Artistic language

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Aspects of Conlanging

Language Construction Kit

This article is part of the Conlang 101 course
This is an introduction to basic elements within constructed languages.
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An artlang is a constructed language designed for æsthetic and artistic beauty and generally contrasted with the pragmatically minded engelangs and auxlangs. With the growth of the conlanging community in recent decades artlangs have become perhaps the most active area of language creation and the vast majority of projects presented at fora like the ZBB fall into this category.

While a great many artlangs stand alone as self-contained projects, most have a fictional context ranging from a single story to a conworld spanning thousands of years and several continents. In the latter case artlangs may even have detailed histories within fictional language families. Although guided by æsthetic moreso than practical considerations, artlangs need not literally strive for beauty.

Types of artlang

Personal - Language existing for its own sake, usually outside any literary or narrative context. These may serve as experiments with philosophical ideas or unusual linguistic traits, as stealthlangs for coded communication, and so forth.

Fictional diachronic - Part of a fictional language family, usually derived from a proto-lang and having various sister languages that contrast in various ways.

Alt-history - These exploit the possibilities of alternative timelines to show languages that could have evolved in different cultural circumstances.

Meta-conlang - Essentially a fictional conlang, a language considered artificial even within the conworld itself. Examples include the Black Speech in Middle Earth and to some extent Newspeak.


Quenya - Created by Tolkien as one of the languages of Middle Earth, it represents perhaps the first well-developed artlang.

Verdurian - Part of the Almea setting and one of the most developed conlangs on the internet.

See also