Speak geek: The world of made-up language
Pointy ears, bumpy foreheads and obscure tongues
The world of invented language is a difficult place to succeed and those who have the patience to create their own tend to have a hard time gathering followers.
Klingon and Elvish are notable exceptions, thanks to the huge fan bases for Star Trek and Lord of The Rings.
Society tends to regard people who learn these languages as über geeky and socially-inept but we often overlook the reasons why they’re so obsessed with the fantasies they love.
Until recently, expanding the speaker numbers was a challenge: conventions were the only place for enthusiasts to gather and sporadic publications the only other method of sharing their passion.
With the internet, mobile app markets and other techie possibilities, these languages now have easily accessible platforms to grow. While such languages thrive, constructed languages, or “conlangs”, that were created in our past generally struggled.
In her book The land of Invented Languages (highly recommended), Akira Okrent tracks down the conlangs that have, in most cases, faded into oblivion. With some pretty wacky ones out there from John Wilkins’ Analytical Language to James Cook Brown’s Loglan, it’s clear why few take off in the first place, even though most were created with respectable goals in mind.
These hard-working, eccentric individuals sought to create a lexicon of words or symbols that remove technical faults in our own languages to create a practical and universal alternative. Okrent supplies wonderful insight into their efforts.
She also delves into successful conlangs that survive today. Those that aren’t supported by pop culture include the widely known Esperanto and my personal favourite; Blissymbolics.
Created by Charles K. Bliss in 1945, Blissymbolics was an attempt at a cross-language unification tool. It has since been adopted by BCI, an institute that teaches language to children with non-speaking disorders such as cerebral palsy.
Next page: The language of unity
Jesus Christ on a winebarrel. You owe me a new keyboard and I'm not exaggerating either. I was merrily reading this article, when I happened to see the Klingonian Bohemian Rhapsody reference. My immediate reaction was to drop my cup - which was weak from years of use - which immediately cracked and spilled its contents as well as bits of tiny shards all over and inside my keyboard. I was, however, too busy choking on the liquids that I had accidentally sent down into my lungs as a result of the laugh that I attempted and so I realized the disaster a bit too late.
I have now borrowed a coworker's keyboard to type this message out. Said coworker will return from lunch soon and that will be the end of my day.
How exactly am I going to explain this to management?
Say what you will about it -- you can't change the fact that it sounds like a drunk Italian trying to order lunch in Portuguese.
Religion & politics are the excuse given - its economics that cause wars - even the Children;s Crusade.
And the religious & political leaders that use these excuses tend to be self serving liars that you shouldn't trust to even put the cat out. And they will lie about their political and religious beliefs just as they lie about everything else - their one and only policy being 'more power for me'