Author: Mark Rosenfelder
Publication Information: Chicago: Yonagu Books, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-9844700-0-6 (pbk.); 978-0-9844700-1-3 (cloth)
Library of Congress Classification: P120.I53
Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Language and languages
This book is related to another one written by Rosenfelder that I also reviewed, The Planet Construction Kit.
I find languages fascinating. That said, I can only speak English; I have never been very good with foreign languages. However, if one is writing books or stories about different worlds or other places, it’s good to be able to create some type of language for the inhabitants, even if it’s only a naming language (a language that only consists of names on a map or some phrases). In Rosenfelder’s case, he’s created Verdurian and it’s many dialects. His site is loaded with translations of different languages.
The book takes you through all the steps (and more) in creating a language. From my own experience, I would create alphabets for the characters I created while a child. It went from a letter-by-letter conversion to differing sounds to different words to different sentences–that still read like English, since I was never very good at diagraming sentences. I know my parts of speech (thanks to ABC’s Schoolhouse Rock), but that was about it. Predicate adjectives, predicate nominatives … it all just runs together for me. I used to forget everything. (This was also a problem with math.)
This book probably has more in it than most of us would ever want to know. Still, it is fascinating. In his introduction, Rosenfelder states that the book is not meant to be read straight through; someone interested in creating a language can look around and see what parts of the book are needed at that point. (This would be me, jumping from page to page.) The contents of the book: A naming language; The overall process; Sounds; Word building; Grammar; Semantics; Pragmatics; Language families; Writing systems; Kebreni; Word lists; More to read (the bibliography).
Anyone interested in creating languages would find this book very interesting and very helpful, if only to give you ideas on how one goes about creating a language or languages.