A glimpse over the Great Wall: A review of Mark Rosenfelder’s China Construction Kit

David Johnson was first inspired to create languages in his teens when, like so many, he came across the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. He received a Philosophy degree from the University of Warwick in 1981 and currently works as a librarian, cataloguing books in the Romance languages.

He is a member of several of conlang and conworld communities. Under the username of “Ketumak”, he is a member of the Zompist and Conlanger Bulletin Boards. Under his own name he is a member of the Language Creation Society and the Conlang Mailing List.

His conlang efforts have ranged from simple projects like Lesdekan to more advanced ones like Õtari. In recent years he has become interested in isolating languages. Both Õtari and his current project Lemohai reflect that interest.

Outside of conlanging he likes walking, reading, music, politics and live theatre.

Abstract

This is a review of Mark Rosenfelder’s China Construction Kit.

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Reviews of The Art of Language Invention and The Interpreter’s Tale

Don Boozer has been interested in invented languages ever since discovering Dr. Seuss’s On Beyond Zebra in his elementary school library in the 1970s. Boozer’s previous articles include “I Want to Speak Elvish! Teens and the World of Imaginary Languages” (VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates. August 2007), “Speaking in Tongues: Literary Languages” (Library Journal, Reader’s Shelf column. September 15, 2006), and “Conlanging: An Introduction to the Art of Language Creation” (Fiat Lingua. June 1, 2013). A librarian by trade, Boozer created the exhibit Esperanto, Elvish, and Beyond: The World of Constructed Languages which appeared at the Cleveland Public Library in 2008 and the 3rd Language Creation Conference in 2009.

Abstract

When the word conlang was enshrined within the venerable Oxford English Dictionary in June 2014, many conlangers rightly rejoiced. It was a major milestone in the public awareness of the secret vice of language construction. The decision of Penguin—a major, mainstream publishing house—to release David J. Peterson’s The Art of Language Invention (which, at its heart, is a conlanging how-to guide) establishes another high-water mark in the long process of making the public-at-large aware of the art and craft of language invention. Included with the feature review is a shorter “bonus” review of E. M. Epps recent book, The Interpreter’s Tale.

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Concerning the Book Living Language Dothraki and the Dothraki Language with a Response from the Khal

James E. Hopkins received a BA in French from Hofstra University in 1974 and an MS in Metaphysics from the American Institute of Holistic Theology in 1998. He is a published poet, Eden’s Day (2008), and has a novel which features five of his conlangs, Circle of the Lantern, with the publisher as of this writing. He has been involved in language construction since 1995 with the birth of his first conlang, Itlani (then known as Druni). Although Itlani is his first and foremost love, since that time he has been developing Semerian (Pomolito), Djiran (Ijira), Djanari (Nordsh) and Lastulani (Lastig Klendum), the other languages spoken on the planet Itlán. One further language project, Kreshem (Losi e Kreshem), is also under development. His primary interest in language construction is from an aesthetic and artistic perspective.

David J. Peterson received a BA in English and Linguistics from UC Berkeley in 2003 and an MA in Linguistics from UC San Diego in 2005. He created the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for HBO’s Game of Thrones, the Castithan, Irathient and Indojisnen languages for Syfy’s Defiance, the Sondiv language for the CW’s Star-Crossed, the Lishepus language for Syfy’s Dominion, the Trigedasleng language for the CW’s The 100, and the Shiväisith language for Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World. He’s been creating languages since 2000.

Abstract

James Hopkins wrote a review of David Peterson’s Living Language Dothraki in his language Itlani and sent it to David. David then responded in Dothraki. The exchange included herein has an English translation to go along with it.

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Frelling Shtako! A Review of Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing and Its Applications for Conlanging

Don Boozer has been interested in invented languages ever since discovering Dr. Seuss’s On Beyond Zebra in his elementary school library in the 1970s. Boozer’s previous articles include “I Want to Speak Elvish! Teens and the World of Imaginary Languages” (VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates. August 2007), “Speaking in Tongues: Literary Languages” (Library Journal, Reader’s Shelf column. September 15, 2006), and “Conlanging: An Introduction to the Art of Language Creation” (Fiat Lingua. June 1, 2013). A librarian by trade, Boozer created the exhibit Esperanto, Elvish, and Beyond: The World of Constructed Languages which appeared at the Cleveland Public Library in 2008 and the 3rd Language Creation Conference in 2009.

Abstract

DISCLAIMER: The following review essay includes topics not suitable for all ages and language not suitable for work (NSFW). Reader discretion is advised. As the author of the book under review states: “If you haven’t already been offended by this book, chances are you will be. I can only apologize in advance.”

Although swearing has probably existed since humans began using language to communicate, it remains largely a taboo subject of discussion in “polite circles” let alone an acceptable mode of speech. This form of language is powerful, demands attention, and can evoke visceral reactions in both speakers and listeners. This makes swearing an important and interesting facet of language, and Melissa Mohr’s Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing joins a growing corpus of works examining this fascinating subject.

Additionally, many conlangers (and artlangers specifically) often speak of wanting to create a conlang that emulates natural language. Including profanity within one’s created language, especially if the conlang is meant to be spoken by inhabitants of a con-culture, would be yet another way to provide the verisimilitude for which many artlangers strive. This review-essay then examines both the natural and conlang dimensions of swearing.

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From Elvish to Klingon: Exploring Invented Languages, A Review

Don Boozer has been interested in invented languages ever since discovering Dr. Seuss’s On Beyond Zebra in his elementary school library in the 1970s. Boozer’s previous articles include “I Want to Speak Elvish! Teens and the World of Imaginary Languages” (VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates. August 2007), “Speaking in Tongues: Literary Languages” (Library Journal, Reader’s Shelf column. September 15, 2006), and “Playing God: If Language Is a Divine Punishment, Why Are ‘Conlangers’ Creating More of Them?” (The Linguist Magazine: Official Journal of the Chartered Institute of Linguists [UK]. July/August 2006). A librarian by trade, Boozer created the exhibit Esperanto, Elvish, and Beyond: The World of Constructed Languages which appeared at the Cleveland Public Library in 2008 and the 3rd Language Creation Conference in 2009. Boozer currently serves as Secretary/Librarian of the Language Creation Society and maintains The Conlanger’s Library online.

Abstract

From Elvish to Klingon: Exploring Invented Languages, a collection of essays edited by Michael Adams (University of Indiana, Bloomington) and published by Oxford University Press, is a welcome addition to the small but growing corpus of works on the subject of invented languages. The essays contributed by experts in their fields run the gamut from popular culture journalism to erudite scholarship in tone. Topics as diverse as invented languages in video games, the “invented vocabularies” of Nadsat and Newspeak, and revitalized and reconstructed languages like Modern Hebrew are covered. With its thought-provoking ideas, interesting facts, and in-depth coverage, From Elvish to Klingon should appeal to a wide audience; and everyone should find at least one essay that speaks directly to his or her curiosity.

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Review of Hildegard of Bingen’s Unknown Language: An Edition, Translation and Discussion

Jim Henry was born in 1973 in Decatur, Georgia, and has lived in the Atlanta area most of his life. He started creating constructed languages in 1989 after discovering Tolkien’s Quenya and Noldorin (in The Book of Lost Tales rather than his better-known works), but his early works were all vocabulary and no syntax. In 1996, after discovering Jeffrey Henning’s conlang site and the CONLANG mailing list, he started creating somewhat more sophisticated fictional languages; and in 1998, he started developing his personal engineered language gjâ-zym-byn, which has occupied most of his conlanging energies since then, and in which he has developed some degree of fluency. He retired recently after working for some years as a software developer, and does volunteer work for the Esperanto Society of Metro Atlanta, Project Gutenberg, and the Language Creation Society.

Abstract

Sarah L. Higley’s book on Hildegard’s Lingua Ignota discusses the language itself and the surviving documentation of it in detail, as well as placing it in the context of language creation through the centuries and the modern artlangs with which Higley thinks it fits better than with the glossolalia, philosophical languages, or auxlangs with which it’s been compared by previous scholars. In the process, she gives perhaps the best scholarly account of modern artlanging as of the time of writing.

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