Skip to main content

Book Review: The Art of Language Invention by David J. Peterson


Have you ever thought about the languages we read in novels or hear spoken in movies and television shows? Not the languages that are spoken in our world, but rather the languages that only exist in the fictional world. I must admit I hadn't given this a great deal of thought before, but it turns out that there are people whose job it is to invent these languages. I personally find this fascinating. David J. Peterson is one such person, a master language creator who has invented languages for television, film and novels, including the languages Valyrian and Dothraki for the HBO series Game of Thrones.

In The Art of Language Invention: From Horse-Lords to Dark Elves, the Words Behind World-Building, Peterson delivers a creative guide to language construction. With chapters on sounds, words, language evolution and the written word, he brings the reader deep into the world of linguistics and language structure. He gets into the details of sound systems, intonations, grammatical gender, phonological evolution, orthography and so much more. Each chapter is followed by a case study related to the topic. These delve deeper into Peterson's languages, providing a glimpse into his creative process.

I started out reading this book from the beginning, but I will admit that I soon realized it was not a book for me to just sit down and read. I did find the sections that I read to be informative without being dry. Peterson obviously loves what he does; his passion comes through with his writing. I am not, however, in the process of creating a language myself, so I'm not really the target audience for this book. I jumped around quite a bit and learned a lot about linguistics and the way languages work. It's pretty amazing, actually.

While I wouldn't recommend this book to just any reader, I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in creating a language or who is looking for a more interesting way to learn about linguistics. The level of detail and explanation that Peterson provides is extremely valuable, and his own experiences are even more so.

My Rating: 4/5

Visit the author's website
Watch the author's video series

This review was written based on a copy of The Art of Language Invention that I received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This post includes Amazon Affiliate links. If you purchase something using my link, I will receive a very small commission but your price does not change.

Comments

  1. This topic sounds fascinating, but like you, I'm not the target audience and I expect I'd find it more detailed than I want. I do really like books about language though :)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

Banned Books Week: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park

This is the end of Banned Books Week and unfortunately, I haven't had a lot of time to write about banned books this year. But I did want to include at least one post about it, so today I wanted to share one of the book series that it seems most people are surprised to find on the list: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park.

According to Wikipedia:
The Junie B. Jones series came in at #71 on the American Library Association's list of the Top 100 Banned or Challenged Books from 2000-2009. Reasons cited are poor social values taught by the books and Junie B. Jones not being considered a good role model due to her mouthiness and bad spelling/grammar. This is an interesting example of a banned book. Many times there are serious, controversial topics featured in books that are challenged. Things like homosexuality, drugs, vulgar language, etc. You can actually understand why people may not want their children to read those books, and why they may challenge their inclusion in school libra…

Book Review: No Story to Tell by KJ Steele

Victoria has been put down since the day she was born. First by her parents who were disappointed that she survived while her twin brother died. Then by her verbally abusive husband and his low-life friends. But soon an intriguing artist named Elliott arrives in town and starts encouraging Victoria to follow her dream of opening her own dance studio. She also begins to receive phone calls from a mysterious someone who gets her to open up about her past and face her true feelings.

In No Story to Tell, KJ Steele has captured the small-town atmosphere and brought these characters to life. From the victimized Victoria, to her drunk and obnoxious husband Bobby and his drunk and obnoxious friends, to all the side characters who you'd expect to encounter in a town like this ~ all are so realistic in both their actions and their voices. She has written a compelling story of an abused woman who thinks she is trapped in this loveless, miserable existence. But then she finds a spark of hope…

Book Review: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Title: I See You
Author: Clare Mackintosh
Genre: thriller
Published: February 21, 2017
Format: ebook (NetGalley)
Source: publisher
Buy on Amazon(affiliate link)


Have you ever felt like someone was watching you? You will after reading Clare Mackintosh's latest release I See You. Told from the perspectives of two women, one who appears to be targeted by a criminal and the other who is the police officer working the case, this psychological thriller will have you looking over your own shoulder by the end.

Zoe is a typical working mother who takes the Underground through London to her office every day. Like most commuters, she has a routine that she follows every day, leaving home at the same time, sitting in the same train car, taking the same route to work from the station. It's habit. But she starts to realize this may not be a good idea after seeing her own photo in an advertisement in the newspaper. Another woman who appears in the advertisement is murdered and Zoe starts to ge…