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If you wanted to make up a certain people and talk about their language/culture.

Would you use 青い人語 or 青い人の言語?

And how would you pronounce the first example? 「あおいひとご」 or 「あおいじんご」?

What about examples with already existing things? 犬語、本語、 etc. ?

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    This may not be super relevant to your question but I feel that if a writer were to make up 'the Blue People' in Japanese they'd go with 「青{あお}の民{たみ}」 over 「青い{あおい}人{ひと}」
    – Angelos
    Jul 14 at 20:37
  • Yes, it was a crude example emblematic of how a five year old or a caveman would come up with a new name for a tribe. But thank you for telling me how it's actually done! Jul 16 at 12:02

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Think of 語 as a suffix similar to -ese (as in Japanese and Cantonese). Unlike English -ese, it can attach to almost any noun, but you're basically coining a new word that refers to a unique language by doing so. On the other hand, Aの言語 is a phrase that are made of several words and means "language of A" or "language spoken by A".

犬語 ("dogese") is not a word listed in a dictionary, but it can be a valid expression if dogs in your fictional work form a community and speak a distinct language. If dogs speak English and can communicate with humans using English, 犬語は英語だ ("Dogese is English") makes no sense, and you have to say something like この世界の犬の言語は英語だ ("The language of dogs in this world is English") instead. 本語 ("bookese") may be valid if you're thinking of a fantasy world where books have a mouth and speak to one anther using a special language, but I personally have never seen a setting like this.

(I also feel 青い人 is probably not what you want as the name for a specific tribe/species, but it's a different story. You may be interested in this question.)

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  • That was a well-rounded answer to my question. It explained a lot. Thank you very much 😊 Jul 16 at 12:00

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