November 28th, 2001


Languages I Speak

A little hobby of mine is linguistics. I've got at least vague conversational knowledge of the following languages:

1. Ant (which is handy because you can strike bargains with them and get stuff cleaner by the trail, rather than just ant-covered)

2. Eye (turns out they're not happy with their heads most of the time)

3. West Coast Toaster (can't make heads or tails of east-coast toaster, and toasters get really sensitive when you mispronounce things, so usually I just don't bother and stick to setting the crispness I want, pushing the level, and pretending like I don't know the language)

4. E-Prime-Prime (the complementary language to e-prime, in which the only existing vocabulary is various froms of the verb "to be")

5. Caveman (great for figuring out SAT words by etymology)

6. Marketing Speak (actually, my Marketing Speak is a little sketchy, but apparently a lot of the language is related to English)

7. Joorofo (a language with a phonetic system such that it can only be properly spoken while being struck very hard. the most common phrases are "ouch" and "please help", but it's poetically quite expressive)

8. Enochian (took a semester in college with an exchange-program teacher)

9. Nang-Pek and Nang-Tak (twin languages. in nang-pek it is grammatically impossible to speak a lie, and in nang-tak it is grammatically impossible to speak the truth. these languages are spoken mostly in the land where people who discover whether or not they have dots on their head instantly commit suicide the next midnight, and where each person has a different color of dog, a different style of house, and a different favorite kind of hat. they are the most annoying languages ever, and, though i am fluent, if you use either in my presence i will kill you and then myself)

10. Mirror (turns out they're only silent over there because they don't think you'd understand them)

11. Leprechaun (oddly, the easiest language to speak while drunk)

12. Yejumo (a language which expresses things in terms of indirect sensory imagery and metaphor. in fact, however, this language translates very simply into English. the yejumo word for "boat," translates literally as, "a lonely cry casting a shadow across the birth-sky," but, due to the amazing compactness of the yejumo language, this is only one syllable long. coincidentally, that one syllable is "boat". similarly, the word for "sad" translates literally as "with a mouth opened upwards to a bitter yet nutritive rain, neck turns so tight it becomes an ache", but is pronounced "sad")

13. Crazy People Talk

14. Dronk (a language which can only be used to describe snow. there are sixteen thousand words in the language, but all of them translate to "snow" in some way. spoken solely as a second language, by wistful desert tribes.)

15. Paxvox (a language in which it is impossible to say anything unkind, or to describe war, hate, oppression, or the desire to hurt another. favored as a popular language in totalitarian societies)

16. Redbee (a language with no words for linear time, because the speakers of the language are real dumb and lazy and absent-minded)

17. the scheme dialect of LISP ( () ( ()) ( ((() (() ) () ) ) )

18. Jawa (because knowing klingon is no longer sufficiently hardcore)

19. Egg (there are many, many greetings and ways to express pleasant empty conversation, because they hang out together in groups of twelve and are a lot more fragile than they are smart)

20. Henry (a language spoken entirely in the fourth person: from the perspective of Henry Castellan of Ithaca, New York. Henry Castellan himself does not speak the language, and has applied for restraining orders against most of the speakers of the language)

21. Keeping Quiet When Not Asked For My Negative Opinions

22. Astrologese (a language in which all concepts are expressed in terms of astrological patterns, the language presupposes that you've been taught those concepts in another language, since any attempt to do so in Astrologese is circular and incomprehensible. turns out i don't know any astrology, i just use it to pick up attractive members of the appropriate genders)