The creation of fictional languages: conclusion
For me this research was about finding out how a few completely different fictional languages were created and to see if the same progress was used and why.
Paterson looked at the location and lifestyle of the people. Living a rather simple, nomadic lifestyle they would only have words for the things they knew and regularly encountered.
Another requirement was for the language to be easy to learn and speak. Peterson got his inspiration from languages as Turkish, Estonian, Russian, Inuktitut and Swahili. In many cultures, mostly in the past, nomadic lifestyles were very common. What people needed to live from and what they lived with.
Tolkien has always had an interest in languages and the desire to create them. Being a scholar of Old English and Old Norse himself he was very inspired by those languages. He was also someone who was very fascinated by the Welsh and Finnish languages. His love from Finnish came from many Finnish myths and stories he read when he was younger, some of which he drew inspiration from for his novels. Finnish nationalism was one of the things that inspired Hobbits and their lifestyle.
The language being partially based on Welsh as well is why their grammar is so similar.
The story of Atlantis is that of an ancient civilization that disappeared. The idea used was that this ancient civilization was one of the first and therefore the language they would speak would be one of the oldest. Inspiration was drawn from some of the oldest languages known such as Latin, Greek and Biblical Hebrew.
A lot of imagery was used, for example the system that was used for the writing was boustrophedon which goes back and forth when you read it, just like how water moves back and forth.
Some of the cultures presented in this game are similar to old German and English cultures. Which is way much inspiration has been drawn from them. The grammar works almost exactly the same as normal English.
The goal was to create a language that sounded foreign, even ‘alien’. This was done by using sounds and grammatical rules from many existing languages and mixing them all together.
For the creation of fictional languages, the first thing done in most cases is look at the people in question. Where do they live and how do they live? Based on the region it is easy to come up with what the people's daily life looks like. From there on you try to figure out how they would talk. What do they find important to communicate to each other?
Once these questions are answered the people put in charge of the creation end up looking for what real life languages/cultures used to have similar lifestyles. For an ancient culture they look at ancient languages, for nomadic people they look at languages spoken by nomadic cultures. When you have those, you can decide what grammatic rules to use.
For the writing systems they often look at who speaks the language, how they would write it and if they would write it down. The dragon language, spoken and created by dragons, should look like they could have written it. Some languages, like that of the nomadic Dothraki, don’t have a writing system all communication happens verbally.
When languages are created its creators always look at real languages for inspiration. It is rarely just random sounds mashed together. Getting inspiration from what already exists is what makes these languages sound so real. There seems to be this sense of subconscious familiarity with some sounds or even grammatical rules once you understand them. All this work to create a language that will feel real, that will make the fictional people and world feel real. It is to make the line between fiction and reality seem thinner and to make the story/world you see or read more realistic.