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The Language Construction Kit

by Mark Rosenfelder

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1826118,408 (3.98)1
Create plausible and realistic languages for role-playing games, fantasy and science fiction, movies or video games, or international communication.

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Highly recommend for anyone looking to get into conlanging AND just about every fantasy author ever (and many sci-fi authors.)

The beginning contains a brief section on creating a 'naming language' for authors who just want to be able to name cities and towns and mountain ranges in their stories. It gives you enough info to have a coherent-sounding set of names for various features of your word without taking a lot of time or effort.

After that comes the meat of the book, which is a solid introduction to conlanging and lot of good references. Experienced conlangers likely won't find anything new, but may find it useful for charts and reference material. For new conlangers it's a solid intro that covers the basics without getting so in depth to be overwhelming.

As a bonus, it's a LOT cheaper than the standard books on linguistics or conlanging, so less of a commitment for the new conlanger who just wants to get their feet wet. ( )
  JessMahler | Jan 9, 2020 |
Ugh...this book is not meant for actual reading, but just referencing as you're doing something. ZZZzzz...

It offered lots of interesting ideas about language and its various building blocks, but it was rather dry and bland. ( )
  benuathanasia | Dec 23, 2015 |
This is the book form of the venerable Language Construction Kit webpage -- an excellent reference and starting point for any conlanging attempts. Admittedly, the author offers a cynical justification for his work, conlanging as a beginning of interest in linguistics when the actual dynamic tends to be the other way around (philology has always been a very fantasy-friendly discipline; how many people pick it up through Tolkien and/or the Brothers Grimm?), but this is brief and, however annoying, inconsequential; the meat and the point of this book is how languages work, and how one can go about building a plausible one.

His advice on transcriptions and on differentiating from one's home language's grammar are particularly valuable... They might be harder for those who only know one language than those who know several, at least on a superficial level. My own conlanging work was certainly helped along by my limited knowledge of German (high-school plus ambitions to improve it) and Latin (high-school and college), and the differences between those languages and English... It might have been helped more, though, if I had known a language significantly more different, Georgian perhaps, or Japanese.

But I digress. The point is, use this book. ( )
  ex_ottoyuhr | May 7, 2014 |
Like another reviewer, I too have often used the Language Construction Kit online (an have printed it a couple of times), and it set me off on my conlanging journey. The book is a great expansion of what is available online. I bought it as soon it was released, without hesitation, and I have been very satisfied. Someone may ask why wouldn't the author just add this new information to the website, and I would say that I have always wanted this information in book form, so for me it's irrelevant. The only thing keeping it from getting five stars is its layout, which other reviewers also commented on. Overall, great book, read it if you have any interest in the making of constructed languages (conlangs). ( )
  aaduncan | Dec 8, 2010 |
The Language Construction Kit, online, is THE resource for "conlangers" (people who make up languages for fun and profit - but you knew that already). I personally can remember printing it out at least twice in my teens. (And holy HECK that was a lot of paper!) Every example mentioned for building your language (firmly based upon actual linguistic concepts - and yes, I think this is a good companion book for an intro to linguistics class) is given with examples from either real-world languages or from some of the author's own conlangs.

So why buy the book when you can get the kit for free?

Well, first off, if you've ever visited the LCK online, you should support the guy who created it. How? By buying the book.

Secondly - and somewhat more importantly - this isn't just a reprint of the online version. It's expanded (there's a whole new FASCINATING section on semantics, for example) and it's convenient to have on your desk.

So why only four stars?

No fault of the author's, but the formatting was a bit odd. Sometimes a section header would appear as the last line on a page, or a line would be spaced v e r y s t r a n g e l y, and that made it hard to read. The formatting issues are *not* his fault, but they *did* require me to re-read more often than I'd like because they made it hard to understand some things wherever they occurred. ( )
1 vote conuly | Jun 12, 2010 |
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This book is intended for anyone who wants to create artificial languages―for a fantasy or an alien world, as a hobby, as an interlanguage.
The size of this book may be intimidating―I have to know all that?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Create plausible and realistic languages for role-playing games, fantasy and science fiction, movies or video games, or international communication.

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