekt in Akira Tsuchiyas konstruierter Sprache Hymmnos. Nach einem kurzen Überblick über konstruierte Sprachen im Allgemeinen, gibt diese Arbeit einen Einblick in Tsuchiyas konstruierte Sprache und vergleicht den Ausdruck von Emotionen mit dem Deutschen anhand einer Theorie von Norbert Fries, welcher Emotionsausdrücke vom Standpunkt der linguistischen Semiotik aus untersuchte.

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A Useful Grammar of Colyáni and Text with Commentary

Muhammad Abd-al-Rahman Barker (1929-2012) was a professor of Urdu and South Asian Studies at McGill University and later at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Amongst conlangers, he is most famous for creating the Tsolyáni language, one of several conlangs he created for his conworld Tékumel, in which he set his expansive paper and pen role playing game The Empire of the Petal Throne.

William “Bill” Shipley (1921-2011) was a linguist who trained at UC Berkeley and taught for many years at UC Santa Cruz. For most of his professional life, William studied and worked on the Northern Californian Maidu language, producing a grammar, and a book of translated Maidu stories.

John Moore is a Professor of Linguistics at UC San Diego and Provost of John Muir College. He received a BA in Linguistics from UC Santa Cruz in 1979 and a PhD, also from UC Santa Cruz Linguistics, in 1991. His work has been on Spanish, syntax, and lexical semantics, including a 2001 book, co-authored with Farrell Ackerman, on the syntax/lexical semantics interface (Proto-Properties and Grammatical Encoding: A Correspondence Theory of Argument Selection, CSLI). A long-time flamenco guitarist, Moore has also published on aspects of flamenco, including a 2012 annotated translation of oral histories from an early 20th century flamenco singer (A Thousand and One Stories of Pericón de Cádiz, Inverted-A Press).

Abstract

In the early 1980s, linguist Bill Shipley offered an undergraduate class called “Languages of the World”. One of the assignment of that course was to create a language. As a guide, this document written by M. A. R. Barker was given to students. It comprises a text in Tsolyáni plus an interlinear, along with a grammar sketch to help the reader understand and appreciate the text.

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