How to Invent a Language
Have you ever wanted to invent your own language for a work of speculative fiction? Maybe you’ve dreamt of writing multiple language systems, in the vein of linguist J.R.R. Tolkien, or maybe you’ve thought about creating just enough language to serve the story. Maybe you’ve wondered how to give characters in a futuristic world a distinct, but not-too-distracting dialect, or a unique form of slang. Maybe you’re adapting real-world languages into a fantastical context. Maybe you’re fascinated by names, by naming conventions and traditions.
This class is for speculative fiction writers invested in language as a cornerstone of world-building, who want to focus on the linguistic systems that exist in their writing. We’ll explore invented languages and play with creating baseline rules for our own. We’ll explore concepts from linguistic anthropology, adapting those concepts as we play with invented slang, dialect, and naming systems. Writers can expect to leave class with lots of world-building material and some quick, generative story drafts centered on language.
This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. About 15 minutes before your class is scheduled to begin, you'll receive an email from your instructor with a link to join the class meeting!
Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.
For more more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.
- Craft Lessons
- In-Class Writing
- In-Class Reading
- Class Discussion
- Concept Development
- Short Fiction