It was many, many years ago when I first read The Lord of the Rings and the Redwall books, and I was always fascinated by the maps in the first few pages of each novel. Ever since then, I have been captivated by the idea of fantasy and science fiction world-building. It started with maps of my own – maps of places that didn’t exist, maps of places near my Massachusetts home as I wished they could have been, permutations of Tolkein’s maps. Eventually, I started to add to the maps notes about the cultures living in those worlds, inventing religions, societies, languages, and technologies. I began to invent prominent characters to populate my worlds, and eventually started to think about the adventures those characters would have.
The desert of Oghura and the Cathedral Galaxy are my latest such world-building exercises. Both of these have gone well beyond the “doodle stage,” as they now have characters and stories to their names. But Oghura stands out as the world that is probably the furthest along, and it is the only one of my invented worlds to have a fully-fleshed-out and fully functional language. And this is no cop-out set of invented fantasy words full of apostrophes, g’s, r’s, and q’s. Oghuran is an “a priori” constructed language that I pieced together carefully, using my knowledge of linguistics, statistics, and programming, with a liberal dose of imagination. Here is how I built Oghuran. Continue reading Constructing Oghuran