Tower of Babel. Click for more information

Tower of Babel

The image at the right is The Tower of Babel painted by Pieter Bruegel the Elder in 1563. The original hangs in the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien in Vienna, Austria. The artwork shows the construction of the Tower of Babel as described in The Bible (Genesis 11:1-9).

So, what is a Flemish master's painting of a Biblical subject doing on a page about conlanging? Many of you will already know. The Genesis verses, known as "The Babel Text," are one of the first texts used to "test drive" new conlangs. This also allows conlangs to be compared both with each other as well as with other natural languages. The idea for the Babel Text was first proposed by Jeffrey Henning as far back as 1996. Since that time, the verses and the phrase "Babel Text" have firmly entrenched themselves into the conlanging vernacular. Several sets of Babel Texts are available online at Henning's site.

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