How the Alien Languages in Foundation Were Created

Fionnuala Murphy, an actor and linguist, explains how she invented two brand new languages for the Apple TV Plus series.


Episode Notes

This week, host Isaac Butler talks to Fionnuala Murphy, an actor and linguist who invented multiple alien languages for the Apple TV Plus series Foundation. In the interview, Fionnuala explains how she landed the job, which was her first foray into language creation. Then she breaks down the process of designing the languages based on information she could gather from the scripts and conversations with the Foundation team.

After the interview, Isaac and co-host Karen Han talk about their own relationships to language and discuss how patterns and structures, like those found in language, are crucial to their creative work.

In the exclusive Slate Plus segment, Isaac asks Fionnuala about her translation work. Then Fionnuala offers advice for people who are trying to better understand their own language.

Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to or give us a call at (304) 933-9675.

Podcast production by Cameron Drews.


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