Archive for the ‘Conlangs’ Category

Annals of ambiguity: I feel like making it rough for Schrödinger

June 24, 2020

Playing with ambiguity:

— a One Big Happy cartoon with: I feel like a tuna fish sandwich

— a domestic exchange about: I will make a dessert of my youth

— a Pearls Before Swine cartoon with: Tell me roughly

— a photograph, labeled Schrödinger’s Dumpster, of a dumpster with the signage: EMPTY WHEN FULL


Private conlangs in the comics

January 5, 2019

Yesterday’s Sally Forth (by Jim Keefe):

Ted and Sally are recalling an absurd private language they constructed for themselves to talk about nearby people in public — a language that only they would know. Their Monkeyish was absurd because, with only 12 words (7 of them prepositions!), there was clearly almost nothing that they could say.


Words on the big outside place

November 18, 2017

At noon on Friday of last week (the 10th), this event at Santa Clara University, an Environmental Studies & Sciences seminar:

Faculty will attempt to describe their research using only the 1,000 most commonly used words in English. Should be fun!

(Each talk about 5 minutes long.)


Klingon or Esperanto?

February 18, 2016

Recently heard a rumor that Klingon had surpassed Esperanto as the most commonly spoken conlang (constructed language, sometimes called artificial language). This is a massively unlikely possibility, for reasons sketched in the Wikipedia article on Marc Okrand’s Klingon language, Meanwhile, Esperanto flourishes as a second language in large communities of users around the world, and new Esperanto translations of literature continue to appear. (I’m not an Esperantist, but a number of my friends and academic colleagues are.)


Two from BZ

February 10, 2015

I don’t usually pass on postings from other blogs, but on the 5th Ben Zimmer blogged two notable things on Language Log that are worth drawing attention to: one on an amazing headline from Bloomberg News and a death notice for Suzette Haden Elgin.


On the conlang patrol

October 15, 2014

Lee Tucker on Facebook yesterday:

I must be going mad Arnold Zwicky. I just read an article that included the phrase “voiceless uvular ejective affricate.” For the record, I flinched.

That article would “Utopian for Beginners: An amateur linguist loses control of the language he invented” by Joshua Foer in the 12/24/12 New Yorker, where we read:

More than nine hundred languages have been invented since Lingua Ignota, and almost all have foundered. “The history of invented languages is, for the most part, a history of failure,” Arika Okrent, the author of  [In the Land of Invented Languages (2009)], writes. Many of the most spectacular flops have been languages, like Ithkuil, that attempt to hold a perfect mirror up to reality.

Ithkuil is a conlang (constructed language), very much in the spirit of the 17th century. And yes, it has a mind-boggling assortment of phonemes, especially consonant phonemes.