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Types of conlangs
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A priori, a posteriori, and more
This public article was written by [Deactivated User], and last updated on 25 Aug 2017, 02:51.

[comments] [history] Menu 1. A priori vs a posteriori 2. Artistic, engineered, auxiliary, and logical langs 3. Other language types Welcome! You're probably here because you're adding a new language and aren't sure what "conlang type" it is. These aren't terms you really run into outside of conlanging, so don't sweat it, and read on.

[top]A priori vs a posteriori

Technically speaking, all of the other listed types can fall under either of these two (or "mixed") depending on how they are developed.

A priori langs are created with little to no input from natural languages. They might be inspired by general trends found in a certain language; for instance, you might want it to sound a bit like Turkish, and might borrow some grammatical features from German. However, in general, the vast majority of the lexicon, including grammatical endings and the like, are not based on actual words or endings from real languages.

A posteriori languages are based heavily on natural languages; in fact, they are often supposed to be directly related. For example, there are a number of "romlangs," or conlangs that are supposed to exist as part of the Romance language family, and are descended from Latin. Conlangers often use trends noted by historical linguistics to realistically derive daughter languages from real languages.

Of course, many conlangs mix these styles together.

If your conlang fits into a priori or a posteriori and another type below, choose the latter type. If it has some features of multiple types, select 'mixed.'

[top]Artistic, engineered, auxiliary, and logical langs

Artlangs are any languages made mainly for artistic reasons. Some artlangs value aesthetics above functionality or linguistic credibility, while others are heavily researched and very naturalistic.

Englangs or engineered languages are often unnaturalistic, with goals favouring aesthetics, simplicity, high information-to-sound ratio, etc. Similar are loglangs, which are created to be highly logical, and often are philosophical or psycholinguistic explorations of the possibilities for language and comprehension.

International auxiliary languages (IALs) or auxlangs are made with the specific goal to be used in real life as a real-world Lingua Franca, or as a language for international relations, without having to show favouratism or bias towards an already-existing natlang. Esperanto is an example of this. Auxlangs are often a posteriori, but not necessarily.

[top]Other language types

A signed conlang is simply any conlang which is signed, meaning the main form of communication is visual-manual instead of auditory-vocal. Signed conlangs can technically also be any of the other types listed here. Signed conlangs have a slight "advantage" on CWS - "unused" languages (criteria includes 0 words in the lexicon) are pruned after a certain amount of time, but SLs are exempt from this, since the CWS dictionary tool is not optimal for SL input.

Proto-conlangs are ancestors to other conlangs. They may be created before their daughters, or afterwards. These are generally, but not always, a priori.

Pidgins are also known as "trade languages." They are "incomplete languages" according to most linguistic standards. Pidgins historically formed when two (or more) language communities met and engaged in enough trade that some communication was necessary, but neither group extensively learned the other's language; instead parts of both languages would be used together. When children grow up hearing a pidgin, and become first language speakers, it becomes a Creole language, which is a full-fledged language in its own right. Often pidgins and creoles use the lexicon from one language and the syntax from another (although usually not 100%).

Joke languages are created just for laughs. If half the vocabulary is rude words in English, or pop culture references, or inside jokes, or if it's intentionally outright unpronounceable and incomprehensible, this is the appropriate category.

Mixed is for any language that is multiple of the above (except a priori or a posteriori with one other category -- just choose the second category).

Other is, of course, for languages that don't quite fit any of the above.

Other types may be added if they are requested.

[link] [quote] [move] [edit] [del] 28-Sep-23 17:23 [Deactivated User]
@Deanideani isn't that just an A Priori or A Posteriori? Assuming "based off" either means directly evolved from or influenced from a natural language reconstruction, it can just fit into those two categories as opposed to needing its own category.
[link] [quote] [move] [edit] [del] 16-Mar-23 15:15 [Deactivated User]
What if there is a type of conlang based of reconstructions of natlangs?
[link] [quote] [move] [edit] [del] 14-Aug-20 03:10 [Deactivated User]
Please note that nobody is informed when people leave questions on system articles. If you need help, use the forums.
[link] [quote] [move] [edit] [del] 08-May-18 01:51 [Deactivated User]
@SasQ i had the same question
[link] [quote] [move] [edit] [del] 31-Jan-18 19:05 [Deactivated User]
How about a fanlang, a conlang based on an existing work - such as fleshing out the Dovah language from Skyrim or creating dialects of Na'vi, etcetera?
[link] [quote] 19-Dec-17 00:58 [Deactivated User]
@Ryan Gold - How can something be 'just' an auxiliary language? IALs are, by definition, intended to be used a Lingua Franca. If yours is not meant to be a Lingua Franca then it should be in one of the other categories. E.g. if your language is a mix of other langs, or draws inspiration from a number of real-life languages, it could just be a posteriori, or possibly a pidgin/creole. If nothing really fits, perhaps just use 'other'.
[link] [quote] [move] [edit] [del] 18-Dec-17 23:58 [Deactivated User]
What about something that is just an auxiliary language, with out aiming to be a lingua franca?
[link] [quote] 25-Aug-17 02:53 [Deactivated User]
Sent you a PM @SasQ
[link] [quote] [move] [edit] [del] 25-Aug-17 02:45 [Deactivated User]
How about languages created for fictional worlds? Or futuristic languages?
[link] [quote] 16-Jan-17 18:16 [Deactivated User]
[link] [quote] 16-Jan-17 18:15 [Deactivated User]
A personal contango option should be added.
Edit history
on 25/08/17 02:51+34[Deactivated User]small fix
on 06/03/16 07:02+13[Deactivated User]made it longer
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