This course combines historical and linguistic analysis in an attempt to understand how and why people are sometimes moved to try to transcend the languages to which we have natural, or at least relatively easy, access. Among the examples we will consider are Esperanto, Klingon, Middle Egyptian, Linear A and B, Cornish, Fortran, and Proto-World. Taking a view that is broad both geographically and temporally, we will explore, in an interactive and collaborative way, the philosophical and sociological implications of constructing and reconstructing languages for purposes that range from the political to the literary to the simply frivolous.

Associated course analyses