https://www.duolingo.com/StarlitTardis

A language creation tool similar to Duolingo.

I write fantasy fiction, and one of the things I struggle with is creating languages from scratch. I think it would help a lot if I could use something similar to Duolingo, but translating English into my created language.

So it would give me a word / sentence in English, and I'd have to type in the translation in my language. It would have sections, like the languages on here do (e.g. food, clothes, etc) and I'd have to complete each section at a time. Once I have finished creating a section, I'd have the option to test myself on it (similar to the tests you can do on here once you've completed a section of a language).

I think this would be very helpful for motivating me to work on my languages and it could help me to break it down into manageable sections, rather than feeling overwhelmed by the entire language.

I think this could be a really useful tool for writers, and I can't find anything like it anywhere. Does anyone know of anything like this that exists already? And if not, do you know how I can contact the people who run Duolingo to ask whether they'd consider creating something like this in the future?

1 year ago

21 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Mr_Eyl
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Google 'conlang vocabulary generator'.

There are several tools like Awkwords out there:

http://akana.conlang.org/tools/awkwords/help.html

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StarlitTardis

Thanks! I'll try this!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/juryrigging
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How many languages do you need, and how many words in them do you require in each?

Given that this is a language site, I feel it goes against the grain to say this, but only focus on language to the point that it serves your fiction. After your story is complete, if you want to embellish your languages, do so. But to create one or several languages up front... that isn't writing, and it's falling into a trap that many fledgling writers fall into, one that some never get out of. Do you want to write fiction or just build worlds? Always apply the WIBBOW (Would I Be Better Off Writing?) test if you find yourself getting too caught up in the details.

That said, if you are serious about constructing a working language, how do you want it to behave? I second knudvaneeden about checking out Esperanto, not only because it is a conlang, but because it is agglutinative. Look at a language with noun classes (like Swahili, also agglutinative). What will be the word order? If you're just doing word substitution all you need to do is get any old flashcards and replace words that come up with your own. But if you look at the structure of some of the course trees for different language systems, you'll see that they handle things differently to one another as they try to fit them into Duo's framework.

After exploring a few more courses, you could always pick a course with a system you like, then do the exercises and create your grammar and vocab in a text editor/mind mapping software/scrivener as you go.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StarlitTardis

Thanks for all the tips! I do focus mostly on my stories, and language is just a background thing. But I like the idea of having at least one complete language because having a language helps me to create cultures (the way we speak about things can tell a lot about our culture, in some cases) and because it makes the world I've created feel more real to me. It's also useful for if I want to write something down but need it to be private, because then I can just write it in my created language and no-one will know what it means. I do enjoy world-building as well though. Yes, I want to focus on the stories (and I do). But I like creating the world behind the stories too, and languages are an important part of that for me. They tell me a lot about the world I'm creating.

Thanks again for all the advice! I will definitely try to keep all of this in mind.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NeonSam

So far I have not found a site that gives me sentences for me to translate into my language, so I just use TinyCards and write my own sentences and translate them. With TinyCards you can choose to make your courses private or public for anyone to learn your language. Hopefully this helps. https://tinycards.duolingo.com/

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StarlitTardis

Thanks! I'll have a look at this. I appreciate the help!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/matthewHow4502

Wow! that is cool

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StarlitTardis

Thanks!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StarlitTardis

Thanks, this looks really useful!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Windrammer
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In addition to organizing the language, people may even establish lore to their languages, no matter how "cringy" it may be.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zerr_
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Memrise has also been mentioned for the learning part, but if you want an automatic language creation tool, check out Vulgarlang. It generates languages according to parameters you can set. The full version is $20 and probably worth it.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StarlitTardis

Thanks! I don't have the money to spare right now, but I'll add that site to my favourites list so that I can check it out once I've got the money.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jimnicholson
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https://www.duolingo.com/StarlitTardis

Thanks! I've favourited this so that I can have a proper look at it later.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ontalor
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https://www.vulgarlang.com/

You might find that interesting. Each time you hit the button it creates a new language with different syntax, grammar, and a dictionary.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StarlitTardis

Thanks for this! I'll check it out tomorrow!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Elgatobandido
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Depending on how much you use these languages in your writing you need a basic vocabulary of at least 2000 words, possibly more.
And you need to work you the rules of the language: do nouns have gender (or class), if so how many? English doesn't have any, Spanish and Italian have two genders, German has three, Swahili calls them classes and has over a dozen. Is there a case system? What is the sentence structure? English (and many other languages) is usually SVO (Subject, Verb, Object), but other languages use different structures. So you could have a VSO language (Verb, Subject, Object) or SOV (Subject, Object, Verb).
Do they have familiar and formal pronouns? How many levels of familiarity or formality? Italian has two levels of formality for the word you "tu" (informal), and "Lei" (formal). Does your language have this? Do they have even more levels of formality or informality? Maybe a level that only applies to family, or a level that only applies to a king or queen.
Do they have more emphasis on some concepts than English? Less on some? Spanish has two word for to know that are not interchangeable. Could your language have multiple words for "to fight", "to love", or multiple words for "to work" (maybe one for physical labor and another for white collar or administrative work? Are there different words for "weapon" that are not interchangeable? If the language is spoken in a desert area there could be five words for sand, each talking about a different kind of sand.
If the language in your story is spoken over a large enough distance there could be alternate words for the same word (that are interchangeable) that are used in different areas: fresa is Spanish for strawberry is some places, frutilla is used for strawberry in others. A character might be able to tell where another character comes from by which word he uses. He uses "glon" for hammer, he must be from the south, because in the north they use "vrenca".

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StarlitTardis

Thanks for all the help! It's nice to find someone else who understands the amount of work and details that go into creating a language. I appreciate all the tips!

1 year ago
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