Your mother has a smooth forehead.

Conlanging. It sounds vaguely naughty. Do you and your wife conlang? Honk if you conlang! It’s really not as salacious as it may sound (to me, at least). To conlang means to create a language. The word is an amalgamation of Constructed Languages and it refers to the process of intentionally (as opposed to accidentally?) inventing a language. It can also refer to the language itself. Esperanto is the most famous of the constructed languages that had the goal of real world use, but it is by no means the only one. The major ones include:

  • Volapük, introduced by Johann Martin Schleyer a year after Ludovic Zamenhof published Esperanto  in 1878;
  • Ido, created by an Esperanto reformist group in 1907;
  • Novial, developed in 1928 by the late, great linguist Otto Jesperson;
  • Interlingua, published by the International Auxiliary Language Association in 1951. Continue reading

Universala lingvo? A universal language?

When we last left our intrepid linguist, she had presented you all with a puzzle: Merkredon, vi legos pri konstru lingvoj.

The language is Esperanto, and it means “On Wednesday, you will read about constructed languages.” Congratulations to M.Howalt who correctly identified the language and was able to sort out at least part of the sentence! If anyone else wants to devise some clever Esperanto party tricks, or just mess with people (something Yours Truly would definitely approve of), you can find a translation website here.

I remember first learning about Esperanto as a teenager and thinking how cool it would be if everyone really did learn it. I loved the idea of a tool that would make communication possible with anyone and everyone. As with many other things, however, this was a romanticized idea, though it would take me years to understand why. Continue reading