“The limits of my language means the limits of my world.”― Ludwig Wittgenstein. With the world off-limits to us at this time, is the face of language learning changing? As we have sat at home watching Netflix, fans of popular films and TV shows are taking it upon themselves to immerse themselves fully in these universes, perhaps due to the inability to travel elsewhere.
Data from online learning platforms like Preply recorded daily increasing keyword searches of constructed languages on their sites. In addition, the increased application to study Conlang online is gathering pace as earthbound study languages are becoming a second priority to many.
Could this shift in learning priority be transient, or does it hold a more permanent possibility?
What Is Constructed Language?
Constructed languages, often known as conlangs or fictional languages, are individually constructed languages that do not evolve in the same way as other languages. One form of Conlang is an international auxiliary language such as Volapük, Esperanto, or Interlingua. They were invented to enable worldwide communication during the past two centuries, but they were never particularly popular.
Conlanging is both an art and a science, and speakers may do it for personal enjoyment and the amusement of others. However, in recent times, the perception of conlanging for amusement is changing, and this is due to the growing fan bases of popular fantasy and sci-fi novels and films, The Hobbit, Lord of The Rings, and Game of Thrones, into tightly knitted communities.
The Rise of Conlang
Fictional language has come a long way from being an obscure language understood by only dedicated fantasy fans to one surpassing a ‘natural language.’ This rise in popularity is due to the following.
Rise of Online Language Learning
Our view of education has changed considerably during the last several years. The COVID-19 pandemic showed that physical presence within the four walls of a classroom is no longer the sole method to study. Nowadays, education can be obtained whenever and wherever wanted as long as there’s access to a computer and an internet connection.
Online learning (e-learning), which is defined as education delivered through the internet, is the way of the future in education. It is just one type of “distance learning,” which refers to any learning outside of the construct of a regular classroom.
The learning or acquisition of new languages over the internet is referred to as online language learning.
Fictional language learners interact and connect with others via mobile devices. Online learning allows them to do so using a variety of materials and technologies. Course authors may use gamification and social learning elements to encourage engagement with their students via mobile learning.
As a result of the internet, conlangs have reached unprecedented heights. Thanks to global connection, everything is sent around the world in the blink of an eye. Due to economic globalization and the development of cost-effective technology-based commodities, the online language learning business still has a lot of room for innovation.
COVID-19 was designated as a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020.
Following the rapid spread of COVID-19 worldwide, most governments throughout the world authorized extraordinary social containment measures to stem the flow. These tactics included social isolation and the temporary shutdown of educational facilities, among other things.
Every sector of life felt the pandemic’s effects. Industries had to adapt and remodel to sustain operations. The online learning industry quickly adjusted by utilizing unseen innovations of prior years and bringing them to the spotlight.
The general population picked up new skills and languages during the lockdown, and Conlangs were among the most popular languages learned. The availability to integrate and connect with the languages as non-fantasy fans aided Conlang learning even more.
The notion that online language learning is free of interaction is no longer valid. In a well-designed course, the learner and the teacher, and the learners themselves may communicate and engage. Conlangs spread easily by new people meeting online, forum conversations, and browsing through various sources. Due to this, online fictional language communities have grown.
The Flexibility of Online Fictional Language Learning
Online language learning software like Preply allows user-paced learning. When combined with a full-time job, family obligations, and creative pursuits, language study can be done part-time or full-time.
Online fictional language learning is a more cost-effective option since it saves money on tuition, transportation, lodging, and board compared to traditional classroom learning. It also allows for a lower-stakes learning environment.
By not learning “on the go” in front of their instructor and colleagues, online students save time.
Learners may practice and polish their languages and skills in a low-risk setting owing to features like simulation training, which can help learners “experience” a language digitally before speaking it in real life.
Fictional language learning online has the advantage of being accessible to people from all areas of life. Online classes, resources, and scholarships may be beneficial to anybody.
Online seminars (especially in small groups) or tailored coaching can provide rapid feedback, and digital technology can make an online classroom feel like an in-person one.
Are Earth-Bound Languages at Risk?
Not at all. Conlangs aren’t here in a predatory capacity. This linguistic niche wants to have its community and flourish to its full potential. Traditional and fictitious languages can coexist; however, this is dependent on the learners’ preferences.