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English Language Essays

The Birth of a Planet (and Three Languages)

Roger F. Mills was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 1934, served in the US Army from 1956-59, and received his B.A. rather belatedly from New York University in 1964. He attended graduate school in linguistics at the University of Michigan, receiving his Ph.D. in 1975. His main professional interest has been the historical/comparative study of languages of the Indonesian area. He created his first serious conlang in 1976, then devoted much more time to conlanging from 1999 to the present. He is long retired from the fray and now lives in Saugatuck, Michigan, a tiny but amusing resort town on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Abstract

This article provides personal reminiscences of the author’s life as a conlanger, with side-trips into conculturing and world-building. Essentially, it details how he got from where he was to where he is today.

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English Language Reviews

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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Analysis English Language

Léon Bollack and His Forgotten Project

H. S. Chapman is a Justice of the Peace in Wales, U.K. He speaks Welsh, and has a good understanding of Breton and Cornish. He learned Esperanto in 1967, and has used it on his travels in some fifteen countries since then. He has a reading knowledge of both Ido and Interlingua.

Abstract

León Bollack (1859–1925), creator of the language project Bolak or Langue Bleue, has been neglected in recent decades. He was born in the same year as Dr. L. L. Zamenhof, creator of Esperanto, but, while the two men were Jews and both wanted a more peaceful world, their approaches to language creation differed widely. The fact that Bollack invested huge sums in his unsuccessful project shows that finance is not the only problem facing the creator of an auxiliary language.

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English Language Reviews

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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