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The Creation of Fictional Languages

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  • H.J. Patterson Hall
Picture of Jessie Sams and David Peterson, with talk title, time, and location.

Though language creation is more than 900 years old, it has been brought to the forefront in recent years due to the popularity of shows like Game of Thrones and films like Avatar, which make extensive use of created language dialogue. In this talk, David Peterson and Jessie Sams will introduce some of the main principles of language creation, and will demonstrate some of their work in film and television.

David J. Peterson is an author and language creator. He's been creating languages since 2000, and has created languages for a number of well known television shows and films, such as HBO'S Game of Thrones, Legendary's Dune, Netflix's The Witcher, Marvel's Doctor Strange, and many others. He's the author of The Art of Language Invention from Penguin Books, a detailed guide on how to create an authentic language, and Odd Dot's Create Your Own Secret Language, a kids' guide to ciphers and codes.

Jessie Sams has a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Colorado at Boulder and was a professor of linguistics at Stephen F. Austin State University for 13 years, where she created a conlanging course and taught students how to construct a language from the ground up. She is now a full-time professional conlanger and works with her partner, David Peterson. Their languages appear in TV shows and films, including Freeform's Motherland: Fort Salem and the Peacock's Vampire Academy, and they host the weekly livestream LangTime Studio on YouTube, where they create new languages from scratch and share the process.


H.J. Patterson Hall

Global Crossroads Atrium (1st floor, east wing)


Caitlin Eaves

For disability accommodations, please contact Caitlin Eaves at

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