The SFF (Science Fiction, Fantasy, Speculative Fiction) Collective is a group that meets regularly to discuss topics relating to SFF books and share book recommendations across the genre.
What’s in a language? Whether travelling to alien planets, dystopian futures or fantasy worlds, what do the languages the inhabitants speak tell us about who they are? And who we are?
This meeting of the SFF Collective will explore Constructed Languages (otherwise known as conlangs) and their role as world-building devices in many popular SFF titles. Perhaps the most famous of all conlangs is Quenya, the language of the elves in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series. But Tolkien is not the only one to have experimented with the concept. George Orwell created Newspeak for his classic 1984, Robert Jordan created Old Tongue for The Wheel of Time series, and Anthony Burgess created Nadsat for A Clockwork Orange. Conlangs have gained even more popularity in recent years thanks in part to TV and movie adaptations that expand on the languages presented in their text counterparts, the most notable of which is the Dothraki language from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.
Other authors and books to consider for this session include but are not limited to: Native Tongue (Suzette Haden Elgin), Cat’s Cradle (Kurt Vonnegut), Pale Fire (Vladimir Nabokov), Dune (Frank Herbert), Embassytown (China Mieville), Watership Down (Richard Adams), Babel-17 (Samuel R. Delany), The Dispossessed (Ursula LeGuin), and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (Robert A. Heinlein).
Language is not just a form a communication, it is a way of making meaning and of understanding the world in which we live.