2015-11-09

Getting Started With Conlanging

A good place to start with conlanging is the Language Construction Kit made by Mark Rosenfelder (aka Zompist). It is one of the easiest to understand and the most used guide to conlanging on the internet. For people who want more information and are willing to spend money there is a book version which is longer and has sequels. Although the guide assumes some basic familiarity with theoretical linguistics, there is nothing that you cannot understand in it after reading related Wikipedia articles for a month (this has been tested by a person without any prior linguistic knowledge, aka me). The author has also made his own fictional world filled with conlangs, including two spoken by other humanoid species! There are plenty of other web resources linked on his website, but many are out of date. To view those, copy the URL and use archive.org/web/.
I also recommend using Wikipedia and The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language by David Crystal. However, some of the information in the encyclopedia on language families is outdated and should by checked on Wikipedia. Another highly recommended guide is the Wikibooks' book on conlanging.
Of course, even if you are totally uninterested in the Language Construction Kit, you may still be interested in other things on Zompist.com. He writes about his opinions on lots of non-linguistics topics, such as:
  • Culture
  • Phrasebooks
  • Names of things in alchemy
  • Politics in US
  • How people from 1900 would think of 2000
  • Sciences
  • Science fiction
  • Gaming
Among his linguistics stuff, there are many interesting things such as how spelling in English corresponds to actual sounds, writing English like Chinese, why there is no language instinct, why people learn languages, and whether all human languages sprang from one source or not.

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