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From Elvish to Klingon: Exploring Invented Languages 1st Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0192807090
ISBN-10: 0192807099
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"From Elvish to Klingon shows clearly what makes invented languages fascinating - their logic, beauty, fun, and (often) high moral purpose." - The Boston Globe


"Written by a variety of expert scholars and linguaphiles, From Elvish to Klingon is both informative and accessible, and offers something for uninitiated novices, fluent users of invented languages, and everyone in between." - Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America


About the Author


Michael Adams is Associate Professor of English and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Indiana University. He has contributed to and edited many journals as well as numerous linguistic works, including the Middle English Dictionary and The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. He is the author of Slayer Slang: A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lexicon and co-author of How English Works: A Linguistic Introduction to the English Language.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192807099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192807090
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.2 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #403,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm no linguist, and nowhere near a cunning one (har har). And to be sure, I think this book isn't really about linguistics - at least as I understand the discipline. Instead, it's a series of relatively non-technical essays that look into the structure, history and context of constructed languages.

Far from exclusively focusing on the science fiction/fantasy languages implied in the title, it also includes expository treatment of internet slang, Newspeak (of 1984 fame), modern revival languages with constructed elements such as Hawaiian, Breton, and Hebrew, and early attempts to create utopian universal languages. Heck, the book even takes a stab at looking at the dialogue of Joyce.

The treatment each language receives varies slightly, but in general it couches the structural and phonological descriptions of constructed languages in the history of their development and the way decisions in the constructed languages play out in their speaking communities. Each bit of context is given to help you understand the motivations behind many of the (often idiosyncratic) people that created these languages, or, if no one creator exists, the interactions between the people in charge. The technical descriptions of the languages, by the way, are unusually accessible given the clearly academic origin of some of the writing. I can't remember a single instance of IPA making its way into the text, for example (although there is a short section in 1337). For those who want additional discussion of the languages, every chapter has an appendix, though it may not contain what you want.

I liked this book, but I will easily say that it's not for everyone.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a language lover and a fan a Tolkien, this book called out to me. The entire book held my attention and stimulated my mind as I read about the histories and descriptions of the languages covered. The Appendixes added some great extra information as well, so if the basic chapters don't satisfy you, there's plenty more to read. I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The collection of essays on invented languages was an eye-opener. Gym Tolkien's complex, highly developed Elvish to the "like Topsie it just growled" Klingon to the barely noticed invented language used in 1984, this was a fascinating read. For the lay person, it got a little technical at times, but even those parts were worth wading through.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When you think of all the things that have been invented, the last thing you'd think is that someone would invent a language. Why do it when the ones we have seem to do the job? Yet you find new languages everywhere--in international languages as Esperanto, in sci fi languages as Klingon, Vulcan, and Romulan, and in fantasy languages as Elvish, Sindarin, Gnomish, and Quenya.
This book contains essays about invented languages, from Newspeak, languages devised by J.R.R. Tolkein, Klingon, and gaming languages. It examines why people invent new languages and what role they play in society.
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