Now, it would be wrong to discount the two more recent conlangs that have gained not only notoriety within non-conlanging circles and communities behind them. That is why in the last post of the Learning Mainstream Conlangs miniseries I will be going over them at once. Just please note that I myself have not tried to learn Na’vi or Dothraki, so do your own research if you are interested in learning either language. Now that that is dealt with, on with the post!
The first conlang we are looking at would be Na’vi, a conlang which came into view in 2009 with the release of the film Avatar. It was created by linguist Paul Frommer and the base wordlist that Frommer used to create the language had a sort of “Polynesian flavor” to it. It contains unusual features such as ejective consonants and a lack of voiced plosives (like b, d, g) since it was intended to be an alien language.
Learn Na’vi Forums - forum.learnnavi.com
No matter the language r subject matter, looking at or joining in on conversation on forums are usually a good bet. There are many subforums, both about Na’vi and other subjects. If you are interested in joining more a community around the language, this might be a good idea.
Na’vi in a Nutshell - learnnavi.org/docs/Navi_in_a_Nutshell.pdf
While in my first read-over I noticed a few statements that were a bit… problematic for those who fall on the more descriptivist side of the language debate, but it is a good enough overview of the basic grammar. I would advise that if you want to use this as a resource to look over linguistic terms first. There are some concepts beginners may be unfamiliar with.
Definitive Na’vi Dictionary - eanaeltu.learnnavi.org/dicts/NaviDictionary.pdf
This one is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a dictionary. Good for looking up vocabulary. Some knowledge of IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) recommended.
Na’vi might be an alien language, but there are plenty of people lining up to learn it. Granted, there probably is not as much interest in the language as there was in 2010, but there still is a community around the language. Paul Frommer himself even keeps a blog about the language for those who want to learn it or learn about it.
Of course, just because Na’vi has gotten out of the conlanging spotlight does not mean that there hasn’t been another language to take its place. In fact, there is a newcomer who is getting a lot of attention by those who want to learn. The language in question is Dothraki, created by well-known conlanger David J. Peterson. We’ve discussed one of Mr. Peterson’s conlangs, Kamakawi, last week. Dothraki was commissioned through the Language Creation Society for the television series Game of Thrones.
At this point I am finding very few resources for learning Dothraki, even fewer than Na’vi, but that may be because there has been less time for it to really get out there and get well-written learning materials (other than those that Mr. Peterson have made for the show itself)
Learning Dothrakion the Dothraki Wiki - wiki.dothraki.org/dothraki/Learningdothraki
This wiki seems to have all of the information currently publicly known on the language. Since Game of Thrones is still airing, there is still much Dothraki that we have not seen. This wiki page has pages on the different things you would need to know about the language.
It’s a bit difficult when the languages have not been around for as long as something like Klingon (which also was a language used in television/movies), but i you really want to you could learn something like the above if any other mainstream conlangs don’t interest you. Just have fun with it and choose what you are most interested in. Whether its one of the languages I have suggested or something else, if you put a little work into it soon enough you’ll be playing scrabble in Sindarin or writing to your Lojban penpal!
References and Additional Reading: