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(The New Yorker)   The story of constructed language Ithkuil, designed to be both maximally precise and maximally concise. Come for the fascinating discussion on linguistics, stay for the bizarre right-wing hate group adopting use of the language   (newyorker.com) divider line 159
    More: Interesting, Ithkuil, linguistics, Robert Heinlein, Caspian Sea, ambiguity, artificial languages  
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14022 clicks; posted to Main » on 18 Dec 2012 at 5:23 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-18 04:55:57 PM
Actually, that was a really interesting article. Thanks subby
 
2012-12-18 05:27:16 PM
Submitter here. I actually felt my heart break when I noticed Ithkuil had been embraced by terrorists.

Part of me, saying this as a USA citizen, wants to found a "daughter" country of the USA just to prove it's possible. And in doing so there would be two official languages: English would be spoken and written and Ithkuil would be the lingua franca. Or, I suppose, the lingua ithkuil.

Breaks my farking heart to see a hate group endorsing it, though.
 
2012-12-18 05:27:21 PM
Good read!
 
2012-12-18 05:27:43 PM
How do you say "esperanto" in Ithkuil?
 
2012-12-18 05:28:41 PM

Philip Francis Queeg: How do you say "esperanto" in Ithkuil?


e
 
2012-12-18 05:29:15 PM
So, an over-purposeful, artificial language. Like newspeak.
 
2012-12-18 05:29:59 PM
Shouldn't a new language have a name that is actually pronounceable?
 
2012-12-18 05:31:37 PM

PowerSlacker: Shouldn't a new language have a name that is actually pronounceable?


One of Ithkuil's notable features is that its pronunciations are intentionally most difficult. The only English adjective which can describe it is "Dense."
 
2012-12-18 05:32:12 PM
Ithkuil's conceptual pedigree can be traced back to Leibniz, Bacon, and Descartes, and especially to a seventeenth-century bishop and polymath, John Wilkins, who tried to actualize their lofty ideals. In his "Essay Towards a Real Character, and a Philosophical Language," from 1668, Wilkins laid out a sprawling taxonomic tree that was intended to represent a rational classification of every concept, thing, and action in the universe. Each branch along the tree corresponded to a letter or a syllable, so that assembling a word was simply a matter of tracing a set of forking limbs until you'd arrived on a distant tendril representing the concept you wanted to express. For example, in Wilkins's system, De signifies an element, Deb is fire, and Debα is a flame.

The natural philosopher Robert Hooke was so impressed by Wilkins's language that he published a discourse on pocket watches in it, and proposed that it be made the lingua franca of scientific research. That never happened. The language was simply too burdensome, and it soon vanished into obscurity. But Wilkins's taxonomic-classification scheme, which organized words by meaning rather than alphabetically, was not entirely without use: it was a predecessor of the first modern thesaurus.


I was wondering if they were going to get to Wilkins. I've found this field interesting ever since it was a sort of side plot in the Baroque Cycle.
 
2012-12-18 05:34:27 PM

Counter_Intelligent: So, an over-purposeful, artificial language. Like newspeak.


Or Java.
 
2012-12-18 05:34:28 PM
Quijada's entry into artificial languages was inspired by the utopian politics of Esperanto as well as by the import bin at his local record store, where as a teen-ager, in the nineteen-seventies, he discovered a concept album by the French prog-rock band Magma. All the songs were sung in Kobaïan, a melodic alien language made up by the group's eccentric lead singer, Christian Vander.

Magma--FARK YES, biatchES!!! 

\m/
 
2012-12-18 05:35:17 PM
분명히 아무도 한국어 들어 본 적이있다.
 
2012-12-18 05:37:01 PM
After listening to so many people today biatch and moan on both sides of the Instagram debate, it's refreshing to read something of actual substance.

/language enthusiast, etymology fan
 
2012-12-18 05:37:13 PM
This kicked ass.
 
2012-12-18 05:38:00 PM
FTFA:
I was a third humbled, a third flattered, and a third intrigued

Or "thtfti", in Izgudese.
 
2012-12-18 05:39:30 PM
I'm looking forward to reading this later.
 
2012-12-18 05:40:06 PM
So what happens when it becomes a living language and morphs into a flawed, yet serviceable language like all the rest. In theory, people using Ithkuil will change the way they use language. In practice, people will change Ithkuil as they use it. A lot of English's written oddities has to do with the great vowel migration (a political event) happening after the formalization of the written language. That messy people problem is what caused all practical languages to be less than ideal. Given that, why is this language "better" than english? Considering we have damn near universal literacy in the first world, and a majority a literate worldwide, what exactly is the benefit that is immune to the people using it problem?
 
2012-12-18 05:42:00 PM
So...Sanskrit?
 
2012-12-18 05:42:58 PM

Counter_Intelligent: So, an over-purposeful, artificial language. Like newspeak.


Newspeak was designed to simplify ideas and muddle the mind. This does the opposite and is designed to be specific and better convey information.
 
2012-12-18 05:43:45 PM
Huh, the ideographs look exactly like Mahrain from the Culture.
 
2012-12-18 05:44:45 PM

lockers: So what happens when it becomes a living language and morphs into a flawed, yet serviceable language like all the rest. In theory, people using Ithkuil will change the way they use language. In practice, people will change Ithkuil as they use it. A lot of English's written oddities has to do with the great vowel migration (a political event) happening after the formalization of the written language. That messy people problem is what caused all practical languages to be less than ideal. Given that, why is this language "better" than english? Considering we have damn near universal literacy in the first world, and a majority a literate worldwide, what exactly is the benefit that is immune to the people using it problem?


The idea is supposedly that the language is not intended to be spoken. It is intended to be perfect code.

Imagine a society in which English is the primary spoken and written language, except Ithkuil is the language of law. Nobody speaks Ithkuil except for practice.

You have all the advantages of English metaphor and all the advantages of Ithkuil specificity. Imagine spoken English language hand-in-hand with a written Ithkuil Constitution. Literally the best of both worlds.
 
2012-12-18 05:44:57 PM
Among the Wakashan Indians of the Pacific Northwest, a grammatically correct sentence can't be formed without providing what linguists refer to as "evidentiality," inflecting the verb to indicate whether you are speaking from direct experience, inference, conjecture, or hearsay.

English need this.

Cool article, subby, thanks.
 
2012-12-18 05:45:12 PM
I'd be very surprised if the average right wing hater could learn this. I mean study it out.
 
2012-12-18 05:45:15 PM

lockers: great vowel migration


I preferred Vowel Goes West.
 
2012-12-18 05:46:52 PM

casual disregard: The idea is supposedly that the language is not intended to be spoken. It is intended to be perfect code.

Imagine a society in which English is the primary spoken and written language, except Ithkuil is the language of law. Nobody speaks Ithkuil except for practice.

You have all the advantages of English metaphor and all the advantages of Ithkuil specificity. Imagine spoken English language hand-in-hand with a written Ithkuil Constitution. Literally the best of both worlds.


Having two languages in the place of one is stupid.
 
2012-12-18 05:48:04 PM
Imray Klaatu narruwak. Micro pru val barata luke dinsal inkaplis. Yabu tari axel bugettio barengi-degas.
 
2012-12-18 05:48:13 PM
There was a (possibly semi-joking) proposal to run Lojban through some sort of Huffman coding, to form a language called Plan B. I thought it was a fun idea, even though it was relentlessly mocked. :)
 
2012-12-18 05:49:34 PM

casual disregard: lockers: So what happens when it becomes a living language and morphs into a flawed, yet serviceable language like all the rest. In theory, people using Ithkuil will change the way they use language. In practice, people will change Ithkuil as they use it. A lot of English's written oddities has to do with the great vowel migration (a political event) happening after the formalization of the written language. That messy people problem is what caused all practical languages to be less than ideal. Given that, why is this language "better" than english? Considering we have damn near universal literacy in the first world, and a majority a literate worldwide, what exactly is the benefit that is immune to the people using it problem?

The idea is supposedly that the language is not intended to be spoken. It is intended to be perfect code.

Imagine a society in which English is the primary spoken and written language, except Ithkuil is the language of law. Nobody speaks Ithkuil except for practice.

You have all the advantages of English metaphor and all the advantages of Ithkuil specificity. Imagine spoken English language hand-in-hand with a written Ithkuil Constitution. Literally the best of both worlds.


I'd rather not imagine a society where the law is written in a language most people can't understand.
 
2012-12-18 05:51:14 PM

KarmicDisaster: I'd be very surprised if the average right wing hater could learn this. I mean study it out.


This is the strangely sad part. One of the most powerful European right-wing Caucasian hate-groups has determined that this language is key to their placebo. On one level, it's great to see their interest. When you marry that with reality it's easy to see how the author's enthusiam wilted.

To put it as personally as possible - who the fark hates Jews? I met a few Jews I could marry. So there's that.
 
2012-12-18 05:51:30 PM
Holy crap that was interesting.

I will never underestimate DMV workers again.
 
2012-12-18 05:52:21 PM

EnglishMan:

I'd rather not imagine a society where the law is written in a language most people can't understand.


Law in the US is written in English, supposedly, but have you tried to read any of it?
 
2012-12-18 05:53:51 PM

casual disregard: lockers: So what happens when it becomes a living language and morphs into a flawed, yet serviceable language like all the rest. In theory, people using Ithkuil will change the way they use language. In practice, people will change Ithkuil as they use it. A lot of English's written oddities has to do with the great vowel migration (a political event) happening after the formalization of the written language. That messy people problem is what caused all practical languages to be less than ideal. Given that, why is this language "better" than english? Considering we have damn near universal literacy in the first world, and a majority a literate worldwide, what exactly is the benefit that is immune to the people using it problem?

The idea is supposedly that the language is not intended to be spoken. It is intended to be perfect code.

Imagine a society in which English is the primary spoken and written language, except Ithkuil is the language of law. Nobody speaks Ithkuil except for practice.

You have all the advantages of English metaphor and all the advantages of Ithkuil specificity. Imagine spoken English language hand-in-hand with a written Ithkuil Constitution. Literally the best of both worlds.


Meh, law already uses a condensed and specific form of english that you and I call "legalese". Laws that are too vague get tossed by the court system. Contracts that are too vague get tossed in disputes. There is already a system in place that makes english conform to that need, while requiring no additional learning to be accessible to the vast majority of those who must conform to the law.

Color me unconvinced.
 
2012-12-18 05:54:17 PM
Mi fartas bone.
 
2012-12-18 05:54:48 PM

KarmicDisaster: I'd be very surprised if the average right wing hater could learn this. I mean study it out.


Careful now.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_intelligence
 
2012-12-18 05:55:01 PM

KarmicDisaster: I'd be very surprised if the average right wing hater could learn this. I mean study it out.


It makes sense. The accuracy of language in law is the domain of right-wingers. Look at how what "well regulated" means no longer means what it used to mean.
 
2012-12-18 05:56:17 PM
I know the New Yorker also has a print magazine. Do they publish just one article per issue? Or is each issue the size of a phone book?

/that article would have been shorter in Ithkuil.
 
2012-12-18 05:56:27 PM
d6xokdhfna55s.cloudfront.net
 
2012-12-18 05:56:43 PM

Mrbogey: Counter_Intelligent: So, an over-purposeful, artificial language. Like newspeak.

Newspeak was designed to simplify ideas and muddle the mind. This does the opposite and is designed to be specific and better convey information.


I think more precisely, Newspeak was intended to limit the range of thought available. If there were literally no words to describe an idea that the party disapproved of, then thoughtcrime became impossible. You could say 'Big Brother doubleplus ungood' but Orwell points out that that's considered a nonsensical contradiction rather than treason.

From the article, it sounds like this invented language achieved the exact opposite: it's possible to come up with words for things that no one's even thought of yet.
 
2012-12-18 05:57:27 PM
I wrote my thesis on the Philosophy of Language. I've never looked at it since.

/yes, I'm gainfully employed despite a philosophy degree
//and a chemistry minor
///slashies
 
2012-12-18 05:57:31 PM

clovis69: Holy crap that was interesting.

I will never underestimate DMV workers again.


I think that article just emphasizes how useless DMV workers are.
 
2012-12-18 05:58:22 PM

Outlawtsar: 분명히 아무도 한국어 들어 본 적이있다.


Apparently not. I want to learn Korean just for the awesome alphabet. Everything looks like an equation.

/used to know hangul
//dirt-cheap, spotless Seoul subway, I miss you
 
2012-12-18 05:58:59 PM
Parolante nur por mi mem, mi kredas ke tiu estas senmanka. 
 
2012-12-18 06:00:06 PM

EnglishMan:
I'd rather not imagine a society where the law is written in a language most people can't understand.


Even lawyers need training with it....
farm1.static.flickr.com
 
2012-12-18 06:06:28 PM

lockers: casual disregard: lockers: So what happens when it becomes a living language and morphs into a flawed, yet serviceable language like all the rest. In theory, people using Ithkuil will change the way they use language. In practice, people will change Ithkuil as they use it. A lot of English's written oddities has to do with the great vowel migration (a political event) happening after the formalization of the written language. That messy people problem is what caused all practical languages to be less than ideal. Given that, why is this language "better" than english? Considering we have damn near universal literacy in the first world, and a majority a literate worldwide, what exactly is the benefit that is immune to the people using it problem?

The idea is supposedly that the language is not intended to be spoken. It is intended to be perfect code.

Imagine a society in which English is the primary spoken and written language, except Ithkuil is the language of law. Nobody speaks Ithkuil except for practice.

You have all the advantages of English metaphor and all the advantages of Ithkuil specificity. Imagine spoken English language hand-in-hand with a written Ithkuil Constitution. Literally the best of both worlds.

Meh, law already uses a condensed and specific form of english that you and I call "legalese". Laws that are too vague get tossed by the court system. Contracts that are too vague get tossed in disputes. There is already a system in place that makes english conform to that need, while requiring no additional learning to be accessible to the vast majority of those who must conform to the law.

Color me unconvinced.


I think I agree with you. Except I have never witnissed Ithkuil fail :3 I would much prefer to witness the event in real-time than to pre-suppose it must be a dead idea.
 
2012-12-18 06:07:57 PM

cig-mkr: [d6xokdhfna55s.cloudfront.net image 201x201]


That's called metathesis. Happens a lot. For example, in classical Greek, I have is ekho. I will have should be ekhso, but it's eskho. Another example: Bird used to be pronounce brid. And Germans say Ross (short for hross) instead of horse.
 
2012-12-18 06:08:20 PM
Link

/Lots of it in the new movie
 
2012-12-18 06:11:07 PM
You know, it's like I always say:
 
upload.wikimedia.org 
 
2012-12-18 06:13:35 PM

GypsyJoker: Quijada's entry into artificial languages was inspired by the utopian politics of Esperanto as well as by the import bin at his local record store, where as a teen-ager, in the nineteen-seventies, he discovered a concept album by the French prog-rock band Magma. All the songs were sung in Kobaïan, a melodic alien language made up by the group's eccentric lead singer, Christian Vander.

Magma--FARK YES, biatchES!!! 

\m/


Good on you for spreading the Magmavirus and all, but there are videos of a 70s lineup doing Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh too:

part 1
part 2
part 3 

And De Futura too.
 
2012-12-18 06:14:13 PM
Did he come up with this idea out of jealousy of his co-workers at the DMV who are WAY ahead of him?

/nomsan?
 
2012-12-18 06:14:57 PM
Already been done but worth the repost:

http://www.fark.com/comments/3985938/45888876#c45888876
 
2012-12-18 06:15:21 PM
tl;dr

/how's that for concise, Cochise?
 
2012-12-18 06:18:57 PM

casual disregard: I think I agree with you. Except I have never witnissed Ithkuil fail :3 I would much prefer to witness the event in real-time than to pre-suppose it must be a dead idea.


While I am not a fan of not giving things a chance, I believe it's safe to assume that ithkuil is going nowhere. If you really want to give it a chance, embed it in a very successful fiction that you can world build around. Star trek gave you klingon... and I have met people who could read tolkeins what-ever-it-is-named elvish. That is probably your only chance of getting it taken seriously.
 
2012-12-18 06:19:32 PM
So they talk about Wilkins and Hooke but no mention of Waterhouse? I'm not falling for this crap.
 
2012-12-18 06:19:42 PM

EnglishMan: casual disregard: lockers: So what happens when it becomes a living language and morphs into a flawed, yet serviceable language like all the rest. In theory, people using Ithkuil will change the way they use language. In practice, people will change Ithkuil as they use it. A lot of English's written oddities has to do with the great vowel migration (a political event) happening after the formalization of the written language. That messy people problem is what caused all practical languages to be less than ideal. Given that, why is this language "better" than english? Considering we have damn near universal literacy in the first world, and a majority a literate worldwide, what exactly is the benefit that is immune to the people using it problem?

The idea is supposedly that the language is not intended to be spoken. It is intended to be perfect code.

Imagine a society in which English is the primary spoken and written language, except Ithkuil is the language of law. Nobody speaks Ithkuil except for practice.

You have all the advantages of English metaphor and all the advantages of Ithkuil specificity. Imagine spoken English language hand-in-hand with a written Ithkuil Constitution. Literally the best of both worlds.

I'd rather not imagine a society where the law is written in a language most people can't understand.


And that would be different from the status quo how?

Laws may be written in English; but, the terminology and form of the law is in legalese.

/ just take a moment and look at a bill of sale; the language, there in, is exacting. Many examples abound in the legal world.
 
2012-12-18 06:21:47 PM
I looked at the website . Pretty much unpronounceable. Ergative-absolutive grammar, meaning no nominative or accusative. 70 cases including 7 different types of genitive. Also fun stuff like applicative functive assimilative etc. Like Basque

The verbs come in different flavors including adjectives state verbs intransitive etc. Reminds me of Georgian but complicated. Lots of moods (like subjunctive) subordinate clauses are nouns like in Japanese (or descriptive verbs).

And so on.

No one will ever learn this.
 
2012-12-18 06:24:38 PM

ilambiquated: I looked at the website . Pretty much unpronounceable. Ergative-absolutive grammar, meaning no nominative or accusative. 70 cases including 7 different types of genitive. Also fun stuff like applicative functive assimilative etc. Like Basque

The verbs come in different flavors including adjectives state verbs intransitive etc. Reminds me of Georgian but complicated. Lots of moods (like subjunctive) subordinate clauses are nouns like in Japanese (or descriptive verbs).

And so on.

No one will ever learn this.


Klingon and Quenya are easier to understand than this.
 
2012-12-18 06:25:43 PM

ilambiquated: I looked at the website . Pretty much unpronounceable. Ergative-absolutive grammar, meaning no nominative or accusative. 70 cases including 7 different types of genitive. Also fun stuff like applicative functive assimilative etc. Like Basque

The verbs come in different flavors including adjectives state verbs intransitive etc. Reminds me of Georgian but complicated. Lots of moods (like subjunctive) subordinate clauses are nouns like in Japanese (or descriptive verbs).

And so on.

No one will ever learn this.


All intentional! And yet the "Univeristy of Effective Development" now requires all graduates to learn Ithkiuil. And these graudates are basically de facto members of extreme right-wing hate groups. What a wonderful world?
 
2012-12-18 06:30:56 PM
...an idealized language whose aim is the highest possible degree of logic, efficiency, detail, and accuracy in cognitive expression via spoken human language, while minimizing the ambiguity, vagueness, illogic, redundancy, polysemy (multiple meanings) and overall arbitrariness that is seemingly ubiquitous in natural human language."

tl;dr
 
2012-12-18 06:31:11 PM

ilambiquated: cig-mkr: [d6xokdhfna55s.cloudfront.net image 201x201]

That's called metathesis. Happens a lot. For example, in classical Greek, I have is ekho. I will have should be ekhso, but it's eskho. Another example: Bird used to be pronounce brid. And Germans say Ross (short for hross) instead of horse.



I can understand metathesis, it seems a natural progression of language, like the words (?) we use for texting will become the norm with time.
Ebonics, or "African American Vernacular English" just seemed to me to be an excuse for a poor command of the English language. It's probably just the way it was presented and how the media hammered it to death.
 
2012-12-18 06:32:24 PM
Nice find, subs. I enjoyed it.
 
2012-12-18 06:32:28 PM

ilambiquated: No one will ever learn this.


i don't think they were really supposed to. it seems like an interesting thought experiment that morphed out of this guys hobby. it seems unlikely he ever intended it to be anything more than something for other extreme hobbyists to pick over.
 
2012-12-18 06:32:45 PM

Counter_Intelligent: So, an over-purposeful, artificial language. Like newspeak.


Double-plus ungood.
 
2012-12-18 06:34:44 PM

ilambiquated: cig-mkr: [d6xokdhfna55s.cloudfront.net image 201x201]

That's called metathesis. Happens a lot. For example, in classical Greek, I have is ekho. I will have should be ekhso, but it's eskho. Another example: Bird used to be pronounce brid. And Germans say Ross (short for hross) instead of horse.


Out of curiosity, where do Germans use Ross instead of Pferd?

Been a German speaker since I was 5, don't think I've heard that one.
 
2012-12-18 06:39:17 PM

cgraves67: Ithkuil's conceptual pedigree can be traced back to Leibniz, Bacon, and Descartes, and especially to a seventeenth-century bishop and polymath, John Wilkins, who tried to actualize their lofty ideals. In his "Essay Towards a Real Character, and a Philosophical Language," from 1668, Wilkins laid out a sprawling taxonomic tree that was intended to represent a rational classification of every concept, thing, and action in the universe. Each branch along the tree corresponded to a letter or a syllable, so that assembling a word was simply a matter of tracing a set of forking limbs until you'd arrived on a distant tendril representing the concept you wanted to express. For example, in Wilkins's system, De signifies an element, Deb is fire, and Debα is a flame.

The natural philosopher Robert Hooke was so impressed by Wilkins's language that he published a discourse on pocket watches in it, and proposed that it be made the lingua franca of scientific research. That never happened. The language was simply too burdensome, and it soon vanished into obscurity. But Wilkins's taxonomic-classification scheme, which organized words by meaning rather than alphabetically, was not entirely without use: it was a predecessor of the first modern thesaurus.


I was wondering if they were going to get to Wilkins. I've found this field interesting ever since it was a sort of side plot in the Baroque Cycle.


I think the Robert Hooke stuff is pretty darn cool, too.

\Hooke's law for the win!
 
2012-12-18 06:41:56 PM
Weird. Hate groups are usually pretty attached to their native language.
 
2012-12-18 06:42:08 PM
Solresol, the creation of a French musician named Jean-François Sudre, was among the first of these universal languages to gain popular attention. It had only seven syllables: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, and Si. Words could be sung, or performed on a violin. Or, since the language could also be translated into the seven colors of the rainbow, sentences could be woven into a textile as a stream of colors.

Whar chromatic variants? Whar?
 
2012-12-18 06:51:17 PM
No one who set out to design a form of communication would ever end up with anything like English, Mandarin

Yes

, or any of the more than six thousand languages spoken today.

No. See that's not fair to every other language in the world, to choose the two weirdest (ok and French) languges. I'm not saying every other language makes sense (IANAL) but obviously the intense colonial/trade/exploration/science contacts have made those languages a mess.
 
2012-12-18 06:53:32 PM

Dr.Zom: Among the Wakashan Indians of the Pacific Northwest, a grammatically correct sentence can't be formed without providing what linguists refer to as "evidentiality," inflecting the verb to indicate whether you are speaking from direct experience, inference, conjecture, or hearsay.

English need this.

Cool article, subby, thanks.


Quechua has a similar evidentiality. I know this personally, I am not speaking from hearsay :)
 
2012-12-18 06:58:43 PM

Don't Tongue the Reaper!: Dr.Zom: Among the Wakashan Indians of the Pacific Northwest, a grammatically correct sentence can't be formed without providing what linguists refer to as "evidentiality," inflecting the verb to indicate whether you are speaking from direct experience, inference, conjecture, or hearsay.

English need this.

Cool article, subby, thanks.

Quechua has a similar evidentiality. I know this personally, I am not speaking from hearsay :)


A sample map of semantically-coded evidentiality.

Discussion of same.

Very cool website, WALS.
 
2012-12-18 07:01:19 PM
How exactly does not having words for egocentric coordinates benefit anyone? Or did I miss something in the article and ithkuil also has words for left/right/front/back?
 
2012-12-18 07:04:12 PM
Utopian ideas appeal to authoritarians. It might be said that utopian ideas are the impulse that makes people want to impose thier will on others.
 
2012-12-18 07:08:18 PM

Mawson of the Antarctic: After listening to so many people today biatch and moan on both sides of the Instagram debate, it's refreshing to read something of actual substance.

/language enthusiast, etymology fan


Wanna be friends?
 
2012-12-18 07:08:32 PM

CowardlyLion: How exactly does not having words for egocentric coordinates benefit anyone? Or did I miss something in the article and ithkuil also has words for left/right/front/back?


Using non-subjective coordinates probably makes the folks who speak that language less likely to get lost when following directions.
 
2012-12-18 07:09:23 PM
That was interesting and heart breaking when the cults were shown. The red flags were there in the beginning. I wonder if this what would be needed if we wanted an AI to talk with humans. That and it reminds me of the Sheliak from star trek.
 
2012-12-18 07:10:36 PM

Pointy Tail of Satan: Imray Klaatu narruwak. Micro pru val barata luke dinsal inkaplis. Yabu tari axel bugettio barengi-degas.


"Bah Weep Granah Weep Ninni Bong!"
 
2012-12-18 07:18:45 PM
What a cunning linguist!

/really, 75 comments in and I'm the first?
//very interesting read
 
2012-12-18 07:19:13 PM

casual disregard: You have all the advantages of English metaphor and all the advantages of Ithkuil specificity. Imagine spoken English language hand-in-hand with a written Ithkuil Constitution. Literally the best of both worlds.


Legalese is already another language. Except that ordinary people might accidentally understand it. You've solved that problem. Hooray for the rise of the lawyers!
 
2012-12-18 07:29:16 PM
Interesting article, thanks Subby.

Remember reading Samuel R. Delany's "Babel-17" which relied heavily on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and introduced the concept of a language without the word or concept of "I" so it became impossible to think of self.
 
2012-12-18 07:29:36 PM

ilambiquated: I looked at the website . Pretty much unpronounceable. Ergative-absolutive grammar, meaning no nominative or accusative. 70 cases including 7 different types of genitive. Also fun stuff like applicative functive assimilative etc. Like Basque

The verbs come in different flavors including adjectives state verbs intransitive etc. Reminds me of Georgian but complicated. Lots of moods (like subjunctive) subordinate clauses are nouns like in Japanese (or descriptive verbs).

And so on.

No one will ever learn this.


Not only that, considering that it exists to be "exact and concise" what are the odds of two speakers ever understanding each other? Considering the difficulty of pronunciation, how many different meanings would you have to go through to determine which one the guy was trying to pronounce?

Hint: If you are going to run Loglan through a Huffman coder, consider a Hanning coder next.

/RAH fan
//loved Gulf
///went to the Library of Congress to dig up any of Dr. Samuel Renshaw's "followup works" on the Tscope
////everything I found can be googled in minutes.
 
2012-12-18 07:30:35 PM
English has so many built-in ambiguities in its syntax.

For example, if you heard of a prostitute cannibal, would you think that's a cannibal who ate prostitutes, or a prostitute who was also a cannibal?

It's so weird that many words mean their opposite when prefixed with "in-" or "un-", but many accents have feature which deemphasizes the first syllable of a word. There's a lot more slurring in common speech than most people are aware of. The speech used in almost all forms of acting in TV/movie/radio/audiobook has a lot of specifications which exclude common-speech features in various accents. Even when acting out a Cockney, Southern, or New Yawk accent, the enunciation is a bit different than you'd normally find spoken.

Consequently many of the BASE words got deprecated because they couldn't be distinguished from the negated form. For example, "evitable" and "clement" are words, but rarer if not deprecated. If you said "inevitable" or "inclement" with a lot of common-speech accents, the "n" sound is often short and can be absent but the word may be assumed to be "inevitable" or "inclement" even in the lack of contextual clues, unless the surrounding enunciation context is so bold and clear that its absence would be noted.
 
2012-12-18 07:31:49 PM

Bonzo_1116: CowardlyLion: How exactly does not having words for egocentric coordinates benefit anyone? Or did I miss something in the article and ithkuil also has words for left/right/front/back?

Using non-subjective coordinates probably makes the folks who speak that language less likely to get lost when following directions.


I fully agree that if you're giving someone directions, north/south/east/west are great (at least when in a city, that's how I'll give directions to anyone who's properly oriented), but should an ER doctor care if my north leg (which could readily become east, west, or south) is broken, or my left leg? Without subjective coordinates, it's needlessly difficult/confusing (if not impossible) to discuss anatomy or any task where subjective coordinates are more important than one's orientation to the Earth.
 
2012-12-18 07:32:57 PM
Well, at least now I know where meow said the dog gets his stuff.
 
2012-12-18 07:36:33 PM
Very cool, thanks subby.

Anyone know of any good resources for a budding language/linguistics enthusiast, either online or actual book?
 
2012-12-18 07:40:00 PM
I enjoyed the article. All eleventy billion words of it.
 
2012-12-18 07:43:22 PM

cherryl taggart: Well, at least now I know where meow said the dog gets his stuff.


His?

/only person I've ever put on ignore
 
2012-12-18 07:50:19 PM

CowardlyLion: How exactly does not having words for egocentric coordinates benefit anyone? Or did I miss something in the article and ithkuil also has words for left/right/front/back?


Sounds like a crippling deficiency to me, if it's true, which I'm guessing it only sort of is. If you didn't recall the compass directions in a story you were telling, or if you wanted to relate something in general, you'd end up having to frame your description in terms of either some default or arbitrary orientation (what a mess) or your (or you listener's?) current orientation (also a mess). At best you're just using a (much) worse version of egocentric coordinates. My guess is that speakers of that language do exactly that, which would make the claim only half-true, or else it's simply wrong and they do have words for egocentric coordinates.

I get the idea of restrictions leading to greater precision and other benefits, but this doesn't strike me as that sort of thing at all.
 
2012-12-18 07:56:58 PM

Oznog:
Consequently many of the BASE words got deprecated because they couldn't be distinguished from the negated form. For example, "evitable" and "clement" are words, but rarer if not deprecated.


Tell me it's not to late to precate them again!


/sorry
 
2012-12-18 07:58:01 PM
^too

I typo'd in a linguist thread.
 
2012-12-18 08:00:16 PM
 
2012-12-18 08:04:41 PM
bookmark
 
2012-12-18 08:07:03 PM

SmackLT: You know, it's like I always say:
 
 


Thanks. In the process of trying to read that, I managed to work the crick from my neck. Feels much better now.
 
2012-12-18 08:10:00 PM

casual disregard: Imagine a society in which English is the primary spoken and written language, except Ithkuil is the language of law. Nobody speaks Ithkuil except for practice.

You have all the advantages of English metaphor and all the advantages of Ithkuil specificity. Imagine spoken English language hand-in-hand with a written Ithkuil Constitution. Literally the best of both worlds.


I understand the point, but it leaves a huge gulf between the written and spoken language, like Chinese. People literally have to learn two separate languages to both speak and write.

For one thing, it promotes illiteracy. Mastering written Chinese is a herculean task that was crystalized in practices like the mandarin examinations. It tends to absorb effort that could be channeled into more practical or fulfilling ends.

For a country to establish spoken English and written Ithkuil as official languages would be worse than simply using Chinese. Since the languages are separate in structure, anything spoken that has to be written down is subject to misunderstanding and mischief. Contracts and legislation would suddenly require a two-step process to accomplish anything meaningful that represents the original intent.
 
2012-12-18 08:11:56 PM

DeltaPunch: Very cool, thanks subby.

Anyone know of any good resources for a budding language/linguistics enthusiast, either online or actual book?


Well, it's not an entry-level site, but Language Log has a lot of fascinating posts and commentary pulled from modern media. It's fun to browse, although some of the discussion gets pretty technical.

Contemporary Linguistics is a common entry-level text on the subject, broken down into the various sub-disciplines (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, sociolinguistics, historical ling, etc.). It's pretty decent as textbooks go; this is an older edition that's a hell of a lot cheaper and just as good.

It's kind of hard to think of any "general" sites or books other than that; the subdisciplines all have great sources, but they're pretty narrowly focused. Is there something specific you're interested in?
 
2012-12-18 08:24:36 PM
If you want to hear snippets of a sampling of the world's languages, try here.

Some amazingly cool stuff; the Ubykh soundfiles are priceless. (Almost literally, because the language is dead.)
 
2012-12-18 08:34:35 PM
Wow, as someone who's re-reading Baugh and Cable's History of the English Language just for funsies, I'm enjoying this thread.
 
And who redid the CSS for the comment box? It looks all shiny now.
 
2012-12-18 08:39:11 PM
Finally got to read the whole thing--great article. Thanks, casual disregard.

Makes me want to take back one of the nasty things I've said about my chosen field. Don't know which one yet, but I'm sure I'll think of one.
 
2012-12-18 08:40:56 PM

Suckmaster Burstingfoam: GypsyJoker: Quijada's entry into artificial languages was inspired by the utopian politics of Esperanto as well as by the import bin at his local record store, where as a teen-ager, in the nineteen-seventies, he discovered a concept album by the French prog-rock band Magma. All the songs were sung in Kobaïan, a melodic alien language made up by the group's eccentric lead singer, Christian Vander.

Magma--FARK YES, biatchES!!! 

\m/

Good on you for spreading the Magmavirus and all, but there are videos of a 70s lineup doing Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh too:

part 1
part 2
part 3 

And De Futura too.


Great stuff! Haven't had time to plunder the prog depths of YouTube, but thanks!
 
2012-12-18 08:41:49 PM

cig-mkr: ilambiquated: cig-mkr: [d6xokdhfna55s.cloudfront.net image 201x201]

That's called metathesis. Happens a lot. For example, in classical Greek, I have is ekho. I will have should be ekhso, but it's eskho. Another example: Bird used to be pronounce brid. And Germans say Ross (short for hross) instead of horse.


I can understand metathesis, it seems a natural progression of language, like the words (?) we use for texting will become the norm with time.
Ebonics, or "African American Vernacular English" just seemed to me to be an excuse for a poor command of the English language. It's probably just the way it was presented and how the media hammered it to death.


Ebonics IS a poor command of the English language. Watch who speak it - those who fail out of the educational system.
 
2012-12-18 08:41:53 PM

DeltaPunch: Very cool, thanks subby.

Anyone know of any good resources for a budding language/linguistics enthusiast, either online or actual book?


I'm a Pinker fan. Pretty readable.
 
2012-12-18 08:48:41 PM

MemeSlave: cig-mkr: ilambiquated: cig-mkr: [d6xokdhfna55s.cloudfront.net image 201x201]

That's called metathesis. Happens a lot. For example, in classical Greek, I have is ekho. I will have should be ekhso, but it's eskho. Another example: Bird used to be pronounce brid. And Germans say Ross (short for hross) instead of horse.


I can understand metathesis, it seems a natural progression of language, like the words (?) we use for texting will become the norm with time.
Ebonics, or "African American Vernacular English" just seemed to me to be an excuse for a poor command of the English language. It's probably just the way it was presented and how the media hammered it to death.

Ebonics IS a poor command of the English language. Watch who speak it - those who fail out of the educational system.


IIRC, the Ebonics curriculum was designed to alleviate that problem; it was supposed to serve as a sort of bilingual ed, with the intent to bring inner city kids into speaking a more-standard form of English.
 
2012-12-18 08:49:16 PM
^^ That's "more-standard."
 
2012-12-18 08:50:53 PM
For a long view of the topic, check out Umberto Eco's The Search for the Perfect Language. Fascinating book.
 
2012-12-18 08:54:23 PM

MemeSlave: Ebonics IS a poor command of the English language. Watch who speak it - those who fail out of the educational system.

 
No it's not. It's a dialect of American English, with regularized transformations between the two. You're conflating linguistics with cultural demarcations of social class.
 
2012-12-18 08:58:23 PM
Screw Esperanto. I've always felt that Spanish has the easiest spelling, fewest inconsistencies and best propensity for "saying what you mean". If we could drop the genders in Spanish, it would be the easiest language to learn, methinks.
 
2012-12-18 09:03:33 PM
Ha, I thought that link was how to speak Elvis,not elvish
 
2012-12-18 09:07:52 PM

MemeSlave: Ebonics IS a poor command of the English language. Watch who speak it - those who fail out of the educational system.


Wow, you don't really know anything about linguistics at all.
 
2012-12-18 09:33:00 PM
Doubleplusgood!
 
2012-12-18 09:35:32 PM

Philip Francis Queeg: How do you say "esperanto" in Ithkuil?


Came for this ^.

And ftfa, regarding 'Gulf': 'Using their efficient language to communicate, the New Men plot to take over the world from the benighted "homo saps."

No. This is like saying 'LotR' is about a birthday party.
 
2012-12-18 09:36:28 PM

theorellior: MemeSlave: Ebonics IS a poor command of the English language. Watch who speak it - those who fail out of the educational system.
 
No it's not. It's a dialect of American English, with regularized transformations between the two. You're conflating linguistics with cultural demarcations of social class.

 
 
Don't make me go all rhinoceros on you........mesmile ha you!
 
Article was very good.  That guy's brilliant and humble and has all types of refined spiritual depth.
 
I'm simpler (duh)...fell in love with one word, and created a webpage for it.....from a Philippine dialect (Cibuano), the word is, well, "lantawa"   Here's the webpage for it   http://lantawa.com/  
 
Sorry about those Politics incidents. I'm sort of a bright spaz-noir, such as that may be. I'm over it.
 
2012-12-18 10:03:49 PM

casual disregard: I think I agree with you. Except I have never witnissed Ithkuil fail :3 I would much prefer to witness the event in real-time than to pre-suppose it must be a dead idea.


What happens when two Ithkuil speakers disagree on how to translate a word or concept? Say that you (taking the example from the article) think that gawk contains an element of surprise and I think that gawk contains an element of stupidity?
 
2012-12-18 10:09:34 PM

lockers: casual disregard: I think I agree with you. Except I have never witnissed Ithkuil fail :3 I would much prefer to witness the event in real-time than to pre-suppose it must be a dead idea.

While I am not a fan of not giving things a chance, I believe it's safe to assume that ithkuil is going nowhere. If you really want to give it a chance, embed it in a very successful fiction that you can world build around. Star trek gave you klingon... and I have met people who could read tolkeins what-ever-it-is-named elvish. That is probably your only chance of getting it taken seriously.


Where it could be taken seriously is in the area of language translation and speech recognition. It could be a kind of CLR for translators.
 
2012-12-18 10:10:44 PM
How do we know this is a hate group? Did I miss something in the article? I just saw a Russian group that was interested...?
 
2012-12-18 10:35:43 PM

TorqueToad: How do we know this is a hate group? Did I miss something in the article? I just saw a Russian group that was interested...?


They are lead by an anti-semitic nutter who wants to create a superhuman society to help free the ukraine from their russian overlords and the global elite (jews!). The main speaker at the conference was a known terrorist who'd served time for his criminal acts.

it's on like page 8.
 
2012-12-18 10:55:59 PM
Yea, I don't think the author understood Gulf all that well.

Interesting that the story also mentioned Loglan but failed to mention the use of Loglan in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", what I consider to be RAH's best.

Interestingly, I was Renshawed back in the mid 1960's as part of a treatment for dyslexia. Seemed to work and I did become a very fast reader, although I'm not sure the T-scope was as useful as the adjustable speed reading screen - which in those days was a mechanical device that you placed over the open page of the book and was driven by a spring.
 
2012-12-18 11:20:57 PM

GypsyJoker: If you want to hear snippets of a sampling of the world's languages, try here.

Some amazingly cool stuff; the Ubykh soundfiles are priceless. (Almost literally, because the language is dead.)


Neeeeeeaaat.

/etymology nerd
 
2012-12-18 11:28:16 PM

NoboruWatanabe: ilambiquated: cig-mkr: [d6xokdhfna55s.cloudfront.net image 201x201]

That's called metathesis. Happens a lot. For example, in classical Greek, I have is ekho. I will have should be ekhso, but it's eskho. Another example: Bird used to be pronounce brid. And Germans say Ross (short for hross) instead of horse.

Out of curiosity, where do Germans use Ross instead of Pferd?

Been a German speaker since I was 5, don't think I've heard that one.


Not a Rammstein fan?

"Ich bin der Reiter
Du bist das Ross
Ich steige auf
Wir reiten los
Du stohnst ich sag dir vor
Ein Elefant im Nadelohr"

Rein Raus, from the album Mutter
 
2012-12-18 11:31:37 PM
Well, because this is Fark, here's the world's compendium of swear words in all languages, starting with Tagalog
 
It is not safe for work
 
http://www.youswear.com/index.asp?language=Tagalog+%28Philippine%29
 
2012-12-18 11:37:18 PM
I have never heard of Ithkuil before. Hmmm.
 
2012-12-18 11:45:42 PM

LordOfThePings: thisisyourbrainonFark: tl;dr

+1


At first I was thinking tl;dr, then I r and realized that even though it was a little l it was wi
 
2012-12-18 11:59:25 PM
"On a warm afternoon in mid-July, I visited Quijada's modest three-bedroom home in suburban Sacramento, where he lives with his wife, Carol Barry, also a retired civil servant..."

That's a sweeter deal than tenure, I am sure.

Constructed or natural, language is arbitrary. If natural languages are arbitrary, and he is building upon a framework based of natural languages, then his creation i is just as arbitrary as any other language. He's not created a language from scratch, just borrowed concepts and categories translated from his own linguistic framework into what his cultural/mental maps deem as "more precise". His idea of precision might be your complete inelegant sloppiness.

The really precise language was probably howled by the wild boy of Aveyron.

/I was a linguistics major, and the amount of egotistical puffery with the field, the Chomsky/Pinker fellation, the chicken/egg arguments, the hyping it up into a being a "real" science, as something mathematically rigorous and exact, plus the grad student brain sucking thievery of academia, etc...made me glad to graduate.
 
2012-12-19 12:00:11 AM

Fark Rye For Many Whores: No one who set out to design a form of communication would ever end up with anything like English, Mandarin

Yes

, or any of the more than six thousand languages spoken today.

No. See that's not fair to every other language in the world, to choose the two weirdest (ok and French) languges. I'm not saying every other language makes sense (IANAL) but obviously the intense colonial/trade/exploration/science contacts have made those languages a mess.


You must forgive me, but I feel like that's a small apology for nudity. I realize we can't account for everything!

/fwiw no languages "make sense"
 
2012-12-19 12:06:12 AM

casual disregard: Submitter here. I actually felt my heart break when I noticed Ithkuil had been embraced by terrorists.

Part of me, saying this as a USA citizen, wants to found a "daughter" country of the USA just to prove it's possible. And in doing so there would be two official languages: English would be spoken and written and Ithkuil would be the lingua franca. Or, I suppose, the lingua ithkuil.

Breaks my farking heart to see a hate group endorsing it, though.


Meh. I'm sure many anti-Semites piss into toilets while standing up.

Doesn't mean I'm going to put the seat down.

/why let douchebags ruin good things?
 
2012-12-19 12:26:42 AM

on the road: casual disregard: Imagine a society in which English is the primary spoken and written language, except Ithkuil is the language of law. Nobody speaks Ithkuil except for practice.

You have all the advantages of English metaphor and all the advantages of Ithkuil specificity. Imagine spoken English language hand-in-hand with a written Ithkuil Constitution. Literally the best of both worlds.

I understand the point, but it leaves a huge gulf between the written and spoken language, like Chinese. People literally have to learn two separate languages to both speak and write.

For one thing, it promotes illiteracy. Mastering written Chinese is a herculean task that was crystalized in practices like the mandarin examinations. It tends to absorb effort that could be channeled into more practical or fulfilling ends.

For a country to establish spoken English and written Ithkuil as official languages would be worse than simply using Chinese. Since the languages are separate in structure, anything spoken that has to be written down is subject to misunderstanding and mischief. Contracts and legislation would suddenly require a two-step process to accomplish anything meaningful that represents the original intent.


That is an excellent point which I cannot answer. I would hope that the crystalline structure of Ithkuil would overtake the problem. But successful implementation would require good faith. Can we guarantee good faith on an inherently unfaithful format of communication? Before we answer, let's remember that the first group to acknowledge Ithkuil seriously was a hate group.
 
2012-12-19 12:30:34 AM
Subby is confused. Hate Groups are always left-wing
 
2012-12-19 12:42:30 AM

Clemkadidlefark: Subby is confused. Hate Groups are always left-wing


No, they're North, South, East, or West-wing, depending on which direction they're facing at the time.
 
2012-12-19 12:53:21 AM

Graffito: casual disregard: I think I agree with you. Except I have never witnissed Ithkuil fail :3 I would much prefer to witness the event in real-time than to pre-suppose it must be a dead idea.

What happens when two Ithkuil speakers disagree on how to translate a word or concept? Say that you (taking the example from the article) think that gawk contains an element of surprise and I think that gawk contains an element of stupidity?


I think that is a fair criticism. I suppose the idea is that Ithkuil is rigidly defined and rigidly enforced. I don't know how specifically you could prevent it from deforming or devolving. It's the sort of language which has no native speakers by default and therefore has no rules to break as a result.
 
2012-12-19 12:59:46 AM

cig-mkr: Ebonics, or "African American Vernacular English" just seemed to me to be an excuse for a poor command of the English language. It's probably just the way it was presented and how the media hammered it to death.


Actually, my understanding was that by classifying "Ebonics" as different language, schools could get ESL (English as a Second Language) grants to teach them how to speak English.   Schools in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods were getting extra money to teach their students how to speak English, and the schools in predominantly Black neighborhoods wanted a piece of that action too.  
 
Ironically, the black community got their panties in a wad about this, played the race card, and effectively screwed themselves out of a nice chunk of federal grant money for their kids.
 
2012-12-19 01:03:18 AM

Mawson of the Antarctic: After listening to so many people today biatch and moan on both sides of the Instagram debate, it's refreshing to read something of actual substance.

 
/language enthusiast, etymology fan
 
 
If you're interested in this kind of thing, you might want to read Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid ("GEB" for short) or Le Ton beau de Marot by Douglas Hofstadter. He wrote some pretty interesting stuff about translation.  One of the the points he made was that the shorter a piece of text is, the harder it is to translate it well.  Thus, he concludes, the title of a longer work is often the most difficult part of the work to translate, since it encapsulates so much meaning into so little text.
 
One example that I think illustrates this point is a short story written in Spanish titled "Nosotras."  The word "nosotras" is the feminine first person plural; it's used when everyone being referred to is female.  I guess you could translate it as "We, the Women" or "Us Females."  In the story, the fact that every character (to whom the title refers) is female turns out to be a significant plot point.  But in English, a translated title like "We, the Women" overstresses that point.  There just isn't a simple way in English to convey the point of the title without bludgeoning the reader over the head with it.
 
2012-12-19 01:15:56 AM

lockers: So what happens when it becomes a living language and morphs into a flawed, yet serviceable language like all the rest. In theory, people using Ithkuil will change the way they use language. In practice, people will change Ithkuil as they use it. A lot of English's written oddities has to do with the great vowel migration (a political event) happening after the formalization of the written language. That messy people problem is what caused all practical languages to be less than ideal. Given that, why is this language "better" than english? Considering we have damn near universal literacy in the first world, and a majority a literate worldwide, what exactly is the benefit that is immune to the people using it problem?

 
It was pointed out to me in a book that trying to make a phonetic language for an alphabet is a losing proposition for two reasons: first, that languages have multiple dialects, and second, that the pronunciation of words changes over time. Take the infamous English phrase "park the car in Harvard Yard" for example. If there is only one correct way to spell it, but you use a phonetic alphabet, then there is only one "correct" way to pronounce it and all other dialects are "wrong." Who's going to decide which dialect of English is the sole "correct" one?
 
I think I first read this in "How the Mind Works" by Steven Pinker, but I'm not sure.
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_the_mind_works
 
2012-12-19 01:18:34 AM

Pointy Tail of Satan: Imray Klaatu narruwak. Micro pru val barata luke dinsal inkaplis. Yabu tari axel bugettio barengi-degas.


OK, but that's not a very nice thing to say about your sister.
 
2012-12-19 01:45:16 AM
That was the craziest article I've ever read.
 
2012-12-19 01:48:49 AM

Dr.Zom: Among the Wakashan Indians of the Pacific Northwest, a grammatically correct sentence can't be formed without providing what linguists refer to as "evidentiality," inflecting the verb to indicate whether you are speaking from direct experience, inference, conjecture, or hearsay.

 
English need this.
 
Cool article, subby, thanks.
 
Actually, English has more evidentiality built into it than native speakers realize.  To give one example, think of WILL versus GOING TO.  The difference between "It will rain tomorrow" and "It's going to rain tomorrow" is evidentiality.
 
http://www.englishgrammarsecrets.com/goingtoorwill/menu.php
 
One thing I love about the Nepali language is how it does evidentiality, especially the "hearsay particle" "re" (think "ray of sunshine" for pronunciation).  It rougly translates as "X said that" or "according to X."
 
So the pseudo-Nepali sentence "Mary is beautiful, John-ray" translates into "John said that Mary is beautiful" or "John thinks that Mary is beautiful."  It's such a useful little monosyllable.  You can even leave off specifying WHO said it, so it becomes a more general "They say that" or "It is said that":
 
"bhare paanii parcha re"
this.evening water fall(PRES INDEF) HEARSAY
'They say that it's going to rain this evening.' 
 
http://cslipublications.stanford.edu/LFG/11/lfg06bashir.pdf
 
2012-12-19 01:52:35 AM

Pointy Tail of Satan: Imray Klaatu narruwak. Micro pru val barata luke dinsal inkaplis. Yabu tari axel bugettio barengi-degas.


Just be sure to pronounce that correctly.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VtcOCHePB4
 
2012-12-19 01:56:45 AM

Don't Tongue the Reaper!: Dr.Zom: Among the Wakashan Indians of the Pacific Northwest, a grammatically correct sentence can't be formed without providing what linguists refer to as "evidentiality," inflecting the verb to indicate whether you are speaking from direct experience, inference, conjecture, or hearsay.

 
English need this.
 
Cool article, subby, thanks.
 
Quechua has a similar evidentiality. I know this personally, I am not speaking from hearsay :)

But does Quechua have a "hearsay particle" for evidentiality like Nepali does?
 
2012-12-19 02:02:23 AM

Oznog: Consequently many of the BASE words got deprecated because they couldn't be distinguished from the negated form. For example, "evitable" and "clement" are words, but rarer if not deprecated. If you said "inevitable" or "inclement" with a lot of common-speech accents, the "n" sound is often short and can be absent but the word may be assumed to be "inevitable" or "inclement" even in the lack of contextual clues, unless the surrounding enunciation context is so bold and clear that its absence would be noted.

 
Frankie Landau-Banks would like a word with you about neglected positives.  I think she's a bit gruntled.  Also
25.media.tumblr.com
Hopes the weather will be clement.
 
2012-12-19 02:10:37 AM

CitizenTed: Screw Esperanto. I've always felt that Spanish has the easiest spelling, fewest inconsistencies and best propensity for "saying what you mean". If we could drop the genders in Spanish, it would be the easiest language to learn, methinks.


Correction: It's easy to learn pidgin Spanish.  It's NOT easy to learn real Spanish.  The grammar is remarkably more difficult to master than most people realize.
 
If the level of fluency you're looking for is "Please give me a glass of water" and "How much do the sunglasses cost?" then, sure, it's easy.  If you want to appreciate Pablo Neruda, then it's a very different story.
 
2012-12-19 02:39:41 AM

KarmicDisaster: I'd be very surprised if the average right wing hater could learn this. I mean study it out.


"Right Wing" (and "conservative") are shifty terms. Just to point out something not necessarily obvious, the "nationalist" terrorist groups in what use to be the old SU are mostly out-of-work Communists who are beating the nationalistic drum to gain support.

So if the particular koolaid meme you're slavishly repeating is "All right wing people are drooling morons" it may not particularly apply here.
 
2012-12-19 02:53:49 AM

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: KarmicDisaster: I'd be very surprised if the average right wing hater could learn this. I mean study it out.

 
"Right Wing" (and "conservative") are shifty terms. Just to point out something not necessarily obvious, the "nationalist" terrorist groups in what use to be the old SU are mostly out-of-work Communists who are beating the nationalistic drum to gain support.
 
So if the particular koolaid meme you're slavishly repeating is "All right wing people are drooling morons" it may not particularly apply here.

At some point the horseshoe theory comes into play.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horseshoe_theory
 
2012-12-19 02:54:19 AM

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: KarmicDisaster: I'd be very surprised if the average right wing hater could learn this. I mean study it out.

"Right Wing" (and "conservative") are shifty terms. Just to point out something not necessarily obvious, the "nationalist" terrorist groups in what use to be the old SU are mostly out-of-work Communists who are beating the nationalistic drum to gain support.

So if the particular koolaid meme you're slavishly repeating is "All right wing people are drooling morons" it may not particularly apply here.


That might be true if the nationalists in question weren't also stridently anti-communist. In this case, the almost cultish group adopting the language is pro-white, pro-Slav/Rus, anti-Jew, anti-Israel, etc. It's hard to imagine a less right-wing organization. You might well be projecting your own hopes and fears onto the other side. Have you ever considered that?
 
2012-12-19 03:20:13 AM

lantawa: Well, because this is Fark, here's the world's compendium of swear words in all languages, starting with Tagalog
 
It is not safe for work
 
http://www.youswear.com/index.asp?language=Tagalog+%28Philippine%29

 
I see that your website has a Nepali page, and includes my favorite Nepali swear word, "Chickne."
 
When I lived in Nepal, I had a Peace Corps friend who was in training to become a math teacher, and he was working with some younger kids, doing practice teaching.  Since he was still in training, the trainer (who was fluent in both Nepali and English) was in the classroom observing his lesson.  The subject was addition, and my friend delivered the lesson in his best Nepali.
 
My friend divided the students into groups of four and gave each group a box of matches.  As he was telling the students what to do, he gave the instruction "Remove the matches from the box," but he mispronounced the verb for "remove."  The Nepali verb he wanted was "Jickne," but what he actually said was "Chickne."  The students burst out laughing.
 
Later, my friend asked the trainer why the students had laughed.  The trainer explained that he had used the verb "Chickne" when he should have said "Jickne."  "Chickne" is a vulgar word meaning "to copulate" or "to have six with."  So instead of saying, "Remove the matches from the box," what he had actually told the children was, "Fark the matches in the box"!
 
/Then there's the American tourist who went into a bar intended to ask for a pisco sour, but accidentally asked for a "pico sour" instead.
//  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pisco_sour
/// "Pico" is Chilean slang for "penis"
 
2012-12-19 03:22:10 AM

NoboruWatanabe: ilambiquated: cig-mkr: [d6xokdhfna55s.cloudfront.net image 201x201]

That's called metathesis. Happens a lot. For example, in classical Greek, I have is ekho. I will have should be ekhso, but it's eskho. Another example: Bird used to be pronounce brid. And Germans say Ross (short for hross) instead of horse.

Out of curiosity, where do Germans use Ross instead of Pferd?

Been a German speaker since I was 5, don't think I've heard that one.


It's semi-obsolete, poetic.

Aufs hohe Ross setzen sich meistens diejenigen, die nicht reiten können.


Or

Des Rosses Gurte sind gespannt;
Glück wird es mir bringen.
Unter Hufen hallt das Land,
hell die Eisen klingen.

etc
 
2012-12-19 03:23:30 AM

ciberido: Then there's the American tourist who went into a bar intended to ask for a pisco sour, but accidentally asked for a "pico sour" instead.

 
I meant to specify that this happened in Santiago, so everyone in the bar laughed when they heard the American ask for a "pico sour."
 
2012-12-19 04:28:59 AM

DeltaPunch: Very cool, thanks subby.

Anyone know of any good resources for a budding language/linguistics enthusiast, either online or actual book?


Wikipedia is pretty cool actually. Try skimming through the descriptions of obscure languages, like Akan (Twi), Georgian (Kartveli) etc. There's lots of good stuff about Sanskrit too. The list is endless. You'll bump into a lot of things you never heard of like "tone terracing", "polysynthesis" and "circumfixing" etc etc.Then explore from there. The good thing is you can do it at your own speed.

Also I recommend "Empires of the Word" to help get a big picture.
 
2012-12-19 04:39:11 AM

MemeSlave: Ebonics IS a poor command of the English language.


That's an example of what's called "prescriptive" linguistics. Most people interested in languages are interested in "descriptive" linguistics.
 
2012-12-19 06:44:51 AM
Well, that was a depressing, albeit interesting, read. It sometimes seems there exists no work so innocent and so crafted with the finest intentions but that will find perverse application in the hands of some batshiat kooks.
 
2012-12-19 06:59:12 AM

ilambiquated: MemeSlave: Ebonics IS a poor command of the English language.

That's an example of what's called "prescriptive" linguistics. Most people interested in languages are interested in "descriptive" linguistics.


Irregardless, amateur grammar Nazis tend to be prescriptive.
 
2012-12-19 07:51:44 AM

Isildur: Well, that was a depressing, albeit interesting, read. It sometimes seems there exists no work so innocent and so crafted with the finest intentions but that will find perverse application in the hands of some batshiat kooks.


Duh.

/I wonder how you say "Duh" in Ithkuil?
 
2012-12-19 08:16:39 AM

casual disregard: The idea is supposedly that the language is not intended to be spoken. It is intended to be perfect code.

Imagine a society in which English is the primary spoken and written language, except Ithkuil is the language of law. Nobody speaks Ithkuil except for practice.

You have all the advantages of English metaphor and all the advantages of Ithkuil specificity. Imagine spoken English language hand-in-hand with a written Ithkuil Constitution. Literally the best of both worlds.


What you have is another barrier between people who actually understand what the law says or shoudl say and what the average person thinks the law says/or wants it to say.
 
2012-12-19 08:17:10 AM

MemeSlave: Ebonics IS a poor command of the English language. Watch who speak it


uhhhhhhhh
 
2012-12-19 10:17:53 AM

Baryogenesis: ilambiquated: MemeSlave: Ebonics IS a poor command of the English language.

That's an example of what's called "prescriptive" linguistics. Most people interested in languages are interested in "descriptive" linguistics.

Irregardless, amateur grammar Nazis tend to be prescriptive.


static.tumblr.com
 
2012-12-19 10:46:57 AM

casual disregard: Graffito: casual disregard: I think I agree with you. Except I have never witnissed Ithkuil fail :3 I would much prefer to witness the event in real-time than to pre-suppose it must be a dead idea.

What happens when two Ithkuil speakers disagree on how to translate a word or concept? Say that you (taking the example from the article) think that gawk contains an element of surprise and I think that gawk contains an element of stupidity?

I think that is a fair criticism. I suppose the idea is that Ithkuil is rigidly defined and rigidly enforced. I don't know how specifically you could prevent it from deforming or devolving. It's the sort of language which has no native speakers by default and therefore has no rules to break as a result.


I would also love to know if jokes are possible in Ithkuil. Much humor depends upon double meanings, exaggeration, or an unexpected turn of phrase - precisely the kinds of things that Ithkuil was designed to avoid.
 
2012-12-19 12:28:40 PM

ciberido: Just Another OC Homeless Guy: KarmicDisaster: I'd be very surprised if the average right wing hater could learn this. I mean study it out.
 
"Right Wing" (and "conservative") are shifty terms. Just to point out something not necessarily obvious, the "nationalist" terrorist groups in what use to be the old SU are mostly out-of-work Communists who are beating the nationalistic drum to gain support.
 
So if the particular koolaid meme you're slavishly repeating is "All right wing people are drooling morons" it may not particularly apply here.

At some point the horseshoe theory comes into play.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horseshoe_theory


Ah, yes, the Horseshoe theory. I'm familiar with it. (I have a PoliSci degree.)

Are you, by chance, an atheist? If so, consider the analogy of you being placed in the middle of the religious ideological spectrum, with Christians on the one end, Muslims on the other end, and extremists of both faiths somehow "meeting" where the horseshoe ends curve towards one another.

You would probably have a problem with that construction. You would probably argue that the similarities between Christianity and Islam are, philosophically (core beliefs) and existentially (behavior), far more important than their relatively minor religious differences. For example:
- Both place faith (an unfounded belief without physical evidence) above reason.
- Both consider faith superior to reason.
- Both have a history of extreme violence against Unbelievers (of their particular faith).
- Both worship a variant of an invisible, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good, barbarian tribe desert God.

You, as an atheist, would probably think that the correct model would be a line, with all religion at one end, and atheists at the other.

OK, now stretch your mind a bit. Do NOT automatically put on the Glasses.
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So it is with Fascism, Naziism, and Soviet Socialism (not communism; if you read the proceeds of the All-Union Communist Party Congresses, you will see that the Soviets themselves admitted that their system was not Communism). You can also include Socialist variants from Cuba, China, North Korea, Cambodia, etc. The philosophically (core beliefs) and existentially (behavior) similarities of Fascism, Naziism, and Socialism are far more important than the minor quibbles over their ideologies.
- Both place faith in the Leader (an unfounded belief without physical evidence) above reason.
- Both consider faith superior to reason.
- Both have a history of extreme violence against Unbelievers (of their particular faith).
- Both worship a variant of an invisible, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good, State.

Also consider the well know fact that the most extreme violence is most often between "family" members (familiarity breeds contempt?).
- Sunni -vs- Shia (everywhere in the Middle East)
- Protestant -vs- Catholic (Ireland)
- North -vs- South (American Civil War)
- Christian -vs- Muslim (Crusades, today)
- Nazis -vs- Soviets (far more brutal and costly than the battles in the west)

Finally, consider that the terms "left" and "right" are actually pretty meaningless today. I mean, they come from the farking SEATING arrangement of the French Assembly back in the 1780-90s. Link. (The article is largely nonsense; I include it just for the origin reference, and so you can see in black and white the mish-mash of ideologies that results from the false Left-Right dichotomy.)

The article is nonsense for at least a couple of reasons.

First, "In France, where the terms originated, the Left is called "the party of movement" and the Right "the party of order."" So the Left is progressive and the right conservative. So an old Stalinist who longs for a return of Soviet totalitarianism is described the same way (conservative) as a "Barry Goldwater" Republican (conservative)? Really? Meaningless.

Second, the article makes a distinction between "the left's "civil-libertarians"" and "the right's "economic-libertarians"". Nonsense. Civil and Economic liberty are mutually supportive, and one cannot have one without the other. One example to prove that point: Freedom of the Press, the Civil right to print an article criticizing those in power, is meaningless unless you have the Economic right to the ownership and/or use of the private property of the typewriter, copy machine, or printing press.

Third, notice the mish-mash of contradictory politics in the "progressive" and "conservative" buckets:

----"the Left includes progressives, social-liberals, greens, social-democrats, socialists, democratic-socialists, civil-libertarians"

----"the Right includes conservatives, reactionaries, neoconservatives, capitalists, neoliberals, economic-libertarians"

Really?
 
2012-12-19 12:32:32 PM

casual disregard: Just Another OC Homeless Guy: KarmicDisaster: I'd be very surprised if the average right wing hater could learn this. I mean study it out.

"Right Wing" (and "conservative") are shifty terms. Just to point out something not necessarily obvious, the "nationalist" terrorist groups in what use to be the old SU are mostly out-of-work Communists who are beating the nationalistic drum to gain support.

So if the particular koolaid meme you're slavishly repeating is "All right wing people are drooling morons" it may not particularly apply here.

That might be true if the nationalists in question weren't also stridently anti-communist. In this case, the almost cultish group adopting the language is pro-white, pro-Slav/Rus, anti-Jew, anti-Israel, etc. It's hard to imagine a less right-wing organization. You might well be projecting your own hopes and fears onto the other side. Have you ever considered that?


Didn't really care enough to look up their particular ideology. Most in the past have been old-line communists longing for a return to the Old Days. Left -vs- right? See my comment above to ciberido.
 
2012-12-19 12:56:20 PM

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: Are you, by chance, an atheist?

 
I am not an atheist, I do not espouse the horseshoe theory, nor do I fully agree with you.  I brought it up because it in some ways reminded me of what I understood you to be saying, and because I thought you (and others) might find it interesting.
 
What I find appealing about the horseshoe theory is not the specifics of liberals versus conservatives, but the general idea that extremism with any ideology follows a certain pattern (and is potentially dangerous).
 
2012-12-19 01:05:43 PM
Hmm, late again. I'll just leave this here.

lolpics.se
 
2012-12-19 02:41:02 PM

ciberido: Just Another OC Homeless Guy: Are you, by chance, an atheist?
 
I am not an atheist, I do not espouse the horseshoe theory, nor do I fully agree with you.  I brought it up because it in some ways reminded me of what I understood you to be saying, and because I thought you (and others) might find it interesting.
 
What I find appealing about the horseshoe theory is not the specifics of liberals versus conservatives, but the general idea that extremism with any ideology follows a certain pattern (and is potentially dangerous).


Yes. Have you read "The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer? Link "A stevedore on the San Francisco docks in the 1940s, Eric Hoffer wrote philosophical treatises in his spare time while living in the railroad yards. The True Believer -- the first and most famous of his books -- was made into a bestseller when President Eisenhower cited it during one of the earliest television press conferences.Completely relevant and essential for understanding the world today, The True Believer is a visionary, highly provocative look into the mind of the fanatic and a penetrating study of how an individual becomes one." Liberals tend to poo-poo him, but his experiences in life gave him some fascinating insights. 

Today, too few people know of him and those insights. One of the most important, IMHO, Wikipedia pages says this about him: Link
 
2012-12-19 04:36:27 PM

lockers: So what happens when it becomes a living language and morphs into a flawed, yet serviceable language like all the rest. In theory, people using Ithkuil will change the way they use language. In practice, people will change Ithkuil as they use it. A lot of English's written oddities has to do with the great vowel migration (a political event) happening after the formalization of the written language. That messy people problem is what caused all practical languages to be less than ideal. Given that, why is this language "better" than english? Considering we have damn near universal literacy in the first world, and a majority a literate worldwide, what exactly is the benefit that is immune to the people using it problem?


I wonder if it's something that can be used by computers to communicate ... IN THE FUTURE!!!1!
 
2012-12-19 07:43:34 PM

ciberido: Don't Tongue the Reaper!: Dr.Zom: Among the Wakashan Indians of the Pacific Northwest, a grammatically correct sentence can't be formed without providing what linguists refer to as "evidentiality," inflecting the verb to indicate whether you are speaking from direct experience, inference, conjecture, or hearsay.

English need this.

Cool article, subby, thanks.

Quechua has a similar evidentiality. I know this personally, I am not speaking from hearsay :)

But does Quechua have a "hearsay particle" for evidentiality like Nepali does?


Late getting back to this, the construction is to put the suffix "shka" on the key verb and the word "nin". It more or less translates to "so they say".
 
2012-12-19 08:45:52 PM

lantawa: Sorry about those Politics incidents. I'm sort of a bright spaz-noir, such as that may be. I'm over it.

 
 
Huh. Whaddaya know. Reconciliation in the Geek Tab over a linguistics thread. Fark always amazes.
 
All righty then!
 
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