Constructed languages: A cool guide & how to create your own

If you’re a language geek, you’re likely already familiar with constructed languages. If not, you may be surprised to find out that aside from over 7,000 languages spoken today in the world, there are also those that have been created artificially.

These artificially constructed languages are called “conlangs” - yes, it’s a smooth combination of the words “constructed” and “language.”

Conlangs have been around for quite a while. The oldest conlang we know of is Lingua Ignota, created in the 12th century by abbess Hildegard von Bingen. The earliest fictional language ever created was the Utopian language by Thomas More in 1516.

If you’re curious to learn more about constructed languages, keep reading because, in this article, we’ll go over the most popular constructed languages you might not have known ever existed.

People reading artificially constructed languages, called conlangs.

Uses and applications of constructed languages

Conlangs are usually created for a specific purpose, although they can also be created purely for creative expression - or for fun (check out this language genius who created a dolphin conlang).

The earliest conlangs have been created for religious, philosophical, or other real-world purposes. For instance, the most popular conlangs we know today, like Esperanto and Interlingua, were constructed to create a universal language as a communication tool between nations.

Some other conlangs, like Klingon and Dothraki, have been created to build magical worlds in fantasy books, movies, TV shows, and video games. We’ve got an entire article dedicated to these fantasy conlangs.

Although it’s currently estimated that there are 312 constructed languages, they’re more common than we think. Since anyone can create their own conlang, we don’t exactly know how many newly constructed languages exist.

There’s even a term that describes a person who constructs languages (a “conlanger”), a verb that describes the action of creating a new language (“conlanging”), and a site you can use if you want to create your own language (

Types of constructed languages

If you’re interested in creating your own conlang or you’re just geeking out on this topic, you must know that there are 3 main types of constructed languages.

There are 3 main types of constructed languages.


Artlangs, or “artistic languages,” are constructed languages that have no real-world use and are solely created as works of art. Usually, artlangs have irregular grammar systems and aren’t as organized and well-defined as auxlangs or engineered languages.

There are different types of constructed languages that can be classified as artlangs:

  • Fictional languages, created to make fantasy worlds appear more realistic (for example, Sindarin and Na’vi).
  • Alternative languages, created as a way of reconstructing what would happen to real-world languages if they had evolved differently (for example, Brithenig),
  • Micronation languages, created for micronations and spoken only by their citizens (for example, Talossan)
  • Personal languages, created only for their creator and whoever they decide to share them with (for example, the dolphin conlang we mentioned earlier).


International auxiliary languages, or auxlangs, are meant to act as a universal communication tool between nations that don’t speak the same language.

All auxlangs aren’t necessarily constructed languages. They can be both real-world languages, such as Latin or Greek in antiquity, and conlangs, such as Esperanto or Interlingua.

Engineered languages

Engineered languages, or engelangs, are languages constructed to prove a hypothesis about how a language works or might work.

There are at least 3 different types of engineered languages:

  • Logical languages, created to eliminate ambiguous language rules present in many languages (for example, Loglan).
  • Philosophical languages, created as a way of reflecting some philosophical aspect in language (for example, Ro),
  • Experimental languages, created for linguistic research and to close the gap between language and thought (for example, Làadan)

List of the most popular constructed languages

Let’s jump into the list of the most popular constructed languages you didn’t even know existed.

Tolkien's Elvish languages.

List of popular artlangs

As you remember earlier in the article, fantasy languages fall under the artlangs category. If you’re a fan of fantasy books, movies, or video games, you might be familiar with some of these popular artlangs.

Sindarin and Quenya (Tolkien's Elvish languages)

Sindarin and Quenya are two fictional languages created by J.R.R. Tolkien for his Middle-Earth stories.

Quenya, known as the language of the High Elves, is characterized by its complex grammar and melodic sound, drawing inspiration from Finnish, Latin, and Greek. Sindarin, spoken by the Grey Elves, has a more realistic feel inspired by Welsh and Old English.

If you’re a Tolkien fan and want to learn how to speak Elvish, you can join communities of Quenya and Sindarin speakers on Reddit (both with over 7k members!)

Dothraki and Valyrian (Languages from "Game of Thrones")

Dothraki and Valyrian are two fantasy languages constructed by David Petersen for Game of Thrones, a TV show loved by many. If you’ve watched the show, you’ll know that Daenerys is the last known speaker of High Valyrian and that Dothraki is the language spoken by the warriors of the land of Essos.

Although both languages are fictional, they have a huge fanbase, with some actively learning to speak them. There’s even a fan-made website and a small Reddit community for Dothraki and Valyrian learners.

Klingon (Language from "Star Trek")

Klingon is a fictional language spoken by the Klingon race in Star Trek, created by linguist Marc Okrand. Klingon features guttural sounds, agglutinative grammar, and a bizarre vocabulary that tries to reflect the culture of the humanoid warrior race.

The language has a dedicated community of enthusiasts known as Klingonists. Klingon has even appeared in various TV shows. For example, the two main characters of The Big Bang Theory mention that they speak fluent Klingon multiple times throughout the series.

In fact, Klingon has gained so much popularity that there’s even a Duolingo Klingon course for English speakers with over 377k active learners!

Na'vi (Language from "Avatar")

Na'vi was created by linguist Paul Frommer for the fictional inhabitants of the planet Pandora in James Cameron's film "Avatar." Its features include a unique phonetic inventory, rich grammar with case markings and infixes, and a vocabulary tailored to reflect the culture and environment of the Na'vi people.

The Na'vi language community consists of fans who study and use the language, participate in online forums, create resources, and even hold language learning events at conventions. There’s even a website for Na’vi learners and Frommer’s official blog.

Thalassian (Language from "World of Warcraft")

Thalassian is a conlang created for the fictional land of Quel'Thalas in the popular video game World of Warcraft. Thalassian draws inspiration from real-world languages like Latin, Greek, and French.

While it’s mainly used within the game by players and NPCs (non-player characters), Thalassian fans have created online resources for learning the language - like these Thalassian flashcards on Quizlet.

List of popular auxlangs

As you may remember, auxlangs are auxiliary languages that act as a universal language. Here’s a list of the most popular auxlangs.

The World Esperanto Congress flag.


Esperanto was created by a Polish physician, Ludovic Zamenhof, in 1887. Zamenhof wanted to develop a simple, easy-to-learn language to erase communication barriers between ethnic groups that didn’t speak the same language. Esperanto is designed to be simple and logical, with regular grammar and a vocabulary mainly based on European languages.

It's estimated that 2 million people worldwide speak Esperanto today. Every year, thousands of Esperantists attend the World Esperanto Congress, where they meet other Esperanto speakers.


If you speak any of the Romance languages, such as Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, or Romanian, you’ll have no trouble understanding Interlingua, which was created as an auxiliary language for Romance language speakers.

Interlingua was developed between 1937 and 1951 by the American International Auxiliary Language Association (IALA). It was officially launched in 1951 when IALA published the Interlingua-English Dictionary with 27,000 words.


Ido is a conlang derived from Esperanto. It was constructed in 1907 to rectify Esperanto's perceived flaws and become the second universal language for people of different linguistic backgrounds. The name “Ido” comes from the Esperanto word “offspring.”

Ido was designed to be easy to learn and fairly regular in terms of grammar, orthography, and lexicography. Ido’s vocabulary and structure draw inspiration from 6 leading European languages: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian.

Although Ido gained some popularity, it quickly faded away when one of its most influential proponents died, and another one left the movement to create his own language, Novial.


Volapük was created in 1880 by a German cleric, Johann Martin Schleyer, and designed, just as Esperanto, to be a universal language. Although Volapük draws inspiration from the Romance languages and English, it’s almost impossible to understand without studying it.

Volapük’s complex grammar and vocabulary, which doesn’t resemble any contemporary language at all, has made it quite difficult to learn, and it was quickly replaced by Esperanto.


Like Esperanto and Interlingua, Novial is another artificial language created to be a universal language for speakers of different mother tongues. It was introduced in 1928 by Otto Jespersen, a Danish linguist who was previously involved in the Ido movement.

Novial vocabulary draws inspiration from Germanic and Romance languages, but its grammar is largely based on English. Novial didn’t have enough time to gain popularity and nearly died with its creator in 1943.

List of popular engineered languages

Engelangs, or engineered languages, aim to prove a specific hypothesis about how languages can be applied to real-world issues. Here are some of the most popular engelangs.

Lojban logo.


Lojban is a logical and clean conlang created by the Logical Language Group (LLG) in 1987. Lojban is an improved version of its predecessor, Loglan, an artificial language created by James Cook Brown in 1955.

Lojban’s purpose is to make language more logical and easy to use. It has been suggested as a means of machine translations and as a way to explore the “intersection between human language and software” - hence why it falls under the engelangs category.

The words “loj” and “ban” stand for “logic” and “language,” meaning that Lojban is a very logical language with pretty straightforward grammar and inflection rules to express emotions.


Blissymbols (or Blissymbolics) is an artificial ideographic language consisting of graphic symbols that express specific ideas (like the Egyptian hieroglyphs). Currently, Blissymbols has over 5,000 recognized symbols.

This conlang first appeared in 1949, created by a Jewish chemical engineer, Charles K. Bliss, who wanted to develop a universal language to unite the nations that hated each other during the war. His life path took him to Shanghai, where he created Blissymbols inspired by Chinese characters.

A non-profit charity organization, Blissymbolics Communication International, is now in charge of Blissymbols and its use and development. Today, this language is used to help people with speech and physical impairments and various learning difficulties.

Programming languages (e.g., Python, Java, C++)

If you’re a software engineer or you’re familiar with programming, you know that programming languages like Python, Java, or C++ are pretty much like learning to speak a normal language - except on the computer.

Because of their use in software engineering, programming languages fall under the category of engineered languages.


You’ve probably heard of Braille, a tactile writing system used by visually impaired people. Braille was created over 200 years ago, in the 1820s, by Louis Braille - a Frenchman who lost his sight in a tragic accident as a child.

You might be surprised to learn that Braille isn’t a language but a tactile code. The dots represent letters, punctuation, and numbers, allowing visually impaired people to read and write by touch only.

International Morse Code

Morse code is an early telegraph communication system developed by Samuel F.B. Morse in 1837 as a way of communicating through bursts of electricity. Back then, it was used to communicate via telegraph, satellite, and radio. Today, Morse code is still used by the U.S. Navy and aviators.

Morse code consists solely of dots and dashes. More specifically, it consists of short and long bursts of sound called “dits” (the short ones) and “dahs” (the long ones). The most common word used in Morse code is SOS, represented as:

. . . - - - . . .

The process of constructing a language

Although constructing a language is complex, many people have done it. And we’re not only talking about the creators of the widely recognized conlangs mentioned in this article.

We’re also talking about linguists and linguistic enthusiasts who create new languages for art, entertainment, or worldbuilding, like this creator of a fantasy language called Asterian and this creator of a fictional conlang called Khedorran.

Here are some things you need to consider on when creating your conlang.

Group of friends constructing a language.


Your language needs words to exist. To create your vocabulary base, think about how the speakers of your language would communicate in real life. If you’re creating a fictional conlang for a fantasy warrior species, you’ll have to consider their culture, habits, and way of communicating.

Once you’ve figured out how the speakers of your language will communicate, begin by brainstorming the main set of words: basic nouns, verbs, greetings, numbers, and so on. You can take inspiration from existing languages or even use ChatGPT to help you create new words.

Writing systems

Another key element of your conlang is the writing system it’ll use. Will your language speakers communicate via the written alphabet? Will you use a Latin alphabet or create an entirely new one? Or maybe you’d rather use symbols?

Your writing system can be anything from an entirely new writing system to one that’s inspired by the existing ones, such as:

  • An alphabet, where each character represents a sound,
  • An abugida, where each character represents a syllable,
  • An abjad, where each character represents a consonant and vowels aren’t written,
  • A logogram, where each symbol represents an entire word.


After establishing your writing system and developing some vocabulary for your new conlang, you’ll need to think about phonology and pronunciation.

You'll need to consider the sounds present in your conlang, including consonants and vowels, as well as any consonant clusters or diphthongs. Decide on the basic phonetic inventory and the rules governing how these sounds can combine and change in different contexts. Consider factors like phonotactics, syllable structure, and any phonological processes such as assimilation or vowel harmony.

And once you’ve got all this figured out, think about the intonation, stress, and tone of your language. How do you want it to sound?


Although most language learners don’t enjoy learning grammatical rules, they’re a crucial part of any language - including your conlang. To come up with a logical and coherent set of grammar rules for your conlang, you must consider the following elements:

  • Syntax: Determine the word order and sentence structure of your conlang.
  • Morphology: Decide how different words are formed, including inflectional and derivational processes for nouns, verbs, adjectives, and other parts of speech.
  • Tenses and aspects: Define how your conlang expresses time, duration, completion, and the speaker's attitude towards an action or event.
  • Agreement patterns: Specify any agreement patterns between different parts of speech, such as subject-verb agreement or noun-adjective agreement.
  • Case system: Determine if your conlang uses a case system to mark grammatical relationships (like Russian) or no case system at all (like English)
  • Voice and valency: Establish how your conlang handles passive voice, causative constructions, and other changes in verb valency.
  • Word order variation: Consider if your conlang allows for flexible word order (like Polish) or if it follows strict rules in all contexts (like German).
  • Sentence types: Define the types of sentences your conlang can form, such as declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory.
  • Complex sentence structure: Determine how your conlang handles subordinate clauses, relative clauses, and other forms of complex sentence structure.

There’s a lot to think about!

Happy Conlanging!

Is creating your own conlang worth the effort?

If you’re doing it for entertainment, it might be a fun linguistic exercise. If you’re writing a fantasy novel or movie script, creating a conlang can be a great way to enrich the world you’re building and give your characters more depth.

For the conlang creators we mentioned in this article, creating their own language was a way of improving the world through more structured communication. Yet, many of these languages failed to achieve their purpose.

Of course, it’s not easy to get millions of people worldwide to adopt your language and start using it in their everyday lives.

Unless it has a specific purpose that helps people live better lives, like Morse code or Braille, your conlang will likely lack speakers, face cultural sensitivity issues, and struggle to maintain linguistic coherence due to lack of practical use.

Still, isn’t it fun to learn more about the artificial languages created over the years and maybe even try to create your own? Only you can tell!

Embrace more language learning fun on our language blog.

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