At some point, fiction writers, writing of fantastical lands, magical, futuristic and space realms may ponder having a fantasy language shared between certain characters.
Creating a fantasy language can no doubt be difficult, just as learning a foreign language can be…especially if the writer needs extensive dialogue spoken in said language. Pros and cons: Pro—A challenge to create unique and wonderful languages, gathering a huge fan following for your “realm speak” like Tolkien did with his Elvish. Con—It can intimidate the writer into navigating away from the idea of spicing up the writing that might otherwise give the realm more merit with a fantasy-based language altogether. But making up a new world with the natives speaking in the unknown can also be as simple as creating only a few choice words or phrases to use regularly in dialogue between certain characters.
Currently, I am working on a fantasy language for the sequel to TOO. I mentioned the “language of Argus” in book one and I knew at some point that the series would have to deliver the goods for that language. Can’t wait to see and hear the outcome once it’s finished.
I would’ve loved being a fly on Tolkien’s wall as he went through the great lengths of creating, practicing and speaking his Elvish language. That was one great mind. The Klingon language from the great mind of linguist Marc Okrand, attracts Trekkies all over the globe for gatherings and conventions. I wouldn’t know the language if someone started speaking it to me, nor can I do the uber popular, Vulcan hand-thingy salute…my fingers simply won’t cooperate. I would not be very welcome at a convention. I could never leave out the mastermind behind Serenity and the Firefly series Joss Whedon, who did a mix of English, Chinese and Mandarin languages.
Did you know there are actual groups and organizations devoted to the study and practice of fantasy languages? Now that’s true “language of love.”
Here are some great links on fantasy languages and creating them:
Have you created fantasy languages for your realms?
If you have not created a fantasy language, it might be fun to explore and challenge yourself, your writing. Not as if writers need to add more challenging tasks to the day to day, but if you decide to create a new language—I would love to hear about it and your process.