10 Examples of Constructed Languages

Conjugations between English and Esperanto.
Conjugations between English and Esperanto.

Constructed languages, also known as conlang or auxiliary languages, are not developed naturally but instead as a result of the strategic scientific reorganization of sounds, grammar, and vocabulary for easier communication among people. They are second languages and does not aim to replace the first language though some have significantly influenced first languages. These languages borrow heavily from other languages, and some evolved from earlier constructed languages. There are many such languages, and more have yet to be developed. Constructed languages are still coming up and gaining momentum due to their simplified nature, unlike natural languages.

10. Lingua Franca Nova

Also recognized as Elefen, the language was created by George Boeree of Shippensburg University, Pennsylvania. The language is derived from the modern Romance dialects of French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Catalan languages. It consists of the twenty-two alphabet writing system, a complete and reduced grammar. Those who are familiar with the romance languages can easily understand it at first glance. Elefen has no gender, no plural or person suffix for verbs and no possessive or separate objective form for pronouns. Approximately 1,000 people use it on their Facebook profiles. Lingua Franca Nova was given an ISO 639-3 by SIL in 2008.

9. Novial

Novial was created by Professor Otto Jespersen and its sentence creation, syntax, and vocabulary are almost like English, making it easier for English speakers to learn. The vocabulary features English, French, German and Scandinavian languages. Novial was specifically designed to address difficulties that were noticed in the Esperanto language. From the mid-1900s after the death of Jespersen, Novial was largely unused. It re-emerged in the 1990s due to the internet wave that was sweeping the globe. The language is still undergoing evolution led by Novial 98, a project that seeks to revive, market, and improve Novial.

8. Ido Language

Ido, an Esperanto word meaning Offspring, was created in 1907 because of apparent flows in Esperanto. Ido uses 26 letters, much like the English alphabet. Ido was specifically designed to be grammatically, lexicographically, and orthographically regular, and above all easy to learn and use. Ido introduced gender-neutral nouns and third person pronouns. Most of the vocabularies are drawn from French, Italian, Spanish, German, English, and Russian. It is estimated that close to five hundred thousand people speak this language.

7. Ro

In 1904, Edward Powell Foster created Ro, a conlang that constructs words using groupings whereby, words starting with distinct alphabets signified a group. For example, all words starting with bu are geographical areas like the US is called Budval. Bofo means color, bofoc is red, and bofof is yellow. In his words, he describes Ro as a language that acts as a picture and gives a hint. The language has been described as a philosophical language, has only five vowel letters and a twenty-six alphabet letter. However, Ro has been criticized for its difficulty in differentiating between two words because mostly one consonant makes the difference in meaning.

6. Slovio

Mark Hucko constructed Slovio in 1999 to make it easy for non-Slavs to acquire the language due to its moderately simple parsing. Slovio borrows from Esperanto and Slavic languages and most words identified by their endings like verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. The nouns can be made plural indicating the subject or object or describing direction. Adjectives, adverbs, and verbs are identified by how they end. The language has a simplified spelling, articulation and a logical grammar. It is estimated that over four hundred million people comprehend Slovio and can be typed on any keyboard, including the US keyboard.

5. Interslavic Language

As the name suggests, Interslavic language is a semi-artificial language that was constructed based on the language of the different Slavic nations to enable them to communicate with one another. Created in 2006, it can be written using Latin and Cyrillic alphabets. Interslavic removes the different idiosyncrasies that make writing and communication difficult. The language was developed to unite the different Slavic people who, though from a similar lingual origin and physically separated, could no longer understand each other due to influence from other languages.

4. Sambahsa

Sambahsa originated from two Malay words “sama” and “bahsa” standing for “same” and “language” respectively. This is a relatively new language, having been created in 2007 by Dr. Oliver Simon. It is also called Sambahsa-Mundialect and has a simplified grammar. Sambahsa borrows most of its words from English and French with few words from other smaller world languages. Sambahsa is known to have an extensive vocabulary and a large library of reference material online. The project to develop Sambahsa further is open to anybody through the internet by creating an account with and posting your proposal.

3. Lingwa de Planeta

As the name suggest this language, also called Lidepla or LdP, borrows heavily from ten most spoken languages in the world such as Chinese, Arabic, English, German, French, Spanish, Hindi, Persian, Portuguese, and Russian. Developed by Russian Psychologist Dmitri Ivanov, the team seeks to create a one world language where everybody will communicate with each other quickly. The driving force for this team of developers is the fact that the world is moving into a global community state and therefore a universal language is inevitable. For this fact, the team united the most spoken languages instead of developing new ones.

2. Universalglot

In 1868 Frenchman Jean Pirro published the first complete auxiliary language called Universalglot that has a large vocabulary base. Using ordinary Latin language with few changes, it is often referred to as the first complete auxiliary language system based on common elements in national dialects. The language uses standard Latin alphabet except letters “w” and “y.” Letters whose pronunciations differ from English are pronounced in either Italian or Spanish. The language, just like the others, owes its use to the internet age. It was mostly forgotten until Pirro’s publications were made freely available on the internet.

1. Esperanto

Esperanto loosely translated as one who hopes and is the most spoken constructed language globally. It is spoken by approximately two million people internationally and mostly used in Europe, South America, East Asia, and parts of North Africa. Esperanto is considered easy to learn and tutorials are found online. It was devised in 1870’ and 80s by Ludwig Lazarus and published in 1887.This language is designed to enable different native languages to communicate freely without losing their languages and cultural identities thus preserving linguistic diversities. There are millions of web pages in Esperanto as well as books and publications. In 2016, it was reported that some schools in New York had it as an option in the syllabus.


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