Welcome to SPACE, our adult continuing education program which offers interactive monthly courses for personal enrichment! Learn more here.

Invented Languages Portal

Constructed and Fictional Languages in Science Fiction

The use of fictional languages in science fiction from the good to the bad. This includes fully constructed languages, references to constructed and foreign languages, as well as misuse or misunderstandings of language change. How these subtle points contribute to or detract from world building. This will expand on the work of Ria Cheyne through examples and delving deeper linguistically.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Designing an orthography for your language

Too many of today’s languages—natural or constructed—use the Roman writing system. While you listen to the shimmering notes of your con lang flow from your tongue or in your imagination, have you ever dreamed of a completely new way of writing? This course will guide you through factors to consider while designing a writing system for your created language by investigating real-life orthography development for living, unwritten languages.
Precepted by Eve Droma.

Klingon 1 First in the Series

ghojlu’meH QaQ jajvam! (“Today is a good day to learn!”) Klingons: the bumpy-headed warrior race from Star Trek that is obsessed with honor and glory. You’ve heard about people who learn to speak Klingon, and now you can join their ranks. This course will teach students how to read and speak the Warrior’s Tongue. Start with basic grammar and work up to complex sentences. Learn Klingon’s complex inventory of prefixes and suffixes. By the end of this course, you will be able to read and converse in basic Klingon. Qapla’! (“Success!”).

After Klingon 1, those students wishing to continue their Klingon experience can take Klingon 2, the final module in the Klingon series.
Precepted by David Trimboli.

Klingon 2 Continuing Series

So you've learned to speak basic Klingon. But, do you know the correct response when a Klingon tells you a secret? What does it mean if a Klingon says you're using a big scoop? Why do Klingons mix up their words when making toasts? How do you address your loved ones in private and in public? Why are some Klingons mispronouncing certain words? This course, which assumes you have completed Klingon 1, will teach you about the cultural nuances of the Klingon language, including its slang, idioms, dialects, argot, forms of address, familial terms, ritualized speech, measurements, and mathematics.
Precepted by David Trimboli.

Klingon Series Series

ghojlu’meH QaQ jajvam! (“Today is a good day to learn!”) Klingons: the bumpy-headed warrior race from Star Trek that is obsessed with honor and glory. You’ve heard about people who learn to speak Klingon, and now you can join their ranks. This course will teach students how to read and speak the Warrior’s Tongue. Start with basic grammar and work up to complex sentences. Learn Klingon’s complex inventory of prefixes and suffixes. By the end of this course, you will be able to read and converse in basic Klingon. Qapla’! (“Success!”).

After Klingon 1, those students wishing to continue their Klingon experience can take Klingon 2, the final module in the Klingon series.
Precepted by David Trimboli.

Natural or Synthetic?

As we all know, Tolkien drew heavily from Finnish for his languages. Learn more about the universal laws of grammar for natural languages in order to make your created language more appealing, vibrant, and convincing. In this course, we will explore basic facts about phonetics and phonology, general patterns about how natural languages do and do not encode meaning, the range of functions of parts of speech, and syntactical and morphophonemic nuances. We will examine the building blocks of languages which have actually been or are being spoken in everyday life in the primary world so you can enrich languages perhaps only ever expressed by your characters, only ever on the page.
Precepted by Eve Droma.

Ransom The Field Linguist? A Sociolinguist’s Reading

Have you ever read The Space Trilogy and been bothered at how terribly quickly and well Ransom picked up the heavenly languages? Let’s be bothered together! This module will look at each and every mention of philology in Lewis’s other worldly series and analyze what exactly Ransom would have needed to do in each learning situation, evaluate whether the language and culture learning was realistic, and along the way discuss how philology differs from field linguistics.
Precepted by Eve Droma.

Tolkien’s Invented Languages in The Lord of the Rings

In this puzzle-solving course we will work to piece together Tolkien’s invented languages based primarily on how they are used in The Lord of the Rings. Although much richer linguistic information became publicly available later, this course will look primarily at those aspects of the languages revealed through the main text and appendices of The Lord of the Rings.

Tolkien's Writing Systems

This module will study various writing systems invented or adapted by Tolkien. We will primarily look at the Tengwar and the Angerthas (Cirth) described in The Lord of the Rings but we will also touch on other systems such as the Hobbit runes and other runic variants as well as the Goblin Alphabet from Letters from Father Christmas. Along the way we will introduce some basic phonetics and place Tolkien’s inventions in the context of the writing systems of the primary world.

Weird Languages

Many people do not realize the variety of languages structures and strange language phenomena that exist in the worlds languages. This class will introduce a number of features that can be found across the globe. These include object agreement, verbs that necessarily encode the shape of items, ergativity, discourse particles, languages with 20 grammatical gender classes, pronoun hierarchies, circumfixes and infixes, and the complex systems of taboo words that arise in some languages. We will look a number of these, at what is rare, common, surprising, but all of which are real. Language families from Africa, the Caucasus, Siberia, Australia, and the Americas.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Workshop Your Constructed Language

If you are currently in the process of constructing a language, this module is for you. Bring all of your language data and together we will work to refine it, develop it, buff it, and expand it. We will look at what sounds you are currently using, how you are combining them, whether you want to incorporate more “exotic” sounds and how, etc. Then, we will dive into looking at ways to make your grammar more complex, natural, and unique. Finally, we will consider your language’s history. Your preceptor will share cool tools used for analyzing (this earth’s) understudied languages. At the end of this module, your language will have a richer life of its own and will sound and work even more extraordinarily with the life, energy, and uniqueness of any living, breathing language.
Precepted by Eve Droma.
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].