Creating Fantasy Languages – my own attempts

In my last post on this blog I wrote about the difficulties of finding a suitable language for an Elvish culture and the pitfalls of copyright infringement. There was some good comments on a Facebook group I belong about the pros and cons of that and also in the comments section of the blog post as well.

So I thought some readers might be interested in how I have approached constructing fantasy languages or conlangs in the past.

The largest bit of world-building is to create a world called Ladmas and a continent called Neriador. This has gone through a few incarnations and in one form or another has provided the setting for my novel The Return of the Free, and also the short stories, Two Lives for the Sea God, Demon River and Forged in Blood.

Here’s a map of the latest version of the world – the place names have been created using the languages I created.

ladmas-currentI’ll just give details of one of the main languages for now and maybe post about some of the others in the future. The dominant culture of the continent is the Lurar.

Lurar Language background

Used in the countries around Sea of Akdeniz

Source of true Lurar language hotly disputed – each nation exhibits a variation on the language – spelling and pronunciation, but most cosmopolitan natives can understand other foreigners – backwoods would have more impenetrable accents though.

Language is fairly flexible and allows for complexity of meaning and subtleties – as benefits a language well used for trade, diplomacy, politics, thought and bureaucracy. However, also fairly static as developed early – resistance in some quarters to innovations. Some nations more open to outside influence – so Nukush has the tribal influence of the desert for instance.

Ironically the most pure form of Lurar is found in the 100 princes where due to the excessive degree of legalism, diplomatic treaty writing and cultural exchange the language has remained stable – also the common exile of different political parties to other countries has meant that this form of the language has often been exported. Freedom of thought – philosophy, poetry and drama has also been popular in the 100 princes so culturally the rest of the Lurar-speaking countries tend to follow their lead.

Lurar Vocabulary

I created a word list for basic things in Lurar, so for example:

catgres
cattlemersh
charmberyok
chiefmeith
childshuiv
citizenkonsh
citykon

And then used that to create place and personal names:

Lurar Place Names (just a few examples):

NameMeaningNotes
LuranivsPeople of beautyAn original tribal name from 100 princes area
ArumluMountain landCountry to north of Bachyanrik in mountains
PhaengepMeat marketCity name
NarkonCamp cityCity name
LepakonCity on the Lepad riverCity name
TuredkonFactory cityCity name
VrekonFaith cityCity name

Lurar Personal Names (just a few examples):

NameGenderMeaning
EutMaleTrue
EutaFemaleTrue
KainekMaleDedicated to Kainopeon
AevaFemalederived from star
DrolMalederived from servant
DrolaFemalederived from servant

Conclusion

Although I could have delved much deeper into creating a language, I think the process of creating a vocabulary that seems consistent gives the language a uniqueness and also something that seems like it could be real.

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