Enough with the fake ‘conlangs’!
This article is still under construction.
While movies have started embracing the quest for authenticity in fictional languages, many music producers who tout such languages have yet to accept that message. It is far too common to encounter a song featuring a language that is a relexification – or worse, a cypher or plain gibberish.
How to find out if a ‘conlang’ is real
As usual, these are just general trends instead of hard-and-fast rules.
Perhaps the most straightforward way to check is to consult the documentation for the language – if it is available. Otherwise, you can try asking for documentation; if an actual conlang is used, then the creator of the video probably won’t mind giving some to you. That is, given that they see your comment.
If you see 架空言語 (‘fictional language’) in the video title, then that’s a sign that you’re encountering something other than a bona fide conlang. 人工言語 (‘constructed language’) is a better sign, though.
Using all of the ISO basic Latin alphabet (minus possibly one or two letters) is also a bad sign. Bonus points if the pronunciation of <c> or <q> follows the same rules as any Romance language, or if <x> is pronounced /ks/.
If you see random Cyrillic letters peppered into a Latin orthography, and especially if <Я> isn’t pronounced as anything nearing /ja/, then get the hell out!
Finally, if some natlang translation is available, then you can try analysing the lyrics linguistically. Things to watch for:
- does a given sound or syllable in the X lyrics always occur with the same sound or syllable in the translation?
- in the case of a cover, do the X lyrics happen to fit perfectly with the metre?
- does a given morpheme or word in the X lyrics always occur with the same morpheme or word in the translation? Things to especially watch for: morphemes or words that sound the same in the natlang in question, but have different functions (e.g. Japanese に either as the postposition meaning ‘in’ or an adjective-to-adverb converter).
- Barring those, it’s often difficult to further analyse the grammar or the lexicon, since most words will occur only once among the unique lines of the lyrics.
List of recommended and unrecommended musicians
Visit this page to complain about this list.
|ウルヰ||It’s me, kozet!|
|Ritchan Aios-Ciao||Not very active in terms of music.|
|炭酸ソーダ||Not very active in general.|
|Con WorkShop||Publishes multi-conlang covers of songs. Their site isn’t very good, but the music is fine.|
|John Quijada||The one known for Ithkuil.|
|Lunias Legitleins||At least I believe the conlang they use is legitimate.|
|Luni Vanoneeme||AKA Kakis Erl Sax. Very old videos of a very old (~2008) version of Arka. Hasn’t uploaded anything for 8 years.|
|leviantarka||Official Arka channel. Won’t be active again until at least 2025.|
|minerva scientia||Does some conlang stuff.|
|藤原 安眞||Not many videos.|
|人工言語・柳霞の文化活動||Not the best quality voice- and video-wise but at least doesn’t pass off sed output as conlangs.|
|Ikku@人工言語制作者||Videos in Akyou; the language’s orthography looks bad IMO but also legit.|
|anotterkiro||Only one conlang song so far, but promising. Has another channel dedicated to conlangs.|
|Avlönskt||Has some covers in his conlang.|
The channel IDs are listed, converted to fullwidth characters. In case you want to view those channels, prefix
- ＵＣＬｔＡ７ｌｇＨ０Ｊｕｋ１ｕＢａＱｒＸｓＱＤｇ (Cyphers.)
- ＵＣｓｋｊｗＸＵ２９Ｕｕ４ｌｙ＿７ｎ０ｑＫＲｖＱ (Relexes.)
- ＵＣｙＳＴｇＤｏＹＫＴ－ｔｄＣｂｘＭ－ｌＫｄｌｇ (Cyphers.)
- ＵＣｓ３０Ｇｓ７ＦｒｋＨＭＪＬＵＲＯＲｘ１９ＤＱ (Gibberish.)