10 Invented Languages and Why People Use Them

Common languages had to begin somewhere and then evolved into what we understand and use today. So, are languages still being created? Invented? And why would someone prefer to use an invented language over a familiar language? This list of 10 invented languages will hopefully answer some of those questions.  

  1. Solresol: Solresol was developed as a deliberately simplified language that was intended to make worldwide communication easier. Francois Sudre, its inventor, based the language on seven syllables from the musical scale, do, re, mi, fa, so, la, si. This meant that words could be written in musical notation, communication could be made by singing and syllables could even be represented by seven colors so even the illiterate could understand and communicate.
  2. Quenya: JRR Tolkien invented and used the language of Quenya in his Lord of the Rings trilogy. This is the most elaborate of all the languages Tolkien invented, and it is the reason he began to write his stories. Quenya needed a home and a people to use it- Middle Earth became its home and the Elves became its users.  Tolkien wanted to create the most beautiful language possible and used parts of Latin, Greek and Finnish to do that.
  3. Laadan: Laadan was created by Dr. Suzette Haden, professor of Linguistics as a test of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis states that language shapes and can limit the thought process, the way people think.  She wanted to test the idea that human languages do not adequately allow for female expression. Laadan has words for ideas that are, in English, only conveyed by tone or body language. For example, Laadan has separate words for an emotion that means I am happy and have a good reason, as opposed to being happy for no reason. In English, the difference is stated in several other words strung together whose intention is to modify “happy.” In Laadan, only one word is necessary.
  4. Toki Pona:  Toki Pona has only 123 words in its lexicon. These words can be combined to create words that are more complex and while it is an easy language to learn, because of its limited number of words, speakers have difficulty expressing different shades of meanings. This was another language developed on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis with the intention of simplifying life by simplifying the language.
  5. Lingua Ignota: Lingua Ignota was created by abbess Hildegard of Bingen and was the first known human-made language. While we can only speculate as to its purpose, the nuns probably used as a secret language. As an accomplished composer, Hildegard often used words from her language in her music, and a glossary of approximately 1000 words  from her language are mostly medical or religious terms.
  6. Newspeak: Another language created for a book is Newspeak. George Orwell used this language in his novel 1984. In the book, the purpose of the language was to narrow the range of thought and eventually wipe out the use of English completely. Some words from the book, therefore the language, like doublethink and ungood, have been picked up by English speakers.
  7. Enochian:  This language appeared a series of books by astrologer John Dee and seer Edward Kelley in the 16th century. This language was taught to Dee and Kelly by angels and according to Dee, it was the language used by God to create the world. Dee and Kelly used the Enochian alphabet to write the books on magical practices. 
  8. E-Prime: This language was created to make a philosophical point. It is a version of English that does not allow any forms of the verb ‘to be’ (is, was, were, etc). According to Alfred Korzybski, who promoted the language, E-Prime can be used to sharpen critical thinking and make ideas clearer.
  9. Esperanto: Esperanto was invented n the late 19th century by a Polish doctor, Ludovik Zamenhof. It has up to two million speakers all around the world. Zamenhof wanted to create a language that was easy to lean, and politically neutral.
  10. Klingon: Klingon is probably the most famous invented language of all. Klingon had deliberately added complex rules and sounds and was created for the Klingon race in the Star Trek movies.

There are many reasons for someone to try to “create” a new language, but they all hold one thing in common- the desire to communicate.

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