How It All Began

Back in 2001, after "The Fellowship of the Ring" had come out, I was randomly doing a bit of research on good ol' JRR Tolkien. I think I was looking for what his inspiration was in writing a story with such depth, but I went off on a tangent because I wanted to know why he wrote those poems and lyrics and where he got the Elvish and other language stuff. I had known that he was a professor of English at Oxford, but I discovered something I had never guessed. Tolkien actually created a an Elvish language, and part of the reason why he wrote of Middle Earth was to have a place where his languages would be spoken. The realization that the Elvish was not just gibberish, or some existing language adapted for use in the book, or English switched and substituted in some way (like Pig Latin), was AMAZING to me. That someone could make up a language for fun seemed... impossible and difficult.

I had always wanted to write a sci-fi novel and I had the thought that, if I ever wanted it to be as big a hit as LOTR, I had to have an original language in it. I wonder if I can do it? I decided to try. While I was finishing college, I continued doodling and working on my own language off and on, just for fun, but I never told anyone about it, unless they saw my bizarre arrangements of letters and patterns and asked about it. But I was really shooting in the dark until I blundered into some resources on the Internet, and discovered that there were other people out there trying to do the same thing, and some that had created SEVERAL conlangs of varying degrees of complexity and completeness. It was generally known as conlanging, short for constructed language, and finding these initial resources kick-started the progress on my own conlang. This happened sometime during 2003. In 2005, the First Language Creation Conference was held, and again, quite by accident I discovered it would be held in Berkeley, and being an East Bay native and resident, I realized I had to go.

If finding those first few resources on the Internet a couple years before had kick-started my progress, the LCC blew it into lightspeed! I discovered new resources, forums, learned new concepts and ideas of how to generate grammer rules, vocabulary, phonology and morphologies, and met others that were really doing this and were quite serious about it. It wasn't until I had gone to the second LCC that I really developed my first full-on conlang, and now that I have it, I wanted to share it and help others and continue to develop the next generation of my conlang. Hence, the MakeALang blog was born. I hope to create a resource and hub for others like me and share my experiences along the way.

2 comments:

baalak said...

I am better late than never, I suppose.

I recently found your blag and have begun reading it from front to back. I wanted to thank you for creating it, and compiling the resources you've discovered into one place. As an amature conlanger myself, I'm very pleased to see more people speaking on the subject from a place which doesn't require you to have payed attention in grammar school to appreciate. I haven't attempted to become a resource unto myself with my blag, like you have. Perhaps I should have...

I must claim Tolkien as an inspiration as well, and his work has led me to both conlanging and conworlding, my own secret vices. Like Tolkien, I wish to create a world for the peoples in my mind to inhabit, and give them the words with which to describe it.

I must also admit that I'm motivated by the scripts dancing behind my eyes, and a desire to use them, to master them, and to share them.

I'll read your blag, and I'll comment where I have something to add. I'm very glad to have found you, and hope that you might become glad of it as well.

- Baalak Nalzar-aung.

Danger is my middle name said...

Welcome aboard! A black-speech fan, eh? I'd like to talk to you a bit about that. Email me.