Feeds

Speak geek: The world of made-up language

Pointy ears, bumpy foreheads and obscure tongues

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

The world of invented language is a difficult place to succeed and those who have the patience to create their own tend to have a hard time gathering followers.

Klingon and Elvish are notable exceptions, thanks to the huge fan bases for Star Trek and Lord of The Rings.

Society tends to regard people who learn these languages as über geeky and socially-inept but we often overlook the reasons why they’re so obsessed with the fantasies they love.

Until recently, expanding the speaker numbers was a challenge: conventions were the only place for enthusiasts to gather and sporadic publications the only other method of sharing their passion.

With the internet, mobile app markets and other techie possibilities, these languages now have easily accessible platforms to grow. While such languages thrive, constructed languages, or “conlangs”, that were created in our past generally struggled.

Language Books

In her book The land of Invented Languages (highly recommended), Akira Okrent tracks down the conlangs that have, in most cases, faded into oblivion. With some pretty wacky ones out there from John Wilkins’ Analytical Language to James Cook Brown’s Loglan, it’s clear why few take off in the first place, even though most were created with respectable goals in mind.

These hard-working, eccentric individuals sought to create a lexicon of words or symbols that remove technical faults in our own languages to create a practical and universal alternative. Okrent supplies wonderful insight into their efforts.

She also delves into successful conlangs that survive today. Those that aren’t supported by pop culture include the widely known Esperanto and my personal favourite; Blissymbolics.

Blissymbolics

An example of Blissymbolics: "I like the music from these headphones"

Created by Charles K. Bliss in 1945, Blissymbolics was an attempt at a cross-language unification tool. It has since been adopted by BCI, an institute that teaches language to children with non-speaking disorders such as cerebral palsy.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.