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The Dictionary of Made-Up Languages: From Elvish to Klingon, The Anwa, Reella, Ealray, Yeht (Real) Origins of Invented Lexicons

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Can you converse in Klingon? Ask an Elf the time of day? Greet a speaker of Esperanto? These are among the more than 100 constructed languages you'll find in this book. For each one, author Stephen D. Rogers provides vocabulary, grammatical features, background information on the language and its inventor, and fascinating facts. What's more, easy-to-follow guidelines show Can you converse in Klingon? Ask an Elf the time of day? Greet a speaker of Esperanto? These are among the more than 100 constructed languages you'll find in this book. For each one, author Stephen D. Rogers provides vocabulary, grammatical features, background information on the language and its inventor, and fascinating facts. What's more, easy-to-follow guidelines show you how to construct your own made-up language--everything from building vocabulary to making up a grammar. So pick up this dictionary! In no time, you'll be telling your friends, "Tsun oe nga-hu ni-Na'vi pangkxo a fì-'u oe-ru prrte' lu." ("It's a pleasure to be able to chat with you in Navi.")


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Can you converse in Klingon? Ask an Elf the time of day? Greet a speaker of Esperanto? These are among the more than 100 constructed languages you'll find in this book. For each one, author Stephen D. Rogers provides vocabulary, grammatical features, background information on the language and its inventor, and fascinating facts. What's more, easy-to-follow guidelines show Can you converse in Klingon? Ask an Elf the time of day? Greet a speaker of Esperanto? These are among the more than 100 constructed languages you'll find in this book. For each one, author Stephen D. Rogers provides vocabulary, grammatical features, background information on the language and its inventor, and fascinating facts. What's more, easy-to-follow guidelines show you how to construct your own made-up language--everything from building vocabulary to making up a grammar. So pick up this dictionary! In no time, you'll be telling your friends, "Tsun oe nga-hu ni-Na'vi pangkxo a fì-'u oe-ru prrte' lu." ("It's a pleasure to be able to chat with you in Navi.")

30 review for The Dictionary of Made-Up Languages: From Elvish to Klingon, The Anwa, Reella, Ealray, Yeht (Real) Origins of Invented Lexicons

  1. 5 out of 5

    Terence

    A Dictionary of Made-Up Languages is a very disappointing reference work. The author’s overbroad definition of “constructed language” includes everything from Quenya, the language of Tolkien’s High Elves, to Krakozhian, the language of the mythical country Tom Hanks comes from in “The Terminal.” One is a fully developed language with a grammar, syntax and vocabulary that fans learn. They maintain websites, write theses and converse in the language. The other, as far as I know, is a collection of A Dictionary of Made-Up Languages is a very disappointing reference work. The author’s overbroad definition of “constructed language” includes everything from Quenya, the language of Tolkien’s High Elves, to Krakozhian, the language of the mythical country Tom Hanks comes from in “The Terminal.” One is a fully developed language with a grammar, syntax and vocabulary that fans learn. They maintain websites, write theses and converse in the language. The other, as far as I know, is a collection of Slavic-flavored words used to give an already-forgotten movie verisimilitude. And regardless of an entry’s scale, none get more than three pages, and oftentimes much of what’s there is irrelevant. Let’s take Krakozhian as an example. Every entry is potentially divided into 12 sections (not all conlangs can supply information for every section): • Spoken By • Documented By • Behind the Words • Derivation of the Language • Characteristics of the Language • A Taste of the Language • Some Useful Phrases • Numbering System • Philological Fact(s) • In Their Own Words • If You’re Interested in Learning the Language • For More Information Krakozhian supplies information (loosely defined) in seven categories. Who speaks it? People of Krakozhia, of whom we meet one – Hank’s character Viktor Navorski. Documented by? Steven Spielberg directed. What’s behind the words? A summary of the film’s plot. From whence is Krakozhian derived? Apparently it’s an ersatz Bulgarian. Linguistic characteristics? It sounds Slavic. Philological facts [Note 1]? Viktor learns English while staying in the terminal; and the story is similar to an Iranian’s plight at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. To learn more, check out the film’s page on IMDb. I fail to understand why there’s an entry for Krakozhian. I could go on for any number of entries but I’ve made my point. The author lacks a discriminating eye [Note 2]. This would have been a far more useful and interesting book if he had focused on more-developed conlangs. There was one omission I found odd considering the dross Rogers included and that’s no entry for M.A.R. Barker’s Tsolyani. Here we have a language for which fans have created fanzines and websites, and for which there’s a rich corpus about its grammar and literature, yet it doesn’t even get the page that Gobbledegook, the language of J.K. Rowling’s goblins, merits. Similarly, I question why the author mentions only Verdurian of the many languages Mark Rosenfelder has created for his fantasy world Almea. Rosenfelder devotes a great amount of energy to developing realistic conlangs, with detailed grammars and snippets of literature, but Verdurian gets a page and a half, mostly fluff. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding Rogers’ purpose in putting this information together but I didn’t find much of use or real interest here so I can’t recommend it. Note 1: I’m not sure but I believe the author’s grasp of “philological” is fatally flawed. Another example of a “philological fact” found in “The Old Tongue” entry is “[b]efore The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan wrote Conan the Barbarian novels” [Note 1a]. Note 1a: I should mention that the aforementioned Conan novels are some of the best in the post-REH stable. It was a literary reboot of a series that had been languishing in the unimaginative hands of Lin Carter for far too long. Note 2: This is the second reference work I’ve read recently where the author exhibits such a lack of judgment (see my review of Doctor Who Character Encyclopedia). Neither seems able to distinguish important material from drivel.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Yvensong

    I won this through Goodreads Giveaway. I have not read this cover to cover, but have read all the discussion regarding language, the creation of a language, the reasons to do so (or not), and some of the various individual languages that were compiled for this book. This is an excellent resource for any writer who is considering creating languages for the worlds they have created and for anyone who is interested in invented language systems. This will be a book I will return to over and over again I won this through Goodreads Giveaway. I have not read this cover to cover, but have read all the discussion regarding language, the creation of a language, the reasons to do so (or not), and some of the various individual languages that were compiled for this book. This is an excellent resource for any writer who is considering creating languages for the worlds they have created and for anyone who is interested in invented language systems. This will be a book I will return to over and over again for research and just for fun. Many thanks to the author and to Goodreads for offering up this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bernard

    Note, constructed languages, languages deliberately created separate from organically/naturally created languages are also called conlangs. Books like this can never satisfy everyone. There are so many opinions about the attributes of numerous conlangs, that there is never going to be a book that everyone can love. This is a great way to get a taste of a lot of different conlangs. It gives a quick intro with a little bit of background for a bunch of interesting languages. It is setup like an encycl Note, constructed languages, languages deliberately created separate from organically/naturally created languages are also called conlangs. Books like this can never satisfy everyone. There are so many opinions about the attributes of numerous conlangs, that there is never going to be a book that everyone can love. This is a great way to get a taste of a lot of different conlangs. It gives a quick intro with a little bit of background for a bunch of interesting languages. It is setup like an encyclopedia. Pick your language and read the details. I learned that Angoroj was the first Esperanto movie, beating Incubus by one year. The language used in the Superman comics started out as a 118 letter Krypotnese alphabet. In 2000, D.C. Comics changed to the Kryponian language, with Kryptonian symbols with a one-for-one correlation with characters from the native language(s) of the buying public in each market country. I found out that Rope is a line in English, French, and Spanish. I looked it up and found out it is Leine in German. The Tenctonses Language has always been an interesting one to me. In the 1988 movie, Alien Nation, the used the following method to come up with the sound of the alien dialogue. Van Ling used Chinese, Samoan, and German. In the television series, they were cheesy and used English words or backwards spellings. The Tenctonese signage, in the Fox television series, was based on Pitman Shorthand. What makes this interesting is that Pitman Shorthand was replaced around 1890 by Gregg Shorthand. Anyone trained in shorthand would probably not have been exposed to the older standard! Clever people those fox television signage guys! The schism between the Esperanto and Ido people was nicely explained. The schism between the Loglan and Lojban is covered nicely. I found interesting sites on the internet for various languages like Vulcan, Na'vi (which now has over 1,500 words and a grammar), The Divine Language (from The Fifth Element, has 400 official words), Encantadia (Filipino television series, do not ask!), and quite a few others. I indicated that you shouldn't ask, but okay, what is Encantadia? It is a Filipino series with magic and lots of music and dancing. They also toss in a little bit of the whole transformation thing, similar to Power Rangers but with robes and swords and a few more Earthy colors. Apparently, the Filipino language wasn't challenging enough and was far too accessible, so they came up with a constructed language just to make things even more interesting. For those who don't understand Filipino, don't worry, they also have it in Tagalog! There may be an English version floating around somewhere. If you look around, youtube has a couple of sample videos. Bottom line, if you have any interest in conlangs, this is a MUST have. If you don't know what conlangs are, it isn't a bad intro. I loved it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Simpson

    Sad to say, this book is largely worthless. It gives a very brief history of a variety of made-up languages (mostly from literary works), a few token examples of the language, and some factoids - sometimes about the language, the works in which it appeared, or the creator/author. All of the entries have references to other sources of information, but a notable percentage of those are to Wikipedia sites. All told, this book should have just been a conlang enthusiast's webpage. It's not offensivel Sad to say, this book is largely worthless. It gives a very brief history of a variety of made-up languages (mostly from literary works), a few token examples of the language, and some factoids - sometimes about the language, the works in which it appeared, or the creator/author. All of the entries have references to other sources of information, but a notable percentage of those are to Wikipedia sites. All told, this book should have just been a conlang enthusiast's webpage. It's not offensively bad in the way most 1-star books are, but it's just useless in my view and really not a worthwhile reference work.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Coxon

    Thanks to Amazon, I was able to get this very nice hardback book for a fiver. The information is beautifully presented, and it includes references to other material for further reading. That said, I would not pay any more for this book. Instead of an in depth analysis (or any analysis at all) of the languages discussed, it simply gives a brief history of where the language comes from, how it it used, a pinch of grammar and a handful of words and phrases. It is not a dictionary, neither is it an a Thanks to Amazon, I was able to get this very nice hardback book for a fiver. The information is beautifully presented, and it includes references to other material for further reading. That said, I would not pay any more for this book. Instead of an in depth analysis (or any analysis at all) of the languages discussed, it simply gives a brief history of where the language comes from, how it it used, a pinch of grammar and a handful of words and phrases. It is not a dictionary, neither is it an adequate description of language. Many of the sources referenced TO MY HORROR are from Wikipedia. All of the information is clearly from only a few sources per language, and it's just a bit dull. And brief. I'm not entirely sure why this book was written, as the descriptions are extremely limited, and it can't exactly be used as a reference dictionary, making the title very misleading. That said, I'm sure it would make a good novelty gift for anyone who is interested in languages, or who is reading all of Tolkien's novels and struggling to remember who speaks what. Frankly, I'm disappointed. I only bought this book because it's section on Klingon (a grand 3 pages) is widely referenced in the linguistic field of analysing Klingon. Essentially, I'm referencing it in my dissertation because it is a modern (2011) book to cite on the relevant topic. It has no real use in the rest of my life however, except for maybe occupying my newfound Klingon library.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    Bljeghbe'chugh vaj blHegh! If you're ever surrounded by Kingons you would be well-advised to be aware of this phrase (Surrender of die!). More than 100 made-up languages are covered in Part I of this engagingly written, informative one-of-a-kind dictionary. Part II gives SF/Fantasy writers all they need to begin constructing their own written or spoken languages. SF/Fantasy writers will find the 15 pages of recipes and suggestions, particularly the notes on syntax, a 200-word core word list absol Bljeghbe'chugh vaj blHegh! If you're ever surrounded by Kingons you would be well-advised to be aware of this phrase (Surrender of die!). More than 100 made-up languages are covered in Part I of this engagingly written, informative one-of-a-kind dictionary. Part II gives SF/Fantasy writers all they need to begin constructing their own written or spoken languages. SF/Fantasy writers will find the 15 pages of recipes and suggestions, particularly the notes on syntax, a 200-word core word list absolutely essential and immensely useful for including a made-up language in their work.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    I wanted to like this more than I did. The repeated boiler plate for related languages drove me up the wall. All the Tolkien languages should have been dealt with in a single section with "please see Tolkien" for all the various languages he did. (And ditto for all the other similar languages written by a single author) Also, the author didn't make a very good distinction between languages that are ideas for a language vs languages that you can actually hypothetically use. I wanted to like this more than I did. The repeated boiler plate for related languages drove me up the wall. All the Tolkien languages should have been dealt with in a single section with "please see Tolkien" for all the various languages he did. (And ditto for all the other similar languages written by a single author) Also, the author didn't make a very good distinction between languages that are ideas for a language vs languages that you can actually hypothetically use.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lost Owl

    Just okay. Very repetitive in many of the references when referring to the same author. I found the entry on Esperanto to be belittling; to give the same amount of space to a constructed language which has existed for over 100 years, as to one that consists of a few random words used in an obscure movie obscures rather than illuminates. Jes, mi diras Esperanton. Malbone.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ben Smith

    If you want a book that points you to lots of shows, books, movies etc. that feature conlangs, you should get this book. If you want a book that tells you about the structure and characteristics of certain constructed languages, you would probably be better off looking it up on Wikipedia.

  10. 5 out of 5

    J.D. Holman

    This sounds fabulous.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dr. Andrew Higgins

    Good tour of many art languages with excellent links to many websites. Definately recommend and will turn to again and again. Languages games in back are fun as well.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    A good, quick overview to many invented languages. Not a lot of info on each one, but you get the gist of each: its intended use, who invented it, etc.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lily

    Interesting read. Nothing too exciting. I was annoyed at the omission of Cahuenga and Casta. But it did make me want to take up one of the languages I'd started in on. Interesting read. Nothing too exciting. I was annoyed at the omission of Cahuenga and Casta. But it did make me want to take up one of the languages I'd started in on.

  14. 4 out of 5

    David Menefee

  15. 4 out of 5

    Vega

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emma

  17. 5 out of 5

    Vladimir Ghinculov

  18. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mary Hanes

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jen Hesser

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rob

  22. 4 out of 5

    Franz Pascher

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ismene

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Spence

  25. 5 out of 5

    Teagan

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Ashcraft

  27. 5 out of 5

    Thom Watson

  28. 4 out of 5

    Galia

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kate Geesaman

  30. 5 out of 5

    D J Rout

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