Foreign Tongues

There are more than six thousand languages spoken around the world, and each language represents a different group of individuals. Many languages have different dialects, and each dialect represents a smaller group of people. There are sub groups of dialects that represent an even smaller number of people. Some languages have less than 50 people who still speak it, and some languages are spoken by more than a billion people. With thousands of science fiction works, some have their own languages. Some of those languages are actually based off of the languages spoken on Earth, and now are spoken fluently amongst fans.



Star Trek

Qo' vIvan. Klingon is a language created by Marc Okrand and James Doohan for the popular science fiction series, Star Trek, and is a constructed language, meaning it is devised from human communication instead of being naturally spoken, but sounds “alien.” Klingon uses the Latin alphabet when written just like English, which happens to be what Klingon is based on. Just like English, Klingon has consonants and vowels and even has rules that dictate sentence structure. Klingon is one of the first artificial languages created in a work of fiction, but now there are people around the world, mostly fans of Star Trek, who have learned the whole language and even written books in the language. One project exists to translate the holy bible into Klingon. The main idea behind Star Trek and Klingon was to represent that something different could be done in a world where suppression and the hatred of individualistic ideas would never thrive. I believe the creators of the show and the language wanted to teach the people about a sci-fi show that is not afraid of following the formula formed by other shows that stayed safe and indifferent towards events at the time, for example, inequality. Klingon represents something more than just another language in just another show.



Nineteen Eighty-Four

Newspeak is a language created by George Orwell for the popular science fiction book, Nineteen Eighty-Four and is also a constructed language but is based wholly upon English. George Orwell created Newspeak to represent the totalitarian state in the book and is used to emphasize the control and limit the freedom of thought by the government. Newspeak uses prefixes and suffixes around an English word; for example, the world Unperson in Newspeak means a person who has been erased from existence. The prefix being un-, which in English means not, would represent Not-person, which describes the meaning of the word in Newspeak. Synonyms and antonyms have been completely eradicated in the Newspeak because Newspeak is based upon the simple concepts of English and removes meaning from the language and both synonyms and antonyms create meanings in a language. Newspeak is confusing even in its basic sense and only a select few words have been created to keep the language alive. There is a project to publish a Newspeak dictionary which would require the creation of more words for the language. The language and the people who speak Newspeak can be compared to the acts of the government in the USSR. The USSR believed full control of the people, just like the government in Nineteen Eighty-Four and the citizens of USSR fought the government to gain freedom which what I believe to be complete opposite of what Newspeak stands for.



A Song Of Ice and Fire

Dothraki is a language spoken by the Dothraki people in the popular fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. The interesting story behind the creation of the Dothraki language is that it was initially created by George R.R. Martin for the book series, but he only created some words and phrases. When the television series, Game of Thrones, was created the language was adapted into a full constructed language by the linguist David J. Peterson. Using the words and phrases, Peterson extended the vocabulary of the language and added consonants, vowels, and sentence structure. Peterson based all of the language on real world languages, like Turkish, Russian, and even Swahili. The success of the television series has made Dothraki one of the most popular languages being learned by many individuals around the world and is being compared to Klingon by fans. The Dothraki people are a very spiritual and their culture is based upon ancient rituals. I believe their culture can be compared to the cultures of many middle-eastern countries. For example, many Arabs participate in fasts and journey to a spiritual city called Mecca for worship. On the other hand, the Dothraki people journey to their holy city of Dothrak in which they fast and have laws created to disallow violence inside the city. The languages are not different either, for example, both Arabic and Dothraki emphasize on respectful language when talking to others.

In Conclusion

The languages created in the work of fiction are closely based upon languages spoken on Earth. Each language, fictional or real, has its own lettering or structure that makes the language unique, just like the people it represents, and as people become multilingual they take up the characteristics of the languages they learn which helps the culture of the language thrive. Languages define us and connect us with the people around us and as long as we keep learning the fictional languages being created, we have another way to connect to other fans of the work.


Star Trek

Nineteen Eighty-Four: Newspeak

A Song of Ice and Fire

Languages of the World