I lurk, mostly, but I figured I'd share my story as well.

My first real exposure to conlangs was through Tolkien's work. I saw the
first two movies (the third hadn't come out yet) and was immediately
obsessed and wanted to read/watch everything about Tolkien that I could get
my hands on. I watched every documentary I could find on the making of the
movies, which included some lengthy segments on the languages, and devoured
the information in the Appendices on the languages as well. (I was a little
young to have figured out the "just google it" thing, so I never found the
online communities for Tolkien until much later, unfortunately.)

I've always been a writer and a conworlder, so I decided I was going to
create my own epic fantasy world, just like Tolkien had. And obviously, if
you were going to create an epic fantasy world, you needed languages to go
in it! So I started inventing my own "Elvish" language. I was 11 at the
time. I'm sad to say that somewhere in the multiple moves I've made since
then, I lost that original sheet which had my first words written down...
I've looked for it more than once and haven't been able to find it. I can
still picture it, though! I'm still a little proud of my previous self for
deciding that "goblin" was going to be an Elvish compound composed of
"gob-" and "-lin" (which I believe meant "evil" and "warrior"
respectively). I still think that was pretty clever of 11-year-old me, who
had no linguistics knowledge at all. (I knew a little Spanish, but that was

I never really did much with this language, and over time, the world it was
set in changed dramatically. (it went from a very boring "epic fantasy"
world to an urban fantasy world set in modern times, for one) Then, in high
school, I took Spanish classes and became fascinated by how languages
worked. I was learning all these new terms like "past perfect" and
"imperative" and realized that you could analyze English in a lot of the
same ways too. And it got me interested in inventing my own language again,
where I could use these building blocks to build up an entirely new
language that wouldn't quite be like either English *or* Spanish. I found
zompist's Language Creation Kit and used its advice, but still didn't know
a lot about language, so it was quite relexy. This language used some of
the same vocabulary from the original version, and I called it "Tirina", a
name it still goes by today.

Eventually I hit college, where I took my first actual linguistics classes.
And that set me off on conlanging all over again, with a complete overhaul
of Tirina to something that actually resembles its modern form. In the six
years since then, Tirina's continued to evolve, and I intend to keep on
evolving it into the future. But all these years later, <len> still means

*tl;dr: *Tolkien in middle school, Spanish class in high school, and
linguistics courses in college. Put it in a blender and you get conlangs.

On Mon, Feb 5, 2018 at 11:02 AM Jörg Rhiemeier <[log in to unmask]>

> Hallo conlangers!
> On 05/02/2018 02:57, Walter Sperat 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 have always been fascinated by systems in which small things combine
> into something bigger: LEGO, letters, numbers, chemical formulas - that
> sort of stuff. And when I was ten years old (that was in 1980), my older
> brother started learning Latin in school, and the curious kid I was, I
> leafed through his Latin grammar and saw all those wonderful
> inflectional paradigms. That was the spark which lighted the "conlanging
> fire" in me!
> My first conlang was an attempt at an IAL, which never flew far (see
> Later, I made conlangs for some
> fictional worlds I created, especially after encountering Quenya and
> Sindarin in Tolkien's writings. After all, foreigners speak foreign
> languages, so why shouldn't fictional nations speak fictional languages?
> Little survives of these conlangs, and they worked basically just like
> German (my L1) and Latin.
> But what really got the ball rolling was an oddball Tolkien fan fiction
> story featuring Elves in the world of today
> ( I wondered, what kind of
> language would those Elves speak? That was early in the year 2000. I
> decided to build that language myself! Obviously, it would be a
> descendant of Sindarin, hence I began to peruse Internet sources on
> Tolkien's languages, and also found the late, lamented Langmaker conlang
> database and the CONLANG list which I joined. And so "Nur-ellen" began
> to take shape. The old-timers on this list perhaps still remember it.
> But I got carried away. The Elves began to mutate, from Tolkienian Elves
> to a human ethnic group who share some cultural traits with Tolkien's
> people, and whom I imagined to be the grain of truth in Germanic and
> Celtic traditions of Elves, as well as the Greek tales of Hyperborea,
> the Phaeacians and Atlantis. Nur-ellen was briefly considered for
> inclusion in Ill Bethisad at this point, but it was soon revised out of
> it again because I had disagreements with some other members about the
> direction of the project.
> Then, I took a brief detour, as Andrew Smith's Brithenig (Latin with
> Welsh sound changes) and Geoff Eddy's Breathanach (Latin with Irish
> sound changes) inspired me to build a Latin with German sound changes,
> originally also intended for Ill Bethisad: Germanech. This was done
> quite quickly and gave me a language ready to use in translation relays
> and such. After my departure from Ill Bethisad, Germanech ceased to be a
> part of it, and soon after, I pretty much abandoned it (after changing
> the name to "Roman Germanech":
> But Germanech had taught me how to properly work diachronically. I
> realized that Nur-ellen was in this sense done not very well. Also,
> after my Elves had ceased to have to do anything with Tolkien's, I
> decided it was time to sever the link to Tolkien's languages. So I
> scrapped Nur-ellen and started from scratch.
> At this point, the conlanging interest spawned a second linguistic hobby
> in me: historical linguistics. And I found that two former Soviet
> scholars, Tamaz Gamkrelidze and Vyacheslav Ivanov, had written a book in
> which they proposed some novel ideas about Proto-Indo-European:
> _Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans_. And a library in the city where
> I live carried it! So I checked it out, and found an interesting idea
> therein: PIE may once have been an active-stative language, like what I
> had in mind for my Elven languages. I decided that the Elven languages
> were related to IE, branching off at that early stage.
> So the Albic project ( was born. Today,
> the classical language of the old Elven civilization, Old Albic, has
> grown a lot, I can already compose texts in it, though I am still far
> from being fluent, and the vocabulary needs being laid down in an
> ordered dictionary. At the same time, I am working on Old Albic's
> ancestor, Proto-Albic, and that one's ancestor, Proto-Hesperic, which is
> a sister of PIE.
> And right now, yet another lost language family of Europe is beginning
> to take shape: Tommian, to which the Razaric languages belong. Tommian
> will be related to Kartvelian in a similar way as Hesperic is to IE, and
> Razaric is the language of a people who are to Dwarves what the Albic
> speakers are to Elves.
> --
> ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
> "Bêsel asa Éam, a Éam atha cvanthal a cvanth atha Éamal." - SiM 1:1