sat8dec2007—49w342d93%— 01h24m00s—0utc

Starting an artificial language has been a recurrent dream of mine. As a subscriber to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (that the shape of our language is the shape of our thought), a believer in ending Babel through an auxlang, a pathological formist, and an admirer of the grace, elegance, and pleasure to be found in conlangs such as Esperanto and toki pona, I believe the enterprise worth a lifetime, worth my lifetime.

But of course, given my extremist bent, I want to start an artificial language that subsumes all languages. A language to make languages, like in John Varley’s beautiful Persistence of Vision. An extensible language to gobble up and be enriched by the thoughts and feelings of as many souls as the universe will ever have. A perfectly regular language that can be learned in a week but never mastered. The creation of a self-conscious, language-obsessed culture but learnable by the illiterate. A language so abstract and basic, it can be embodied inside any symbolic system, be it based on sounds, graphics, gestures, raised dots, or farts; be it English, Maori, or Farsi. A language of infinite expressibility, synthetic and analytic, vague and precise, formal and casual, exquisite and coarse. A language that will outlast the stars.

The key, I think, lies in internal flexibility. The ideal is to do for language what the Hindu-Arabic numeral system did for numbers. Not only will there be no arbitrary, capricious limits to word creation, it will be a language of pure word creation, able to convey books in a word, lifetimes in a sentence. It will be a language complete in itself yet always growing.

After years of frenzying about it late at night, the language finally got its first name, despite it not yet having a transliteration, let alone any words. It’s self-referentially called, among infinite names, the-language-this-word-belongs-to.

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