Inventing a language from scratch might seem like an odd way to spend your time, but there are good reasons to do it. People create languages for scientific, cultural and artistic purposes: to test theories about how the brain works, to help people communicate, to ‘improve’ existing languages, or because they just need a new language for a book they’re writing.
Here are some of the best examples of invented languages:
- Chanel 9-speak from The Fast Show. “Scorchio!”
- Elvish. Matthew Randall and others pointed out that there are two Elvish tongues, Sindarin and Quenya. We could have done a top 10 just of languages invented by JRR Tolkien.
- Klingon (above). “Obviously,” said Tom Doran. My colleague Tom Peck went to the UK’s first Klingon wedding…
- Sign language. Nominated by Matt Charles, who also mentioned Makaton, a signs and symbols language for people with no speech or whose speech is unclear about which I did not know.
- Esperanto “is numeron unu I assume”, said Atticus Beaterband. Well, numeron kvin, anyway.
- Newspeak. George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Goodthink by John Ruddy and Citizen Sane. Fittingly, Jeremy Corbyn launched his digital manifesto at a place called Newspeak House in Shoreditch.
- Parseltongue. The language of serpents in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. Thanks to Citizen Sane, Tom Doran and Chi the Cynic.
- Emoji. Smiley face, Ian Douglas.
- Critical Theory. Smiley face, Alan Benzie.
- Unwinese. “Could I humblyfy in nominatory the magnificolly Stanley Unwin for his talkywrite the Toppy Tendency of langyspeak that have in the inventybole?” asks Paulty Horganvole.