Balaibalan (Turkish: Bâleybelen) is a constructed language that probably originated from the 14th century mystic Fadl Allah from Asterabad or else his followers in the 15th century. The language is also known as Balibilen, Bala-i-Balan and Balaïbalan. The only known copy of the Bâleybelen-dictionary is to be found in the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris.
Bâleybelen is an a posteriori constructed language. The vocabulary is borrowed from Persian, Turkish and Arabic, while the grammar is agglutinating like Turkish. The language was written with the Ottoman variant of the Arabic alphabet. The creator was the mystic Muhyî-i Gülşenî, born in Edirne to family originally from Shiraz. A member of the Gülşenî sufi order in Cairo, Mehmed Muhyî-i was helped in the creation of Bâleybelen by several other Gülşenî figures.
In contrast to the best-known modern constructed languages, which are usually meant to be used by as many as possible as international auxiliary languages, or used in literature or film, Bâleybelen was probably designed as a holy or poetic language for religious reasons (like Lingua Ignota and perhaps Damin). Bâleybelen may also have been a secret language which was only known by an inner circle.
It was speculated that each time God gave humans a new revelation, a new language was used. Abraham received his revelation in Hebrew, Jesus his in Aramaic and Muhammad his in Arabic. Consequently, Bâleybelen might have been considered a sign that a new religious revelation was imminent.
Bâleybelen is the only well-documented early constructed language that is not of European origin, and it is independent of the fashion for language construction that occurred in the Renaissance.
The existence of Bâleybelen shows that constructed languages are neither a modern nor an exclusively western phenomenon. Constructed languages for religious purposes or use by secret societies have probably arisen many times all over the world, since the earliest times.
Research in non-European historical archives, analyses of shamanistic languages and other languages used for religious purposes, might lead to finding many more specimens than are known today.
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- A. Bausani, Le lingue inventate : linguaggi artificiali, linguaggi segreti, linguaggi universali - Roma : Ubaldini, 1974.
- F. Bergmann, Résumé d'études d'odontologie générale et du linguistique générale, Paris, 1875
- Silvestre DeSacy, Kitab asl al-maqasid wa fasl al marasid, Le capital des objets recherchés et le chapitre des choses attendues, ou Dictionnaire de l'idiome Balaïbalan. Notices et extraits des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Impériale [Paris], 9: 365-396.
- E. Drezen, Historio de la Mondolingvo, Moskvo 1991: Progreso.
- M. Koç, Bâleybelen: İlk Yapma Dil. Istanbul, 2005.
- Balaibalan and Muhyî-i Gülşenî (Turkish)