Build Your Own Language

Build Your Own Language

This FIG explores how languages are created and used in fiction, especially in sci-fi and fantasy worlds. Have you wondered how authors create languages to use in world-building? Have you wondered whether the languages used in TV, films, and books could ever exist in real life? Have you been curious about whether people REALLY speak Klingon and Dothraki in the world today? Build Your Own Language will explore these questions and more with our joint interests in linguistics and fiction.

In addition to discussing podcast episodes, exploring language through word games, watching samples of fictional languages in TV and movies, and reading a little more about creators' process in building their world and languages, you'll also create your own language! To do this, you'll have to consider both the structural principles that underlie languages spoken all over the world and the communicative acts that enable us to use language every day to incorporate your language into a fictional world of your own.

Students explore the intersection of topics by taking the following course package:

UGST 109 First-Year Experience Seminar - 1-credit

LING 101 Introduction to Language - CoreEd or major satisfying course, 4-credits

The course will expose you to how linguists think about and talk about language, enabling you to bring in a new perspective to your interactions with language in the world. As just a few examples: we will discuss concepts in this course that will make you a more knowledgeable citizen of the world, and a more careful consumer of language you encounter around you. In the course you will examine the dynamics of language from individual conversations to society at large, and we will notice ways in which power and prejudice are tied up in language use. You will explore how languages can be similar to and different from one another, and you will learn about language processes going on in your own mind that you may have previously taken for granted.

ANTH 161 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology - CoreEd or major satisfying course, 4-credits

This course introduces basic concepts in Cultural Anthropology. It will explore cultural and social change in a global world by looking at theories and examples of the work of anthropologists in many different cultural contexts. Through writing and film, you will learn an anthropological prospective on migration, politics, economic systems, media, art, family, and inequality, among other topics. You will also learn how people around the world create, adapt, resist, and change their cultures.