Nearly half (47%) of American adults have heard of a fictional of constructed language (“conlang”) such as Klingon (39%), Valyrian (18%), Dothraki (17%), or Esperanto (9%), according to a new online survey of 1,377 adults.

Six out of ten Americans (62%) have reported watching a show or movie where people used fictional languages (though they may not have known the language’s name). One out of five (20%) have read about fictional languages.

However, few Americans (5%) have ever studied a constructed language. The top three conlangs studied were Klingon (2% of Americans), Esperanto (1%), and Valyrian (1%). Of those 72 respondents who have studied a conlang, only one respondent rated themselves “Proficient” in the language. Self-assessments of their skill indicated the majority considered themselves beginners (58%). Full ratings: Beginner (58%), Elementary (21%), Intermediate (13%), Advanced (7%), Proficient (1%).

One out of ten Americans have invented a bit of a language themselves (11%), though many of these creations were variants on Pig Latin or ciphers.

  • “My friends and I would put ‘op’ in the middle of a word so others couldn’t understand what we were saying.”
  • “Never had a formal name for it, but my brother and I essentially made our own makeshift ‘Wingdings’ of sort. We had a symbol for each letter in the English alphabet, although we literally never used the language.”

A few had grander aspirations:

  • “There were several for Dungeons and Dragons campaigns for tailormade characters.”
  • “It was called Hechish. I created it for a novel I wrote.”

This online survey of 1,377 U.S. adults aged 18 and up was conducted from May 19 to 24, 2023. The data were weighted to the U.S. population by nine demographic variables. The credibility interval for questions answered by all respondents is plus or minus 4 percentage points. A PDF summary of the results is available.

Further discussion on Reddit.