Book #83: Advanced Language Construction (2012)

ALC-CoverAuthor: Mark Rosenfelder
Language: English, plus example sentences from a whole slew of languages, real and fictional
Length: 267 pages
Read on: 29 March 2015

The audience for conlanging books is pretty niche, so I’m not going to recommend this to the general populace, but I would recommend it to its intended audience. This is the sequel to the Language Construction Kit, by the same author. I believe I’ve already reviewed that on here if anyone’s interested.

I actually got this and read the entire thing in a single day – it took about eight or nine hours and I felt tired afterwards, but I did it all the same. Mark’s writing style is fairly compelling, and easy to read. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the guest chapter focusing on Northwest Caucasian languages – this was full of examples, but wasn’t coherently linked together or explained very well, and I ended up skimming most of it.

Other than that, though, the book contains plenty of examples from such a wide variety of languages that it would be difficult to list them all here. Mark’s own invented languages, including Verdurian, are of course included, as they were in the first Language Construction Kit, and many of the examples come from languages that I haven’t even heard of.

Actually, scratch my first paragraph, I think even if you’re not interested in conlanging, but are interested in linguistics, this makes a great linguistic primer. Like the Conlangery podcast (also recommended, by the way!), the things it talks about have a broader audience than simply those conlangers who want to make their work more realistic, even if it’s written from that perspective.

For a seasoned linguist-slash-conlanger like myself, it’s still nothing strictly new, but it would contain a lot of new information for someone less experienced than me. What it excels in for me is the examples from such a wide variety of sources.

Apart from the guest chapter, most of the complaints I have are very minor and mostly to do with typesetting, especially of the Japanese, which is a bit dodgy, but Mark also has a habit of typesetting dashes weirdly and other such minor nonsense. In this case I’d say my complaining about that in particular is a sign that there aren’t many real complaints to be made.

Anyway, it’s definitely worth the few quid I spent on it, and I hope I get a chance to use it as a reference book at some point.

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2 Responses to Book #83: Advanced Language Construction (2012)

  1. Pingback: Book #83: Advanced Language Construction (2012) | oogenhand

  2. Pingback: Book #113: The Art of Language Invention (2015) | reuoq

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