Hello again Reddit! I'm /u/dedalvs, and I've got several things going right now:

  • The season premiere of the final season of The 100 airs tonight on the CW at 8/7C. I created the Trigedasleng language spoken by the Grounders on The 100.
  • The season finale of the first season of Motherland: Fort Salem airs tonight on Freeform at 9/8C. I co-created the Méníshè language spoken by the witches with language creator and linguistics professor Jessie Sams (/u/quothalinguist). The show was just picked up for a second season.
  • Jessie and I started a YouTube series called LangTime Studio in which we create a language live on the stream step-by-step in two hour chunks. The thirteenth episode airs tomorrow at 2 p.m. PDT.
  • I've got a book coming out on June 30th entitled Create Your Own Secret Language: Invent Codes, Ciphers, Hidden Messages, and More—A Beginner's Guide from Odd Dot.
  • I've created a Wiktionary-inspired dictionary for all of my languages which has enough critical mass to release. You can find it here: http://wiki.languageinvention.com/
  • I've also uploaded almost everything I did while working on Game of Thrones for ten years to my work space. You can find it here: http://dedalvs.com/work/game-of-thrones/
  • I've put up almost all the dialogue I've done on the shows I've worked on in a more digestible format on AO3: https://archiveofourown.org/users/Dedalvs/
  • More than that, I've also recently lost my four years of premium due to switching from the Alien Blue app, and I am already tired of the ads. This is a desperate ploy to get some gold so I can be rid of the ads for a little while longer. How do you live without it?!?

Other than those projects already mentioned, I've worked as a language creator on Syfy's Defiance, the CW's Star-Crossed, Syfy's Dominion, Marvel's Thor: The Dark World, Legendary's Warcraft, Showtime's Penny Dreadful, MTV's/Spike's The Shannara Chronicles, Marvel's Doctor Strange, NBC's Emerald City, AMC's Into the Badlands, Netflix's Bright, Netflix's Another Life, Netflix's The Christmas Chronicles, Netflix's The Witcher, Legendary's Dune, Netflix's Shadow and Bone (the latter with Christian Thalmann), and a video game called Arena of Valor from Tencent. I'm presently working on the second season of The Witcher, perhaps the tail end of Shadow and Bone, and six projects I can't yet disclose.

Feel free to AMA, but I won't be able to answer anything that's NDA or spoilery. I'll come back to answer questions about 1.5 hours from now (around 1:45 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time).

UPDATE: Okay, I have to go outside and run around with my daughter! Thank you for all the questions! If there are more, I'll answer them later tonight, so feel free to keep asking stuff. Stay grammar! <3 6:07 p.m. PDT

Comments: 1112 • Responses: 128  • Date: 

maximedhiver755 karma

Dune is, according to the book, set more than twenty thousand years into the future, as opposed to something like The 100, set in a relatively near future. Does the depth of time affect how you construct the respective fictional languages in relation to contemporary real languages? And how do you approach something as immensely distant as Dune?

Dedalvs819 karma

The time depth of the Dune books makes the amount of recognizable Arabic that survived completely (and I mean COMPLETELY) impossible. Utterly. Since that was the case, I was left to simply accept that fact and move on in the direction I thought made the most sense. My hope is that the direction I took will prove satisfactory.

DrNSQTR116 karma

Could you elaborate a bit more on this? Fascinated by the idea given enough time linguistic change / evolution is inevitable regardless of preservation efforts or religious codifying.

Dedalvs470 karma

Beowulf was written about a thousand years ago and modern English speakers cannot read it. And we're talking about twenty thousand years?! Not a single shred of the language should be recognizable. Furthermore, we're talking about future Arabic, anyway, as the language supposed to have left Earth at a time in our distant future. I honestly, truly believe not a single word of the Arabic language would have survived—especially as a result of the kind of anti-technology craze that happens at one point in time int he Dune universe.

Finchyy69 karma

And we're talking about twenty thousand years?! Not a single shred of the language should be recognizable.

While I don't know Dune specifically, surely heavy preservation efforts (plus globalisation) would prevent a dominant language from deviating too much, even over a great amount of time?

I ask as I'm attempting to construct a language in a sci fi, albeit set only 600 years in the future, where dominant European languages have slowly been perverted due to a disconnect of new planetary colonies with Earth.

Dedalvs254 karma

I seriously, honestly, and truly doubt it. If anything, the importance and ubiquitousness of media may help to slow it. In other words, if kids still want to watch movies from the 1940s, language change may slow so that's still always a possibility. If no one cares, though, there's no reason for it not to change, and so it will.

For scifi, 600 years is plausible, if you want to play with it. 20,000 years coupled with the loss of technology—no.

poopsicle8811 karma

Well one thing that is different from our modern civilizations/ languages and is that they didn't have computers in ancient Egypt

So maybe if there is an unbroken tech record.....like if the internet is 20 000 years old and humans have been networked, then yea i could see the language being preserved in some data banks somewhere

Dedalvs57 karma

Oh, I absolutely can see the languages being preserved, but that's a bit different from the average everyday person speaking it.

thatsforthatsub31 karma

What if it survived as part of the Orange catholic bible, which includes parts of the Quran? Hebrew survived way longer than any language naturally would in a preserved state through such a means.

Dedalvs42 karma

Yes, I suppose that is possible, at least for individual terms. That might explain why the word "Ramadan" could still exist. I don't know if that's supposed to be the case canonically, but if it is, I can accept that. Thank you for raising the point.

MasaoL44 karma

I always thought classical Arabic was akin to liturgical Latin which is why it's the Arabic that everybody in the Islamic world speaks along with their local dialect

Dedalvs69 karma

Not that everyone speaks. They may understand it, but that's because there's also instruction in MSA. It's no one's first language.

whmovement291 karma

Whenever you watch a show with a made up language, do you find yourself listening to see if it's an actual linguistic system or gibberish? Do you get annoyed when it turns out to be gibberish?

Dedalvs582 karma

Yeah, it's impossible not to. It's really easy to figure out. Every language has predictable patterns of intonation and repeated elements that show up a lot (the -ed, -s, and -ing suffixes in English, along with words like "the", "a", and "an"). Gibberish tends not to—or has over-repetition in weird spots. It's easy to spot in things like Star Wars (and if Taika Waititi's reading this, please hire me! I have a plan. I want to bring in a fleet of conlangers to do a full language for every alien that appears on screen and has even a background line. I guarantee you it will cost less than 0.5% of your total budget).

Frigorifico89 karma

can I be in the fleet of conlangers?

Dedalvs82 karma

You'd have a chance to show your work!

Perlzzy69 karma


I’m fluent in American sign language (my first language actually). There are different languages of sign around the world, but I can always tell when someone is signing in a different language or just doing hand gibberish.

There were a couple viral videos of broadcast interpreters who weren’t actually saying anything and the deaf communities were super upset.

Dedalvs63 karma

Oh yeah. I remember the one from South Africa. >.< How does he get up on that stage and do that and think it's going to be okay?!

Sacemd236 karma

Which media do you think has the most interesting use of a constructed language, regardless of the language itself?

Dedalvs619 karma

District 9. I thought it was fascinating how they demonstrated an alien language that not only did the humans not use, but could never use, due to the fact that they lacked the appropriate anatomy—and vice versa. And yet, both groups were fluent in the other's language. That was awesome.

iv_delta202 karma

Did the matriarchal society (as opposed to a patriarchal one) have any effect on how you created the Menishe language for Motherland? Did their magic being vocal?

Dedalvs304 karma

It did, actually. We used the word for "woman" as the basis for the human noun class, which was at least slightly unusual I think. Even more than that is that it was a language for witches specifically, as opposed to humans in general. It's very magic-focused. /u/quothalinguist can add some info as well here, if she's around.

demalteb186 karma

Say a writer wants to create a language for her (fantasy/sci-fi/etc) novel. Say she doesn't have the time or knowledge - or talent - to go full on David Peterson. What would be the most important parts to get down? What would be nice-to-have? What should she omit altogether, because it will only get too involved and derail her writing project?

Dedalvs238 karma

The best thing to do is to hire someone else to work with, and there's a venue for this: The LCS Jobs Board. It's a great place to hire aspiring conlangers who are just as talented!

Also, take a look at this essay I wrote aimed at writers.

djsobczak25160 karma

A lot of people say DUNE is like “Game of Thrones” in space. How did your work from GoT translate to DUNE, and what was your experience like collaborating with Denis Villeneuve and his team?

Dedalvs226 karma

I had a couple of video chats with Denis, but otherwise was working through intermediaries and with the art department per usual. The thing I was most impressed by at the outset was the script. The biggest question with Dune is always how it will be adapted, given Jodorowsky and Lynch's versions. I was impressed with how naturally and simply this adaption worked. After I finished reading it, I thought, "Why could no one else do this?" I haven't actually seen any of it, so I'm still looking forward to the visual aspect of it, but overall I was delighted. I was especially delighted that I was given the green light to create a writing system—especially as a few had already been created by the art department. I'm really looking forward to releasing that to the world.

lukehanleia45 karma

Is working the art department on projects a fun collaboration?

Dedalvs80 karma

Sometimes! Depends on the art department. I had great experiences on Defiance, Star-Crossed, and Bright. It helps when there's someone there who appreciates what I can do and wants my input. I've had the opposite situation several times. I was grateful that the art department from Dune welcomed my input.

thor_play20 karma

Hey I worked on the Defiance video game.

Always thought the language stuff was p cool

Dedalvs26 karma

And I didn't. :( I really wanted to do translation work for the Defiance video game. I never understood why Trion and Syfy were so distant... I thought it was wild that they brought me into Trion to do a video promo for them, but I still never worked on the game. I would've loved to.

Tidemand119 karma

Will we hear the secret humming language between Count Fenring and his wife in Dune?

Dedalvs106 karma

Can't say.

f0rm0r115 karma

What's the best way to cook onions?

Dedalvs183 karma

Via the garbage disposal.

ICanHasACat92 karma

What's your favourite grounder word from the 100?

Dedalvs216 karma

I don't really have any favorite words, usually. I did like flapkrasha, the word I came up with for "butterfly". (In general, I love words for "butterfly" in languages. They're always interesting!)

judenNOR58 karma

Directly translated, in Norway its called a summerbird. When you see one, it's summer.

Dedalvs37 karma

Aw, that's nice. :)

MonsteraDeli13 karma

Reminds me of "billerbong". A toddler's word for Schmetterling.

Is there an explanation how kids come up with such words?

Dedalvs21 karma

Wait, what's that? Is that German? I've never heard of that before in my life. Is it documented somewhere? Is it regional, or is it something that all German children have? That's fascinating! The only thing I know close to that is the surf company Billabong whose name apparently came from a native Australian language. It'd be pretty miraculous if there was a random German word for "butterfly" that was almost identical!

onsereverra88 karma

Perhaps a little against the grain on the theme of the questions here, but I've always wondered since I first heard about your work a couple of years back: how did you end up in language creation as a viable career? I'm a current MA student in linguistics who has recently decided to jump ship from academia, and have always wondered how people manage to find their niches in non-academic linguistics jobs.

On a note that might perhaps be more interesting for other folks reading this: I think it's super fun that you've explored a signed conlang – my primary research interest is in sign languages – and I'd be curious to know if there was anything you approached differently with KNSL than with other projects you've worked on.

Dedalvs169 karma

I left grad. school to teach at a community college (English), and left that because I was earning $18k a year and working 60 hours a week. I left with no plans other than to continue to pursue writing. The Game of Thrones job came out of nowhere, and not a single person in the entire conlang community expected it—or expected that anything like that would ever happen. There was a competition which I won, and then after Game of Thrones started airing, new shows started contacting me directly to work on them. After a bit I was earning enough money to not do anything else.

The whole thing was completely haphazard, and not likely to be repeated in exactly that way. I've been trying to shift focus to help other language creators get work, but it's difficult. Hollywood likes to work with people they know, or people that are near at hand. It's hard for them to go to a group of people who are uniquely qualified and choose one without a guild or something equivalent. That may eventually need to happen, but it's not going to happen now.

Also, it's important to note that I'm trying to help other language creators get jobs—not linguists. A linguist is not a language creator.

I have a lot of fun creating signed languages, and would love to do a full one for a show one day! (Had the opportunity for The Boys but they contacted me way too late—like a month before they were airing.) KNSL was different from a natural signed language, of course, because it had its own thing, but I think the thing that's key for a signed language is to take advantage of the medium. There are things you can do with a signed language you can't with a spoken language, and natural signed languages take advantage of that fact. A created one should as well.

kingkayvee48 karma

I have to say, it's very admirable of you to say:

I've been trying to shift focus to help other language creators get work, but it's difficult. Hollywood likes to work with people they know, or people that are near at hand. It's hard for them to go to a group of people who are uniquely qualified and choose one without a guild or something equivalent.

I'm a linguist, and in no way a conlanger, but I always end up with a few in my classes. My advice is always "well, you can try...but I don't know how realistic it is given how niche it is and how dominated the career is!" It's nice to hear that you are aware of this and it sounds like you are emphatic to members in the community, so I just wanted to say kudos and thanks for that.

As a side note, I'm actually a sign language language documentation specialist, so I'm interested in why you wrote:

There are things you can do with a signed language you can't with a spoken language, and natural signed languages take advantage of that fact.

I don't see them as "can vs can't do" but rather "do differently," so I'd be interested to see how you perceive it.

Dedalvs41 karma

Well, by "can't", I mean "something that no natural language would ever do". For example, the fact that you can embed numerals up to ten (maybe even beyond) in ASL signs for WEEK and MONTH as well as future and past tense is something that would never, ever, ever, ever, ever happen in a spoken language. Not only can it happen in a language like ASL, it seems totally intuitive and obvious that it would happen.

Also, the level of iconicity that is possible in a signed medium will naturally make them differ from spoken languages. If spoken languages could be more iconic, they would, but there's only so far onomatopoeia can take you. Iconicity with a manual language is so much easier that of course it happens. It'd be strange if it didn't.

ShabtaiBenOron85 karma

Sunkuriin ye Dawuud!

You used to say that you'd never make a conlang with tones or clicks for a movie, a show or another media involving actors unless you could supervise every take, since you assumed that these sounds would be too difficult for actors to pronounce.

And yet, you recently created Azrán and Méníshè, which are both tonal. Did tones turn out not to be that hard after all, or were you actually there to supervise? And do you think one of your future conlangs could have clicks?

Dedalvs128 karma

Okay, for Into the Badlands, I just really wanted to do my future tonal Spanish. I'd had it in my head for years that Spanish could turn into a tone language, and Into the Badlands dropped that opportunity into my lap. I couldn't turn it down! That said, I did actually work with Lorraine Toussaint (which was incredibly intimidating, because I was familiar with her solely from her character in Orange Is the New Black).

For Motherland, it's because the show runner really wanted it, given the way the witches' voices are used for their magic. It made sense.

In retrospect, a register tone language isn't that bad. I can't see doing a contour tone language, though. It's too much.

ShabtaiBenOron30 karma

Thanks! What about clicks?

Dedalvs109 karma

I haven't done clicks yet. You know Marc Okrand did a click for Discovery, which I thought was incredibly bold. I asked him which clicks he did, and he said, "Any." In other words, he had a symbol for the click, and he simply told the actors, "Do anything you can." lol That may be the right way to go about it. Forget trying to teach them the difference between a dental, lateral, alveolar, etc. click, and just say, "DO SOMETHING".

I mean, if you were working with a bunch of actors who spoke a specific southern African language, you might be able to use the exact same clicks as exist in that language and then have it come off right, but otherwise, it may be too much to expect from a group of actors unfamiliar with clicks in language.

That said, I'd do clicks before implosives.

poopsicle8814 karma

Whats an implosive

Dedalvs34 karma

It's the way "b" is pronounced in Hausa and Xhosa (or that's an example of one). Instead of air coming from the lungs and vibrating the vocal folds, air comes into the mouth briefly. More on it here.

Kephisath75 karma

How's working with Denis Villeneuve 👁️

Dedalvs87 karma

Really positive experience! 10/10 would do again.

Golddi99er65 karma

J. R. R. Tolkien was known to have been a reputable language as well. Have you ever drawn inspiration from his work?

Edit: extra a

Dedalvs167 karma

While I was aware of Tolkien as the author of the Lord of the Rings books, I had no idea he created languages until after I'd already started. I was rather surprised to learn he'd been a language creator, and had created his languages before he wrote the books. It's truly impressive, but he was never really an inspiration, simply because I wasn't aware.

astik52 karma

M'athchomaroon, zhey lekhmovek. Hash yer ezhir ma vojjoroon mela mra shekhikh jalani dei?

Dedalvs96 karma

*grumble* Making me get out my dictionary... *grumble*

Jadis anhaan, zhey gae'!

Jadziyah51 karma

What are your favorite fictional languages created by other people, and why?

Dedalvs43 karma

Check out my Smiley Awards.

teawithwho51 karma

Are you on set to make sure the actors “don’t mess up”? and how long does it usually take for the actors to be able to comfortably speak their lines?

Dedalvs67 karma

Usually not. When I am, it goes better. One of the best performances I saw was on Bright, where I was on set nearly every single day, and worked with actors beforehand.

Incidentally, everyone involved loved working on Bright. We're still hoping for a sequel just so we can all get together again.

ArachisDiogoi41 karma

If you could change anything about the English language or writing system, what would you change?

Dedalvs130 karma

I'd add a past participle beed to the language to be used when "be" is used agentively (e.g. "to be a fire fighter", "to be a teacher", etc., so you can say "And so he went out and beed the best teacher he could be" rather than being forced to say either "And so he went out and was the best teacher he could be" or "And so he went out and became the best teacher he could be", both of which are hopelessly awkward and/or inaccurate).

Aedengeo35 karma

Hey David, 1. How do you make different languages? 2. Do you forget some of the words that you created? 3. Will you be able to have a full conversation with one of the language that you created? 4. Which language that you created is your favorite? 5. Can you say a name in another language or rephrase it in a cooler way? If yes, do it with the name “Aeden”.

Thanks a lot for doing this!!!!

Dedalvs66 karma

  1. One step at a time.
  2. I'd turn that around: I sometimes remember some of the words I created.
  3. Nope.
  4. Irathient.
  5. Not really. I mean, names are names; they don't change. I could write them in one of the writing systems I created, but I can't really post that here. I love doing stuff in alternate writing systems.

GbrlPvieira34 karma

Which of the actors in Dune learned the correct pronunciation of the lines in fremen language the fastest?

Dedalvs51 karma

You know I only worked with Javier Bardem, and that was at the earliest stage. I'll be looking forward to see their performance as much as anyone else!

lukehanleia34 karma

While Arabic is a common root for the Fremen language, what other languages played a part in building it and what was the motivation for using them? Spanish is suggested to be a possibility because of Fremen words such as cielago.

Dedalvs37 karma

I didn't use other natural languages working on *Dune*.

lukehanleia15 karma

What part of the evolution of human languages into the future did you take into account? It’s quiet interesting, the idea of humanity developing new languages far into the future.

Dedalvs19 karma

I try to imagine the movement of speaker groups, and what will happen to them, along with applying garden variety sound changes.

homo_corwyna34 karma

Do you think it would be effective to teach linguistics via conlanging?

Dedalvs51 karma

I do! It's helpful to be able to try out new concepts rather than simply have them explained or look at examples. Especially with unfamiliar systems like ergativity, it feels different to create an ergative system than it does to read examples on the page.

IkebanaZombi30 karma

Do you ever feel that the supply of possible ideas for conlangs strikingly different from natural languages will run out?

The reason I ask is that when I was a kid (several decades ago) I read a lot of science fiction short stories that relied on some amazing new science fictional idea for the twist in the tale. But it turned out that the supply of that sort of "Wow!" idea was finite. I don't mean that good science fiction stopped being written, but the era of the story that could be carried by the sheer novelty of its central idea is over. I'm wondering if the same will happen for conlangs.

Dedalvs69 karma

I don't think we've run out of scifi language premises: they'll simply change as we grow to understand more about language. The same is true of technology. As technology becomes less magical, you'll see fewer premises based on imaginations about older technologies, but new ones will emerge with entirely new premises (Black Mirror is a good example of this).

Pharmacysnout23 karma

How did you personally feel about Game of Thrones season 8?

Dedalvs11 karma

FYI I answered this one elsewhere.

muskoke22 karma

Favorite phoneme?

Dedalvs44 karma


arnorrian20 karma

Ergative or accusative?

Dedalvs29 karma

I've done both. One of my favorites, actually, is David Bell's split-ergative system in ámman îar. I did a write up on it here.

Irreleverent19 karma

Why do verbs be like that?

Dedalvs35 karma

Because humans can't chill! Like, why does it matter if we did something in the past, the present, or the future, or if it's ongoing or finished, or who did it to whom? Why can't we be like?



I watch Deadwood.

Cool. I eat pizza.

Cool. We go to the park.


Chtorrr18 karma

What is the very best cheese?

Dedalvs30 karma

Costco sells this fancy cheese platter, where you can unwrap it and lay it down and it looks like a prepared cheese board you'd see at a fancy party. One of those cheeses has a fine dusting of herbs, and just...wow. Extraordinary. That is the best cheese I've seen (though, admittedly, I didn't spend enough time in that cheese shop in London).

-desdinova-15 karma

What are some of your favorite obscure languages/families conlangers should look at for inspiration?

Dedalvs31 karma

My favorite families are Polynesian, Bantu, Semitic, Finno-Ugric, and Eskimo-Aleut, but I'd encourage conlangers to look at any and all languages. Each one has something unique in it.

tiagocraft15 karma

Apart from conlanging, what is your favourite aspect of linguistics? And if you were to go into linguistic research, what subject would you pick?

Dedalvs26 karma

I love phonetics, theoretical morphology, and historical linguistics—specifically grammaticalization. I feel like if I have anything to contribute, it would be to morphology.

Visocacas15 karma

Hey David, this isn’t a question but I want to show you this meme about linguistics geeks who create writing systems.

Dedalvs10 karma


Visocacas7 karma

Lol glad it gave you a laugh.

I made it for a subreddit about constructed writing systems (r/Neography), which is like a more niche offshoot of conlangs (though not all ‘conscripts’ are used for conlangs).

Dedalvs6 karma

Whoa. YOU made it?! I'm now doubly impressed. lmao That was brilliant.

Inventanewthing14 karma

Why is Klingon superior to all your mamby pamby pretend languages?

Dedalvs54 karma

It has to be big and amazing and strike fear into the heart of the enemies of its speakers, because its speakers are such wimpy, whiny little babies compared to the superior Dothraki.

deanonychus13 karma

What part of a language do you work on first when you just start to create it? Also, what is the most difficult part about creating a new language?

Dedalvs24 karma

For a spoken language, I start with the phonology, but the difficult (and most important part) of the language is the verbs.

LorenaBobbedIt13 karma

How many people, in what roles, work with you on creating a new language for a show or film? Have you ever been surprised by the direction any of your created languages have gone after you’ve invented them?

Dedalvs26 karma

I work alone, unless I work with someone else. I've been able to hire three people to work with me on languages in the past year or so: Jessie Sams (/u/quothalinguist) on Motherland: Fort Salem; Christian Thalmann on Shadow and Bone; and Carl Buck on an undisclosed project. In each of those cases, we worked together to create the language. We'd call each other up on the phone and work on a shared document. In that way, we're both responsible for everything. The only thing I do myself is the recordings (and prepping the translation document).

lobsterFA0813 karma

Does keidmil come from the Irish cead mille failte roth which is 100 thousand welcomes in english always though I heard other stuff like dol blathanna...... Blathanna being the Irish for flowers love to know these were inspired by the Irish language as its kind of dying out here in Ireland sadly.

Dedalvs30 karma

It does, but I didn't create it. Andrzej Sapkowski, the author the Witcher series, created it (or adapted it) for the language. He coined a lot of the words that are used in the Hen Linge I adapted from his work. He took a lot of vocabulary from Gaelic languages, altering them haphazardly.

Tazavitch-Krivendza11 karma

What got you into wanting to being a linguist who create languages?

Dedalvs14 karma

I've been interested in linguistics and language creation for almost the same amount of time. They were always different sides of the same coin to me.

Eggor11 karma

How would you rate English as a language?

And thoughts on how does it compare to languages like Spanish, German and Chinese.

Also, in a world where Brits were not so imperialistic, which or what kindof language would have become globally shared. Your opinions

Dedalvs29 karma

I was raised with English and Spanish, and English is my dominant language. I doubt I'll ever know any language as well as I do English. It's pretty cool.

I don't really compare languages in that way. They're all great. Except for Dutch.

If you redid the history of the world, I mean it depends on which colonies blew up, I guess. French, Dutch, Spanish, Arabic—they all had a shot to be English if English weren't English. My personal favorite language is Hawaiian, so it'd be cool to imagine a world where Hawaiian was the default universal auxiliary language.

(Btw, just kidding Dutch speakers. You're all right.)

angriguru10 karma

Hey David! I'm a big fan, and I hope this doesn't get lost in the pleasant pile of comments.

I love Conlanging, I've been doing it since I was very young, yet only in the past few years have I realized there was such a vibrant community around it. My question is, how do you get dedicated to your project? I have so many different conlang sketches, where I have the phonology and grammar, which are often in decent depth, however, I only make enough words for examples of the different features of the language. I would love to have enough words to translate works into my conlangs (or make religious/cultural texts for my concultures) because its difficult to say you make fictional languages: then have a someone else say to give an example or to show it off, and then to respond with, "Well, I really just make grammar", and then get that confused look. Even beyond that, I have hundreds of unfinished phonologies that I've never done anything with. So if you have any advice, let me know.

Dedalvs28 karma

Honestly, I'm the asshole that would say, "Please don't make me work through your translations and just show me your grammar." Many conlangers are this way. I consider the grammar and dictionary to be the endpoint. On the latter end of that, I love creating words. I could sit down and coin words all day. It's one of my very favorite parts of conlanging.

And remember, it's no big deal to have a bunch of projects. They're not going anywhere. You can always come back to them later! If you're having trouble working on any of them, it might help to put them all in some world (for a novel, for a D&D campaign, etc.) and create something in that world. It will require you to create more vocabulary, and also give the language a person beyond existing.

homo_corwyna8 karma

Do you have any tips for handling conlanger's block, procrastination or fatigue?

How do you plan out your projects and see them through to completion?

I find that I'm able to come up with a cool idea and sketch but have trouble continuing after the initial steps.

Dedalvs17 karma

I like juggling multiple projects at the same time, so if you hit a block with one, you can move to the other. It helps keep you from getting burned out or losing inspiration. If you get stuck with one, move on to another project—or another activity (painting, writing, video games). Sometimes your brain needs a break to be able to attack the language from a new angle.

In terms of planning, I don't know if I do...? I just kind of do it, and eventually it's where it needs to be. That's super unhelpful, but it's unfortunately the truth. lol

AdmiralAkbar17 karma

Will we Dune fans who have an interest in niche Caucasian linguistics have any hope of seeing Chakobsa on the big screen?

Dedalvs20 karma

I'm afraid there's nothing of the Caucasus in Dune. :( My guess is Frank Herbert had absolutely no idea that "Chakobsa" was used for a Caucasian language (or if he did, he just wanted the name, not the linguistic background, which is clearly all Arabic—or that children's rhyme he found in that book he lifted for the "Ekkeri-akairi" part).

teegoogly-coffeemeat7 karma

How do you decide what words to add to a language? Do you have a basic list or wait until you get lines or have some other method?

Dedalvs10 karma

I start off with some basic words, usually, to help me get to the point where I have reliable derivational strategies at hand, and then I start building on from there. It's always a decision whether a word will be basic or not (i.e. whether it will go back to time immemorial or will be derived from something else), but usually there are some very basic words you can rely on (sun, blood, bone, water, etc.).

900M7 karma

What do you remember about the first languages you worked on, even as a kid?

Dedalvs21 karma

I never had any interest in language until I was 17, and didn't start creating languages until college. I wrote up an essay on my first language here. It's awful, and I get into why in that essay. To give you a hint, though, the name of the language, Megdevi, comes from my girlfriend at the time's name (Megan) plus my name (David).

galloping_tortoise7 karma

I really enjoyed your appearance on the Allusionist podcast. You spoke about the word khaleesi and the problems with it's pronunciation in dothraki vs. the way English speakers pronounce. Can you tell us about some other creative bodging you've had to do to make language fit with the source material you used?

Dedalvs11 karma

Most of it is with names that are incongruous. One of the silliest thing is the name Alak in Defiance. I created the language specifically so that it would be pronounced in the usual way (similar to Alec), and then they went and made a point of saying a-LAK, which makes no sense given the Castithan language source of the name. lol How does this always happen when they make a point of asking me? Same thing happened with Wanheda. They asked me how to pronounce it and asked me to do an MP3 of it, and then they proceeded to pronounce it completely wrong.

Katastrofa26 karma

What is your favorite book and why is it Lord of the Rings?

Dedalvs10 karma

I've never read it. Among my favorites are Catch-22, The Great Gatsby, Dead Souls, The Manuscript Found at Saragossa, and anything by Virginia Woolf.

roipoiboy6 karma

What advice do you have for hobby conlangers who are interested in getting paid gigs?

Dedalvs9 karma

Keep working on your craft and keep an eye on job postings on the internet. It's really all you can do right now.

NeverTellLies6 karma

  1. Do you find that most of your work in language creation is conceptual (big picture) kind of stuff, or small-scale, working out details?
  2. What is the most interesting grammatical parameter or feature that you have put into a language?

Dedalvs11 karma

  1. I'm not sure it's either to the exclusion of the other. Most of the work I end up doing in language creation is translation.
  2. I'm not sure if I could pick one... The auxiliary system I came up with for Irathient is quite unique. I guess that one.

AlexPenname6 karma

Hi David! You do some amazing work--I've followed your work for a while, and I've been conlanging for my own writing for ages. I'm also in grad school at the moment for writing. (I also had a really nice rejection from you last-year-ish when you had an open call for language constructors to work with you, which was really heartening--so thank you for that!)

My question is this: I've started doing these one-off classes on constructing languages for English and writing students. They started out as a thing I did with a club I was running, and ended up teaching to some of my fellow Masters' students a two-hour crash course that left a couple of them a little... confused.

Do you have any experience with teaching language construction? And if so--do you have any advice for how to approach it in these short situations? I'm gonna be looking for professor work soon and I'd love to be able to pull this out as a sort of unique sample class, but it needs polishing.

Dedalvs5 karma

If you want, you can see all the slides for the summer conlang course I taught at Berkeley here. There are definitely things I'd do differently (like not having only six weeks), but maybe they'll be helpful. I do have thoughts, but it's probably too long for a comment. Make sure they're doing stuff as opposed to just listening to lecture. Struggling with it on their own will help.

Tasteoftacos5 karma

What kind of education pathway did you take to get the career you have today?

Dedalvs2 karma

I have a BA and an MA in Linguistics, but it didn't lead to my career.

DaMiAn2025 karma

How far does the Islamic language go in Dune? Does it mention hajj, Mahdi or Jihad?

Dedalvs29 karma

There is no Islamic language. In the Dune books, the Arabic language is used in, being honest, rather unrealistic and at least semi-problematic ways. I did my best with it for the film.

ShabtaiBenOron14 karma

I think they meant the Islam-related vocabulary.

Dedalvs22 karma

Ohhh... Yeah, in that case, yes, the Islam-related vocabulary is straight from the books, and its inclusion is...not something I would have recommended to the author.

Partosimsa4 karma

I know I’m a smidge late, but I do have one question:


As a professional conlanger what’s your best advice for conlangs based on real language trees, and intertwining those that aren’t?


I’ve been super passionate about conlanging for about 17 years, starting my first cypher when I was 5 and my first conlang when I was 8.(22M) My favorite ideas are part of a project set that I’ve been working on for about 3 years now; with 1 functioning conlang and a second and third in the process. Converging isolates and linguistic areas that aren’t close, not as creoles, but as proto-languages for a uniform outcome; varying only by dialect. I’ve stumbled upon something. It’s all just Standard European. Even when I mix in Native American into the Euro-sprachbund, it’s still just English, Spanish, Greek, Latin, or Finnish, with a mask on; using different words, or it becomes an isolated language with no directly present links to any language family tree.



TL;dr: Basically, I’m making English, but based on different areas of the world. It all feels too similar even when making A-priori decisions/additions. How could I “spice it up”, but not create a language isolate, nor an already-existing language?

Dedalvs16 karma

First, remember that any language you create is going to have things in common with English, because there are only so many ways languages can vary. It's okay! Your language will have things in common with every language. Be sure to focus on two things:

  1. How languages divide up arguments and structure. This is where you'll see English influence where you might not want it. For example, often conlangers will create a verb that means "eat" which will be optionally transitive. This is what happens in English (e.g. "I'm eating bread" vs. "I'm eating"). It doesn't happen in every language. Furthermore, not all languages will necessarily have an equivalent word. Some may conflate "eat" and "drink". Others may have different words for "eat" depending on what's being eaten (something you bite into, something you chew more, something crunchy, etc.). When you sit down to create a verb, really ask yourself, "Do I want this verb to encode all of this, or do I want to encode something different for this language?"
  2. How your words divide up the lexicon. It's one thing to say that "turtle" in your language will instead by "hard lizard". That's cool! But you might also consider altering what counts as a turtle or a lizard. Maybe the word for "fox" is built off the word for "cat", and foxes are considered (lexically speaking) a type of cat. Maybe there is no separate word for "door". Maybe there's just a word used for windows and doors, and you simply talk about the window you get into the house through, and the window you look out of when you're in the house (i.e. it's just a word for "opening").

This type of stuff takes time, and so it's difficult to do if you have another goal in mind (e.g. "My goal with this language is to translate this for this project") because the thing you really want to do is the thing your'e going to do with the language when it's done. The more you do it, though, the more you'll feel like the stuff in your language exists for reasons you came up with yourself. And so long as you came upon it organically, it doesn't matter if it's the same as any other language. It won't be the same for the same reasons!

arrayfish4 karma

What's the most difficult part for you when learning a foreign language (assuming you've tried learning a foreign language before)?

Dedalvs12 karma

Practice. That's all. I need lots and lots of practice to feel comfortable.

JaneyMac_aroni3 karma

What did you think of the way existing words (JaI from Celtic languages) were borrowed for names of people and places etc in the Witcher books? Wasn’t it weird that someone was named “Listen Tired”?

Dedalvs16 karma

The most I'll say is I would have advised the author differently.

whmovement3 karma

How does it feel when one of the shows you've worked on end? Now that nobody will speak it on air, does it feel a little like language death?

Dedalvs3 karma

I feel nothing different in terms of the language, because what I want from my languages if for them to exist and to continue working with and building on them, and that's something I can continue to do whether the show is on the air or not. However, I do feel sad when certain shows go off the air. The show I miss the most is Defiance. That was my best experience as a language creator (second best being Bright), and I absolutely thought we were going to get a fourth season. It broke my heart that we didn't—for a lot of us. I would've gone back to the set for the season 3 wrap party if I'd known. If there's any show I would've wanted six seasons and a movie for, it's that show.

quixoticraven2 karma

Hi David!

I'm not a huge TV show person, but I'm really interested in conlangs/the creation of conlangs. I'm an incoming freshman at UCSD starting this fall, and I wanted to ask if you had any advice for a potential Linguistics major in terms of interesting classes to take/resources to take advantage of since you did grad school there?

Thank you!

Dedalvs3 karma

The graduate level morphology class I took from Farrell Ackerman not only changed my entire view of language, but it changed the way I created languages, and changed my life. As an undergrad., I don't know if you'll have that opportunity, but if you can somehow work your way into his graduate morphology class, you should.

In terms of undergrad., absolutely take advantage of the Sign Language and Deaf Culture class started by David Perlmutter and continued by Rachel Mayberry. It's a big class, but it's an important one, and not to be missed. I TA'd it a few times.

Good luck with the fall! I hear at the moment it's supposed to be a mix of in-person and online. lol I expect that to be fully online by the time we get there.

thegerbilz2 karma

What is your favourite fictional language that you didn't create or play a role in creating?

Dedalvs3 karma

Check out this list here (but ignore the first language).

Matthew_BpBuds2 karma

When charting out the content for a language, specifically inflection tables, vocabulary, things like animacy hierarchies if being used, what kind of software would you recommend using? Do you just keep everything in a bunch of word files, or maybe excel files? Have you used Polyglot?
EDIT: Omni to poly

Dedalvs11 karma

I use a Pages doc (native Apple version of Word) and a notebook. I have profitably used Mark Rosenfelder's Sound Change Applier, but that's mostly done as a way to make sure I remember everything before I get all the sound changes down in my head. Before that I used one that was custom made for me in the Filemaker Pro environment (which no longer exists). Polyglot is, hands down, the most promising piece of conlanging software I have ever seen. It's not quite to a point where I would switch to it, but I'm keeping an eye on it. It's amazing.

Sedu8 karma

Aahhhh!! I am the creator of PolyGlot, and I cannot tell you how cool it is to me that you’re aware of my little project!

If you’re ever up for it, I would love to hear your thoughts on what might be improved or refined about it. I’m always trying to figure out what next issue I’m looking to tackle.

Thank you again for the name drop!

Dedalvs4 karma

Yeah, send me an email. I'd love to talk about it. I really, really think PolyGlot has promise. It's exactly what I've been hoping someone else would create. lol

vexantil2 karma

hello! i loved your book “the art of language creation,” it got me into conlanging! i wonder, how did you get into it? what sort of things did you pursue to become a professional conlang maker?

Dedalvs3 karma

I came to conlanging via language study and linguistics. I was taking a bunch of languages (including a semester in Esperanto) as a freshman at UC Berkeley, and then I took an introductory linguistics class, and it all fell into place. I considered it (both linguistics and language creation) a hobby, but it was so much fun, I kept up with it. It's been 20 years now. :)

MrDeltaLLB2 karma

With House of the Dragon being Targaryen-based - and thus loosely Valyrian-related - would it be fair to say that there’s likely to be some High Valyrian lines in the show?

Dedalvs3 karma

If there are, they won't have been written/translated by me. :(

tomdelfino2 karma

How did you get into creating languages?

Dedalvs2 karma

FYI I answered this question elsewhere.

Shevvv2 karma

How do you find the balance between linguistic nerdiness like applying this or that new super cool supercomplex theory of language and actually getting things done before the deadline?

Dedalvs2 karma

Most of the time now I have a pretty clear idea what I want to do, so I don't have the urge to add things simply for the sake of adding them. This is a phase that most conlangers will pass out of.

purplepooters2 karma

Do you speak Klingon? If so was it helpful?

Dedalvs4 karma

I never learned it to fluency, but I did learn a lot about it. Marc Okrand is a good friend of mine. We actually had plans to meet up again this March before Covid. :(

ululatingplain2 karma

When you construct a language, do you ever play around with non-grammatical aspects such as speech rate, default pitch, prosody, or oral posture? It seems like most constructed languages rely heavy on sound inventory and grammar, but I feel like that misses a lot of the aspects that give actual languages their sound and vibe.

Dedalvs7 karma

For my own languages? Of course. For languages for TV/films? Not often. I'm rarely on set, and rarely work with the actors in person. Something like this requires buy in from the entire production and constant support. Nothing like this is going to happen unless it comes directly from the creator of the show or the film's director.

eukerosene2 karma

What are the most interesting or novel conlang projects you are aware of? What excites you the most?

What do you think of theoretical syntax?

Dedalvs3 karma

I have a list of conlangs I love here. That's a good place to start. One of my favorites that was never fully developed (or at least not fully documented on the webs) is Elephant's Memory by by Timothy Ingen Housz. What an extraordinary concept and gorgeous execution! I wish that language could have been fully documented.

I don't spend any time thinking about theoretical syntax, and I think my life is better for it. If it amuses theoretical syntacticians, more power to them, but at this point I think theoretical syntax has discovered more about theoretical syntax than it has about language.

kabiman2 karma

JJyi! (that's "hey" in my conlang)

Is there anything you wish more conlangers would do/consider? Is it analytic langs? sign languages? Pragmatics? Something else?

Thank you for doing this!

Dedalvs6 karma

Orthography! If I see another conlang using the word "orthography" when they mean "romanization" I will look up at the calendar and call it [INSERT TODAY'S DATE], since that is literally all I see everyday.

creepyeyes1 karma

Hi David! I know you're a big applicatives fan, so here's more of a conlanging question: what are your favorite, or at least go-to, ways to justify a language needing to have applicatives? Is it primarily for situations where only the subject/object can be relativized? Does a language actually need to have a motive for developing applicatives at all?

Dedalvs1 karma

Usually it makes sense. I look at it as a length thing. The bigger the verb gets, the more likely it is to have an applicative—especially if it has nouns that are on the longer side. Like, look at Swahili. Big verbs, and nouns are almost all disyllabic at the very least, with adjectives just as long. It's simply useful to have an applicative in that situation. It shortens things up quite a bit. I've found the same kind of things happens when I'm creating a language. At a point, it just makes sense—and that's without even thinking about relativization.

denimlikethejean1 karma

Do you speak any other languages?

Dedalvs2 karma

FYI I answered this question elsewhere.

zavegonzo1 karma

Everyone seems to be asking language-related questions, so I'm gonna ask something different: do you drink coffee, and if so, how do you like your coffee prepared?

Dedalvs7 karma

You know, I'm glad you asked that question. In general, I never drink caffeine, including soda—never have. When these blended frappuccino things came out, though, I couldn't resist, as I love coffee flavor, in light amounts. So every now and then I'll have a blended coffee drink, like a java chip frappuccino from Starbucks. If I get too much caffeine, though, my body goes nuts. In one instance in particular I got an iced coffee from the student cafe at Berkeley while I was teaching a summer course there. After about 20 or so minutes, I found myself unable to stop pondering the fact that at some point in time, every single person on Earth was going to be dead, the Earth itself would be destroyed, and likely all intelligent life in the universe would be wiped out, and so nothing at all mattered. The feeling went away when the caffeine wore off. Since then, I've tried to stay away from it.

BardToTheBone1 karma

Does working with source material that is so ingrained in pop culture and has such avid fans (Game of Thrones, Dune, The Witcher) change your process when creating a language?

Dedalvs2 karma

Not in this sense: Whether the source material is popular or not, I will try my best to be faithful to it. Perhaps there's added pressure with more popular franchises, but it doesn't change my approach.

InternalYoung61 karma

Are you excited for Dune's release?

Dedalvs2 karma

I am, but I have to admit the excited is a bit muted by Covid. I'm wondering if there will still be a premiere... I know December is a long way off, but a lot of people in the US are behaving rather stupidly. I suffered with asthma for 16 years, and even though I've kicked it, I don't like my odds if I catch Covid-19. I'd rather avoid it. I worry about what I personally what I will do if everything is opened up but there's no universal testing and no vaccine. I would hate to not see it in the theater, but, I mean, a theater? With that many people?

It's so dumb that this factors into it. Ask me three months ago, and I'll give you an unequivocal, enthusiastic YES, but now...

homo_corwyna1 karma

What's the most aesthetic linguistic feature to you?

How about the least?

Dedalvs1 karma

[ʒ] [ʙ]

whmovement1 karma

Did you have any feelings about the way the 100 went, with Trigedasleng playing a much less pivotal role in Season 6 (and presumably Season 7)?

Dedalvs2 karma

I have immense gratitude to Jason and the writers for the continuing relevance of Trigedasleng. Honestly, the language could have been all but eliminated from the show starting in season 4. The writers bent over backwards to make sure that there was someone there to speak Trig. somewhere through each succeeding season—and that absolutely includes season 7. They didn't have to do that. I had an option every year. They were never required to use my services—in fact, it would have both saved them money and simplified things plotwise to not have to worry about it. But they didn't. They made it a point to include me, and I am absolutely grateful for it.

I know the impression that fans get is different, because you see Trig. getting used less in places (though there are big Trig. episodes in each of the last three seasons), but really consider how easy it would have been to write it off entirely! The writers were big advocates for me, and made me a place, no matter what.

Damnaged1 karma

Wow, cool! Thank you for doing this AMA. What goes into making a language come across to the audience as believable rather than just gibberish?

Dedalvs1 karma

For the sound of it, consistent intonation and repeated elements (I talked a bit about this in another answer).

HiggsBoson621 karma

Who owns your languages?

Dedalvs2 karma

My opinion: No one.

The opinion of the studios I work for: We do.

Jadziyah1 karma

If you could have one of your languages translated extensively, such as the Klingon bible, which would it be?

Dedalvs1 karma

Like if it were magically large enough to be able to do that translation...? I'd want Irathient to be that large. Love that language.

bluemountain171 karma

What is your favorite grammatical feature EVER?

Dedalvs1 karma

It may be recency bias, but I do love me some applicatives...

beingginger1 karma

How many naturally-occurring languages can you speak?

Dedalvs1 karma

Depends what you count s being able to "speak". At least English and Spanish, but I definitely get by with ASL, German, and French—and then know a whole lot about Russian and Arabic.

Dear-Agony1 karma

Your work is brilliant. My question is, who on Game Of Thrones was the quickest and who had the most difficult time learning the language?

Dedalvs2 karma

I never worked with the *Game of Thrones* actors, but based on the fidelity to what I actually translated, I guess Emilia Clarke had the toughest time.

SoldadoTrifaldon1 karma

What are your thoughts on an English spelling reform?

HeathrJarrod1 karma

If you could make a non-vocal language, what kind of system would you most want to use?

Dedalvs2 karma

I've created a couple:

_dawn_chorus1 karma

When does the trailer for dune come out? The trailer must flow

Dedalvs2 karma

lol I have no idea, but I do know that right now they're planning marketing. My guess would've been that they would've released a trailer at like Comic-Con, but now, I mean, who knows?

ShockRice0 karma

How do you decide on a basis for language and tweak it to make it sound otherworldly when crafting languages for projects like "Dune" or "Game of Thrones"? What goes through your mind when picking and choosing the right pronunciation, dictation, and grammar for lines of dialogue? And what's it like having to go back and forth between directors/screenwriters/authors to make sure it fits within the world?

Dedalvs1 karma

I don't choose a language and tweak it: I create something new. In the case of both Dune and Game of Thrones, there was some minimal language elements from the books that I had to account for, but other than that it was up to me to create something brand new. I generally have a sound in mind that I aim for, and so it's simply a matter of fleshing things out to get that sound, and the same goes for grammar. It's a matter of creating things, step by step, then testing them out to see if it's realizing the idea you had, then revising.

It's often less than exciting to have oversight on this type of project from those who don't know a lot about language. It's great to work with someone who knows what they're doing, though. It's why I love working with /u/quothalinguist, with whom I'm working on Motherland and LangTime Studio.

Conankun661 karma

In the case of both Dune and Game of Thrones, there was some minimal language elements from the books that I had to account for,

can i ask how this worked for The Witcher where the stuff from the book was already based on words from real languages thrown together? was it harder to make work? How did you end up remidying that?

Dedalvs2 karma

It was harder to make work, and all I can say is I did my best. I'm not sure what I came up with matches the material in the books as well as Dothraki does A Song of Ice and Fire.

AstroWug0 karma

Hi David, I'm a big fan of your work! Here's my question for you... Do you consider conlanging to be more of an art, or a science? Why?

Dedalvs3 karma

An art, definitely. Kind of like architecture. Architecture is an art, but there's a lot of scientific knowledge you need to make it work. There are lots of artforms that are crucially supported by scientific understanding.

FlagstoneSpin0 karma

Is there a weird language feature you've really wanted to incorporate into a conlang but haven't been able to? (For example, I worked with a group who came up with the novel idea of using a bell sound in an alien conlang, which was pretty fun.)

Dedalvs3 karma

I still have plans to create a musical language. Some day...

Ghola0 karma

How many different languages were developed for Dune?

Dedalvs3 karma

Not all full languages, but four.

Dexter_davis0 karma

While creating Dothraki and High Valyrian for the show, did you draw influences from any real languages? How?

Dedalvs2 karma

Not really. It was more based on what I wanted the languages to be, and what George R. R. Martin had already done (to match the aesthetic and match the grammar he'd already created).

baritone06450 karma

I normally feel like I have a fairly good phoneme list when creating a language, and I generally am fine with the phonotactics of my languages, but whenever I start speaking it, it just sounds hideous to me. How does one get to a point to where they can actually be happy with something that they create or how does one realize that a language does not have to be phonosthetically pleasing to be a fairly valid language?

Dedalvs2 karma

It doesn't matter if it sounds good to you, necessarily. If it functions based on the phonotactic patterns you've developed, it will sound normal and good to the theoretical fluent speakers of that language. Really it depends how important it is to you to like the sound of the language you're creating vs. creating a good one. It's much harder to create a good phonotactic system you like the sound of than creating a good one, because your tastes will be fickle and somewhat difficult to suss out (for example, I thought I liked a bunch of palatals in a language until I created Noalath. Yikes! There can definitely be too much of a good thing!).

original_greaser_bob0 karma

How many times have you had to create a phrase stating your hovercraft is full of eels?

Dedalvs2 karma

lol I think I only ever translated it once... I hate that one, because I have never, for any language I've ever created, needed a word for "hovercraft", and I wouldn't want to make one up, because of the cultural implications. It would take so much effort...

Redman24900 karma

were you as disappointed with the last season(s) of Game of Thrones as the fans were?

Dedalvs3 karma

I didn't see what the big deal was. The quality was about the same as seasons 4-7. I was delighted that what I wanted to happen (and what I guessed would happen) actually happened—that the Iron Throne would be destroyed (I am a proud member of /r/NobodyWinsTheThrone/, and we won the competition). I also called that Arya would survive, and then discover she couldn't return to her normal family life, and so would join an exploring crew to explore the world (was very pleased by that!). I was absolutely delighted by what happened with Jon: Save the kingdom and potentially the world, and go to the Wall for your troubles. That was stellar!

In general, though, I don't think I was as invested in the show as a show enough to have any kind of a reaction beyond, "Ah. That's what happens."

anonymous_bs0 karma

Hi Mr. Peterson. For Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming Dune film with Legendary, did you create just the Fremen languages or did you design any others?

Dedalvs6 karma

I worked on four different linguistics systems (two spoken, two signed), but not all of them are full languages. I also created one writing system.

13chaggit0 karma

Have you learned lojban and what are your thoughts on the language?

Dedalvs1 karma

I've never had any interest in Lojban and don't really know much about it beyond the basic premise.

Malaboy0 karma

To those of us wanting to create a conlang, what are some tips or sources you could provide us with in order to improve?

Dedalvs1 karma

Definitely keep at it: Create something, evaluate it, create something else better. But study more languages (from many different language families) to get a sense for the variety that exists. The importance of language study can't be overstated.

Old_Pyrate0 karma

What does "Klaatu barada nikto" mean?

Dedalvs5 karma

"Don't forget to drink your Ovaltine."