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New Language Boom

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People learn languages all the time, and for all kinds of reasons. You're doing it now, and you probably have different reasons than your classmates for acquiring English. But how about creating an entirely new language from scratch?

There's been a boom in made-up languages, driven in part by exposure to the epic "Lord of the Rings," as well as other science fiction and fantasy fare. The trend has also been fueled as more and more people venture online. Websites, discussion boards, and chat rooms abound on building languages, sharing languages, or ones seeking collaborators. The fabrication of new languages is no longer restricted to Star Trek fanatics and Esperanto speakers.

To create a language takes time and tenacity. An invented language requires a lot more than simply replacing existing words with invented ones. There's rhythm and intonation to consider -- just how does the language sound when spoken? If invented for non-humans in a movie or book, how does physiology affect the language? Similarly, how does it represent the culture? Then there are grammar rules, too, such as masculine and feminine nouns or verbs, word order, or the use of irregular verbs. Even a relatively simple language can take years to develop and refine.

Yet invented languages don't have the sticking power of naturally evolved languages, such as English, French, or Japanese. The exception, perhaps, is Esperanto, which has roughly two million speakers. The language was created in the 19th century to give humanity an easily learned, common language for international use. As for the made-up languages invented nowadays, there are an infinite number of reasons behind their creation. Some do it as a hobby, others as a way to relax, and some just like the challenge.

Preview some of the lesson material:

Brainstorm: Brainstorm with a partner(s) words and ideas associated with "language" for 2 minutes. Spend another 5 minutes or less discussing the words and ideas together.

True or False? : Guess (before the article) or answer (after the article) whether the sentence is true or false. If false, correct the sentence.

  1. People learn languages for many different reasons.
  2. Only the Internet has raised people's interest in creating languages.
  3. It's relatively easy to create a new language.
  4. Esperanto has more than one million speakers worldwide.
  5. People create languages for many different reasons.

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. How many hours do your work per week?  Is this too much, too little, or just right? Why?
  2. How does your job affect your relationship with your significant other and/or children? Please explain.
  3. Would you take a 50% salary cut if it meant working only 25 hours per week?
  4. If parents work more and more, how will this affect future generations of children? Please explain.
  5. Could you do more for your company?  Should you do more? Why/not?

Google Search: Type "language" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.

Download the lesson:



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