In Worldbuilding, linguistica communication within and between cultures can greatly affect how the world is shaped.

How does one make an invented language's aesthetic qualities sound authentic as regards the shapes of words, written patterns, and other phonemic relationships between dialects and related langauges?

Relatedly, is there a some sort of boilerplate or template that beginners can use as a phonetic reference?


closed as too broad by KRyan, Styphon, bowlturner, Wesley Obenshain, Nick Wilde Sep 16 '14 at 20:33

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  • $\begingroup$ I think this would be better on Linguistics.stackechange.com $\endgroup$ – Styphon Sep 16 '14 at 19:15
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Styphon I suspect it might as well, but even if it is on topic here (and it very well might be! About to put it to meta), this question is way too broad. There's almost no hope of finding a One True Way to accomplish this. This question would be far better posed as "How do I develop a language for this culture in a part of my world that's like this?" $\endgroup$ – KRyan Sep 16 '14 at 19:51
  • $\begingroup$ I borrowed a portion of this question: When designing a language for an intelligent species, how to decide on phonemes? $\endgroup$ – a CVn Sep 16 '14 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ Tried to focus the question on overall sound & aesthetics: can it be reopened? $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Sep 16 '18 at 3:50
  • $\begingroup$ This would be good for Constructed Languages.SE. You can also put it in the Sandbox, which is a better option than meta. Meta is about the Worldbuilding site, the Sandbox is to help improve questions. $\endgroup$ – John Locke Sep 16 '18 at 13:44

If you're just starting out, I would recommend selecting a number of phonemes (sounds) for each language to have, as well as rules for what sounds can be arranged in what ways (this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0h-gbeI0AFQ can help with that).

As far as making them sound authentic, one suggestion is: don't make all the languages have Indo-European syntax. The other videos on the channel I linked to talk about that some.

For dialects, you could swap out one or two phonemes for similar ones, as well as having different words for a variety of things while keeping the syntax and grammar the same.

The appendices of Lord of the Rings are always a great place to look for tips on constructing languages.


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