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.


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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