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Getting creative: the benefits of a backstory

Creating Languages

By Maya Kigariff

Based on a project for the QMUL Linguistics Constructing a Language course

Fejasi Speakers!

When creating a constructed language, it can be quite tempting to make it as original as possible, making choices that would be odd, or even unheard of, in natural languages in order to create a language that feels new and exciting. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s a good way to make sure that your language is different, and that it isn’t just a reconstruction of the language/s you already speak.[i]

However, the choices you make, to some extent, should have some sort of justification.Some linguists have argued that language universals exist for functional reasons, so it is important to think about why the presence or absence of these universals makes sense for your speakers.

A helpful way to do this is to create a detailed backstory for the speakers of your…

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