Forget Klingon, Na’vi and Dothraki—languages created for the screen. These are languages paid for by producers, created by linguists.
J.R.R. Tolkien’s book The Hobbit is getting the three-part Hollywood treatment. The return of the Elvish languages to the big screen is a reminder of just how inventive fiction writers have been over the years in dreaming up new tongues. Think of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, with its thuggish Russian-inflected slang called Nadsat (a girl is a devochka, a friend a droog).
This urge to create new words starts at a young age. Children often make up words before they have a proper command of their native tongues.
“We enjoy exercising the way we produce sounds,” says Indiana University’s Michael Adams, editor of From Elvish to Klingon: Exploring Invented Languages.