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This page collects quotes on subjects related to conlanging. It is not intended as a general list of quotes on all subjects to serve as translation exercises, like CALS' list (though of course nothing's wrong with using it thus!).

[W]hen I visit some old city, I'm always starting with looking on the map and trying to guess, which streets follow former city walls, a river, a ditch or a railway.

For instance, in Old Riga there is a trading center with a passage inside. This passage used to be a street - some house facades are preserved, though the walls are mostly replaced with showcases. The street itself used to be a river branch, and the whole trading center (well, half of it) stands on the place where the original fishermen settlement used to be. [...]

I find that there is a good similarity between cities and languages. Saying something in a human language is like telling a way: "First go by the Smith street, then turn right to the Butcher lane, and when You reach the Gatebrigde square You'll find a bookstore in the building of the former city jail". There are neither smiths, nor butchers in the old city any more, nor can You find either gate or bridge on the Gatebrige square. But heading just north and then east is not an option. This is the shortest path because the landscape was like that in the past, and because the houses still follow its aready nonexistent shape up to now.

That is how I love to see any piece of art, no matter whether it is a building, a story or a conlang ^)

The man next to me said suddenly in a dreamy voice: 'Yes, I think I shall express the accusative case by a prefix!' A memorable remark!

...Just consider the splendour of the words! 'I shall express the accusative case.' Magnificent! Not 'it is expressed', nor even the more shambling 'it is sometimes expressed', nor the grim 'you must learn how it is expressed'. What a pondering of alternatives within one's choice before the final decision in favour of the daring and unusual prefix, so personal, so attractive; the final solution of some element in a design that had hitherto proved refractory. Here were no base considerations of the 'practical', the easiest for the 'modern mind', or for the million - only a question of taste, a satisfaction of a personal pleasure, a private sense of fitness.

And yet Tolkien's omission from scholarly studies of language experiment reveals a persistent attitude that regards Quenya as being without linguistic or academic capital because of its overexposure by fandom and its underdevelopment of insanity.

  • Sarah Higley (Sally Caves), Hildegard of Bingen's Unknown Language

"Only a conlanger could say: I speak [conlang] badly, but no one else on Earth can speak [conlang] better than I." Chrysaor Jordan, on this very page at Frathwiki

External links

Essentialist explanations: a long list of "Language X is essentially language Y under conditions Z"