Fictional Languages

Posted in English Language by Justin on 11 Aug 2011

Unfortunately, languages come and go. Some languages are very rare, and only spoken by a select few. Other languages have been forgotten over time and died out. Others are growing and expanding faster than teachers can teach. Each country has their own national language of choice. But as international business expands, so too must our vocabulary. But what about fictional languages?

One cannot deny that a language can be simply defined as the opportunity to communicate an idea in an auditory manner. “A language isn’t something you learn so much as something you join,” says Arika Okrent, author of a book on artificial argots. To express an idea is more than just speaking. Take Klingon language for example. Because it is made up, does that limit its induction into the language world?

Granted, the language is created from an alien dialect based on the TV show Star Trek_._ But where is the line between fictional language and useless rambling? If a community of people can be congregated around the Klingon language, is it a fictional language? They have a sense of learning, and the ability to expand upon their community. Only language can encourage this. It isn't simply learning the words, but building a foundation.

Or think about Esperanto. With over 50,000-people able to speak Esperanto, the language has formed a suedo society. While entirely fictious, speakers are able to identify and find community with other speakers. Even Wikipedia has 150,000 entries in Esperanto—more than in Hebrew. To label language has either fictious, or tangible defeats the purpose of language.

Learners must apply similar discernment while studying English. Whether taking the face value for learning a new language, or using it to launch new opportunities, learning is a process that is embraced through community. As Okrent says, it isn't just's joining.