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New Language Boom

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People learn languages all the time, and for all kinds of reasons. For example, you probably have different reasons to study English than your classmates. But have you ever thought about creating an entirely new language from scratch?

There's been a boom in made-up languages recently, driven by the epic "Lord of the Rings" and other fantasy movies and books. The trend has also been fueled as more and more people venture online. There are websites, discussion boards, and chat rooms that teach how to build a language, others that share new languages, and some that seek collaborators. Made-up languages aren't restricted to Star Trek fans and Esperanto speakers.

It takes time and determination to create a new language. A creator needs to do more than substitute existing words with invented ones. There's rhythm and intonation to consider--how does the language sound when spoken? If it's invented for non-humans in a movie or book, how does biology change the sound? How does it represent the culture of the people who speak it? Then there are grammar rules, such as masculine and feminine nouns or verbs, word order, or the use of irregular verbs. Even a simple language can take years to develop.

Yet the new languages don't have the same sticking power as real languages like English, French, or Japanese. Only Esperanto is the exception, because it has about two million speakers. It was created in the 19th century to give humanity an easily learned language for international use. As for the made-up languages of today, there are an infinite number of reasons behind their creation. Some people do it as a hobby, others as a way to relax. 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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