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A Conlang-Venture: A Select-A-Feature Adventure

Jessie Peterson has a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Colorado at Boulder and was a professor of linguistics at Stephen F. Austin State University for 13 years, where she created a conlanging course and taught students how to construct a language from the ground up. She is now a full-time professional conlanger and works with her husband, David Peterson. Their languages appear in TV shows and films, including Legendary’s Dune: Part Two, Netflix’s Shadow and Bone, Pixar’s Elemental, the Peacock’s Vampire Academy, and Freeform’s Motherland: Fort Salem. They host the weekly livestream LangTime Studio on YouTube, where they create new languages from scratch and share the process.

Written in a choose-your-own-adventure style, this book guides readers through a small set of basic decisions that conlangers make as they create languages. It introduces readers to a historical process of constructing a language so they can see how one decision affects the next, which affects the next, with each decision ultimately affecting how the language looks and operates. Readers are not building their own language by using this book. Rather, they are presented with pre-selected language features and forms and then deciding which direction those forms will take, feature by feature. (But readers are welcome to take the foundation built through this book and expand it to a more fully functioning language!) While the book is primarily intended for beginning conlangers, conlangers of all levels can enjoy the adventure and find inspiration for their own projects. Enjoy the conlang-venture!

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