Langmaker: Celebrating Conlangs


by Jeffrey Henning

Jeffrey Henning’s Langmaker was a key resource for conlangers in the early 2000s. This book, from Yonagu Books, contains most of his writing for the site:

  • All the issues of his Model Languages newsletter which introduced conlanging and linguistics to newcomers.
  • Reviews of major conlangs that influenced this generation of conlangers, from Tolkien to Edgar Rice Burroughs to Richard Adams.
  • Descriptions of Jeffrey’s own languages, including Fith, Dublex, Kali-sise, Tev’Meckian, and Ilish.
The material includes an entirely new chapter on case and a new conlang, Denju.

In addition, the Conlangs at a Glance section of Langmaker has been reproduced and corrected. This is the listing of 1100 conlangs that were described on the site as of 2005— a wide variety of historical auxlangs, professional languages, and those contributed by readers during the heyday of the site. Your name may be here!

“The best thing about Langmaker was its universality. From the beginning, conlanging and the conlang community have been prone to factionalism (cf. the Conlang-Auxlang schism of 1996). Langmaker somehow transcended that. Every conlanger from every conlang community—or from no conlang community—was welcome there, and every conlanger found value in it. It was the Rick’s of conlanging.”

—from the preface by David J. Peterson, creator of Dothraki and author of The Art of Language Invention

Conlanging has its own long history, dating back to Hildegard of Bingen in 1150. Say, we need to plan a celebration of a thousand years in conlanging in 2150. Watch this page; I’ll update it as the date draws near!

This book is part of that history. If you’ve read the Language Construction Kit, it takes a naturalistic approach to conlanging. Jeffrey casts a wider net, being interested in philosophical languages (like his Roxhai), logical languages (such as the fascinating stack-based Fith), and auxlangs (Kali-sisi, Simpenga). And don’t miss his playful Tev’Meckian, the language of Galaxy Quest.

Though you can seek out much of this material by judicious use of the Wayback Machine, all the material has been edited, errors corrected, phonemes converted to IPA, and extra material included, such as more on how Fith works, and the Tev’Meckian lexicon. The Conlangs at a Glance section was largely rewritten to give more and better information on the languages included.

Price: $14.95 print, $6.25 Kindle.


(To come: Lexicons of Fith and Kali-Sise)