It seems that people generally use constructed languages in very limited circumstances, or within small communities that speak the language. Thus it seems to me unlikely that one of these languages would every be someone's first or only language.

Are there any documented cases of a child learning a conlang as their first language?

  • Related: conlang.stackexchange.com/questions/622/…
    – bb94
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 19:01
  • 1
    Considering the size of local conlang speech communities, to try to make your child speak only the conlang and not be bilingual with the local natlang(s) would be close to child abuse. It's probably not possible either - children pick up the language of those around them naturally!
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 23:46
  • Today I happened upon a mention of second-generation Esperanto natives: the two children of Eliza Kehlet. (eo.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliza_Kehlet) Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 2:26

3 Answers 3


Yes. According to Wikipedia, Esperanto has 350 native speakers (data 1996). There is also a story about a linguist only speaking to his son in Klingon, but even though the child picked it up somewhat, later in life the child stopped speaking Klingon. Currently, he doesn't.

Also, see Esperanto native speaker AMA on reddit and a blog I enjoyed about speaking Esperanto natively.

  • 2
    To be fair, most native Esperanto speakers learn another native language at the same time. Though I met one who only started his non-Esperanto language only with 3 years. Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 7:30
  • 3
    Yeah, that's true. But on the other hand, the average person is multilingual.
    – Duncan
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 17:17
  • 3
    @creativecreatorormaybenot have you got any supporting evidence? That statement is extremely Anglo-centric.
    – Duncan
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 5:48
  • 4
    Again, your sources are based on US, Canada and Britain. The first source, "half of young children are multilingual" is exactly my statement: multilingualism is more normal.
    – Duncan
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 10:31
  • 5
    In collaboration of Duncan, Papua New Guinea is more representative of the historical Norm, where language communities were small, and not just trade but exogamy guaranteed multilingualism. Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 3:27

I’m going to try to avoid any kind of argument about politics, religion or what does or does not count as a “conlang,” and just give this as a historical case that I think is relevant to the spirit of the question.

Biblical Hebrew was a natural language, and Rabbinic Hebrew a scholarly one, but modern Hebrew needed a vast number of neologisms, greatly exceeding the number of ancient words in the Bible. Since most of the early revivalists were native speakers of Central and Eastern European languages, those also influenced its development. So Eliezer Ben-Yehuda’s dictionary of modern Hebrew words, many of which he himself invented or extended the definitions of, bears some similarities to creating the vocabulary of a conlang.

He and his wife were famously the first parents in modern times to raise their child to know only Hebrew and nothing else. Their son Ittamar Ben-Avi, born in 1882, would later recall that he was sent to his room whenever any guests came over who did not speak Hebrew, so he would not hear another language, and that his father became enraged when he caught his mother singing lullabies to him in her native Russian.


Kim Henrickson is one example of a native speaker of Esperanto, however, I'm certain that there are hundreds of others.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.