This article is from the Artificial languages FAQ, by Rick Harrison email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
A language design includes many interacting elements such as
phonemic inventory, phonotactics, choice of writing system,
morphology, grammar and syntax, semantics, and the communicative
needs of the culture that might use the language. And as Jeff
Prothero observed, "To make any sort of optimality argument, or
indeed any sort of rational engineering decision, one needs a
fairly precise characterization of the problem to be solved."
Before embarking on a voyage of language creation, newbies would
be well advised to spend a few years studying general linguistics
and examining the artificial languages for which detailed
descriptions are available. Reading some descriptions of natural
languages that are drastically different from your own native
tongue should also be considered a prerequisite. Books about
Navaho, Swahili, Chinese and other non-Indo-European languages
are readily available from libraries and on-line bookstores.
Some ideas about language creation are discussed in the web
pages listed below. Ready to use vocabulary lists, software
that randomly creates new words, and parsers to help you
explore syntax design are also available throughout the web.