Hello, Reddit! David (/u/dedalvs), Marc (/u/okrandm) and Paul (/u/KaryuPawl) here to answer your questions and celebrate the release of the feature documentary Conlanging: The Art of Crafting Tongues by Britton Watkins (/u/salondebu), Josh Feldman (/u/sennition) with help from William Annis (/u/wmblathers). You can watch it at http://conlangingfilm.com

Ask us anything about language creation, our documentary, or any of the projects we've worked on (except the ones we have to keep secret :->).

Here's proof:



UPDATE - thanks everyone for the questions, we're going to be winding it down soon. Adajyá!

Comments: 327 • Responses: 11  • Date: 

coryrenton49 karma

Are there any hidden easter eggs or conlang in-jokes you've hidden in the syntax or features of a conlang that people haven't figured out yet, and what are they?

sennition23 karma

There's a story about exactly this in the bonus feature to the documentary - watch and find out... :->

liamquane17 karma

What is the best thing a director can do for you? Can you even take direction as your work is so complicated and you are all experts in your fields?

sennition40 karma

I can report that as a director, it helps to stay out of the way and let the conlanger do their thing. When asked, I'd give feedback on what I thought about the aesthetics of the language and writing system, but I knew there were things that I just didn't understand about language and that it was best left to the expert...

Dedalvs43 karma

I can report that as a director, it helps to stay out of the way and let the conlanger do their thing.

Take your upvote, good sir.

sennition22 karma


CreedDidNothingWrong15 karma

I know that Tolkien was first and foremost a philologist, and that he started constructing what would become an elvish language as a teenager, long before he started writing anything related to middle earth. Is he thought of as kind of the father/pioneer of constructed languages (in the same way as he is for modern fantasy fiction), or had it been going on long before him? How is he regarded in the conlang community, or is he regarded at all?

sennition24 karma

In the film we tell the story of the first 'known' conlanger from the 1100's! Tolkien is the gateway drug for many young conlangers, and as far as I picked up in doing interviews for the film he's very highly regarded.

immagad12 karma

How much time does a project like this take? And can you guys have a fluent conversation with each other?

sennition11 karma

I found in interviewing people for the film that conlangs can take lifetimes to build - I won't say 'finish' since they're never finished. Some people like to create sketches of languages though, and those can take only a few days to complete. Speaking fluently is rare as well, as it takes natural language ability and a lot of time to learn to fluently speak your language. It's mostly 'heartlangers' who do this - watch the film for a lot more about that.

derekcanmexit10 karma

Do any of you speak any other languages other than English and your invented language?

sennition7 karma

From making the documentary I found that many conlangers speak other languages, and most have studies tons of languages although they might not speak them. I also discovered that only the minority of conlangers can actually fluently speak their language, it's a specialized skill and desire, plus it takes years to do...

liamquane9 karma

Hi all! Congratuwelldone on the documentary, how did you get the project put together? Thank you! :~)

sennition7 karma

It was a complete labor of love. We did it as inexpensively as possible (because we can - I got all of our interview camera, light and sound equipment into one carryon bag) and did as much of the production ourselves as possible. We hope all our work on it shows!

cobaltcollapse8 karma

Besides your shows/movies (and Star Wars), which aliens are you most fond of?

sennition5 karma

I like many of the funky aliens in Star Trek over the years (I'm thinking of the various shows). The binars, or the non-biped ones, and any that look at the world completely differently than we do.

IntrepidusX8 karma

What do you guys think about Belter Creole from the expanse novels? Do you know any other fun constructed languages that you don't think get enough recognition?

sennition9 karma

I only know it from the show (where I'm guessing it's much diminished from the novels), where I think it adds a great flavor that completely fits that world. I always wonder about films and shows set hundreds of years in the future where everyone speaks English EXACTLY as spoken today...

Ihaveoneeye5 karma

Can you speak your made up languages?

sennition8 karma

In making the documentary and interviewing 60+ conlangers, taking the time and having the burning desire to speak your own conlang is on the rare side. It's usually 'heartlangers' who make the effort, and many of them consider their language to be the language of their soul, so it's very important for them to speak it and surround themselves with it. The amazing thing is those that are fluent yet they're the only speaker - think about that...

AngelOfGrief3 karma

What are some of your favorite features to include in your conlangs?

Do you have any favorite words or phrases from conlangs of yours?

sennition3 karma

Siinyamda, which Britton created for the sci-fi flick Senn we did years ago had a lot of fun slang/dirty stuff in it because that was very appropriate for the culture of the protagonist in the film. I remember a lot of fun idioms and phrases - not safe for work! http://fiatlingua.org/2014/11/