Constructed Languages In The Classroom

Nathan Sanders, Swarthmore College


Constructed languages (purposefully invented languages like Esperanto and Klingon) have long captured the human imagination. They can also be used as pedagogical tools in the linguistics classroom to enhance how certain aspects of linguistics are taught and to broaden the appeal of linguistics as a field. In this article, I discuss the history and nature of constructed languages and describe various ways I have successfully brought them into use in the classroom. I conclude from the results of my courses that linguists should take a closer look at how they might benefit from similarly enlisting this often criticized hobby into more mainstream use in the linguistics classroom.