Linguistics - The Basics
One perennial question from beginning conlangers is "Where do I start?" This page is an attempt to address this query from a linguistic perspective and compile titles from a number of recommendation sources. A good grounding in what is already extant in natural languages gives the conlanger a starting point from which to begin her or his creation. Natural languages also provide inspiration in their multifariousness. Even if one wants to go against every natural language universal, morphology, or syntax, one has to first know what those universals, morphologies, and syntaxes are. This page can then be thought of as a Beginner's Shelf of Linguistics. For some recommended advanced texts, check out this page.
Beside many items in The Conlanger's Library are links to vendor affiliate sites (Book Depository and Indie Bound ). The Language Creation Society receives a portion of all the purchases made through these sites. We have removed, at present, links to Amazon.com pages. In the event that Amazon reinstates its affiliate program in California, we will consider re-adding Amazon.com links to the items on these pages.
There is also a WorldCat search link available to assist readers in locating resources through their local library.
Contact The Conlanging Librarian at library -at- conlang -dot- org with suggestions for additions to the library.
George L. Campbell
Concise Compendium of the World's Languages.
Second edition. New York: Routledge, 1998
In two volumes (Abaza - Kurdish, Ladakh - Zuni). Each entry gives an introduction, phonology, morphology and syntax. Often included is an example of the script and an illustrative text (John 1:1-8).
The Unfolding of Language: An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind's Greatest Invention.
New York: Metropolitan Books (2005)
Lively and highly readable, Deutscher manages to convincingly show how the complex structures of modern languages evolved through simple processes. For anyone interested in creating a family of fictional diachronic languages, this book is a must-read!
Victoria Fromkin, Robert Rodman, and Nina Hyams
An Introduction to Language
Wadsworth Publishing; 8 edition (May 31, 2006)
An accessible, user-friendly introduction to linguistics, even uses well-known cartoons to illustrate key points. Dr. Fromkin is also the creator of Pakuni.
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Second Edition edition (September 14, 2000)
An entertaining and comprehensive introduction to the Indo-European language family. Includes both an summary of Indo-European culture as well as the roots of many languages.