Constructed language

From ArticleWorld

A constructed language is one that has not developed through time as part of a culture but one that has been constructed usually for a specific purpose. They are designed for various purposes such as communication, experimentation, codes or for use in entertainment or literature. Perhaps the best known such language is Esperanto but constructed languages have existed since ancient times with varying successes.


The earlier constructed languages were mystical rather than constructed as such but they were artificial nonetheless. In the 12th century there was the Lingua Ignota, a private mystical cant as well as Dante’s quest for the ideal Italian suitable for literature. In the 17th century, Rosicrucians and Alchemists were interested in magical languages and musical language was of particular interest in the Renaissance. Also during this century, philosophical investigations required the use of a priori languages.

In the 19th century, there were thirty-eight projects involving international auxiliary languages but the most successful and enduring of these was Esperanto, which is used today and numbers up to two million speakers.


There are two types of constructed languages – a priori, where the grammar and vocabulary are imagined into being or created by an automatic computer programme; and a posteriori which is one where the grammar and vocabulary are adapted from natural languages. Most can then be further divided into three broad categories, though these are not mutually exclusive –

  1. Engineered languages which are created to experiment logically or philosophically;
  2. auxiliary languages which are created for the purpose of international communication;
  3. artistic languages which are created for the purpose of aesthetic pleasure. Among these is JRR Tolkien’s work as well as the languages used in the movies Star Wars and Star Trek.