Learn About Invented Languages, From Elvish to Klingon

Geek Culture

From Elvish to KlingonFrom Elvish to Klingon

Image: Oxford University Press

Geek culture is filled with invented languages. Some are just alluded to in movies and novels, others are fairly well developed and then expounded upon by devoted fans. But the linguistics of these inventions fascinate many of us, and understanding a word or two in these languages surely helps one’s geek cred.

From Elvish to Klingon is a series of chapters put together by editor Michael Adams, each one delving deeply into a specific topic, including Tolkien’s languages, Klingon, Newspeak (from Nineteen Eighty-Four), Nadsat (from A Clockwork Orange), gaming language, created languages such as Esperanto and languages that are being brought back into more common usage such as Hawaiian.

Not a dictionary of terms, this book instead looks at the construction of words, the origin of roots and how the languages were developed. Their background, as well as plenty of references of use, are explained. And, in the case of revitalized languages, the book looks at how the languages are each being brought back.

In addition, the appendix even contains a partial translation of Hamlet in (the original) Klingon. It also includes a glossary of what they call gamer slang.

From Elvish to Klingon retails for $19.95 and is a fascinating look into unconventional languages. It’s a great read for linguists and those who want to learn more about the languages from geek culture, literature and elsewhere.

Note: I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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