I think I mentioned my story various times in the past. There's nothing
particularly special about it, in fact, as many people have mentioned in
their stories already, it pretty much started in a fit of teenage arrogance
of the "if ... could do it, I can probably do it better" :).

In my case, it started during Latin classes when I was about 13 years old.
I really enjoyed Latin, whose structure was unlike any language I'd known
about until then (at that time, I'd only been exposed to French, English
and Spanish. The idea that you could change the ending of words to show
function in the sentence was completely novel to me, as was the idea that
the order of words wasn't set in stone). I loved reading through my Latin
grammar book (even the stuff we'd not studied in class yet) and I was quite
good at the exercises we got in class. The result was that I got bored
easily during Latin classes, as the stuff we were going through was all
stuff I already knew, and we were given far too much time to do the
exercises than what I needed. So I had a lot of free times on my hands.

One day, I somehow got wind that someone had created a language. Not sure
where I got that information. Might be on TV, might be something I'd read,
but basically I came to know about Esperanto. *About*, as apart from the
name of the language, its goal, and the fact that it had been invented by a
single person, I knew absolutely nothing about it. I just knew it existed.
While I was pondering that during one of my Latin classes, I suddenly
thought that if someone could create a language for international
communication, I could probably do it myself as well, and better at that.
Also, Latin was such a great language, it was obvious that I should base
that language on Latin grammar. However, clearly I couldn't keep the Latin
words as they were. First, Latin grammar was great but still full of
idiosyncrasies and irregularities (the fact that the declensions and the
genders didn't match definitely couldn't do in an IAL). Second, using Latin
words would give an undue advantage to speakers of Romance languages when
learning the language. So I needed to regularise Latin grammar, and replace
all the words with a priori creations, so that they would be equally easy
(or hard, whatever you want to call it) to learn for everyone!

And that's how I went out to create my first language, right there during
Latin class. The first draft was quickly replaced by a second draft, then a
third, then I started learning about different languages and take
inspiration from them, while I quickly left the pretence that my languages
were meant for international communication. I started conlanging for
conlanging's sake (although i didn't know that word at the time).

When I was 16, I started working on Moten, one of the languages I still
keep developing nowadays (25 years later!), but I've never stopped created
new languages (although they rarely move away from the draft stage.
Haotyétpi is the only recent exception, Narbonese is an older one. Maggel
is infamous on the list, but really it still only exists as a draft as I
keep getting back and to try and make it worse than it was :P).

When I was 22, back in 1998, I got on the Internet for the first time. I
first looked up Esperanto, and actually learned the language via a free
online course available at that time (still got that certificate somewhere
I'd expect), but after a while I started looking up information about other
invented languages, and discovered both the word "conlang", and the fact
that I was not the only one interested in creating languages! And finally,
via Sally Caves's Teonaht page, I discovered the Conlang Mailing List, and
the rest is history, in that it can be found in the archives of the list :P.

On 5 February 2018 at 02:57, Walter Sperat <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Hey everyone!
> Due to a recent thread on which several people listed their ages, and
> having recently watched Conlanging: The Art of crafting Tongues, I got
> curious about the individual stories of the people on this list, i.e. how
> did you get into conlanging?
> I'll go first: at about thirteen while writing a sci fi story, I needed a
> humanoid species of aliens to speak in a different language, so I thought
> "if Tolkien could do it, why can't I?"... The approach was very chaotic and
> erratic: I wrote the dialogues and made words up as I needed them. In terms
> of phonotactics it was basically my dialect of Spanish, (no distinction
> between s and z) though I distinguished /v/ and /b/ (we pronounce them both
> as β). I remember that I wanted to be a transgressor: the plural was marked
> by -j (with the Spanish pronunciation /x/). HA! TAKE THAT, TOLKIEN! The one
> thing I consider interesting about it nowadays is that it was SOV (I didn't
> know that languages could have otherword orders). It probably sounded more
> alien to my young ears.
> The language was called /vanex/... still not sure what that final /x/
> marked exactly.
> Several years later I found out that Klingon was a thing, and fell in love
> with Lojban (quickly fell out of love with it) then I found a youtube video
> of one of the Language Creation Conferences by Sai Emrys, in which he
> guided the audience through the creation of a strange-sounding language.
> Damn was that cool. That's what got me surfing the internet looking for
> stuff on conlanging... and then I found John Quijada's Ithkuil, my favorite
> language of all time; subsequently discovering David Peterson's Web Thing
> (which guided me to this list), and Trent Pehrson's Idrani webpage.
> And well, here we are.
> Hope to read some interesting stories.
> Respectfully,
> W.
> <
> utm_source=link&utm_campaign=sig-email&utm_content=webmail>
> Virus-free.
> <
> utm_source=link&utm_campaign=sig-email&utm_content=webmail>
> <#m_-860831421933294468_DAB4FAD8-2DD7-40BB-A1B8-4E2AA1F9FDF2>

Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
President of the Language Creation Society (

Personal Website:
Personal Tumblr: