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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rockerbox

If you had to learn a fictional language, which one would you choose?

I'd personally choose to learn Sindarin Elvish, as I'm a huge fan of Lord of the Rings.

April 10, 2017

89 Comments

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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/swingbeatnik7

Quenya Elvish for me, but I hear that Neo-Sindarin has a broader vocabulary and a larger community that keeps the language up-to-date. I would love either, and I'd be cool to learn Tolkiens Tengwar alphabet :D Other than that I'll take a look at High Valyrian when it comes out. I'll probably learn some Klingon because of its impact. Does anyone know of any other conlangs that have a "large" community? I've heard of Toki Pona and of course, Esperanto.

April 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zerr_

Does anyone know of any other conlangs that have a "large" community?

Esperanto is certainly the most popular conlang ever (2M+ speakers). Following that, there's Interlingua, which has around 1500-2000. Anyone who's ever studied a Latin-based language can understand it without any study at all - take a look at the Wikipedia. It mimics the Romance languages, with some Greek, English, and Russian added as well, but it also mimics the irregularities found in those languages, so Esperanto is still easier for the average person to learn.

There's Ido, which, due to the brief war between the languages, is generally regarded as a work of utter rubbish by the Esperanto community. It only has about 100 speakers.

Other conlangs with relatively large followings include Klingon, Dothraki, Na'vi, and a few lesser-known ones, like these:

  • Toki Pona (~200): Language with ~120 words. It can be learned in a few hours.
  • Lojban (~100): Language that seeks to remove all ambiguity. Pretty much like speaking in math.
  • Solresol (not a lot): Very bizarre and interesting language where every word is made of combinations of seven symbols. The seven symbols are do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti in speech, but they can be switched out for colours, shapes, music, or any other set of seven symbols.

Or you could try making your own. For more, see here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Daniel5476

yes either Elvish would be cool!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Patrick.-

Is Esperanto an Option?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zerr_

Esperanto is as real a language as Spanish, so I don't think so.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Milezinator

Esperanto is not as real a language as Spanish. Spanish, along with most languages, was created naturally, but Esperanto is completely artificial. Number of speakers is irrelevant. However, it still likely would not qualify here because the question is what FICTIONAL language you would learn, which refers to a language from fictional media, such as TV, movies, books, etc.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

Esperanto is not completely artificial. Certainly 130 years of usage counts for something.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wyqtor
  • 1752

Scala. It's what Duolingo is currently written in, so it must be good.

http://making.duolingo.com/rewriting-duolingos-engine-in-scala


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NoNoEsImposible

I still firmly maintain that although Python is not slow, it is certainly one of the best programming languages out there, especially for beginners - I use it myself.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Drbz123

I'd say "Lang Belta" from The expanse TV show.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Devokan

I think this would be fun to learn. It's certainly nice to listen to.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Devokan

Hey check this out, there's actually a subReddit about it: https://www.reddit.com/r/LangBelta/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jack.Elliot

Newspeak is a new programming language in the tradition of Self and Smalltalk. Newspeak is highly dynamic and reflective - but designed to support modularity and security. It supports both object-oriented and functional programming.

Like Self, Newspeak is message-based; all names are dynamically bound. However, like Smalltalk, Newspeak uses classes rather than prototypes. As in Beta, classes may nest. Because class names are late bound, all classes are virtual, every class can act as a mixin, and class hierarchy inheritance falls out automatically. Top level classes are essentially self contained parametric namespaces, and serve to define component style modules, which naturally define sandboxes in an object-capability style. Newspeak was deliberately designed as a principled dynamically typed language.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IanGordon12

newspeak doubleplusungood


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zerr_

I'm going to guess you mean constructed languages created for movies, books, TV shows, etc., not languages that are themselves not real. The main examples I can think of right now are Klingon, Quenya, Sindarin, Na'vi, Dothraki, Valyrian, Kryptonian, and the language in the second Thor movie.

Tolkien's Elvish languages, as interesting as they are and as much as I'd like to learn them, aren't complete enough to be learned fluently. With the fan-made words, idioms, grammar, etc., they definitely are, but that might not be Elvish anymore.

I own a complete Dothraki course - I haven't completed it yet, but I own it - but I'd still probably have to say Klingon. It would be nice to know the single nerdiest language possible. I wish the course would speed up already.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gboltono

I forgot about Kryptonian!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

Which is one of the animated Superman shows Kryptonian is a mix of Esperanto and gibberish.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NoNoEsImposible

Well, normally I would say Huttese, as I am (obviously) a Star Wars fan. But, after doing some research, the tragic fact donned on me that Huttese was short of a real language, and just some random phrases spelled awkwardly from several languages. They jumbled them together enough to make it feel like Huttese was a language of its own. For more information see this link.

It is a similar story for Ewok, so that puts most Star Wars languages out of the story.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rockerbox

It was the same for me - I've been raised in Star Wars nerdom, but it seems that Star Wars languages aren't complete. I also wonder about the written language of Star Wars. Still, it doesn't stop me from called slimeballs "sleemo".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/txlsu
  • 1289

Well, the Dog of Wisdom language, of course :D jk I don't understand why people learn fictional languages at all :p


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zerr_

For fun. For higher nerddom. For glory among the fans.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rockerbox

For nerdom, fandom, and just so they can say they did it.

I've also heard that a group of schoolgirls would pass notes to each other, but the teacher would find the notes and read them aloud - the girls learned Sindarin so they could write their notes in Elfish.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IanGordon12

When I was at University, I had a friend who occasionally wore a tee shirt that said (in English but written in Tengwar) "If you can read this, you are an elf"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/txlsu
  • 1289

I gotta admit the part about learning Elfish as a code so the teacher wouldn't catch them is pretty cool, but they could have done that with a natural language, too. I didn't mean that I literally didn't know why people learn constructed languages, just that I don't really 'get' why people would spend so much time and effort to learn them versus learning a natural one. I wasn't trying to be rude, either, the main reason why I commented at all was just to make a joking Dog of Wisdom reference.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zerr_

There's a much greater chance someone in the class would know German than Quenya, or how to read Cyrillic as opposed to Tengwar. The most foolproof way would be to make a language from scratch, but that's one of the harder ways.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/txlsu
  • 1289

It seems like an awful lot of trouble just to pass notes in class, though. Even in World War II, the Navajo coders made a code based on their own (real, although obscure) language that the Japanese couldn't break. Why would you have to go to something completely made up?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zerr_

I guess they just decided to learn Elvish instead of Navajo.

It could be that they were still writing in English but with the Tengwar script, which seems a bit easier and more likely.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SariahLily

...the Navajo code was also made up. Yes, it was based on Navajo--and English--but it was a code. They didn't just translate from English to Navajo and back.

Besides, learning a made-up language for notes in class would be a ton easier than learning Navajo. (I would love to see people learn it, but it's not something you can learn on a whim.) Granted, just learning the code might be a bit easier (I learned it for a class report, though I couldn't be a code talker due to my accent) but writing it would be a huge pain.

One of the points of made up languages is that they tend to be easier to learn than natural languages. ;)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/txlsu
  • 1289

Now, just writing English in a different script would be pretty easy, but my point was that Navajo is an actual language with some native speakers and attached to a real culture.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zerr_

Why would they learn that instead of Elvish?

I know why I might, but why would they?

They must be fans of LOTR and wanted to learn Elvish. Maybe they just had the Appendix on Elvish and wanted to learn it.

Sindarin and Quenya are actual languages, if without true native speakers, and attached to a culture (the Tolkien fandom, which is definitely a culture).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/txlsu
  • 1289

I'm mean that Navajo is natural, with people born into their culture. We're just going to have to agree to disagree. You can learn whatever you want, I don't care. I was only trying to make a little joke based on a YouTube video (basically a meme) that my brother showed me called The Dog of Wisdom with these computer animated dogs talking in gibberish (not even a real fictional language) with subtitles. I really didn't mean to start some two day long debate about fictional languages. I hope I didn't make you mad or anything, it was just a stupid joke meant to make people (including myself) laugh. Some people liked it. I still hold that learning a natural, especially living, language is a better investment in people's time, but, that's just my opinion and other people are other people.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ze_Evil_Genius

I would love to learn the language of the DOVAH!!!!! (Skyrim)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/39101

Bahlaan dovahkiin, tinvaak dovah.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ze_Evil_Genius

Dovahkiin, Dovahkiin, Paal ok hon zidro ziin Wo dein Vokul Mahfaeraak ast vaal Ahrk Fin Nor Ok Paal Gron, Fod Nust Hon Zidro Zan Dovahkiin Fah Hiin Kogan Mu Draal


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SundownOftheEast

so it is not a real language? i thought i was something like Norse related. Interesting.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zerr_

It is a real language, just a constructed one. I believe there's a Memrise course for it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ze_Evil_Genius

Wait..WHAT? MEMRISE HAS A DOVAH COURSE???? TELL ME MORE!!!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zerr_

There are courses on the alphabet and some words.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ze_Evil_Genius

Oh My God, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! :D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/somaticjester

Praise be to Ye-- I mean, learning Al Bhed sure is nice. ;D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaveRutan

I think Pakuni, from the original Land of the Lost series would be fun. Right now though I'm sort of working up lessons in breehah, a language from my fictional universe.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

Dave - Funny, I mentioned Pakuni too. Did you know that I've written a Comprehensive Illustrated Dictionary of Pakuni? The trouble is that I never typed it up, so it's been published on by Fiat Lingua in manuscript form. I've become fairly good friends with Nels P. Olsen, the author of the most referenced Pakuni dictionary on the internet. At the time, there was nothing like my work, which was created by watching the series a few times, carefully notating and cross-referencing every Pakuni utterance in the series. I rushed to publish my notes because someone else came along with a similar idea.

I entered the project thinking that it would be a fun little language to learn. It was a lot more difficult - not because of the language itself but because there's very little information on it and there's lots of bad information on it - including from the author herself.

Edit: (One year later): I've recently put some information up on YouTube on my Esperanto Variety Show channel. A few weeks ago I had the amazing experience of leading a panel discussion on the topic with three of the original Pakuni actors from the TV show, and with Nels P. Olsen, the author of the most quoted Pakuni dictionary on the line.

When I wrote the above, I didn't even imagine such a thing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaveRutan

At one time I had written down everything I could find of the Pakuni vocabulary. Some of it may even have been put up on a website somewhere. I'm sure it wasn't as comprehensive as what you've done.

When I told my wife that I had mentioned Pakuni as my choice, in response to this topic, we looked at each other and both said, " Omoweysa, omoweysasa!" If you made a tinycard deck of pakuni, I'd favorite it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

Oooh, good idea.. Smells great!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/victoria42204

Hylian (for legend of zelda fans) it would be cool to read and learn it cause the i would become a even bigger nerd at video games!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/garpike

I think the most interesting language that Tolkien conceived of was Entish. Tolkien did not invent his languages with the view to other people learning them, however; they were personal artistic and intellectual exercises. He would probably be bemused at the vast amounts of time some people will still spend on them decades after his death.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Michael.Lubetsky

The problem with Entish is that, per Treebeard, it was incredibly verbose. "we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say". I am not sure how well the language would fare in this fast-paced, Internet age. :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jehlers2

Lapine, from Watership Down.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

Hmm... I was just driving my 11 year old to dance class and he was tossing around "million" and 'billion" as if they were the same thing. This lead to a lecture on "hrair."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Michael.Lubetsky

I am impatiently awaiting the Duolingo Klingon course.

Seriously, though, Klingon is one of the few "fictional languages" that has had an enduring cultural impact (including one reported native speaker). Dothraki and High Valyrian have had their days in the sun but we'll see who has heard of them five years from now.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VincentOostelbos

Five years from now might be a bit soon after the series' end (especially if the ASOIAF books go on for longer than the show), but ten or twenty years from now, that would indeed be interesting to see.

I too am excited about the Klingon course :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zerr_

It's been eight years since Avatar came out, but almost everyone still remembers Na'vi.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MikeNolan6

According to IMDB.com the "Divine Language" invented by screenwriter/director Luc Besson for "The Fifth Element" was complete enough (even with just 400 words) that by the end of filming, Besson and female lead Mila Jovovich were having full conversations in it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/swingbeatnik7

That would be cool if they expanded on it. I loved the sound of it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissCamden

i so wanted to learn this language when the movie came out! and luc said in an interview that there would be a book about the movie with a glossary so that we could learn leeloo's language if we wanted to (no idea if that actually happened, lol). only time in my life i was excited about a fictional language!

(excuse my french ocd, but it's luc besson) (sorry)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MikeNolan6

Name spelling corrected, thanks.

I believe there was a novelization of "The Fifth Element", but I've never seen a copy to know if it includes a glossary for The Divine Language.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NtateNarin

I was going to mention The Fifth Element! I'll never forget the phrase, "Akta Gamat!" (Sorry if I spelled it wrong.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PSLHelstrom

Na'vi. (From James Cameron's Avatar.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TseDanylo

I'm not big into learning conlangs but if I had to learn one, I would learn High Valyrian or Dothraki because of their sound.

If we cut it down to exclusively invented languages though it's 100% Esperanto


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EmmaDilemmaLeigh

It would be great to have an elvish course or either sindarin or quenya! every website I've been on has opposed what I already new and just made me more confused.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FelixMacchiaveli

By all means Dothraki! I am huge fan of GoT and Targaryens :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HexManiacSarina

Thalassian, the language of high elves and blood elves in the Warcraft universe. Then maybe Darnassian, the language of the night elves.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Michael.Lubetsky

Selama ashal'anore! :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HexManiacSarina

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa someone who knows WoW stuff on here :0

Bal'a dash!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/miacomet

Had to??? I think you mean got to ;)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LordofDisorder

There are so many nerdy conlangs I want.

I've actually been studying Quenya, and it's probably my favorite so if I have to just choose one, I think it would be that. I've dabbled in other Tolkien languages as well and they're all interesting.

But also. Na'vi. Na'vi is a fabulous time. Also you can learn Dovahzul. Like from Skyrim Dovahzul. You can learn Dragon Speech.

You can be a dragon. How could you not want that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fractal_shadow

There are several I think are interesting or beautiful. I'd love to learn a bit of Siwa or Na'vi and I'm curious about Klingon once it finally comes out on Duolingo. But the one I REALLY want to learn is the Perl language from Valerian and the City of 1000 Planets! But I can't find any information on it. If anyone knows where I can learn more, feel free to message me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Xasybean.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by “fictional” languages. Does that include languages constructed for fictional mediums (like Klingon or Na'vi), or does that include languages constructed in general (like Esperanto or Toki Pona).

If the former is true, I'd learn Sindarin: mostly just because I like Middle Earth and am not a fan of Star Trek or Avatar.

If the latter is true, it would defiantly be Lojban. It seems so perfectly designed to communicate without grammatical misinterpretation, while also having a fluidity and freedom to it. I don't know how people say it's like a programming language, or inhuman, or ridiculously overly-complicated.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

Since this thread was started, I made a few videos about the fictional language PAKUNI from Land of the Lost. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion with some noteworthy folks in the Pakuni world - including the original actors who played Ta, Sa, and Chaka. (There's even video!)

Here's a playlist of my Pakuni videos that have been published to date.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLl5PRFz0DHxbgvFZkK63ePrANk7cc5wcD


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zane95195

Any of the languages in Dwarf Fortress, preferably the Goblin language for some weird reason. Whatever language the band Dvar sings in, but I'm not entirely sure if that counts as fiction. And the Cabal language from the Blood series, which is used by the bad guys, but I still think it sounds pretty cool. Currently though, every language listed seems to be incomplete.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Liebert_

As a fan of GoT, I'd undeniably learn Dothraki. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/adallape

The language of POKEMON! They can actually understand each other, even though they say different things.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

I have chosen to speak Pakuni from land of the lost. I still haven't cleaned up my notes, but a conlang society was kind enough to post my hand-written notes.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hmada993

I would learn the Quarian langauge from Masseffect universe. keelah se'lai.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlanAlza10

Dothraki, Valyrian, Navi, Sindarin and the Old Tongue (from The Wheel of Time)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Devokan

Growing up, for the longest time I wanted to learn D'ni (from the Myst books/games). I don't think that's particularly complete, though there are a fair amount of documented words.

Now, though, I'm looking forward to how Xi'an and Vanduul turn out. As part of a stretch goal, a linguist was hired to develop the alien languages and he's made a lot of progress. There's an interview here with him talking a bit about the process of working on them: https://youtu.be/4b6tWxM_d0o

Xi'an orthography https://starcitizen.tools/images/5/55/Xian_Sample.png

Vanduul orthography https://imgur.com/a/ji6ot

Sample of Vanduul vocals, by one of the voice and motion actors (sound reminds me of Klingon; linguist actually worked on the Klingon from Star Trek: Into Darkness): https://youtu.be/4b6tWxM_d0o?t=13m30s


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aperion89

IIRC D'ni actually has some dictionary and text guides made by the Miller brothers and David Wingrove (author of the novels), so there may actually be a suitable amount of resources available to actually have a D'ni course.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Devokan

Yeah I've seen the dictionaries and I know there are lessons. I just think the ability to have a conversation in it is a bit limited. Love the script though.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TristanRoberts

I'd love to learn Atlantean from Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Honestly, I think that movie pushed me into my language interest. I know there's a small lexicon of words and numbers in Atlantean, but I'd love to know if there's more and enough to have full conversations.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yimantuwingyai

I learned a little Esperanto. I would like to learn High Valyrian when I have time.

Toki Pona because it just seems so insane.

I'm probably in the minority of Star Trek fans that would love to learn Vulcan. I love the letters.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ramgirl98

Kryptonian. I want to be a cowgirl version of supergirl. Lol.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

Which version of Kryptonian? There's one that even sounds like Esperanto!

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