Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

Ask-A-Linguist Message Details

Subject: Are artificial languages considered real languages?
Question: Can artificial languages (from Esperanto, to Loglan, to Klingon) be
considered real languages in the field of linguistics? What are the
characteristics that would make them ''real'' or ''fake'' languages based
on how linguists define language?

I have read some of the previous questions and answers about
artificial languages but I have not really found anything that
specifically answers this question. One characteristic mentioned in
the case of Esperanto was the fact that some Esperanto speakers are
native speakers. Some linguists seemed to agree that having native
speakers made Esperanto a natural language while others did not
think so. I would greatly appreciate any input. Thank you very much.

Reply: Just to add to what Professor Sampson has said...

There are many ways of defining 'a language' and 'natural language'. If there are native speakers, it is definitely a language -- and a natural one too, however it orginated. There are a number of circumstances why there might not be native speakers, but this would not lead one to want to say it's not a language.

What is interesting is indeed to compare established natural languages with invented ones, and also to look at what happens to invented ones when they start being used in social settings.


Reply From: Anthea Fraser Gupta      click here to access email
Date: 02-Dec-2012
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Are artificial languages considered real languages?    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (30-Nov-2012)

Back to Most Recent Questions