----- Original Message -----
From: "Ray Brown" <[log in to unmask]>

> On Friday, April 1, 2005, at 07:58 , David J. Peterson wrote:
>> Ray wrote:
>> <<
>> Yes, certainly - in Dante's 'Divine Comedy' there is a fragment of a
>> diabolic language.
>> >>
>> Hey, I'm reading that.  I'm up to Canto 29 of Purgatory.  Where
>> is this language?  Did I miss it?
> Inferno -
> Canto VII, line 1: Pap Satn, pap Satn aleppe!
> Canto XXXI, line 67: Raphl may amch zab alm!
> (Note:  = a-grave;  = e-grave;  = i-grave)

And few can decipher these utterances.  Some say that pape and aleppe are
distorted Greek--papai, "ye gods"; I'm less certain about aleppe; and other
commentators have suggested that Nimrod's remarks are a terribly distorted
(or fake) Hebrew.  But distorted or "pretend" Hebrew is legion throughout
the middle ages and in Apocrypha and pseudepigrapha, and makes its way into
incantations, conjurations, Christian Cabala,  and so forth.

Also, look  to Rabelais's Gargantua and Pantegruel for extended passages of
made up languge.  There is also the comic gibberish in Shakespeare's "All's
Well That Ends Well," Act IV, scene I.  Referred to as "chough's language,"
and used to fool the pompous Parolles.  So while these examples don't answer
Mark's original query in the terms that he set it out, invented language is
all over the place and has ancient origins.  My special project: Hildegard?
Not a fiction, though.  No fictional setting.  But over a thousand invented

> =========================================
> On Friday, April 1, 2005, at 10:14 , Thomas Wier wrote:
>> From:    Mark Jones <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Anyway, I'm far from an expert, and I'd like to know what the first
>>> constructed language for media use might've been. I'm not talking here
>>> about
>>> Esperanto or Volapuek etc., but a fictional languages for use in
>>> fiction.
>> I think it's fair to say that conlanging as a fictional enterprise
>> is something new in the 20th century.
> That is not how I understand Umberto Eco's accounts of Gabriel de Foigny's
> "La Terre ausrale connue" or Denis Vairasse's "L'Histoire des Sevarambes".

Agree with Ray.  It depends on what you call "fiction" and whether you limit
it only to the last two centuries.  If Dante isn't fiction, then you can't
say that his distorted or fallen language of the Inferno is a "fictional
language."  Nor can you say the same thing about John Dee and his "angelic
language" (provided by Edward Kelley, I believe, and incorrectly referred to
as "Enochian"), nor can you say that the Helene Smith's "Martian" is
fictional because it was "made up" in a mediumistic trance.  But it has all
the earmarks of something fictional and recognizable to us, though
primitive--it is a calque of French, but it has a conworld, it has a
messenger between us and that world, there are drawings made and an
alphabet... what's the difference between inspiration and imagination, or
vision and creativity?  Some of what I used to come up with in Teonaht was
fairly visionary and automatic when I was young.  It has since become very

>> Conlanging in some form goes
>> way back. I believe I posted some years ago about my discovery
>> that the brother of one of the Hellenistic Successors (_diadokhoi_)
> Even earlier, there is a fragment of made-up language in one of
> Aristophane's comedies (I must look it out).

The Birds.  Lots of utterances imitative of birdsong.  The Frogs: the famous
Brek kek kek kek koax koax.

>> ...........Jesse brought up the potentially earlier example of
>> _Gulliver's Travels_, and IIRC Thomas More's _Utopia_ might contain
>> some similarly poorly developed constructed language materials (if
>> only lexemes).  But all of these were to the best of my knowledge very
>> cursory, and don't represent fictional languages in the sense of
> I don't know enough about More & Utopia to comment,

The preface provided in the 1516 edition has a quatrain of Utopian with a
Latin translation and some angular looking characters.  I have examined it.
It's a perfect calque of the Latin translation, so it's clear More wrote out
the Latin first and he (or someone else, perhaps Giles) adapted the language
and the alphabet to it.

> but certainly in the
> case of Gulliver's travels, the fragments from Dante & the Aristophanes
> line, I agree these don't represent fully developed fictional languages.
> But Foigny certainly got beyond that; he did provide a sort of dictionary
> and some grammatical rules at least.

In A New Discovery of Terra Incognita Australis.  There are lots of other
Voyage Accounts with examples of invented languages.  But for any invention
that seems to have some kind of system to it, even if extremely paltry,
More's Utopia should at least be mentioned.