Summer 2023 - LING 280 D100

Linguistics in the Real World (3)

Constructed Languages in Media

Class Number: 3250

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    AQ 5018, Burnaby



Examines “real-world” issues from a linguistic perspective. Topics may range across a wide spectrum: in-depth analysis of specific languages, social issues (stereotypes, inequality), business matters (linguistics in advertising, legal language), the role of linguistics in the technology sector, as well as more general workplace applications for linguistics. As topics examined may vary by term, this course may be repeated once for credit if the topic is different. Open to all students.


Summer 2023 Topic: Constructed Languages in Media 

For books, movies, and video games, languages are created to flesh out worlds, give its inhabitants a sense of identity, and create a sense of diversity among its inhabitants.

This course will explore some popular constructed languages such as Quenyan (Lord of the Rings), Na’vi (Avatar), Parseltongue (Harry Potter), Gerudo (The Legend of Zelda), Klingon (Star Trek) and more! We’ll learn about writing systems, the sounds in language, meaning in language, sentences in language, and social characteristics of language such as gendered language, honorific systems, kinship terms, and more.

Each lecture will consist of some background information in linguistics to get you familiar with theoretical language while also exploring those patterns in constructed languages. We’ll learn what is required for real languages and how constructed languages can break those rules.

Through practical assignments and a final project, you will be able to construct your own language for use in fiction and be able to compare how “realistic” it is compared to languages spoken in the real world. Most classes will have a workshop where you can work with your groupmate or on on your own to start creating your constructed language, get input from the instructor, and ask questions.





  • In-Class Workshops 10%
  • Language Exploration Assignments 50%
  • Constructed Language Check-Ins 20%
  • Constructed Language Submission 20%


It is strongly recommended that you see the Student Advisor regarding your degree requirements at least two semesters before you plan to graduate. Unless you meet both faculty and major/minor requirements, your graduation cannot be approved.

Students requiring accommodations as a result of a disability, must contact the Centre for Accessible Learning (, 778-782-3112) 



Select readings will be made available on Canvas.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Students should familiarize themselves with the Department's Standards on Class Management and Student Responsibilities.

Please note that a grade of “FD” (Failed-Dishonesty) may be assigned as a penalty for academic dishonesty.

All student requests for accommodations for their religious practices must be made in writing by the end of the first week of classes or no later than one week after a student adds a course.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.