Vulgar: A Fantasy Language Generator
The world of conlang, or constructed languages, can be a very fun way to learn about linguistics, and also a creative exercise on its own, or part of some kind of fantasy/science fiction project of some kind, where you can really invent your own language.
And doing so leads into so many different areas of linguistics.
You have to learn the basics of linguistics to understand how to make the language, and then seeing how the language, it doesn’t, it takes a lot to make a language actually feel like a real language.
And by trying this process, you really can learn about how real languages work as well.
Now here’s a fun tool that will create a random language for you.
Now you can modify it as much as you like, but you can also simply roll the dice and create your own language.
So let’s see what we can randomly generate.
This is called Vulgar Fantasy Language Generator.
Now the word vulgar can mean rude or crude, but also simply mean common.
It comes from the Latin word meaning common, or of the ordinary people.
And so this is the imaginary language of some imaginary people.
Well, let’s click the button and create a language.
So you can use all kinds of customization options here to actually push your language in a certain direction.
If you want a certain style, for example if you want it to sound like one of these existing languages, then you can enter one of these languages.
It’ll make the sounds that sort of approximate that language.
And same with the grammar here.
You can set some options about how you want your language to be set up, if you have any preferences, word order, noun genders, things like that.
But let’s just go for pure random.
So here we go.
It’s as simple as clicking the button to roll the dice.
OK, so now we have Tarteygo.
Tartegoian is the language.
Now, here it explains this is in the spelling system of this language, and then here we have it in the IPA.
So when you see the slashes: IPA, International Phonetic Alphabet.
So this is the alphabet that if you learn it, you can learn how to pronounce sounds in any language of the world, and even languages that do not exist.
So in the IPA, every sound will match, every letter will match the sound exactly, so you always know how to pronounce.
There’s never any silent letters, or letters that are pronounced differently.
You simply pronounce the letters as they’re written.
So this in the IPA would be Tarteygo.
Or in fact, here I see this marks the stress, so it’s TarteyGO.
Welcome to the language of Tarteygo.
Now here we have an example sentence.
So here we take this English sentence and then translate.
This is the spelling of this imaginary language, and the next line gives the pronunciation, seeing the slashes, in IPA.
And then we have the word order.
So this is sort of the literal word by word translation: “and he his hat holding stood” instead of “and he stood holding his hat”.
So now this would be pronounced [speaking Tarteygo].
I’m still a learner.
I still don’t have perfect pronunciation.
But you can see with IPA, you can know how to pronounce all these sounds, even if it can still be challenging to actually say them, and certainly not quite sounding fluent.
But that’s all there is to it.
Now here we have the translator, where you can- now here, this is in the free version, it’s a fairly limited dictionary.
It’s much bigger in the paid version.
It costs $15 or $20 dollars to get the full version.
But here we can say like “the dog chases the cat”, and we translate that, and it is of course [speaking Tarteygo].
And that’s how you can see it written in word-by-word translation so the, you know, DEF, the definite determiner, DEF:DET.
So glig is the, and then tmepen is dog.
And explaining this is nominative singular, so dog as the subject of the sentence, and so on.
The cat: so it’s “the dog the cat chase”, present.
So there we have that.
And here’s some options of different types of words you can add.
You can change words with affixes, for example you can make verbs like future or past.
You can have the different pronouns.
And this is always useful if you’re using this for some kind of creative project: you can create names, so character or place names.
So let’s say the hero of this story will be named: Brow.
And and the companion of this hero will be named: Kengig.
And the antagonist of the story, the villain, will be named: Mwakaŕ.
And this is taking place in the city of: Byigŕe.
OK, so next you have the spelling and phonology.
So this is about the sounds, but they also include the writing system.
Convenient to put them together, although of course they’re totally separate.
Writing system is always completely separate from the language itself, and you could use different writing systems to write the same language.
So here we get the inventory of consonants.
And this is a good way to practice IPA, because you can see this is just like a selected version of what you would see in the full IPA chart, International Phonetic Alphabet.
So we have a lot of these common sounds.
Yeah, nothing too unusual.
It’s a fairly simple consonant inventory.
These are all essentially sounds that are found in English, although we don’t have the tap as a phoneme – this is a /ɹ/ – but we still see it appear.
So a bit of you can think of this as maybe a slightly different r, whereas this is the /r/, trilled r.
But otherwise, it’s a very simple inventory.
Surprising to see no s.
We have only /ʃ/ and /h/.
So very limited fricatives here.
But yeah, a very simple inventory.
Vowels, your standard- well, I was about to say your standard five-vowel set, but it’s missing /u/, so surprisingly there’s only one back vowel, /o/.
/i/, /e/, /a/, and /o/, so /o/ representing all the back vowels.
A bit unusual there.
Oh, of course, /w/ there.
OK, so next we have the syllable structure.
So this suggests what are the possible syllables that can be created.
And here this site gives you a lot of good background.
This is good if you’re studying linguistics, that, you know, for each of these sections, you can learn more background about the technical aspects here.
So we have the largest possible syllable is CCVC, so that would be like something like ‘span’ or something.
So fairly simple syllable structures.
And the stress is on the last syllable.
This would be like in French.
And here we have, well, spelling.
Well, this seems a lot like English, where this is the /ʃ/ sound, and they also write it with sh.
That seems a bit close to English.
And then this letter is written r with a little accent on it.
So that’s their way of saying it’s like a special kind of r.
Now what do we have here for the grammar?
So here are some of the main variables that languages can have different answers to.
So for one thing, we have the subject object verb.
So this is SOV language.
“Mary opened the door” would become “Mary the door opened”.
So that’s a very common word order.
Adjective before the noun.
So “the sunny day” instead of “the day sunny”.
And postpositions, meaning instead of saying, you know, “to the house”, you would say “the house to”.
Different cases or versions of nouns.
These are a standard set.
Here we see example of, for the dog, you know, tmepen, but when it’s the object, like “I see a dog”, it would be tmepena.
“The dog’s tail”: tmepeninbo.
And then “to the dog” would be tmepenerke.
I mean, there’s always a point where you start to think that, you know, this looks like a bunch of random nonsense, which, you know, it kind of is.
This is a randomly generated language.
It’s very silly.
You may have already reached that point long ago.
But, you know, this is- you never know what is going to be randomly generated here.
Now here we have the plural.
Oh, so we actually have this sort of reduplication in the plural.
So the singular is tmepen and the plural is tmetmepen.
The glig and dŕap: I mean, that’s looking a little bit random.
Here are some random rules.
Here we have the set of pronouns for your language.
So you have osh is I, you know, and ret is you.
Mine: kih, and so on.
A full set, all randomly generated for your enjoyment.
Different tenses of the verb.
So “I learn” is dlo.
“I learned yesterday” is dloop.
And future is dlog.
And we have “I have learned” is dloap.
Finally, we can count.
Oh, and of course base-20 numbering system.
So that’s another one of the popular numbering systems.
We of course are used to base 10, but since people have 10 fingers and 10 toes, it’s not unreasonable that many languages have a 20-based system.
And you can still see some remnants of this in English with something like a score meaning 20, and you see it in French with with 80 being quatre-vingt, 4-20, and so on.
So here we count no, shpe, klet, hek, ta, shwi, kolko, e, mo, koy.
Looking a little random there.
We have these different types of words that you can add.
Derivational morphology means pieces that you add to words to create other words.
It’s just like you say quick and quickly.
You can have like here they have et in order to make that adverb.
And so on.
Then you get to a dictionary, and this is the miniature dictionary of only a few words, and then the you get many more times, you know, in the paid version.
You can get a full dictionary.
You can also edit your dictionary.
Here’s all your words created for you.
And that’s the idea.
So this is a- it’s a fun tool to use to see what’s possible in different languages.
And you also see the limits of where real languages have so much more richness than a randomly generated language can have.
There’s so many little details that really make a language living.
That’s why it’s not easy to create an artificial language, a constructed language, that really has a natural language feel, because there’s so much depth, there’s so much nuance and detail that goes into a real language, through the thousands, millions of speakers over generations speaking that language that develop the full richness of the language.
And this is just rolling the dice, applying some statistics, and making a random language.
But as a tool, it’s certainly something that can be a lot of fun and also lead to some interesting insights about how languages work.