Sally Caves

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Sally Caves is the pen name of Sarah Higley, a conlanger from the University of Rochester and creator of Teonaht.

During Caves' Boomer childhood, she made up a race of fictional winged cats named the Teonim, inspired by her first kitten. The Teonim eventually became human, but to this day have feline deities. In 1962, as a small child, Caves first started creating words and grammar rules for the Teonaht language, and has stuck with it her whole life.

When awarding Caves the 2007 Smiley Award for Teonaht, David J. Peterson praised Caves for her perseverance, writing:

Before you launch yourself off the top of a skyscraper, consider Sally. Early Teonaht could easily have been written off as a phase, and no one would have thought twice about it. In fact, Sally herself could have written off Teonaht each time her knowledge of language expanded, as I did with my first language, but she didn't. Teonaht not only survived, it flourished. And consider that Sally grew up well before the days of the internet. Someone like me (and anyone from here on out) will never know what it's like to be a language creator in a bubble. With no support—no cheering section, no co-conspirators—it would have been absurdly easy and understandable if Sally had abandoned Teonaht at pretty much any point in time in her life. But she didn't. Not college, not grad. school, not a career, nothing kept Sally from living her life with Teonaht. In my eyes, it's nothing short of inspiring.

Caves has also written for Star Trek, wherefor she created the character of Reginald Barclay.

This article is one of many about Conlangers.

Notable modern conlangers: David J. Peterson * Marc Okrand * Mark Rosenfelder * Sally Caves
Historically significant conlangers: Hildegard von Bingen * J. R. R. Tolkien * L. L. Zamenhof
General Conlangers: Bjorn Bakker * Danny Wier * "Millsaic"