Template talk:Constructed languages

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WikiProject Constructed languages (Rated Template-class, High-importance)
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Editwar over Newspeak[edit]

Clickpop and others, will you please stop editwarring? Whether you like it or not, Newspeak is generally considered a constructed language. For your information: a constructed language is not by definition a language with a fully invented grammar and/or a fully invented vocabulary. So indeed, Newspeak is a different beast from Ithkuil and Esperanto, but that doesn't change anything. There are different genres in conlanging, including the so-called subset languages and superset languages. An example of the former is Basic English: this language is entirely English, yet, it consists solely of a small part of the English language. Basic English has a list of allowed words, which is the work of one person, and as such it is a constructed language, a "controlled natural language" to be precise. Superset languages are usually a set of vocabulary embedded in an existing (natural) language. Well-known examples are Newspeak, Nadsat and Lingua Ignota. Again, the grammar and the base language in these cases are English (or in the case of Ignota, Latin), but the set of additional vocabulary is created by one person, and therefore "constructed". If you ask: How do I say "I love you"? in Basic English, Nadsat or Newspeak, you'd be asking the wrong question, because these are no languages that pretend to have an invented word for everything. We only meet Nadsat or Newspeak when we stumble upon a word from the list. The point is, however, this type of languages are generally considered types of conlangs. See for example constructed language, the list of constructed languages and the Portal. You may agree with that or not, but Wikipedia is not there to set a policy. Therefore, I ask you to provide evidence that Newspeak (and Nadsat, for that matter) are not counted among the constructed languages after all, instead of starting an edit war over it. —IJzeren Jan Uszkiełtu? 11:11, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

Curious, can you give me a reliable source that calls Newspeak a conlang? just want to see if there is. Clickpop (talk) 02:56, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Sure, but give me a few days. I'm floaded with work these days. —IJzeren Jan Uszkiełtu? 18:40, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I'd say "generally considered" is precisely the point under dispute. —Tamfang (talk) 05:14, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Granted that. Well, here are a few sources:
  • Tim Conley, Stephen Cain, Encyclopedia of fictional and fantastic languages: discusses Newspeak as an example.
  • David Warner Sisk: Nadsat and newspeak: a comparative analysis of artificial languages in two dystopian novels (1987): title speaks for itself.
  • Lutz Büthe, Auf den Spuren George Orwells: eine soziale Biographie. He writes: "Großartig gelungen ist Orwell die Konstruktion der Sprache von 1984 - Neusprech — , einer Kunstsprache, die er aus den im englischen Sprachgebrauch [...]"
  • Zellig S. Harris, Sapir's Approach to language: "For an example of how particular logical relations can be built into a constructed language, consider the 'newspeak' of George Orwell's novel Nineteen eighty-four. One of the distributional features which is only lightly suggested in his system is the technique (not unknown in our real languages) of letting opposites equal or replace each other in certain environments, with the result that no distinction between opposites (say between war and peace) can be made in the language."
  • A.M. Simon-Vandenbergen, "At one level the degeneration of language in the world depicted in the novel is institutionalised in Newspeak, and linguists have naturally been particularly interested in both the notion and the form of this artificially constructed language."
Like I said, I'm extremely busy with work these days, so I don't really have the time to dig deeply. The above are just a few random samples I found on Google Books. In any case, they prove at least one thing: that there are authors who consider Newspeak a constructed language. Can you present sources that claim Newspeak is not a constructed language? —IJzeren Jan Uszkiełtu? 17:24, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Of course I couldn't find a source that says "Newspeak is not a conlang". Your examples seem to be using "constructed language" loosely because it is a language (English) and it was "constructed" or made-up ~~. In Constructed language it says: "A planned or constructed language—known colloquially or informally as a conlang—is a language whose phonology, grammar, and/or vocabulary have been consciously devised by an individual or group, instead of having evolved naturally." (since you have quoted these). E-Prime and Basic English are good examples (that are not constructed languages) and were examples I also had in mind. Clickpop (talk) 02:17, 19 September 2009 (UTC)


The template says Mänti is one of the most notable conlangs. If that is so, why does it not have its own article, or even a well-written section in Daniel Tammet? Is it really that notable? (talk) 20:41, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

I have removed it until evidence of notability, and a good reference, are provided. Sai Emrys ¿? 04:18, 27 October 2009 (UTC)


Per http://www.suburbandestiny.com/?p=611 , there is no grammar yet available for Na'vi, only a limited word list built around the needs of a single film. Requires more evidence that it's listable under the criteria on Constructed language, far less a "notable" example of these. Regards, David. Harami2000 (talk) 22:07, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

I tend to agree. If the language turns out as much a hit as predicted by Kwamikagami predicts, then we should by all means put it back here. But in the meantime, I don't see any reason to assume it is any more notable than any other conlang used in a book or a film. —IJzeren Jan Uszkiełtu? 14:44, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
Few of those are full languages as Na'vi is, and we don't have a grammar available for Lingua Ignota either. Na'vi's been getting a lot of attention in the media, at least by conlang standards, and IMO that makes it notable. I really think we should cover current events on WP, not just historical topics. (And I'm not predicting it will be a hit, just that it's getting far more attention, and is already known about by far more people, than say Ido or Logban.) kwami (talk) 20:37, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
In what way is Na'vi a "full language" when there is on a small vocabulary available, designed around a very limited requirement (one film) at present, and no grammar save for that which has been deliberately kept "hidden" by the author, with no oversight or validation?
Expecting someone 850 years ago to remember to publish a grammar otherwise their work would not be considered to be a conlang might be a little harsh whereas that /should/ be a pre-requisite expectation nowadays - there was a deliberate comparison with Klingon, after all, but at present Na'vi appears feeble in comparison despite no lack of time or budget. Lingua Ignota may be marginal but is "notable" for its date. Are you happy enough to state that Na'vi is notable only for its hype /even before/ we have "proof" of a grammar? Cheers, David. Harami2000 (talk) 21:05, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Lingua Ignota didn't have a grammar. It was relexified Latin. You're right, it's notable for its date. If someone relexified English today, and didn't bother with the grammar, would it even count as a conlang?
Which conlangs are actually notable? Esperanto and Klingon. Everything else is obscure to the extreme, yet we list quite a few of them. (Not that I object, mind you.) If you care to look at it, it seems pretty obvious that Na'vi has a grammar; it's not just a string of words. I also think that, since his professional reputation is on the line, we can take a prof at USC & PhD in linguistics at his word that he actually did the grammar. Of course, the language may well be abandoned and forgotten once the hype from the movie has died down, in which case I'd have no objection to removing it from the list, but since people come to WP for answers to ongoing events, we should provide them. Na'vi is currently the most topical conlang, whatever your opinion of it as a conlang. kwami (talk) 22:41, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
k... Apologies for the inelegant misunderstanding from personal recollection on Lingua Ignota rather than rechecking precisely. As an a priori "language", that's therefore AOK within scope, anyhow? Whereas Na'vi is most definitely a posteriori and requires a fresh grammar. It's not /my/ opinion, but the requirement of Wikipedia for a reliable citation (yes; it's not just a string of words, but that's hardly setting the goal high) in addition to any "notability" criterion. That there have been news stories released /deliberately/ relating to the Na'vi language for publicity purposes in order to gain notability for the project as a whole is fair enough, but that would only tend to increase the expectation that a grammar /should/ be "on the table" if hyping to that degree, not just a random selection of words and an appallingly bad photo of "Na'vi language" on a whiteboard. (And, yes, it should be good for conlangs as a whole, but that isn't the point here). Harami2000 (talk) 05:50, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Let's get this straight: a constructed language is any language that has not evolved naturally, but has its origins on the drawing board. It has nothing to do with questions like: where the vocabulary comes from (a priori/a posteriori and all that), how complete the language is, etc. Personally, I know nothing about Na'vi at all (hadn't even heard of it before this article came up), but from what I can see, it definitely qualifies as a conlang, and it definitely has some degree of notability.
However, here we have a problem. Wikipedia has certain criteria that decide whether a subject is notable enough be included or not. But in this template we are dealing with something extremely vague like "most notable conlangs". And that's what makes this a difficult discussion, because there are no criteria that decide what makes a notable subject more notable than another notable subject. All languages listed here are definitely notable enough for inclusion in the project as a whole, but if you ask me, the choice of what makes these languages more notable than the rest is completely arbitrary. Maybe we should simply list Esperanto, Interlingua, Ido, Volapük, Quenya and Sindarin only, and leave the rest to links to categories? Or work with templates dealing with subcategories of conlangs instead? Just a thought, of course. Maybe something to discuss with the Wikiproject Constructed Languages. —IJzeren Jan Uszkiełtu? 11:26, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Frommer has posted a sketch of the grammar online, so the article should now be complete enough to be interesting. There's essentially nothing on syntax; I don't know if that's because Frommer is still developing that aspect of the language and doesn't want to set in stone s.t. he might later wish to change, or if it's because he has publishing contracts and wants to leave s.t. for the book. Either way, it would appear to be more complete even as we have it than many conlang proposals. And some linguistically interesting things going on. kwami (talk) 10:41, 19 December 2009 (UTC)


Is Mirad notable (let alone "most notable")? The article is very thin and implies it is a work in progress. —Tamfang (talk) 19:32, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

The language itself is not that new, because it goes back to 1965, which makes it pretty improbable that it's still a work in progress. I do believe it has a certain degree of notability - just enough to warrant the existence of a WP article - but no more than dozens of similar projects. It definitely does not belong to the "most notable", although I admit the current selection is debatable as well. Besides, the article is little more than a stub, and the articles linked to from this template should have some substance at least. I'll remove it. —IJzeren Jan Uszkiełtu? 19:40, 24 May 2010 (UTC) Done!

Distinction between fictional and 'real' langauges?[edit]

Is there any sense in splitting the 'notable constructed languages' into two separate sublists, one for languages that have been constructed for use in fictional realms (Tolkein, Star Trek etc.) and others that were intended as a real-life exercise? It seems a pretty natural split: maybe something like Esperanto should be distinct from Klingon. I don't know. Does that skirt too close to WP:SYNTH? Just an idea. Opinions? —Tom Morris 12:35, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree there would be sense in making such a split. It is quite easily doable, and common practice at most other projects, I should add. Also, I do have some doubts regarding the "most notable" criterion, because as for now, I can't think of any objective criterion that would distinguish more notable conlangs from less notable ones.
The objective criteria would be references in secondary sources. It's the same for conlangs as for everything else on Wikipedia. Kraŭs (talk) 20:49, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
At last, I think we should get rid of the entire "comparisons" section. What's the point of such articles anyway? We don't have articles of the Comparison between English and German either, do we? If you look at the content, they are complete juxtapositions of information that can also be found in the articles about individual languages, with the addition of text that is for 99% original research. I'd argue that these articles shouldn't even be there at all, let alone have a place in a template where only the most notable stuff is mentioned. —IJzeren Jan Uszkiełtu? 14:02, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
My first reaction is "Yes, obviously"; but I foresee edit-wars over Láadan, which was presented in fiction but intended as (at least) a thought-experiment like Loglan. —Tamfang (talk) 18:58, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
I guess Láadan is not a big problem; I've never heard anybody complaining against its categorisation under "engineered languages". What worries me more is a case like Damin, which in fact doesn't belong anywhere. —IJzeren Jan Uszkiełtu? 12:20, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Language creep[edit]

There are a lot of completely unnotable languages on this infobox that have never been talked about outside of conlang mailing lists. Many of them were probably added to the infobox by their authors, while others are obscure curiosities that don't really belong in Wikipedia. There should not be this many articles about individual constructed languages: imo there should be Latin Without Inflections, Volapuk, Esperanto, Ido, Quenya/Sindarin, Interlingua, Klingon, Loglan, lojban, Dothraki and Na'vi. Throw *truly* up-and-coming languages like Láadan and Toki Pona in there too if you want. Why not start a conlang wiki that lists any and every conlang in existence? Kraŭs (talk) 20:40, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

I believe it's been done. —Tamfang (talk) 05:36, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
frathwiki.com —Tamfang (talk) 06:06, 31 March 2018 (UTC)

Removed two sections[edit]

Today I've removed two sections from the template: grammars of individual languages and language comparisons. This template is not meant to provide links to all conlang-related articles, it is not even meant to include every individual conlang. The links in question are in fact expanded subsections and can be find in the articles they belong to. Other templates for language groups don't include this kind of articles either. —IJzeren Jan Uszkiełtu? 11:57, 17 August 2013 (UTC)