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blog How to Choose Sounds for a Fantasy Language

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Featured Author, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. Featured Author

    Featured Author Scribe

    Black Dragon submitted a new blog post:

    How to Choose Sounds for a Fantasy Language
    This article is by Arianna Lemont.


    Languages like Tolkien’s Sindarin can lend life, consistency, and credibility to your fantasy worlds, but for the writer with no experience in it, language construction can be a daunting task. However, if you start with small steps the trek up the language mountain becomes much easier.

    The most basic building block of language is sound. The sounds you choose for your language will determine everything you do next and what the language will both sound and feel like.

    There are three important things to remember here. First, you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) use all the sounds that are in English. Sometimes cutting sounds can set apart your language more than adding sounds. Second, there are sounds in other languages that don’t exist in English; just because English doesn’t often use them doesn’t mean you can’t choose them for your fantasy language. Third, English letters often represent more than one sound. Don’t think in terms of letters or symbols, but in terms of sound. This includes considering sounds made with multiple letters, such as “sh.”

    Starting a Language

    When I would start a language as a beginner, I would make a list of sounds using English or Greek letters to represent them. (This is to simplify things if you do not have the IPA symbols memorized.) Keep in mind that the letter to sound ratio is not one to one,...
    Continue reading the Original Blog Post.
  2. blondie.k

    blondie.k Minstrel

    This was really helpful. Thanks so much! In my story, there is a language that is called Cyromnean. Right now, it's just a written language but there have been times when I thought about making it a spoken one as well.

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