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

Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Mundie Moms are hosting the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop in honor of Independence Day in the United States, and I've decided to participate.

To stick with the theme of Independence Day, I'm doing what I did last year for this hop:

I'm giving away a book of your choice that is written by an author from the United States.
It can be any genre as long as the author is from the United States. You choose the book (up to $15), and I'll order it and have it mailed to you from Book Depository.

The contest ends on Thursday, July 5th at midnight Eastern Time. The winner will be notified by e-mail. If they do not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

Happy 4th of July! I hope you have a safe and fun holiday!

Enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now check out all of the other giveaways you can enter at the links below!

Leap into Books Giveaway Hop!

This week, I'm participating in the Leap into Books Giveaway Hop hosted by I'm a Reader, Not a Writer.

I'm giving away a book of your choice 
up to $10 from Book Depository.
It's that simple. Just visit  Book Depository and choose any book that is selling for $10 or less.

This giveaway is open to international entries as long as Book Depository ships to your address (click here to check). The contest ends on Monday, March 5, 2012, at midnight Eastern Time. The winner will be picked using Random.org and notified by e-mail. If they do not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn. To enter, just leave a comment telling me what book you want to win.

Check out all the other participants in the giveaway hop!

Freedom Giveaway Hop

Simply Stacie and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer are hosting the Freedom Giveaway Hop in honor of Independence Day in the United States, and I've decided to participate.

To stick with the theme of Independence Day:

I'm giving away a book of your choice that is written by an author from the United States.
It can be any genre as long as the author is from the United States. You choose the book (up to $15), and I'll order it and have it mailed to you from the vendor of my choice.

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment below telling me your favorite U.S. author (this doesn't have to be the author of the book you choose if you're the winner). Include your email address so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian mailing addresses only. I've decided to open this up to international entries as long as Book Depository ships to your address.

For extra entries:
Leave a separate comment if you follow My Book Retreat through Google Frie…