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Saturday, December 9 @ 10:00 am EST - 12:30 pm EST

1 meeting
  • Fall 2023
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  • Hybrid
Room: Classroom 1


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World-Building Through Language Creation

Whether your characters are deciphering long-buried runes or contacting alien minds, how you present fictional languages can provide depth and complexity to your stories and worlds.  In this Research for Writers seminar, we will explore the theory and practice of creating realistic languages to help enrich characters and cultures in fictional settings.  Beginning with J.R.R. Tolkien, we will see how his expertise in historical linguistics informed the development of languages for elves, dwarves, hobbits and Ents.  From there we will trace the history of invented languages in both fantasy and science fiction—from Jawas to the Na’vi, from Klingon and Vulcan to Dothraki and Valyrian.  We will examine how languages are designed and constructed, and how languages can be both realistic in function and yet unlike anything spoken today.  We will conclude by considering how languages in contact will absorb and transform words from each other, and how these processes can be used to more deeply inform the histories and cultures of your fictional worlds.  

Please note: This class or event is hybrid. Some attendees will be in-person and some will attend online. Currently, you do not have to show proof of vaccination to attend events or visit our center. Please read all our re-opening guidelines and important information before you visit, and be aware that there may be a limited number of seats available. If you are participating online (using Zoom or a similar live platform), students or attendees should have a stable internet connection. Class participants: you should have a computer or device with a webcam and microphone; and your Zoom link will be automatically sent to you after you register. Check your spam box if you don't see it.

Teacher: John Aguiar

Prerequisite: Open to writers of all levels of experience