Have you ever been interested in a fictional language or a language that doesn’t belong to a specific country, race or ethnicity? I’ve been fascinated with the idea of being able to create my own language since I was about 15 years old. The one benefit I was able to get out of it was learning a lot about linguistics itself. I even managed to get started with a few of my own thanks to this awesome forum: Zompist, which has all sorts of useful information on how to go about creating your own languages. He’s even written quite a few books as well. Such as The Language Construction Kit, The Advanced Language Construction Kit, and the Conlanger’s Lexipedia. If you’re interested in conlanguages, definitely check out the resources provided above.
Why Should I Learn A Constructed Language Versus A Natural One?
It depends on what you want to get out of it. Are you looking for a tool to help you learn linguistics in a more or less enjoyable way? Linguistics can be quite difficult to learn and this can give you a project to work as you’re learning linguistics. Or maybe you’re a big fan a TV and/or book series such as Game of Thrones (Dothraki), Star Trek (Klingon), or Lord of the Rings (Quenya, Sindarin, etc) and want to be able to have a “secret” language to communicate with your friends with in. So you can tell secrets or secretly insult people behind their backs (assuming they don’t understand said language.)
Another reason is to have an International Auxiliary Language for use as a common language among those who do not share a native language. Esperanto being the most popular of these languages. While I think it’s a great idea to be able to communicate a large diverse group of people from around the world; I don’t truly think we can make just one international language that everyone can speak with ease. Nor be completely neutral altogether.
Each language has a unique culture or many cultures associated with it. Cultures are well engrained by the languages they speak. Interestingly enough when a language dies, the culture dies along with it. Learning another language helps build a bridge into another culture different from one’s own. Does that mean you will learn everything about the culture? No, You will still have to do further research but it definitely gives you insight on why certain words or phrases are used the way they are.
One common misconception about Esperanto is how incredibly easy it for everyone to learn. It might be easier to learn than English, Finnish, Japanese, or even Navajo but to make a generalisation like that is not a good idea. Not everyone is able to learn languages in the same way or with relative ease. It always depends on which language the native speaker has that makes a language easier or harder to learn.
Ask yourself: How am I going to use this language? With whom? Is it just a hobby or will I be able to use for my career, travel, or at events with fellow speakers of this language?
Will There Ever Truly Be An International Language?
That is a powerful question in itself. Although I highly doubt it because even speakers of languages where speakers can also speaker English fluently, they will always maintain their native language as a part of their cultural identity, even if they aren’t willing to admit it!
While an auxiliary language like Esperanto could be useful to you, especially if you’re actively seeking out communities who speak that language, but does that mean it’s an international language everyone is going to learn? No, no it doesn’t. Should you bother learning it then? That’s completely up to you to decide. If you’re interested in it, why not?
Related Post: Is Esperanto Worth Learning?
How about you? Do you like learning fictional languages like Dothraki or international auxiliary languages like Esperanto? Do you create your own languages like me? I would love to hear from you!