Klingon in “Star Trek” and Dothraki in “Game of Thrones” are invented languages that linguists concocted to enhance the world-building of fantasy works. Students taking classes online in UK’s College of Arts & Sciences can learn to create their own language under the tutelage of Andrew M. Byrd, Associate Professor of Linguistics.
The class, LIN 200: How to Create Your Own Language, organizes students into groups of three. They learn how words can be constructed, posit word orders and even create their own writing systems.
“What they really learn about are the basic building blocks of language,” Byrd said. “We talk about how languages organize their sound systems – the way that if a language has the ‘T’ and ‘D’ sounds that language will likely have ‘K’ and ‘G’ as well -- and we talk about how to create a language’s vocabulary and how to organize those words into sentences.”
To teach the class, Byrd uses a variety of multimedia that are conducive to online learning.
“We have a number of very high-quality videos that introduce you to the properties of language, and we have also created a living database of real-world languages, which students can use to build their own,” Byrd said.
The students work toward presenting their attempts at language-building at the end of the semester, Byrd said. Students who take the class often include enthusiasts of such language-driven fantasy works as “Lord of the Rings” and undergrads seeking to fulfill the Creativity and the Arts core requirement. You can get more information here. The class starts in June.