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Monday, November 26, 2007

For a New Language 

Constructing new languages is interesting but you need to think about what you are doing. You want to make a language that is versatile, above all, and efficient. You could start by canvassing exisiting languages for all their best features, as well as noting the things that are huge drawbacks and excluding them.

I recently came across the well-known example of Verdurian, designed by Mark Rosenfelder.

It boasts three verbal conjugations. You know what that means? It means that right off the bat I can say unequivocally that it fails my personal test for any new language. Furthermore, the verbal tenses are pitifully jejune: present, past, anterior past (?), and future. That's a lot of fuss over nothing. The important thing about action is status: is a thing done or is it underway? Everything else is periphrastic and can be conveyed by adverbs.

The creator has obviously gone about it all wrong, by imitating the unfortunate difficulties of existing languages. A unique writing system—oh, great, one more use for unicode; an orthography that uses apostrophes (or ticks or whatever); and, incredibly (leaving the silliest for last), some IRREGULAR VERBS! Jesus H. Christ, if this man were in charge of some terraculture on another planet, it would no doubt quickly devolve into a poisoned inferno.



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