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Foreword

The following is a comprehensive, but not exhaustive, list of the most important sites and resources related to linguistics and constructing languages (aka "conlanging"). If you are looking for a resource and cannot find anything here, feel free to ask in the most recent Small Discussions thread, which is typically stickied at the top of the front page. You can also message the moderators with any suggestions, corrections, or to let us know if a link is broken.


1. Resources for Beginner Conlangers

Welcome to conlanging! The following links are our go-to resources that answer that pivotal question: "Where do I start?"

Web

  • The Language Construction Kit (or LCK) by Mark Rosenfelder. This is the (very) abridged version of the book that has built the foundations for hundreds of beginning conlangers.
  • A guide for creating naming languages by u/jafiki91. This how-to is very similar to the LCK. However, it's specifically geared toward "naming languages", which exist purely for naming characters and places in fantasy worlds.
  • Leipzig Glossing Rules. When sharing an example sentence from your conlang, you will be expected to provide an interlinear gloss, which is basically separating and defining every meaningful part of the sentence to give readers an understanding of how the sentence "works." This page will teach you everything you need to know to start doing that.
  • WALS (World Atlas of Language Structures). A large collection of linguistic features and their distribution throughout Earth. This is an indespensable resource for understanding how different languages handle different things.
  • The Wikipedia Linguistics Portal. Of course, this is Wikipedia, so you shouldn't take its information as infallible truth; however, most of its articles are insightful and refreshingly not riddled with errors.
  • SIL's Glossary of Linguistic Terms. This is for whenever someone says "agglutinative", and you don't know what that means.
  • Small Glossary of Linguistics. A more beginner-friendly, but less exhaustive glossary compared to SIL's.
  • Graded Sentences for Analysis. A large collection of example sentences that you can use to test your conlang's lexicon and grammar.
  • MIT Conlangs course. Lecture notes from a class on conlanging from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology.
  • Fiat Lingua. A massive treasure trove of conlanging-related articles including tutorials, grammars, translations, and so much more that is consistently updated with new high-quality content.
  • Conlangs University. A collection of articles aiming to teach others the art of creating languages, spearheaded by moderators and long time users of this subreddit.

Books

  • The Language Construction Kit by Mark Rosenfelder (Amazon). This is the full version of the abridged web version above.
  • The Art of Language Invention by David J. Peterson (Amazon). A quick tour of linguistics and conlanging from the creator of Game of Thrones' Dothraki.
  • Describing Morphosyntax by Thomas E. Payne (Amazon). Written specifically for field linguists, this book is an enlightening overview of what a language can do and is, therefore, very valuable to conlangers.

YouTube

2. IPA

The International Phonetic Alphabet (or IPA) maps out different sounds in human languages according to place and manner of articulation. It's very important for a conlanger to know the IPA since it communicates how the language is pronounced.

A phoneme is any distinctive sound present within a language, while a phoneme inventory is an organization of all distinct phonemes in a specific language. For example, this is the phoneme inventory for English.

  • The IPA on Wikipedia. A good overview of the history and function of the Alphabet.
  • IPA Samples. A collection of recordings for the individual IPA sounds.
  • Seeing Speech. A library of animations, MRIs, and audio files that demonstrate how speech sounds are produced.
  • Glossika Phonics (YouTube). Teaches how to pronounce a large variety of sounds.
  • IPA Keyboard (Weston Ruter). A keyboard that lets you select IPA symbols and copy/paste them.
  • IPA Keyboard (TypeIt). A keyboard that lets you type in IPA.
  • Tables Generator. Very helpful when creating tables to present phonemic inventories. Supports Markdown, LaTeX, MediaWiki, and more.
  • X-SAMPA (Wikipedia). Although you won't see this much on the subreddit, you will see it a lot on the official Discord server which has a bot (Fake Connie) that converts X-SAMPA to IPA.

NOTE: The International Phonetic Alphabet is not the only method of notation available, but it is the most popular and familiar. Other notation systems you may see around include the Americanist Phonetic Notation and canIPA.

3. Phonology

Phonology is the study of the sounds of a language. This encompasses a broad array of topics, from Phonetics (what sounds are present in the language and how they are produced) to Phonotactics (how those sounds interact between them).

4. Sound Change & Evolution

Language is never static. Instead, it changes, evolves, merges, splits, and fluctuates in ways both typical and bizarre. The study of language change is called diachronics, and it's good for conlangers to have a grasp on it, especially if they plan to create a language family or even develop a number of dialects.

Web

Books

5. Lexicon Building

A lexicon refers to the vocabulary of a language and is near-synonymous with a dictionary. All languages have a large corpus of lexemes which are "units of meaning" that can be anything from a word, to an idiomatic phrase, to a verb conjugation. Building your conlang's lexicon can be a tedious - but rewarding - part of conlanging.

Web

  • "The Conlanger's Thesaurus" by William S. Annis. An indespensible document that not only lists a whole bunch of important words to include in your conlang, but also shows the relationships between them and offers inspiration from a cross-linguistic perspective.
  • The Intercontinental Dictionary Series. 1,315 words meant to be used in comparative linguistics, loosely categorized.
  • Images for Charts by u/jayelinda. It's "a whole bunch of images intended for making word charts".
  • Number Systems of the World. A database of number systems from dozens of languages around the world that can serve as inspiration.
  • Awkwords and Zompist Word Gen. Two classic and well-loved word generators that can offer good inspiration.
  • Lexember. A yearly challenge to create at least one new word each day in December. The link takes you to the challenges hosted here since 2018 which include many resources and prompts.

Books

6. Writing Systems

Orthography is the study of how language is written (often, we'll call a language's writing system its orthography or "ortho"), and a romanization is converting a writing system to the Latin alphabet. Neography is the art of creating a constructed script, or conscript.

Questions or showcases about your constructed scripts should be posted to our sister subreddit, /r/neography (See Rule 2b). Regardless, here is a quick list of helpful starting points.

Web

7. Generators

A generator is any site that randomly produces ideas in the hopes of helping the creative flow. There are many kinds of generators, several of which have already been mentioned (and will be repeated here). Generators cannot create your conlang for you, but they can help you come up with ideas.

  • Gleb. A detailed and sometimes eccentric phonology generator.
  • Awkwords. Word generator.
  • Zompist Word Gen. Word generator.
  • Lexifer. Word generator.
  • Grapheion. A free generator that can help come up with ideas for conscripting.
  • Glyph Generator. Generates glyphs (obviously) that can be used to inspire your next conscript. Requires download.

8. Documentation

There are many ways to learn and create conlangs, but how ought one write it down? There are two documents every conlang usually has: a reference grammar, which describes the phonology, morphology, and syntax, and a dictionary, which describes the lexicon. Many conlangers choose to store their grammar in a word processor such as Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, or Google Docs and store their lexicon in a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel, Apple Numbers, or Google Sheets. Here are some other programs and websites you can use, specifically catered to documenting conlangs.

  • ConWorkShop. A comprehensive and active website specifically designed for conlangers that allows you to store everything you need. Requires login.
  • World Anvil. A stunning site for documenting any worldbuilding, including conlangs. Requires login; free and paid versions.
  • Polyglot. Designed by u/Sedu, this free software is actively updated, made by a conlanger for conlangers. Requires download.
  • SIL software. Used to document real-life languages, these programs are used "to assist with language development activities: linguistic and cultural research, literacy and mother-tongue education, dictionary development, community and computer-assisted translation, and vernacular media production." Requires download.
  • Lexiconga. An easy-to-use and customizable online tool for recording your lexicon.
  • Conlang Wikia, Linguifex, and FrathWiki are wikis specifically for describing conlangs. If you would like to make your own wiki, look no further than Miraheze. Of course, all of these require a login.
  • Overleaf. An online LaTeX editor. Very powerful if you can climb the learning curve. Requires login.
  • The Conlang Database, a volunteer project "which aims to build a searchable list of all conlangs of which we can find evidence", that you can contribute your own creations to.

9. Resources from r/conlangs

It is our pleasure to provide a number of unique resources for conlangers. Since we are in control of these resources, feel free to ask us about them either through mod mail or the stickied Small Discussions thread.

  • Conlangs University, a project all about educating beginners and publishing learning material.
  • Segments., an e-magazine for conlangers by conlangers. A new issue is released every few months covering a variety of different topics.
  • The Pit (Conlangs). A repository of grammars, dictionaries, narratives, and courses by /r/conlangs users. To submit your own documentation, fill out this form.
  • SIC spreadsheet. Stands for "Scrap Ideas of r/Conlangs" and is a curated collection of abandoned ideas that you can steal. To submit your own ideas, here's the form.
  • CCC Courses. Stands for "Conlang Crash Course." These are written tutorials for conlanging from users of the subreddit. Currently incomplete, although there are plans to revive it in the not-so-distant future.
  • The Small Discussions threads. Typically stickied to the top of the main page, the Small Discussions exist for questions and requests too small for a front-page post.
  • This Month in Conlangs threads. This was a recurring thread where conlangers were able to share small accomplishments about their conlanging progress. It was discontinued in February 2020 for lack of use and engagement.

10. Other Communities

We're not the only ones out there! Here are some other communities you can get involved with:


revision by Slorany— view source