Constructing a secondary world and writing fantasy novels generally requiers one to construct a language in addition to the usual things of places, customs and the like.
I enjoy language in general. I think being a writer, one should probably have at least a passing affinity for language. Generally, I tend toward the languages of western Europe and Great Britain.
Having studied several real world languages, I feel fairly confident in constructing a language or two of my own. That being said, language construction is time consuming to the point that the actual process of writing takes a back seat.
I’m not Tolkien. I have neither his aptitude for language, nor the desire to contruct my world around my languages. For me, my conlangs (slang for constructed languages), are just one aspect of my world and a means to an end.
That being said, anything that will expedite the construction process is a welcome tool. One of the most useful of tools I’ve found is the Language Construction Kit at zompist.com.
For a long time I’ve used the advice of the website to aid the construction of my languages, but recently I’ve begun to use a couple of actual tools via Java programs made by the site’s owner, Mark Rosenfelder.
The first tool I’ve found is the Language Generator. For a long while I’ve had an idea for a language in my mind, but had been unable get it down on paper. Thanks to the language generator I’ve gotten quite a bit closer.
After applying a few rules and playing around with the consonant and vowel structures, I finally came up with something resembling what I’ve had in mind this whole time. Even if you do not plan, or need, to construct a language I recommend checking it out as it’s just fun to play around with the various possibilities.
Gol am annadh odhath dhel!
The second tool is basically an automation of something I’ve been doing manually. The Sound Change Applier. Basically, it takes a lexicon and applies rules provided by the user to construction a descendant language.
Basically, it’s a synthetic version of the Great Vowel Shift. That’s how I’ve been going about constructing Menskr, a languages in my Stormrider novel.
It’s times like this that I’m glad to be living in the internet age. It certainly gives me a deeper appreciation of what Tolkien did all by hand years ago.