This sequence of “How ____ can help you!” pieces concerns various areas of linguistics. These aren’t intended to be technical, or even introductory discussions of linguistics itself. They are short, practical pieces which relate linguistics topics to the use of created languages in science fiction and fantasy. Certainly they will be useful for people who are digging into creating an entire language that penetrates an science fiction or fantasy world. I hope they can also be helpful for those who are using minimal-penetration languages in science fiction and fantasy languages that consist mostly of names for people and places.
Here are some of the upcoming topics:
- Articulatory phonetics, a.k.a. how to match sounds to an alien physiology
- Morphology, a.k.a. how words are broken into smaller pieces of meaning
- Syntax, a.k.a. how sentences are put together
- Semantics, a.k.a. how meanings are structured
- Pragmatics, a.k.a. how language implies more than it “means”; how people define insincerity vs. politeness
- Sociolinguistics, a.k.a. how people use language for social purposes including drawing distinctions between social groups
How linguistics can help you! is reprinted by permission of the author.
Juliette Wade is an author of science fiction and fantasy who loves language and its cultural consequences. Her fiction appears in Analog and other short fiction magazines. She has degrees in Linguistics, Anthropology and Japanese.