The Words of Worldbuilding | World Anvil

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Sat Jan 4th - Sat Feb 1st

The Words of Worldbuilding

Many a story comes bundled with native languages - stories about discovery, stories about overcoming differences! We want to hear a short story of yours that includes your own language at its heart!


"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart." - Nelson Mandela

  There are approximately four thousand written languages on our planet. These languages have crucial importance in the most vital discussions of our own world. They can be key points in our historical discoveries, turning points in organizing peace, or even be the beginning of a Renaissance of knowledge and rediscovery.   We want to hear a short story in which a constructed language plays a major role, and is featured as a major element. Perhaps it is the rediscovery of an ancient civilization's lost language? Perhaps it is a monumental gathering of nations, brokered through someone learning a common tongue. It can be comic, dramatic, or romantic, but at the end of the day we want it to involve a language of your own construction!  

The Rosetta Stone by Hans Hillewaert

Standard League Winner
Tobias Linder

Premier League Winner
R. Dylon Elder


All participants will receive the participation badge. The winner will receive an extra shiny badge, have their article featured, and will be shouted out on the weekly World Anvil update stream and on the official World Anvil social media accounts.   INTRODUCING NEW PRIZES AND RAFFLES!
The Winners of the Premier and Regular league will receive a copy of the The Language Constructor Kit by Mark Rosenfelder!   There will also be a guild-member only prize draw for all entrants not matter if they made it in the shortlist or not!

The Countdown

This Countdown Clock is set to when the Challenge will close for submissions!

The Brief

We at World Anvil want to hear a short story or flash fiction piece that involves a language from your world!   Using the prose template and the dictionary feature (which you gain access to by creating a language template), make a short story that uses language as a major element. The language should be critical to the story, either because of its discovery or its usage. The language needs to use the dictionary feature so it can be a documented part of the story!   The story can be set in any time, or told from any perspective or point of view. It can be spoken by the characters for an important purpose, or it could be a discovery made and explained. If you have any questions about whether the language is important enough, talk to the Master of Games, Barron!   Please make sure to include an article block or text link to the language article with the dictionary feature and also provide translations if there are important dialogues!  

What to include in your story

The Language

Make sure that it's clear why the language is important through your storytelling. Is there a language barrier that is causing discord between people? Is there an ancient civilization's language that needs to be deciphered? What do the characters, letters or runes look like?  

The Trials

What difficulties does your party face when dealing with the language? Is there difficulty in learning it? Does your protagonist need a translator? If it was a discovery, how did they decipher the language?  

The Legacy

After the Language has played its part, what importance has it had? Did it cause a breakthrough into ancient history or help decipher new technologies? Has there been a long-standing peace thanks to the language?

The Rules

How to Enter

Firstly, all competitors will need a World Anvil account (don’t worry, it’s free!) to get started. Once you’ve logged in and created your first world, you’re ready to enter the competition.   Write your entry using the Prose template on World Anvil. Once you have finished your entry and are ready to submit it, make sure that your article is not a draft and then click on the button on the right hand side to submit it to the challenge.  

Adjudication Criteria and Process

A shortlist of the top twenty entries (as organised by community likes and ten from each league) will be compiled by the Master of Games. The Master of Games will choose the winner. The winner will be announced by the World Anvil Team on the following weekly update stream.   Entries will be judged on a number of criteria, including originality, presentation, and thoroughness.
Timeline Event
Jan 4th - Feb 1st Competition is active and opened!
Feb 1st - Feb 8th Sharing period, give feedback, make minor edits.
Feb 8th - Feb 22nd Adjudication and Judging
March 7th Winner Announcement Date! (Subject to change)

Other Rules

  • Articles for Submission must use the Prose Template
  • Articles must be submitted before the closing time, else they will not be judged
  • Articles will be taken from a shortlist of likes, the top ten from each league will be judged by the Master of Games.
  • Guild Member submissions will be added to a raffle pool, this can be won even without entering the shortlist
  • Only one article may be submitted per author, this does not mean one article per world. Think of the Coauthors!
  • Articles will have a week long period after the deadline to make small edits, share, and get feedback from the community. This period will end when the shortlist is compiled. The purpose of this deadline is to let people focus on writing and sharing separately.
  • Articles can be no longer than 2500 words in length!
  • You will be able to submit your article only if it is public!

Social media sharing

Because community likes are an important part of the competition, competitors may wish to share their entries on social media to garner more interest from the community. Entries which are tagged with #ConlangChallenge and mention @WorldAnvil might get shared by World Anvil social media!  


There are two leagues that will be independently judged. The Regular and the Premier League. The Premier League consists of all the authors who have previously won a competition.   Winning a competition in the regular league will promote you to the Premier League for future challenges.  


For January's Competition, it will be open on the 4th of January at 2100 GMT and closed on the February 1st at 23:59 GMT. The Shortlist will be compiled on the 8th of February!

The Countdown

This Countdown Clock is set to when the Challenge will close for submissions!

Challenge entries