Constructed languages

Constructed Languages

Artificial, otherwise also known as constructed, planned, or auxiliary, languages are those languages whose phonology, grammar, and vocabulary have been intentionally constructed by people, rather than having developed naturally over an extended period of time. There are many possible reasons for constructing an artificial language. Among some of them are the following: (1) to facilitate international communication, e. g., Esperanto, Ido, Interlingua, Volapük; (2) to engage in linguistic experimentation, e. g., Loglan or Lojban; (3) to help create a fictional world, e. g., Klingon in Star Trek,Tolkien’s Quenya and Sindarin in Middle Earth; or Dothraki used in the Game of Thrones.

Efforts to introduce artificial languages into daily life have had very limited success. To date, there is no internationally recognized and universally used artificial language. All of them have a restricted range of use and do not usually have native speakers, although some Esperantists claim that they have successfully taught Esperanto as a first language to their children. For instance, Ethnologue reports that there are 200-2,000 first language speakers of Esperanto.


Structure and vocabulary

Artificial languages are sometimes divided into two groups.

  • The first group, by far the largest, is referred to as a posteriori languages. They are intended for use as auxiliary languages to facilitate communication across language boundaries. These languages use building blocks taken from natural languages. For example, Esperanto draws on several Western European languages, such as Latin, Greek, Romance, Germanic, and Slavic languages.
  • The second group is called a priori languages. They use invented elements, such as special symbols or numbers, to represent basic concepts. These are then grouped into logical systems based on a particular principle. A posteriori languages are closer to natural languages than a priori languages.

Below is a list of some of the better know a posteriori, or auxiliary, languages.

Date created
Basic facts
“World language”
1880 Johan Martin Schleyer 8 vowels, 20 consonants, based on English and German
“Lingvo Internacia’
1887 Ludwig Zamenhof 5 vowels, 23 consonants, based on Western European languages with some Slavic elements
Idiom Neutral 1902 Waldemar Rosenberger strongly influenced by Romance languages with some Slavic elements
Latino sin Flexione
1903 International Auxiliary Language Association Latin without inflections
Ido 1907 group of reformist Esperantospeakers a modified version of Esperanto
Occidental (Interlingue) 1922 Edgar von Wahl based on Romance languages
Novial 1928 Otto Jespersen Ido vocabulary + Occidental grammar
Interglossa 1943 Lancelot Hogben preliminary version
Interlingua 1951 International Auxiliary Language Association Romance-based grammar and vocabulary based on main Western European languages
Glosa 1981 W. Ashby and R. Clark based on Interglossa; contains a basic 1,000-word vocabulary derived from Greek and Latin roots



  • Auxiliary languages that were intended to be used for international communication are written with adapted versions of the Latin alphabet, e.g., Esperanto or Volapük.
  • There have also been some attempts to create scripts for fictional languages. The best-known constructed scripts dedicated to fictional languages are J. R. R. Tolkien‘s Sarati, Tengwar and Cirth. There are also a few others, such as the Klingon script (used in Star Trek movies), Aurek-besh (used in Return of the Jedi and other episodes of Star Wars), and D’ni (used in the computer games Myst and Riven).

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in some auxiliary languages is given below.

Esperanto Ĉiuj homoj estas denaske liberaj kaj egalaj laŭ digno kaj rajtoj. Ili posedas racion kaj konsciencon, kaj devus konduti unu la alian en spirito de frateco.
Volapük Valik menas labons leig e lib in dinits e dets. Givons lisäls e konsiens e mutons dunön okes in flenüg tikäl.
Interlingua Tote le esseres human nasce libere e equal in dignitate e in derectos. Illes es dotate de ration e de conscientia e debe ager le unes verso le alteres in un spirito de fraternitate



Language Difficulty

questionHow difficult is it to learn Constructed Languages?
There is no data for speakers of constructed language in terms of difficulty for speakers of English.