3 Strange Invented Languages that Remain a Mystery

It is the unknown that speaks to our deep-seated curiosity, fueling the boundless depths of our imagination

Elvira Yuzbay

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random letters of an unknown language on black background
Photo by Joel Naren on Unsplash

There’s something irresistibly magnetic about the unsolved, the unexplained. Wouldn’t you agree?

Just think of the cryptic codes in Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of the Dancing Men or the enigmatic riddles in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Golden Bug that keep the reader engaged until the very end.

This fascination extends far beyond literary mysteries.

If we turn our attention to languages, a rich tapestry of creativity and ingenuity unfolds before us.

Take, for example, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth languages or the intricate Klingon language from Star Trek — each of them carefully crafted to add depth and authenticity to their fantastical universes.

Others, like Esperanto and Volapük, were designed for more practical purposes: to serve as a lingua franca, a universal language that promotes international understanding and unity.

However, it is the languages that remain enigmatic and unexplained that add an intriguing dimension to the world’s linguistic landscape.

Codex Seraphinianus

Inspired by Borges’ mind-bending novel Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, an elusive language nestled itself within the pages of the Codex Seraphinianus.

Just like in the story, in which the narrator stumbles upon a detailed guide to a made-up world, the Italian visionary Luigi Serafini created an extensive encyclopedia of an obscure imaginary world, written in a strange language and accompanied by surreal illustrations.

The manuscript contains everything, from flora, fauna, and odd creatures to human anatomies, food, bizarre games, and architecture.

excerpt from the book; an eye-shaped fish
An excerpt from the book | Photo taken by the author

Despite the relentless efforts of linguists to decipher the script, Serafini insists that his creation is not a language at all, but simply a collection of mystifying letters.

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Elvira Yuzbay

Translator, educator and artist with many interests. Exploring, embracing, and growing. 🌻