In the Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent The Unfolding of Language by Guy Deutscher Babel No More by Michael Erard Talking Hands by Margalit. In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Build A Perfect Language eBook: Arika Okrent: : Kindle Store. In the Land of Invented Languages: A Celebration of Linguistic Creativity, Madness, and Genius. Front Cover. Arika Okrent. Spiegel & Grau Trade Paperbacks.

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Languabes have been waiting to read this one ever since I first heard of it—a book devoted to all the languages that have been created by other people. Everyday languages are organic: But not especially interesting.

One made up language felt like another, and all the creators of language with the exception of Klingon seem to be meglomaniacs – trying to make the Account Okren Sign in. Just about everyone has heard of Esperanto, which was nothing less than one man’s attempt to bring about world peace by means of linguistic solidarity.

And every Star Trek fan knows My library Help Advanced Book Search. In the Land of Invented Languages: Here is the captivating story of humankind’s enduring quest to build a better language—and overcome the curse of Babel.

And every Star Trek fan knows about Klingon. But few people have heard of Babm, Blissymbolics, Loglan not to be confused with Lojbanand the nearly nine hundred other invented languages that represent the hard work, high hopes, and full-blown delusions of so many misguided souls over the centuries. With intelligence and humor, Arika Okrent has written a truly original and enlightening book for all word freaks, grammar geeks, and plain old language lovers.

Selected pages Title Page. Ludwik Zamenhof and the Language of Peace. Hit by a Personality Tornado. Those Queer and Mysterious Chinese Characters. What Are They Doing? The List of Languages. Appendix B Language Samples. The Catastrophic Results of Her Ignorance. A Formula for Success. Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets Arika Okrent Limited preview – A Celebration of Linguistic Creativity Arika Invebted No preview available – Even the most ardent Star Trek fanatics, the Trekkies, who dress up in costume every day, who can recite scripts of entire episodes, who collect Star Trek paraphernalia with mad devotion, consider Klingon speakers beneath them.

When a discussion of Klingon appeared on Slashdot. Then again being able to speak Klingon pretty much does this without surgery. It”s legitimate to laugh. Klingon has entertainment as part of its face value.

In the Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent | : Books

But I do get annoyed at some of the ruder stuff. When I met him, we lived in the same New Jersey town. I wrote him, and he e- mailed me back the same day, saying he was so excited by the prospect of another Klingon speaker so close by that he didn”t even fi nish reading my message before he responded.

I wasn”t yet a Klingon speaker, and I wasn”t really planning on becoming one. I was a linguist who had developed a side interest in the subject of artifi cial languages, and I wanted to talk to Mark for research purposes. People really spoke Klingon–so claimed the Klingon Language Institute materials anyway–and I wasn”t sure what that meant.


When people “spoke” Klingon, was it playacting? Spitting out little words and phrases and putting on a show? A charades- like guessing game where someone sort of cobbled together a message and someone else sort of understood it? Or was it actual language use? If it was the latter, then this was something I needed to see for myself, because that would make Klingon something so remarkable as to be almost unheard of–a consciously invented language that had been brought to life.

In the Land of Invented Languages

Although we like to call language mankind”s greatest invention, it wasn”t invented at all. The languages we speak were not created according to any plan or design. Someone said something a certain way, someone else picked up on it, and someone else embellished. A tendency turned into a habit, and somewhere along the way a system came to be. This is how pidgins, slangs, and dialects are born; this is the way English, Russian, and Japanese were born.

This is the way all natural languages are born–organically, spontaneously. The variety of shape, pattern, and color found in the languages of the world is a testament to the wonder of nature, to the breathtaking array of possibilities that can emerge, tangled and wild, from the fertile human endowments of brain and larynx, intelligence and social skills.

The inventedd of the linguist, like wrika of the biologist or the botanist, is not to tell us how nature should behave, or what its creations should look like, but to describe those creations in all their messy glory and try to fi okrrent out what they can teach us about life, the world, and, especially in the case of linguistics, the tje of the human mind. In libraries organized according to the Library of Congress call number system, linguists can usually be found in the stacks classifi ed in the fi rst half of the Ps, anywhere from subclass P, which covers general linguistics, to subclass PN, where “literature” starts.

When I was in graduate school, I used to wander this territory, in a procrastinatory haze, noting how the languages covered by the intervening categories became more and more “exotic” the farther I got from PA Greek and Latin. I would fi rst pass through aisles and aisles of Romance languages, then Germanic, Scandinavian, English, Slavic. A Dictionary of the Speech of Tierra del Fuego.

From there, there was nowhere to go but to the borders of language itself–the contact, or “mixed,” languages, the pidgins and creoles of the PMs: At the very end of this lush orchid garden of languages there was one more section, where linguists don”t generally care to visit–a few lonely shelves of faded plastic fl owers, the artifi cial languages.

The Klingon Dictionary was here, among other books on languages I had never heard of: These were not lighthearted language games, like pig Latin, or the spontaneous results of ingroup communication, like Cockney rhyming slang or surfer jargon. They were invented on purpose, cut from whole invehted, set down on paper, start to fi nish, by one person. They had chapters and chapters of grammar and extensive dictionaries.


They were testaments not to the wonder of nature but to the human impulse to master nature. They were deliberate, painstakingly crafted attempts to tame language by making it more orderly, more rational, less burdened with inconsistencies and irregularities. There were hundreds of them.

And they were all failures, dead in the water, spoken by no one. Well, of course they were. If you plant a plastic flower, will it grow? So I was skeptical about the claims that Klingon–Klingon? In the name of research, I registered for the annual Klingon conference, or qep”a”, to occur in Phoenix at the end of the summer.

I wanted to be prepared, and so I arranged to meet with Mark. For our fi rst meeting Mark showed up in a T- shirt with the International Phonetic Alphabet printed on it, and I soon discovered that all his T- shirts were a form of self- expression.

In fact, everything he owns somehow advertises his interests to the world. On the vest he wears most days, he displays his three Klingon certification pins; membership pins for the Dozenal Society “they advocate switching to a base 12 system from the base 10 system we use for numbering”Mensa “it”s a way for insecure people to feel better about themselves”and the Triple Nine Society “a more extreme kind of Mensa” ; and a button he made that says “If you can read this you are standing too close” in Braille.

I usually met with Mark at a kosher pizza place. He”s an Orthodox Jew who follows all the rules, but jokes that he would be an atheist “if I weren”t such a scaredy- cat. His eyes convey both friendliness and sadness, as if he hopes you will like him but wouldn”t be surprised if you punched him.

He never finished his Ph. He cares for his children while his wife, a physician, works, and he lannguages computer programming part- time at a yeshiva in Newark.

While many bright people like Mark tend to blame the world for not rewarding them more heartily for their smarts, he accepts his own responsibility in the matter. He knows a lot, but not much of it jnvented career making. He is, as he might put it, a polymath of esoterica. His other interests include knot making, typography, mathematical knitting, and calendrical systems.

We flew to Phoenix together, and when the plane took off, he pulled a book out of his duffel bag titled Science from Your Airplane Window.