Language creation for your novel: the basic plan

Or think of it as a functional approach. Basically, we’re going to do the bare minimum before we start translating…and then we’ll start translating, and you’ll learn on the job.

As ever, huge props to Mark Rosenfelder, whose amazing Language Construction Kit was an enormous influence on all of us in our intermediate phases. But key word? Intermediate. For many beginner language creators, phonology, meaning the inventory of sounds in a language, is already too technical. We want to start having fun with language right away. (If you love phonology, you’re still going to be a great conlanger, but the LCK is definitely a better resource for you because Mark Rosenfelder is better than me. Read it and then come back later and see me, okay?)

The functional approach lets you get started on the fun part. Later you’ll learn how to create a consistent phonology, and you’ll do beautiful things with it. But for now, here’s an outline of a slightly different way to create your own language for your novel.

  1. Figure out what languages you like the sound of.
  2. Research to get a feel for what words in those languages sound like.
  3. Decide some basic parameters of your grammar using your research.
  4. Start a word list.
  5. Find a good translation text.
  6. Go!
  7. ???
  8. Profit!

Just kidding, there’s no money in this. We do it for the love of the game.

In future posts, we’ll go through each part of the outline step by step. Then we’ll talk about how to step up to the next level–once you’re comfortable with how to find the answers you’ll need. Start with some suggestions for how to pick great inspiration languages here.




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