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(Very beginner Japanese speaker here, go easy on me.)

I understand that to get the name of a language, it is usually the name of the country it is associated with, then 語 appended to the end.

What about languages without countries associated or conlangs, such as Toki Pona or Esperanto? My best guess is to take the name of the language and add 語 to the end, but that doesn't feel right. What is the correct way, if there is one? Any other advice?

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  • Also, please excuse the formatting, this is being posted from my phone. Commented Dec 6, 2023 at 2:58
  • To see how Esperanto is talked about you can look at Esperanto Wiki. You say you are a beginner, so you probably can't read that page. But, mostly, in this case Esperanto is エスペラント, though, when talking about linguistics, the page does refer to エスペラント語. Not that a wiki page is a real authority. But, perhaps of interest.
    – A.Ellett
    Commented Dec 6, 2023 at 3:03
  • Though they are not constructed languages, Yiddish is generally イディッシュ語, Basque is バスク語. Or クルド語 for Kurdish. None of these languages have a corresponding nation. Many world languages across the globe do not have a specific country, though there is usually an associated ethnic group.
    – A.Ellett
    Commented Dec 6, 2023 at 3:07
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    Speaking of constructed languages, 語 is not added to the names of programming languages such as Python.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Dec 6, 2023 at 7:21
  • @A.Ellett Basques and Kurds obviously have corresponding nations, they only do not yet have independent states. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stateless_nation.
    – Arfrever
    Commented Dec 7, 2023 at 3:53

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As for Esperanto, エスペラント and エスペラント語 are used interchangeably. It's sufficient to just say エスペラント when the listeners know it's the name of a language. However, for articles intended for people less familiar with Esperanto, such as general newspaper articles, it would be definitely helpful to say エスペラント語. This 5-minute tour created by the Japanese Esperanto Institution uses エスペラント語, which likely is intentional.

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I think the same is basically true for Toki Pona, but the Wikipedia article for トキポナ explicitly says this:

toki自体で言語という意味を表すので、トキポナ語のような言い方は重言である。
(Since "toki" itself means "language", saying トキポナ語 is redundant.)

So if you are seriously studying Toki Pona, it would be better to say トキポナ following this advice. However, I don't think it's wrong to say トキポナ語 in articles for the general public, and I can find many examples of トキポナ語 on the net. After all, we already have many examples similar to this, such as リオグランデ川 (River Great River; Rio Grande), サハラ砂漠 (Desert Desert; Sahara), and モンブラン山 (Mountain White Mountain; Mont Blanc). English speakers also say "Mount Fujiyama", "LCD display", etc. These are technically redundant but are helpful to many people.

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