Tag Archives: Mark Rosenfelder

Mark Rosenfelder, The Language Construction Kit

Rosenfelder-Language Construction Kit (2013-09-01 020)Title: The Language Construction Kit

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:
Imaginary languages
Languages, Artificial
Language and languages
Language, Universal

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.

Mark Rosenfelder, The Planet Construction Kit

Rosenfelder-Planet Construction Kit (2013-09-01 02)Title: The Planet Construction Kit

Author: Mark Rosenfelder

Publication Information: Chicago: Yonagu Books, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-9844700-3-7

Library of Congress Classification: GR940

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Imaginary places
Imaginary languages
Fictitious characters

I found this book on one of my forays into the Internet.  I was looking at books on artificial languages, and this was one of the books listed in the bibliography. So, I went out and bought the book and a few others. I wasn’t disappointed.

For anyone who has ever made up races, languages and planets,  this is for you. Rosenfelder’s web site (http://www.zompist.com/) is a plethora of information on languages, numbers, cultures–basically everything to give you information on how to construct an entire civilization. Rosenfelder discusses civilizations that he created on the imaginary world of Alemea. There’s a link from his web  site to the different languages, cultures, religions, etc. on Alemea.

When I was a child and a teenager,  I used to create civilizations and languages all the time. I loved drawing maps of imaginary planets where these characters lived. Yes, it was fun to play with the Star Wars action figures, the Micronauts, and all the rest of the figures from different sci fi shows, but I liked making up new characters, civilizations and situations in which to put these figures. I still have the many maps I drew as well as the symbols I used for the languages. Of course I had no real understanding of the differences between languages.

I didn’t even know that there were people out there doing the same things I was as a child and a teenager. I guess the Internet has brought like people together. As for this book, I highly recommend it to any geek who loves creating his/her own worlds and civilizations. I learned a lot from it.