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The Language Construction Kit [Paperback]

Mark Rosenfelder
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 11, 2010 098447000X 978-0984470006
Create plausible and realistic languages for RPGs, fantasy and science fiction, movies or video games, or international communication... or just learn about how languages work from an unusual, light-hearted perspective. The Language Construction Kit on has helped a generation of conlangers to understand and create languages. It's expanded here with coverage of semantics and pragmatics, language families, writing systems, and sample wordlists, as well as an annotated sample grammar. Revised edition.

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The Language Construction Kit + Advanced Language Construction + The Planet Construction Kit
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mark Rosenfelder is a conlanger and author, creator of

Product Details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Yonagu Books (March 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098447000X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984470006
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for fantasy world building March 18, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I want to make distinctive names in a variety of made-up languages for my Pathfinder (like D&D 3.5) game. The author's website (zompist) appears to have been around for quite a while, and seems well connected and well respected, but for some reason I had never come across it. I found it at a good time though; just days before his book was released. The website has a lot of good information, but the book is better because it is more of everything on the website. The website is more like an overview, but this goes into detail, and I got a lot more out of the book form of the material than I did his website. The information on how humans make sounds is quite possibly the missing link I needed to go from the ideas I have in my head into actual written examples of a made up language.

In addition to being a very practical guide to help me create interesting sounding names, the book is just fun to read overall. The author seems to know a little bit about a whole lot of languages, and it's fun to read about the subtle little nuances that exist that I've never noticed.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow. May 1, 2010
By Ulyyf
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Language Construction Kit, online, is THE resource for "conlangers" (people who make up languages for fun and profit - but you knew that already). I personally can remember printing it out at least twice in my teens. (And holy HECK that was a lot of paper!) Every example mentioned for building your language (firmly based upon actual linguistic concepts - and yes, I think this is a good companion book for an intro to linguistics class) is given with examples from either real-world languages or from some of the author's own conlangs.

So why buy the book when you can get the kit for free?

Well, first off, if you've ever visited the LCK online, you should support the guy who created it. How? By buying the book.

Secondly - and somewhat more importantly - this isn't just a reprint of the online version. It's expanded (there's a whole new FASCINATING section on semantics, for example) and it's convenient to have on your desk.

So why only four stars?

No fault of the author's, but the formatting was a bit odd. Sometimes a section header would appear as the last line on a page, or a line would be spaced v e r y s t r a n g e l y, and that made it hard to read. The formatting issues are *not* his fault, but they *did* require me to re-read more often than I'd like because they made it hard to understand some things wherever they occurred.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes you think May 10, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Mark Rosenfelder gives very good advice in this book - it covers everything a language constructer needs.
I mostly bought the book not only for that purpose but also to learn more about the linguistic concepts the book covered. It is extremely useful in this purpose - it explains very complex concepts VERY well, at least to an amateur linguist like myself.

Rosenfelder makes good use of examples, which is key in his explanations. However, I think some of it still could have been done in a bit more detail - some of the more complex grammatical concepts lack examples or examples from real languages. The author should also add more detail into the diversity of the concepts - for instance, with verbs or nouns, he lists an interesting array of possibilities for inflections, but the list is not very extensive. This is especially true of the concepts he explored in less detail. One point in particular I thought would have been well-suited to an expansion was a bit in the section on pragmatics. He mentions by way of an example the extreme difference in the way the Apache language made its speakers think. It was a very good example of just how diverse human language can be from the languages we in the West are used to. More examples of this would help conlangers to open their minds and their ability to see all the possibilities. Another favourite was a point about a language he appears to have invented just for the book, called Eteodäole. His single example had me thinking for days.

He gives a reasonable explanation of phonetics, brilliant sections on grammar, semantics and pragmatics, and his section on his own conlang Kebreni, while somewhat confusing and long, was interesting and helpful.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By S. Burr
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's not very often that somebody comes up with a completely original idea for a book, but in this case it has happened. Mr Rosenfelder has published the first ever off-line how-to manual for inventing a completely new language.

Intended for sci-fi and fantasy writers who want to create their own languages, the Language Construction Kit is also an entertaining and original introduction to linguistics.

Invented languages are nothing new. Zamenhof created Esperanto in the late 1800s, hoping it would become a universal second language and foster international peace. Other people have made up their own languages purely for pleasure. Tolkien's Elvish languages, Quenya and Sindarin, have become famous thanks to his masterpiece Lord of the Rings. Star Trek's huge fanbase has ensured the spread of Klingon. However, until the development of the internet, most conlangs remained in their inventors' exercise books.

Mr Rosenfelder is a programmer who does linguistics as a hobby. His website [...] includes a bulletin board for language inventors, several linguistics essays and other resources, including the original version of the Language Construction Kit, which consisted of two main sections, phonology (or sounds) and grammar. For the book version, the LCK has been revised and considerably expanded, with additional chapters on Semantics, Pragmatics, Language Families and Writing Systems. The author has published no less than fourteen of his own languages on the web, including several members of a language family, one with an absolute-ergative case system, and a non-human language which uses vowel continua to indicate degree (and violates several other universals). An upcoming colang, Lé, will feature tones.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gotta get it!
If you are a conlanger, this and its companion book Advanced Language Construction are absolute necessities. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Randy
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle formating
The formating in the last half of the kindle edition was so poor and messed up that it became unreadable. I wouldn't buy this again or his next book because of these issues.
Published 1 month ago by Djesi
5.0 out of 5 stars STILL using it
I originally entered college as a Linguistics major and though I've moved on through Psychology and now to Industrial Design, I still find myself visiting this book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by WLDupuy
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and marvelously helpful
If you're considering ANY book to help in creating a language (however basic or complex), this guide is INCREDIBLE. It's inexpensive and more than worth every penny. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Lynanne Carroll
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book
Thought it would be interesting to know how people came up with new languages for works of fiction. this book explains it very well. It has been fun so far. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Bushman
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for those creating their own languages.
This book is an excellent source for all those planning on creating their very own language(s). It is also great for those who are interested in learning about how language(s) work... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Garrison56
4.0 out of 5 stars Okay, be doubly aware it is very basic. Also, bizarre sexist example...
If you have any kind of formal linguistics training, the book will seem a little slow, but it gives you fair warning about that. Read more
Published 6 months ago by lettuchi
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, with dose of formatting errors.
Well written and informative, but formatting issues in the tables mare an otherwise excellent introduction to linguistics with the intent of creating languages. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Andrew
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Intro to Linguistics and Language Construction
The book breaks down linguistics and language construction into nice chunks that are relatively easy to follow. Read more
Published 10 months ago by msorrentino
5.0 out of 5 stars Both helpful and interesting!
I'm familiar with Rosenfelder's online material already, but I still greatly enjoyed the book, which went into much more detail than the original web version. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Allyn Nichol
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