“The basic pleasure in the phonetic elements of a language and in the style of their patterns, and then in the higher dimension, pleasure in the association of these word-forms with meanings, is of fundamental importance. This pleasure is quite distinct from the practical knowledge of a language, and not the same as an analytic understanding of its structure. It is simpler, deeper – rooted, and yet more immediate than the enjoyment of literature.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, “English & Welsh,” Oxford, 1955
Not every fantasy or science fiction novel uses made up languages. If you don’t think your story needs its own language, read the Helpful Tips and Naming Conventions sections at the very least. That said, even if you’re not planning on sprinkling just a few words here and there in your manuscript, try creating a language anyway, for the fun of it. Something may spark and help you out with your culture building or anything else your world needs.
For creating a whole or partial language, take a glance at each of these first three articles and go with the one that makes the most sense to you. Then read the articles under Helpful Tips, and Naming Conventions.
Creating a Language
1.) How to Create a Simple Language – by Jessica Lee
2.) How to Create Your Own Language – by The Council of Elrond
3.) The Language Construction Kit – by Mark Rosenfelder
Helpful Tips For Creating a Language
1.) Using Invented Language in Your Novel – by Roberta Osborn (Feel free to skip the middle section entitled “for your stylist or publisher”.)
2.) The Four Rules of Using Fake Words – by Chris Winkle
3.) There Really Are 50 Eskimo Words For ‘Snow’ – by David Robson (This article isn’t about writing, but give it a quick skim for an interesting read on language and the importance of its use.)
1.) Naming places in a fantasy novel – by Susan Leigh Noble
2.) The Art of Fantasy Names – by Pace Miller
1.) Write down a possible alphabet for your language, including the sounds each letter, or combination of letters, will make. Need help with sounds? Listen to radio stations from around the world on TuneIn Radio to pick out sounds that appeal to you. In the upper left corner click on “Listen Now”, then click “By Location” in the menu to the left.
2.) Using your alphabet, create a few words in your language, such as the name of the language, nouns, verbs, and character names. Make sure you write down what the English translation is!