How to invent a language: 13 steps (with pictures)

How to invent a language: 13 steps (with pictures)
How to invent a language: 13 steps (with pictures)

Whether it is Klingon in the Star Trek universe or na'vi in ​​James Cameron's movie "Avatar", fictional languages ​​make it possible to give more reality to a work of fiction. Creating a language can be a rather intense endeavor, as the process is complex and requires a lot of thought. However, with practice and dedication, anyone can create their own language for fun or to complement a fantasy world.


Part 1 of 3: Building Vocabulary

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Step 1. Identify single words for basic sentences

Assign sounds to pronouns such as "I", "my", "he", "she", "her", "they" and "we". Next, decide how you are going to say certain verbs like "to be", "to have", "to love", "to go" and "to do". You can also include simple words like "a", "and", "the", "but" and "or".

  • You can create words for the numbers up to 10 before deciding how your language is going to count to 100.
  • For example, in Sindarin (a fictional language of the Lord of the Rings), "him" translates to "hon." In Dothraki, "she" translates to "anna". In Valyrian, "to go" is "naejot jikagon".
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Step 2. Find words for everyday objects

As your vocabulary grows, you need to start giving names to things on your mind. When you see something, think about a word for that object or concept and note its pronunciation as you say it out loud. It will help you start thinking in your new language.

  • Find a list of common words to get an idea of ​​which ones you need to translate first. Think of words for things around you in the house, animals, days of the week, weather, body parts, food, people, occupations, places, clothes, etc.
  • If you get stuck, remember that you can borrow words from other languages ​​as well. You can even transform the word. For example, the word "man" is said "hombre" in Spanish, as if this word had been borrowed and slightly modified by changing a few letters.

Basic words to translate

Animals: dog, cat, fish, bird, cow, pig, mouse, horse, wing, animal

Means of transport: train, plane, car, truck, bicycle, bus, boat, tire, gasoline, engine, ticket

Premises: city, house, apartment, street, airport, train station, bridge, hotel, restaurant, farm, yard, school, office, room, city, university, club, bar, park, market, country, building, floor, space, bank

Clothes: hat, dress, suit, skirt, shirt, T-shirt, pants, shoes, pocket, coat, stain, clothes

Colors: red, green, blue, yellow, brown, pink, orange, black, white, gray

Create a Language Step 5

Step 3. Create your own dictionary from your native language

Open the dictionary and start translating random words from your native language to your invented language. It will come in handy if you forget how to say something and you will be sure not to miss a word. You can also use translation dictionaries, for example from French to English or German to get an idea of ​​the pronunciation of certain words in different languages.

  • Try to create words that are easy to pronounce and read to avoid any issues that might make your language more difficult to learn.
  • In general, common words should be shorter. For example, a word like “kesolainotokos” could mean “volcanic ash”, but a word like “giob” could mean “you”.
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Step 4. Combine single words to create compound words

Compound words are a great way to quickly build up your language vocabulary to create new words, and this method works well with nouns. Just take the first word that describes the function of something and add another word to it that describes what the noun is. Some modern languages ​​like English and German use this technique to create new words every day.

For example, if you have a word like "Khinsa" which means "China" and the word "Bever" which means "drink", you can create "khinsabever" which means "tea". It works because it is generally accepted by everyone that the tea comes from China

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Step 5. Name your language

Use your new language to give it a name. Try to come up with a short, unique word that includes the origin of the language or identifies the people who speak it.

  • You don't have to find a connection between the speakers and the name of the language, but you can if you want.
  • For example, in Start Trek the Klingons speak Klingon and in Avatar the Na'vis speak Na'vi. In Game of Thrones, the Dothrakis, a people who live near the Dothraki Sea, speak Dothraki.

Part 2 of 3: Write words and sentences

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Step 1. Create your own alphabet to write your language

Draw your own letters to represent the sounds your tongue uses. Then organize them in a table to create the alphabet. You can also say them out loud to practice.

Keep in mind that this can be a rather lengthy process, and each letter or syllable should only represent one sound in the language

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Step 2. Borrow letters from an existing alphabet

Learn about the Latin, Cyrillic, Greek, Georgian and Coptic alphabet which are still in use today. If any of these alphabets contain the sounds you need, you can use them to create your own. You can also re-pronounce the letters you have chosen if necessary. This will make it easier for people who already know this alphabet to learn your language.

  • You can also combine letters from different alphabets, for example Latin and Cyrillic. In this case, you can use the letter “Я” for the sound / j / (“y”) and the letters of the Latin alphabet for the other sounds.
  • You can also use a romanization, that is to say a Latin alphabet transcription of another alphabet. For example, the Russian word "знаю" is transcribed as "znayu". This can be very useful if you are not using the Latin alphabet for your language.
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Step 3. Use pictograms or symbols for the words

Draw the meaning of each word using simple lines to create a pictogram or symbol. Next, find a pronunciation for each of the symbols based on the different parts of the drawing. Make sure each symbol or design has its own sound.

  • Many languages ​​like Chinese use pictograms or symbols to write the words.
  • In English and other languages, numbers are represented by pictograms and symbols, as they are not letters of the alphabet.
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Step 4. Add accents to create new letters

To keep an alphabet short, add accents, small marks above and below certain letters to change the pronunciation. In general, accents go well with vowels like "a, e, i, o, u and y" and some consonants like "c, l, n, r, s, t and z".

For example, you can use E pronounced / ɛ / as in "father" and É pronounced / ə / as the "e" in "horse"

Part 3 of 3: forming simple sentences

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Step 1. Choose the correct sentence order

Decide if you want the subject to come first when making a sentence, as is the case most of the time in French. Then decide on the word order for asking questions. You can use your native language to decide the sentence structure or you can create your own rules.

  • For example, in French, the order of the sentence is Sujet-Verbe-Objet (SVO). In Japanese, the order of the sentence is Subject-Object-Verb (SOV).
  • Once you've chosen the order, you can create general rules for where to place adjectives, possessive pronouns, adverbs, and the rest of the words in the sentence.
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Step 2. Decide if you want plural nouns

Choose a prefix or suffix for nouns when there is more than one. Some invented languages ​​use a "double plural", which means that the word is repeated twice to indicate that there is more than one. Remember that you can also create a language without a plural, but it can be a bit confusing for people who are going to learn and speak it.

You can for example add a simple "a-" in front of the word or even put an "-s" at the end as is the case in French or in English

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Step 3. Think about the use of verbs

In most languages, verbs change depending on the subject and the tense of the sentence. Consider whether you want to change the verbs by adding sounds like prefixes or suffixes to indicate who is speaking and when the action took place.

  • For example, if you want to say that a person likes something in the present tense in French, you would say "I like", "you like", "he / she likes", "we like", "you like", " they like”. In this example, you see the conjugation of the verb "to love" with suffixes (like "-s" or "-ons") and the addition of personal pronouns like "I" or "he".
  • You could also add a word to differentiate between, for example, “swimming” and “while swimming”. However, this is not mandatory.
  • You could also choose to change the word entirely to match the subject and the action. We often speak in this case of "irregular verbs".
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Step 4. Practice speaking and writing it

Start with a simple sentence like "I have a cat". You can then move on to more complex sentences like “I like to watch TV, but I prefer to go to the movies”. If you come across words you haven't created yet, make them up and make sure they follow the grammar rules of your sentence.

Different ways to train

Keep a journal with your tongue

It's a great way to practice it every day.

Start a journal that you write in your language to tell about your day.

Teach it to your friends.

Once they have learned it, try to have a discussion in that language. Keep a dictionary with all the words so you can refer to it while you speak.

Recite poems in your language.

They aren't necessarily going to be pretty, but it's a good opportunity to practice speaking your language out loud.

Translate the Babel text or other text into your language.

Pick your favorite book, article or novel to translate, or use Babel's text, a text often used by people inventing languages. It contains words and phrases that are meant to test the limits of your language.


  • When you start a language, you need to follow its grammar rules closely. Once you've improved yourself, you can start incorporating slang and other abbreviations into it.
  • Like any other language, you need to practice it often so as not to forget it.
  • Remember to create punctuation marks if you want to use different ones for your language.
  • Try creating a typeface for your language using photo editing or font-making software if you want to create a new alphabet. It's all the more fun for languages ​​with symbols or pictograms.

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