How to create a new language in 7 precise & efficient steps

Along with body language, spoken or written language is the cornerstone of communication, shaping all human interactions.

You may have learned a foreign language or two at school, but how cool would it be to create a language from scratch? Personally, I always wanted to speak Simlish — Please don’t judge!

Constructed languages, or conlangs, offer a fascinating avenue for creativity, exploration, and even philosophical inquiry.

Some were invented for artistic expression, others for fictional universes, and some for philosophical or experimental purposes, pushing the boundaries of linguistic structure and function.

The most famous example of constructed languages is probably Esperanto, L. L. Zamenhof’s beautiful initiative, aimed at fostering international understanding and communication through a neutral, easy-to-learn language.

On the fun side, you might have heard of Klingon, developed by linguist Marc Okrand for the Star Trek franchise, that has its own grammar, vocabulary, and even poetry!

Dothraki and the Elvish languages, created by linguist David J. Peterson for the worlds of Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings respectively, showcase the depth and complexity that conlangs can bring to fictional storytelling.

For a comprehensive list of constructed languages and their background, you can refer to our article: Constructed languages list.

In this article, we’ll explore the art of crafting languages, from laying the foundations of grammar and phonetics to crafting vocabulary and idiomatic expressions.

Whether you're a language geek — like us at Berlitz! —, a writer seeking to enrich your fictional worlds, or simply a curious reader, tlhIngan Qu' tlhIngan (apparently, keep reading in Klingon) to learn how to create a language!

Table of contents

Finding inspiration and purpose to write a new language.

1. Find inspiration and purpose for your new language

Reasons to create a new language

Languages are complex, and there are already so many. So, why would you create a new one?

To enrich a fictional world

One of the primary motivations for crafting a conlang is to enrich a fictional universe. Whether you're an author crafting a novel or a filmmaker working on a movie or TV series, a well-developed language adds depth and authenticity to the cultures and societies within your narrative.

A conlang can serve as a tool for world-building, providing insight into the values, history, and daily life of fictional civilizations. They’re especially used in the sci-fi and fantasy genre. Read our guide to fantasy and fictional languages here.

For linguistic and philosophical experimentation

Beyond fiction, you might want to create a conlang for personal projects or as a form of linguistic, or even philosophical experimentation.

Indeed, new languages can be a means of challenging linguistic norms and conventions, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in language design.

To channel your creativity

For some people, creating a new language is a creative outlet.

It’s a fascinating, challenging, and really cool way to express your imagination and explore the intricacies of language construction.

Inspiration from real-world cultures

Real-world cultures and languages often serve as sources of inspiration for conlang creators. By studying the diversity of human languages and their cultures, conlangers can base their new language on existing linguistic features, from phonetics and grammar to vocabulary and idiomatic expressions.

Moreover, incorporating elements of real-world languages into your constructed language can contribute to its authenticity and believability. By borrowing patterns, structures, and lexical roots from existing languages, you can create a conlang that feels grounded in linguistic reality, while still being fictional.

If you base your new language on real-world languages and cultures, approach the process with respect, acknowledging the cultural significance of the languages and communities that inspire your new language.

Tip: Try to mix and match features from different languages!

2. Define the phonetics and phonology of the new language

The “sound” of your language is key to convey the tone, emotions and intentions — especially for a fictional world.

Do you want it to sound funny? Serious? Scary? — There you go, you’re welcome. Once that’s clear, keep reading!

Defining the phonetics and phonology of a new language.

Sounds of your language

Before delving into the grammar and vocabulary of your new language, it's essential to establish its phonetics and phonology.

Phonetics is the study of the physical sounds of speech, while phonology focuses on the abstract, cognitive aspects of sound patterns in language.

When choosing the sounds for your new language, consider both consonants and vowels. Consonants are sounds produced by obstructing airflow, while vowels are sounds produced with an open vocal tract.

The selection of sounds will greatly impact the overall character and feel of your created language.

For instance, languages with many consonants clustered together may sound harsh or complex, while languages with a wide range of vowel sounds may sound melodic, flowing or even funny — remember the Simlish example?

Interactions of sounds

In addition to individual sounds, it's essential to consider how sounds interact with each other in your new language. This includes aspects such as stress, intonation, and rhythm.

Stress refers to the emphasis placed on certain syllables within words, which can vary between languages and affect meaning and pronunciation.

Intonation refers to the rise and fall of pitch in speech, conveying nuances such as emotion or emphasis.

Rhythm relates to the patterns of stress and timing in speech, influencing the overall flow and feel of the language.

3. Set the grammar and syntax rules

Let’s get a bit technical here. If you want to create a true conlang, you can’t escape grammar!

So, let’s go back to school and review the basic.

Setting the grammar and syntax rules for a new language.

Key components of grammar

  • Nouns: Nouns in your conlang could have a basic form indicating the object they represent, with the potential for inflection to denote number, case, or possession.
  • Verbs: Verbs would indicate actions or states. They might conjugate based on tense, aspect, mood, and agreement with subjects and objects.
  • Adjectives: Adjectives would describe qualities of nouns. They could agree with nouns in number and case.
  • Adverbs: Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They could denote manner, time, place, etc.
  • Pronouns: Pronouns could replace nouns, functioning similarly but with varying forms for different cases and numbers.


Syntax is crucial as it determines the structure and meaning of sentences. Word order affects clarity, emphasis, and nuance in communication. Different languages employ different syntactic structures to convey meaning effectively.

  • Subject-Verb-Object (SVO): This is a common word order in many languages, where the subject precedes the verb, and the object follows the verb.
  • Subject-Object-Verb (SOV): In SOV languages, the verb typically comes at the end of the sentence.
  • Verb-Subject-Object (VSO): In VSO languages, the verb precedes the subject. Word order impacts emphasis and meaning in sentences.
  • Object-Subject-Verb (OSV): In OSV languages, the object comes first. Yep, that’s the syntax used by Yoda!


  • SVO: "The rabbit eats carrots."
  • SOV: "The rabbit carrots eats."
  • VSO: "Eats the rabbit carrots."
  • OSV: “Carrots the rabbit eats.”


  • Inflection: Words could undergo inflectional changes to convey grammatical information. For instance, verbs might conjugate for tense, aspect, mood, and agreement with subjects and objects. Nouns might inflect for number, case, and possession.
  • Derivation: Words might change form through derivational processes to create new words or change their grammatical function. This could involve adding prefixes, suffixes, or infixes.

4. Create a vocabulary for your new language

Now, the fun part of how to make a language, and probably the most creative!

Creating a vocabulary for your a new language.


Let your imagination run wild with these techniques to create a vocabulary.

Coining new words

This involves inventing entirely new words to express concepts or ideas. These new words can be formed by combining existing morphemes or by creating entirely new phonetic structures.

Coining new words allows for creativity and flexibility in expressing unique concepts that may not exist in other languages. Enjoy and go crazy!

Borrowing from other languages

Borrowing words from other languages is a common practice. This can be done through direct adoption of words (loanwords) or through adaptation and modification to fit the phonological and morphological patterns of your conlang.

Borrowing can enrich the vocabulary and facilitate communication with speakers of other languages.

Take a look at our language learning blog and the most spoken languages in the world for inspiration!

Modifying existing words

Modifying existing words involves altering the form or meaning of words already present in the language. This can include processes such as affixation (adding prefixes or suffixes), compounding (combining existing words), or semantic shift (changing the meaning of a word over time).

Modifying existing words allows for the retention of linguistic continuity while still adapting to new concepts and ideas.

Growing up with my sister, we would remove the first letter of all animal names. Not sure why, but it sounded funny!

Thematic vocabulary building

Organizing vocabulary thematically involves grouping words according to specific themes or domains, such as nature, emotions, clothing, food, technology, etc. This approach helps create a coherent lexicon that reflects the cultural values and interests of the new language community.

Thematic vocabulary building also helps in language learning and comprehension by providing a structured framework for understanding and categorizing new words.

Naming conventions

When crafting a lexicon for your conlang, you’ll need to take into account consistency and cultural relevance.

Place names

Place names may reflect geographical features, historical events, or cultural significance. They can be descriptive (e.g., Green Valley, Red Planet, Pleasant Hill, Bear Creek, Big Lake, etc.), commemorative (e.g., Lincoln City, Victoria Falls), or derived from indigenous languages or historical roots (e.g., Manhattan, Mississippi).

Personal names

Personal names often carry cultural or familial significance and may be chosen based on religious beliefs, family traditions, or historical figures. They can vary widely in form and structure, including given names, surnames, and honorifics.

Naming things

Naming conventions for objects, concepts, and entities can be influenced by cultural norms, linguistic patterns, and practical considerations. For example, scientific terms may follow Latin – like Romance languages – or Greek roots for clarity and universality, while colloquial terms may arise naturally from everyday language use.

5. Ideate a writing system for your conlang

If you want to create a “real” new language, you’ll need to speak it and write it.

Speaking and writing a new language with an online friend.


Just like for vocab — and depending on your motivation and creativity — you can use an existing writing system or create a new one.

Using existing scripts

Utilizing an existing script, such as the Latin alphabet, Cyrillic, Arabic, or Devanagari is easier, and can be more familiar and accessible. Obviously, speakers who already speak the language used for the new script may find it easier to learn and use the conlang.

Besides, existing scripts often have established standards for typography, font support, and input methods, which can greatly streamline the implementation process.

Creating a new writing system

If you like challenges, designing a completely new writing system offers the opportunity for creativity and alignment with the unique phonetic of your conlang.

A new script can be tailored to the specific sounds and linguistic features of the language, allowing for a closer correspondence between sounds and symbols. This approach can also contribute to the distinctiveness and cultural identity of the conlang, but, obviously, it’s more complex.


Regardless of whether you chose an existing script or a new writing system, defining orthography is crucial — as you won’t be able to rely on spelling tools! This includes decisions about letter forms, spelling rules, punctuation, and diacritics.

Relationship between sounds and symbols

It's essential to establish a consistent and (kind of) intuitive correspondence between sounds (phonemes) and symbols (graphemes) in the writing system.

This can be achieved through phonemic spelling, where each grapheme represents a single phoneme, or through phonetic spelling, where graphemes represent specific sounds or phonetic features.

Spelling conventions

Spelling conventions dictate how words are written and how sounds are represented in written form. These conventions may include rules for letter combinations, pronunciation cues, silent letters, and irregularities.

Establishing clear spelling conventions helps maintain consistency and clarity in written communication.

Aesthetics and legibility

The visual design of the writing system should be aesthetically pleasing and easy to read. Considerations such as letter shapes, spacing, stroke direction, and typographical features can impact the overall legibility and attractiveness of the script.

Ok, not the easiest, but how cool is the Klingon alphabet?

6. Consider culture and context for your new language

Language and culture are deeply intertwined, with language both reflecting and influencing cultural values, beliefs, customs, and identity.

Considering culture and context for a new language with friends.

Relation between language and culture

Reflection of culture

Language reflects culture through its vocabulary, grammar, and usage patterns. Cultural concepts and practices are often encoded in idioms, expressions, proverbs, and metaphors that convey shared experiences, values, cultural wisdom and beliefs. These often derive from natural phenomena, historical events or cultural customs.

Example: “The early bird catches the worm” — This proverb emphasizes the value of prompt action and preparedness. It reflects a cultural belief in the importance of diligence and initiative.

Influence on culture

Language also influences culture by shaping how individuals perceive and interact with their environment. The words and structures available in a language can influence thought processes, social interactions, and behavior. For instance, languages that have rich vocabularies for describing emotions may foster a greater emotional awareness and expression within the culture.

Example: The Sámi language is said to have 200 words for snow.

Usage contexts

Within a language-speaking community, various usage contexts exist, including formal and informal registers, as well as dialects and sociolects.

Formal language

Used in official, academic, or professional settings, formal language adheres to standardized grammar and vocabulary norms. It typically avoids slang, colloquialisms, and informal expressions.

Informal language

Used in everyday conversations among friends, family, or peers, informal language is characterized by relaxed grammar, casual vocabulary, and colloquial expressions. It may include slang, dialectal features, and culturally specific terms.

The level of informality — and the contexts where informal language is accepted — greatly depends on each language and culture. So, will your new language be more formal or casual?


Dialects are regional or social varieties of a language characterized by distinct vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. They reflect the linguistic diversity within a language community and often carry cultural significance. Dialectal differences may arise from historical, geographical, or social factors.


Sociolects refer to language variations associated with specific social groups or subcultures within a community. Sociolectal differences may be based on factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, occupation, or education level. These variations influence language use and identity formation within the community.

To keep your conlang simple, you might want to avoid getting into dialects and sociolects — At least at the beginning!

7. Share and collaborate with other language creators

What’s the point of a new language if nobody uses it?

Sharing your conlang — even if not fully ready yet — can greatly enhance the creation process.

Sharing and collaborating with other language creators at a dinner party.

Benefits of sharing your new language

Feedback and validation

Sharing your conlang allows you to receive feedback on various aspects such as vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and writing system.

Constructive criticism and suggestions from fellow language addicts – like the Berlitz community — can help identify areas for improvement and validate the effectiveness of your language design choices.

Community support and resources

Engaging with communities of conlangers provides access to a wealth of resources, including language creation guides, tutorials, tools, and reference materials.

By sharing your progress and asking questions within these communities, you can learn from collective expertise and experiences.

It’s also a great way to get an extra boost of motivation!

Inspiration and collaboration

Collaborating with other language creators can spark new ideas, inspire creative solutions to linguistic challenges, and foster a sense of camaraderie within the conlanging community. Check this video if you want to fit in!

You can join collaborative projects, such as developing multilingual translation exercises or creating a shared worldbuilding setting.

Platforms and communities to share a conlang


Subreddits like r/conlangs and r/worldbuilding provide dynamic communities for sharing constructed languages, receiving feedback, and participating in language challenges and collaborations.


Discord servers dedicated to conlanging, such as the Conlangs Discord Network, offer real-time chat, voice communication, and collaborative projects for language creators.

Conlanging forums

Websites like the CBB (Conlang Bulletin Board) and the Zompist Bulletin Board host forums for discussing conlanging topics, sharing resources, and collaborating on language-related projects.

Social media

Last but not least, platforms like Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram have conlanging communities where creators share language sketches, writing samples, and artwork inspired by their constructed languages.

Fun facts on conlangs


Developed by linguist Marc Okrand for the Star Trek franchise, Klingon is one of the most fully developed fictional languages. It has its own vocabulary, grammar, and writing system, and has gained a dedicated following among fans of the series. There are even annual Klingon language conventions called "qep'a'".


The language spoken by the Minions in the "Despicable Me" movies is a mix of various languages, gibberish, and onomatopoeia. While not a fully constructed language like Esperanto or Klingon, Minionese — what a cute name! — has gained popularity and recognition among fans of the franchise.


Spoiler alert: Too much cuteness! Furby, the popular electronic toy from the late 1990s, had its own language called Furbish. It consisted of a series of chirps, squeaks, and gibberish sounds that the toy would use to communicate with its owner. Over time, Furby would gradually "learn" English as it interacted more with its owner.


In the Disney+ series "The Mandalorian," the titular character often speaks in the Mandalorian language, which includes phrases like "This is the way" and "I have spoken." These phrases have become popular memes and catchphrases among fans of the show.

The language of Mordor

In "The Lord of the Rings" film trilogy, the Black Speech of Mordor is spoken by characters like Sauron and the Ringwraiths. The language has a dark and menacing quality, fitting for the evil forces of Mordor, and has been used in various memes and parodies.


Let’s finish with my favorite! In the popular video game series "The Sims," the characters speak Simlish, a fictional language consisting of gibberish sounds. Despite its nonsensical nature, Simlish has become iconic and recognizable among gamers worldwide.

Alright, fellow language aficionados and aspiring creators, it's time to wrap up our journey into “How to create a language”.

So, whether you want to create a new language from scratch or borrow linguistic elements from different corners of the globe, your conlang should be just like you: unique and awesome!

And if you need some inspiration, remember to explore our language learning articles.

Dag dag, language wizards!

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