How to Invent a Language

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When English isn’t good enough, innovative inventors set out to create their own languages. Most fail miserably, but every once in a while, a newly formed language will take on a life of its own. “Every time an invented language has found success,” language expert Arika Okrent told Failure magazine, “it has been an unexpected success.”

Okrent, the author of In the Land of Invented Languages, thinks that most would-be language inventors tend to view their new form of speech as a product, while most speakers don’t think of it that way. The most successful invented languages are Esperanto and Klingon, which have both changed far beyond their original intents. Okrent advises potential inventors:

Put your language out there in the world and then let people take it away and ruin it for you. If you try to hold on too tightly you’re going to have problems. If you want people to use it, you have to let them use it, but they are not going to utilize it the way you want them to.

Source: Failure

Image by Limako, licensed under Creative Commons.

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