Creators of Alien Tongues

Nobody wore a ridged rubber forehead, or painted their skin Pandora blue. If there were craggy beards and long locks, these seemed more homage to 1960s counterculture than to “Game of Thrones.” Yet the some 700 people who filled Price Center’s Ballroom B last Friday for “Linguistics Goes to Hollywood” were still clearly fans. Fans of what? Not only of the “Star Trek” franchise, the James Cameron film “Avatar,” and the HBO hit fantasy series based on George R. R. Martin’s novels, but also of inventiveness. And playfulness, and craft.
All of that and more goes into making a constructed language, according to the creators of the Klingon, Na’vi and Dothraki languages—Marc Okrand, Paul Frommer and UC San Diego linguistics alumnus David Peterson, M.A. ’05, respectively—who were the evening’s featured guests.