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  • Seminar
  • Online: Zoom
  • Adult (18+)

How to Invent a Language

No Longer Enrolling

  • $85.00 Non-Member
  • $75.00 Member

Class Description

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.

Class Format

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!

Scholarship Information

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.

Scholarships Format/Location

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 detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

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!

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!