What is a constructed language?

by Stephen M. Walker II, Co-Founder / CEO

What is a constructed language?

A constructed language, often shortened to conlang, is a language whose phonology, grammar, and vocabulary are consciously devised for a specific purpose, rather than having developed naturally. This purpose can range from facilitating international communication, adding depth to a work of fiction, experimenting in linguistics or cognitive science, creating art, or even for language games.

Constructed languages can be categorized into three main types: auxiliary languages (auxlangs), engineered languages (engelangs), and artistic languages (artlangs). Auxlangs are created to improve communication within a community, engelangs are devised as an experiment, often to demonstrate the complexity of language creation, adoption, or adaptation, and artlangs are invented by writers or authors to add depth to a fictional world.

Examples of constructed languages include Esperanto, Klingon, and Dothraki. Esperanto, created in the late 19th century by Polish ophthalmologist L. L. Zamenhof, is the most successful constructed language in terms of the number of speakers. Klingon and Dothraki, on the other hand, were created for the fictional universes of Star Trek and Game of Thrones, respectively.

In the context of artificial intelligence, a constructed language can be used to help machines communicate with each other. These languages are typically designed to be efficient and expressive communication tools for AI agents.

The process of creating a constructed language often involves taking inspiration from the grammar, vocabulary, and phonology of one or more natural languages, or it can be formed completely from scratch. The creator of a constructed language is known as a conlanger.

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