Jeff Burke, a tall man who seemed nervous and shy at the podium, explained how he had been inspired to build his own family of “Central Mountain” languages by the incredible beauty he found in Mohawk when he took a course on it in college. He says the language “did something to me,” and he began to dig into the history of the language, becoming a self-taught expert in the development of Mohawk from Proto Iroquoian. He was also fascinated by Cheyenne, and wanted to capture “the spirit of its sounds,” so he studied the development of the language from Proto-Algonquian. His talk didn’t focus as much on his own creation as on the real languages that inspired it. He wanted us to understand where his artistic vision had come from. As he went over the complicated details of the Mohawk pronominal system, he spoke softly, but with such love and wonder in his voice that I thought he might burst into tears.