Monthly Archives: December 2016

Why Nerds Shouldn’t Make Languages

This meeting we were talking about constructed languages, so naturally, we wanted to try our hand at making our own language. It turns out that if you take a bunch of crazy nerds and tell them they can make up the rules…yeah.

We didn’t finish making the language, but there’s a basic structure. So far there are five sounds in the alphabet: ‘bo’, ‘ma’, [click], [ascending hum] (denoted as “m/”), and [descending hum] (denoted as “n\”), with more to be added as needed.  We collectively decided immediately that conjugation was stupid/boring (I’m possibly projecting…).

The first sentence we translated was: “I am shopping”.
I = [click]
shopping = bo-ma-m/

Now, tense. Tense is fun. We thought that it would clearly make the most sense for the word order to determine tense. If the verb is before the subject, past tense. If the verb is before the subject, future. Nobody really needs more specificity than that. Oh yeah, present. Present’s simple: You put the subject inside the verb. Duh. I guess that means all verbs are more than one syllable long…

I was shopping: [click] bo-ma-m/
I am shopping: bo-[click]-ma-m/
I will be shopping: bo-ma-m/ [click]

Best of all: I was shopping a long time ago = [click][long pause][bo-ma-m/]

I’m not sure if pauses can actually have meaning in language (I feel like that’s problematic), but we’re going with it.

This structure makes recursion odd, but fortunately, we figured out a simple solution. When a clause finished, we used a popping sound (made like kissing, except you’re kissing yourself) to denote that the next clause was nested inside.

For example, if you were to say “The store I was shopping at sucked”, you would say “the store sucked [pop] I was shopping there”.

Next time, we’ll either translate some more sentences or do NACLO puzzles.