English Language Essays

A Naming Language

Jeffrey Henning is a language creator who is probably most famous for creating and maintaining the website Before it shut down, Langmaker was the undisputed number one destination for all things related to language creation. Langmaker was an outgrowth of Jeffrey Henning’s Model Languages newsletter, which was one of the first communities (in the broadest sense of the term) for language creation enthusiasts.


In this essay, Jeffrey Henning describes how to create a naming language. Unlike a full conlang, which has its own grammar and syntax, a naming language is a phonology coupled with rules for compounding that can, among other things, allow a novelist to generate realistic, language-like names for characters, towns, regions, and geographical elements. Since its first publication in 1995 it’s continued to serve as a useful tool for world builders and game makers—and has also served as a jumping off point for many conlangers.

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